FULL 'This Week' Transcript for Nov.29, 2009

SANDERS: I voted for the doctor fix. I don't think that Senator Graham did. Bottom line is...


SANDERS: ... we are the only country in the -- well, we are the only country in the industrialized world that does not guarantee health care to all of its people, and yet we end up spending almost twice as much per person as any other country on earth. We have 45,000 people in this country who are going to die this year because they don't have access to a doctor. Under Bush, the Republicans did virtually nothing about health care, except see 7 million more Americans lose their health insurance.

So of course, we've got to address the health care crisis. Every person in this country is entitled to health care in a comprehensive and cost-effective way.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The question is how, though, Senator Sanders. And last week, I had Senator Ben Nelson. There are still some big differences among Democrats on this bill. Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska, and he drew a line in the sand. He said he would support a filibuster to block a final vote unless his conditions are met. Here is what he said.


NELSON: If the public option is wrong, if the CLASS act is still in it, if there are a whole host of other items that are the same as they are right now, I wouldn't vote to get it off the floor.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Now, sir, you are a strong supporter of the public option. Will you vote to prevent the bill from getting to a final vote and actually support a filibuster if the public option is not included?

SANDERS: Well, let me just say this, George. The reason I am a strong supporter of it, enhanced public option, is for two basic reasons. Number one, the American people, for all the right reasons, don't trust private insurance companies, because they understand the function of a private insurance company is not to provide health care, it's to make as much money as possible. Second of all, if we are going to control health care costs, we need strong cost containment, and one way -- not the best way, by the way, which would be a Medicare for all single-payer system -- but we're not going to have that -- but one way you control costs if by providing real competition to the private insurance companies by allowing as many people as possible to be in a strong public option. If you don't have that public option, I think you're not going to have the cost containment we need. I would be very reluctant to support legislation that did not have a strong public option.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, that's the final action. So will you prevent the bill from getting to a final vote? Will you support a filibuster if it's not included?

SANDERS: We're going to -- well, I've got to see what ends up happening. I've got about 10 separate amendments. Other people have amendments. And I think, George, I'm not just speaking for myself. I'm speaking for other senators, I'm speaking for many members of the House, we're going to fight and demand a public option and a strong one at that.

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