Senator Bernie Sanders is calling for Congress to act now in extending Medicare to all Americans. In an op-ed written by Sanders for the New York Times, he described the nation as being at a pivotal turning point in its history.
Do we, as a nation, join the rest of the industrialized world and guarantee comprehensive health care to every person as a human right? Or do we maintain a system that is enormously expensive, wasteful and bureaucratic, and is designed to maximize profits for big insurance companies, the pharmaceutical industry, Wall Street and medical equipment suppliers?
Senator Sanders stated that he has heard from Americans throughout the nation who are struggling with what he described as a “dysfunctional” healthcare system.
Americans should not hesitate about going to the doctor because they do not have enough money. They should not worry that a hospital stay will bankrupt them or leave them deeply in debt. They should be able to go to the doctor they want, not just one in a particular network.
The Senator said that the United States spends “far more per capita on health care than any other industrialized nation,” and yet millions of Americans still remain uninsured. In discussing the reasoning for this, Sanders wrote, “The reason that our health care system is so outrageously expensive is that it is not designed to provide quality care to all in a cost-effective way, but to provide huge profits to the medical-industrial complex.”
He followed this up with indicating that the solution is “not hard to understand.” He writes, “Guaranteeing comprehensive health benefits to Americans over 65 has proved to be enormously successful, cost-effective and popular. Now is the time to expand and improve Medicare to cover all Americans.”
This Wednesday, Sanders intends to introduce his “Medicare for All Act” to the Senate. According to Sanders, the legislation has 15 co-sponsors and “support from dozens of grass-roots organizations.” The act would guarantee comprehensive healthcare coverage to every family in the United States.
Of course, Sanders expects a good amount of opposition to his proposal. In regards to those who would opposite it, the Senator wrote, “They are on the wrong side of history. Guaranteeing health care as a right is important to the American people not just from a moral and financial perspective; it also happens to be what the majority of the American people want.”
Finally, Sanders concluded with urging Congress to act now. “Now is the time for Congress to stand with the American people and take on the special interests that dominate health care in the United States,” he writes. “Now is the time to extend Medicare to everyone.”
Sanders will be bringing his proposal to Congress on Wednesday. However, despite having backing from some of the biggest names in the Democratic party, the bill has very little chance of passing.
[via The Hill]