WASHINGTON – Senator Bernie Sanders on Veterans Day released his veterans agenda, called “Honoring Our Commitment to Veterans,” which will guarantee veterans the benefits and services they were promised, protect and expand disability benefits for veterans, guarantee justice for veterans and expand opportunities for veterans. The proposal comes as Americans around the country honor Veterans Day.
This is from the Sanders campaign:
“As a nation, we have a moral obligation to provide the best quality care to those who put their lives on the line to defend us,” Sanders, who served as Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee from 2013 to 2015, said. “Just as planes and tanks and guns are a cost of war, so is taking care of the men and women who we sent off to fight the wars. It includes caring for the spouses and children who have to rebuild their lives after the loss of a loved one. It includes caring for the hundreds of thousands of veterans with multiple amputations or loss of eyesight, post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. It includes veterans who are having difficulty keeping jobs in order to pay their bills, and it includes the terrible tragedy of veterans committing suicide. As president, I will do everything that I can to make sure that every veteran gets the benefits that they are entitled to receive on time and without delay. Further, we will not dismantle or privatize the VA. We will expand and improve the VA.”
During Sanders’ time as Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, a series of reports revealed that the Veterans Health Administration was failing veterans, leaving many to wait too long for care and putting lives in danger. Sanders worked with Sen. John McCain to successfully negotiate and pass a bill that invested billions into the VA system. The landmark legislation authorized twenty-seven new medical facilities and provided $5 billion to hire more doctors and nurses to care for the surging number of veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and those veterans from earlier eras in need of more complex care.
The Sanders campaign on Monday also released a new video, “Keeping Our Promise,” which highlights Sanders’ work on that landmark legislation.
Sanders’ plan will:
the nearly 50,000 vacancies at the VA during your first year in office. Under a
Bernie Sanders administration, the VA will hire the doctors, nurses and medical
professionals necessary to provide the care that veterans need when they need
Provide at least $62 billion in new funding
to repair, modernize and rebuild the infrastructure at the VA in order to
provide the cutting-edge health care services our veterans have earned and
Ensure that all those with prior military
service in every state and territory have access to the full complement of
health care services they need to stay healthy and well.
Improve and simplify the claims process so
veterans receive the compensation they have earned quickly, accurately, and
without bureaucratic red tape.
Reform harmful VA regulations that restrict
access to care and benefits based on character of discharge.
Ensure veterans can use the full complement
of benefits through the G.I. Bill without hassle or red tape.
The vigorous contest of
Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has produced excellent
policy proposals to address major issues. Senator Bernie Sanders, long a
crusader to end corporate influence and corruption in the political system,
unveiled his “Money Out of Politics” Plan. He has expanded upon it to
detail how he would end corporate greed and corruption, ensure corporations pay
their fair share of taxes and give workers an ownership stake in companies
where they work, end corrupt corporate mergers and break up monopolies. This is
from the Sanders campaign:
WASHINGTON – Sen. Bernie Sanders unveiled a plan to end corporate greed and corruption, ensure corporations pay their fair share of taxes, give workers an ownership stake in the companies where they work, end corrupt corporate mergers and break up monopolies.
“For more than 40 years, the largest and most profitable corporations in America have rigged the tax code and our economy to redistribute wealth and income to the richest and most powerful people in this country,” said Sen. Sanders. “The American people are saying enough is enough. They are sick and tired of companies like Amazon, General Motors and Chevron making billions in profits, but paying nothing in federal income taxes. Under this plan, we will demand that profitable corporations pay their fair share of taxes. We will give workers an ownership stake in the companies they work for. And we will start breaking up some of the largest and most powerful companies in America to lower prices for consumers, help small business and make markets competitive.”
Bernie’s plan, the boldest and most comprehensive corporate accountability plan in modern presidential history, would bring an end to the era of unchecked corporate greed and return power to American workers.
As President Bernie would:
Workers an Ownership Stake in Corporate America and End Corporate Greed
workers 20 percent of shares in their companies and 45 percent of the seats on
their corporate boards.
all workers and savers have the right to vote the shares they own.
workers the right to purchase factories or offices they are employed in from
companies that decide to put them up for sale or shut them down.
a U.S. Employee Ownership Bank to provide low-cost financing to employees who
want to start their own businesses.
large-scale stock buybacks illegal.
companies to provide shares of stock to workers who lose their jobs as a result
of outsourcing or automation.
Monopolies and Make Markets Competitive
all Trump administration mergers and undo improper mergers.
the Federal Trade Commission to break up conglomerates and monopolies and
institute clear, strong merger guidelines.
caps for vertical mergers, horizontal mergers, and total market share.
mandatory arbitration clauses and non-compete clauses that trap workers in
low-wage jobs and strip them of their legal rights.
