Bernie Sanders defends Medicare for all in Carson City rally
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders defended his call for Medicare for All on Friday before a crowd of about 200 at the Carson City Community Center.
As he crosses the nation, he said, “I’m finding that working people are sick and tired of being exploited and abandoned by the corporate elites.”
“The gap between the very, very wealthy and everybody else is growing unbelievably,” he said, adding that half of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck and half are uninsured or under-insured.
He said even Vice President Joe Biden mischaracterizes his call for Medicare for All. He said that is what exists in one form or another in all the major countries around the world including Canada.
He said his plan would expand Medicare for those now 65 and older to include everyone and expand it to include dental, hearing aids and all health care over a four-year period.
“No premiums, no deductibles, no out of pocket expenses,” he said. “Is it free? Of course not, but what you should know is that, in the United States, we spend twice as much on health care as do the people of any other country, $11,000 per person.”
The reason, he said, is corporate greed because the primary function of pharmaceutical and health insurance companies is to make profits.
He used insulin as an example saying that drug’s price in Canada is a tenth of what Americans are charged.
“And that’s true for all kinds of drugs.”
He was joined by a man in the audience named Larry who said when his wife was diagnosed with bipolar disease, the medication she needed would cost $4,000 a month. He said they went to Canada and bought a three-month supply for just $90.
Sanders said Medicare for All also eliminates loss of insurance coverage when some one is laid off or leaves a job and eliminates the issue of people keeping jobs they hate just to keep insurance coverage.
“Health care is a human right,” he told the crowd to cheers. “But today in America, 500,000 people go bankrupt every year because of medical bills.”
“The pharmaceutical industry is not only greedy, they are corrupt and involved in massive amounts of price fixing,” he said. “They can raise their prices to anything they want because they have bought the United States Congress.”
He called them “drug pushers” and charged that they should go to jail.
“No, but some kid selling marijuana, he goes to jail.”
Sanders said his plan is opposed by those powerful companies because he would eliminate $100 billion a year in profits they now make but he said no president can do it alone.
“We need millions of people to stand up,” he said. “Real change never takes place from the top on down. It comes from the bottom up.”
Sanders left Carson City after the hour-long rally to hold a similar gathering on the University of Nevada, Reno campus.