Health care for all platform elevates Sanders campaign
If U.S. senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, D-Vermont, is successful in earning his party’s nomination for president, it will be because of his view on health care.
Sanders’ message is this - “We say to the private health insurance companies: whether you like it or not, the United States will join every other major country on earth and guarantee health care to all people as a right. All Americans are entitled to go to the doctor when they’re sick and not go bankrupt after staying in the hospital.’’
Sanders says higher taxes for the very wealthy in the U.S. can pay for his view on health care in this country, and it’s a message that resonates with voters.
Sanders wants to achieve the following for the American people:
*Create a Medicare For All, single-payer, national health insurance program to provide everyone in America with comprehensive health care coverage, free at the point of service.
*No health care networks, no premiums, no deductibles, no copays and no surprise bills.
*Medicare coverage will be expanded and improved to include: dental, hearing, vision, and home- and community-based long-term care, in-patient and out-patient services, mental health and substance abuse treatment, reproductive and maternity care, prescription drugs and more.
*Stop the pharmaceutical industry from ripping off the American people by making sure that no one in America pays more than $200 a year for the medicine they need by capping what Americans pay for prescription drugs under Medicare for All.
Today, more than 30 million Americans still don’t have health insurance, Sanders says, and even more are underinsured.
Even for those with insurance, costs are so high that medical bills are the number one cause of bankruptcy in the United States.
Incredibly, he says, we spend significantly more of our national gross domestic product (GDP) on this inadequate health care system—far more per person than any other major country.
And despite doing so, Americans have worse health outcomes and a higher infant mortality rate than countries that spend much less on health care, he says.
“Our people deserve better. We should be spending money on doctors, nurses, mental health specialists, dentists and other professionals who provide services to people and improve their lives,’’ he says. “We must invest in the development of new drugs and technologies that cure disease and alleviate pain—not wasting hundreds of billions of dollars a year on profiteering, huge executive compensation packages, and outrageous administrative costs.
“The giant pharmaceutical and health insurance lobbies have spent billions of dollars over the past decades to ensure that their profits come before the health of the American people,’’ he says. “We must defeat them, together. That means joining every other major country on Earth and guaranteeing health care to all people as a right, not a privilege, through a Medicare-For-All, single-payer program.’’
And to lower the prices of prescription drugs now, Sanders says we need to:
*Allow Medicare to negotiate with the big drug companies to lower prescription drug prices with the Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act.
*Allow patients, pharmacists, and wholesalers to buy low-cost prescription drugs from Canada and other industrialized countries with the Affordable and Safe Prescription Drug Importation Act.
*Cut prescription drug prices in half, with the Prescription Drug Price Relief Act, by pegging prices to the median drug price in five major countries: Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Japan.
Sanders says he cringes every time someone asks him how the U.S. will pay for this very different health care program.
“Nobody asks how we’re going to pay for our military defense budget and nobody asks how we’re going to bail-out this big industry or that one,’’ Sanders says.
He makes good points on health care and he makes career politicians on both sides of the aisle nervous.
The career politicians like the status quo and the campaign funds they receive from the lucrative pharmaceutical industry.