Large Corporations Pay Their Fair Share of Taxes
all of Trump’s corporate tax breaks
the corporate tax rate to 35% from 21%.
that corporations pay 35% by eliminating virtually all corporate tax breaks and
the use of offshore tax havens by:
corporations with revenues over $25 million to publicly disclose significant
portions of their tax returns and country by country financial information
including earnings, financial accounts, and tax payments in other
the 20% deduction on pass-through business income and requiring large
pass-through businesses to be subject to corporate taxes.
If this plan had been in effect last
year, instead of paying nothing in federal income taxes:
would have paid up to $3.8 billion in taxes.
would have paid up to $1.8 billion in taxes.
would have paid up to $1.6 billion in taxes.
have paid up to $1.5 billion in taxes.
The top ten percent of Americans today
own an estimated 97 percent of all capital income, including capital
gains, corporate dividends, and interest payments. Since the 2008 Wall Street
crash, 49 percent of all new income generated in America has gone to the top
one percent. The three wealthiest people in our country now own more wealth
than the bottom 160 million Americans. And the richest family in America
– the Walton family, which inherited about half of Walmart’s stock – is worth
$200 billion and owns more wealth than the bottom 42 percent of the American
The vigorous contest of Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential
nomination has produced excellent policy proposals to address major issues. Senator
Bernie Sanders, long a crusader to end corporate influence and corruption in
the political system, unveiled his “Money
Out of Politics” Plan. This is from the Sanders campaign:
WASHINGTON – Sen. Bernie Sanders unveiled his Money Out of Politics Plan, a comprehensive proposal to end all corporate influence and corruption in the political system.
“Our grassroots-funded campaign is proving every single day that you don’t need billionaires and private fundraisers to run for president,” Sanders said. “We’ve received more contributions from more individual contributors than any campaign in the history of American politics because we understand the basic reality that you can’t take on a corrupt system if you take its money. Working people all over the country are responding to that message and demanding a political revolution through their small dollar donations. When we win the Democratic nomination and defeat Donald Trump, we will transform our political system by rejecting the influence of big corporate money.”
Sanders’ plan will end the greed-fueled, corrupt corporate influence over elections, national party convention, and presidential inaugurations.
2016, seventeen donors gave three-quarters of the Democratic National
Convention funding, with large corporations like Comcast, Bank of America and
Facebook donating millions. At the 2013 Presidential inauguration, corporate
donors including, AT&T, Microsoft, and Chevron donated millions.
the Democratic nominee, Sanders would ban all corporate contributions to the
Democratic Party Convention and all related committees, and as President he
would be ban all corporate donations for inaugural events and cap individual
donations at $500.
Sanders’ plan would abolish the now-worthless FEC and replace it with the
Federal Election Administration, a true law enforcement agency originally
proposed by former Senators John McCain and Russ Feingold.
key elements Sanders’ Money Out of Politics Plan include:
Enacting mandatory public financing laws for all federal
and strengthen the Federal Election Campaign Act to return to a system of
mandatory public funding for National Party Conventions.
a Constitutional Amendment that makes clear that money is not speech and
corporations are not people.
the influence of corporations at the DNC.
donations from federal lobbyists and corporations.
a lifetime lobbying ban for National Party Chairs and Co-Chairs
Chairs and Co-Chairs from working for entities with federal contract, that are
seeking government approval for projects or mergers, or can reasonably be
expected to have business before Congress in the future.
advertising during presidential primary debates.
a lifetime lobbying ban for former members of Congress and senior
a sea of “Bernie” signs and chants of “We are the 99%” and “We will win”, Jane
Sanders, looked out over the massive crowd of 25,000 that overflowed
Queensbridge Park, beneath the Queensborough Bridge, onto the street, and said,
“Here are people from every background in the melting pot called New York. Most
of our ancestors came to America for a better life- mine from Ireland to escape
famine, poverty; Bernie’s from Poland escaping anti-Semitism, poverty.
“All believed they could have a better life. But in the last 40 years that
promise has eroded. Bernie plans to change that.” And, noting that this is his
first rally since his heart attack, she said to massive cheers, “Bernie is
back. He’s healthy and more than ready to continue his lifelong fight for
working people of America.”
Michael Moore: “This is not just about defeating Trump, but the
rotten system that gave us Trump’
said documentary filmmaker Michael Moore, is where “Everyone gets a seat at the
table, a slice of the pie and not fight for last crumbs. We don’t just need a
democratic politics, we need a democratic economy.”
Moore said, “The powers that be are very unhappy you’re here, that Bernie is
back. The pundits, the media [boo] are throwing everything out there to get
people to think differently:
“That Bernie is too old. Here’s what’s too old: the Electoral College, the
$7 minimum wage, women not being paid the same as men, thousands and thousands
of dollars of student debt, $10,000 deductible for health care, Super
Delegates, the fossil fuel industry – that’s what’s too old.
“It’s a gift we have 78-year-old American running for president. The
experience he has, what he has seen. He knows what a pay raise is, a pension –
look it up. What it looks like to defend against fascism and white supremacy,
to have the library open every day, what regulations are (Boeing). I’m glad
“Health? We should be talking about the health of planet that’s dying [crowd
chants “Green New Deal”]; the health of kids in Flint Michigan, of 40 million
living in poverty, of young black males shot in back by police [chant Black
Lives Matter, Black Lives Count]. The only heart attack we should talk about is
the one Wall Street will have when Bernie wins.
“Next, that Bernie can’t win. He will win he has won 8 times to the House, 2
times to the Senate, 22 states in 2016 – almost half [chant “We will win.]. In
2016 [Democratic primary], Bernie won Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota. Of the 11
states that border Canada, Bernie won 10 (not NY) [boo] – we can fix that. Of
the 5 states that border the Pacific, he won 4; of 6 in New England, won 4;
Bernie won West Virginia – all 55 counties. According to a poll, he is #1 in
Nevada, a dead heat in Iowa, #1 in New Hampshire. He has raised more money from
more donors with the smallest amount.
“Why say Bernie can’t win? Because they are lying to the American people.
Bernie will win. [Chant, “We will win”]
“They say he can’t win because he is a [Democratic] socialist [yay!]. That’s
not going to fly. The American people have loved socialism for the last 70
years. Social Security, free public school, Medicare, Medicaid, fire department
– all are socialist.
“What they don’t want to do is tell the truth, what would happen if they
structured economic policies with democracy instead of capitalism. And this
isn’t capitalism of your great grandpa, this is a form of greed, selfishness so
that just few at the top succeed, the rest struggle paycheck to paycheck.
“Afraid taxes on rich will go up under Sanders? It was depressing during the
debate to watch Democrats go after Medicare for All. What would Franklin
“They say we can’t afford it? How does Canada afford it? Every other
industrialized country has figured it out, why can’t we? They don’t want us to
figure it out.
“They say taxes will go up? That is part of the big lie – your taxes already
are up. We don’t call it a tax – in Canada, France, Finland they get free
health care, free or nearly free day care and college, but pay more in tax for
these things. The average American family pays $12,000 a year for child care,
$4000 in student loans, $6000 for deductibles, co-pays and premiums for health
care – too damn much – the average is $20,000/year but we don’t call it a tax.
“We are here in Queensbridge Park, Manhattan Island just across the river is
headquarters of corporate America [boo], corporate media [boo], Wall Street
. So much misery has been visited on the American people from a half mile
away. It must stop.
“They must hear us at Goldman Sachs, Fox News, Trump Tower – the scene of
“This [election] is not just about defeating Trump, but the rotten system
that gave us Trump…. beating Trump isn’t enough. We must crush Trump at
the polls, then fix the rotten corrupt economic system that gave us Trump.”
San Juan Mayor Cruz: “Move forward on the path of progressive agenda.
We are equal. We will win. We must win.”
Calling herself a “climate change survivor,” San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz
Soto, attacked Trump for “killing us with inefficiency” that contributed to
3,000 Puerto Ricans dying after being smacked by back-to-back hurricanes.
“Why we have to win” she says is for Medicare-for-All, so no one has to
choose between groceries and insulin; to be able to afford college and life
after college, to “stand against those who earn $100 million and pay workers
starving wages; who take away women’s right to choose; the crime of separating
families at southern border; climate change.
“I am a climate change survivor. Climate change is real – 3000 Puerto Ricans
were killed because Trump Is a racist, xenophobic, paper throwing demagogue.” [Chant, “Lock him up.
Vote him out.”]
“The time is now to be fearless, relentless. I stand with Sanders – I respect
every other candidate but there is one name only who can get the job done. Be
united in one progressive voice, cross generations. Move forward on the path of
progressive agenda. We are equal. We will win. We must win.”
Nina Turner: “We must knock out Billionaire class that doesn’t
believe working people deserve a good life.”
co chair Nina Turner quoted Congresswoman Barbara Jordan who said American
people want an America as good as its promise. “That means an America where
people don’t die because have to ration insulin; hospitals are not closing;
where there is clean water, air, food; a justice system that doesn’t gun down
black folks in their houses.
“We need to clean up the criminal injustice system, Truth & Reconciliation
about the ravages of racism, a health care system not commodified. We need to
take care of Mother Earth.”
Alluding to the Democratic candidates, she said, “There are many copies but
only one original. We finally have somebody in our lifetime, his own special
interest is people of nation.
“We must knock out Billionaire class that doesn’t believe working people
deserve a good life.”
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: “We need a United States
truly, authentically operated, owned by working people.”
“We must bring revolution of working class to the ballot box of America,”
declared Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She prompted chants of “Green
New Deal,” saying, “Queensbridge Park is ground zero in the fight for public
housing and environmental justice.
“Last February I was working as a waitress in Manhattan, shoulder to
shoulder with undocumented workers who were putting in12 hour days with no
healthcare, not a living wage. We didn’t think we deserved it. That is the
script we tell working people: your inherent worth, value as human depends on
income another underpays. Turn around that basic language… We must change the
system that puts corporate profit ahead of all human and planetary costs.”
After her parents put all they had to buy a house, she said she learned from
an early age that “kids’ destiny determined by zipcode. Income inequality is a
fact of life of children.” Her father died of cancer when she was 18 and she
learned, “We all are one accident away from everything falling apart.
Sanders, she said, has fought for Planned Parenthood, for public education,
for CHIP, for single-payer health care, for gender rights, to end
“life-crushing” student debt.
“He didn’t do it because it was popular. He fought when it came at the
highest political cost in America.
“In 2016, he changed politics in America. We now have one of the best
Democratic fields – much because of Sanders.
“I’m in Congress today but one year ago I was a sexually harassed waitress.
This freshman class in overwhelming numbers rejected corporate money – thanks
to Bernie – endorsed Medicare for All, sees the climate crisis as an
“[In Congress] it is no joke to stand up against corporate power and
establishment interests. Arms are twisted, political pressure psychological and
otherwise applied to make you abandon the working class.
“I have come to appreciate the nonstop advocacy of Sanders. It’s not just
what he fights for but how: mass mobilization of the working class at the
ballot box, a movement (against) racism, classism of Hyde Amendment,
imperialist and colonial histories that lead to endless war and immigration
“NYCHA is underfunded by $30 billion –that is not an accident, but an
outcome of system that devalues poor, Logic that got us into this won’t get us
“We need a United States truly, authentically operated, owned by working
“Bernie showed you can run a grass roots campaign and win in America when
others thought it impossible.”
The vigorous contest of Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential
nomination has produced excellent policy proposals to address major issues.
Senator Bernie Sanders has unveiled his plan to “end corporate corruption and
return our elections back to the working class of America.” This is from the
WASHINGTON – Sen. Bernie Sanders unveiled his Money Out of
Politics Plan, a comprehensive proposal to end all corporate influence and
corruption in the political system.
“Our grassroots-funded campaign is proving every single day that you don’t
need billionaires and private fundraisers to run for president,” Sanders
said. “We’ve received more contributions from more individual contributors
than any campaign in the history of American politics because we understand the
basic reality that you can’t take on a corrupt system if you take its money.
Working people all over the country are responding to that message and
demanding a political revolution through their small dollar donations. When we
win the Democratic nomination and defeat Donald Trump, we will transform our political
system by rejecting the influence of big corporate money.”
Sanders’ plan will end the greed-fueled, corrupt corporate influence over
elections, national party convention, and presidential inaugurations.
In 2016, seventeen donors gave three-quarters of the Democratic
National Convention funding, with large corporations like Comcast, Bank of
America and Facebook donating millions. At the 2013 Presidential inauguration,
corporate donors including, AT&T, Microsoft, and Chevron donated millions.
As the Democratic nominee, Sanders would ban all corporate
contributions to the Democratic Party Convention and all related committees,
and as President he would be ban all corporate donations for inaugural events
and cap individual donations at $500.
Additionally, Sanders’ plan would abolish the now-worthless FEC
and replace it with the Federal Election Administration, a true law
enforcement agency originally proposed by former Senators John McCain and Russ
Other key elements Sanders’ Money Out of Politics Plan include:
Enacting mandatory public financing laws for all federal
Updating and strengthen the Federal Election Campaign Act to
return to a system of mandatory public funding for National Party
Passing a Constitutional Amendment that makes clear that money
is not speech and corporations are not people.
Ending the influence of corporations at the DNC.
Banning donations from federal lobbyists and corporations.
Institute a lifetime lobbying ban for National Party Chairs and
Banning Chairs and Co-Chairs from working for entities with
federal contract, that are seeking government approval for projects or mergers,
or can reasonably be expected to have business before Congress in the
Banning advertising during presidential primary debates.
Instituting a lifetime lobbying ban for former members of
Congress and senior staffers.
The vigorous contest
of Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has produced excellent
policy proposals to address major issues. Senator Bernie Sanders,in Des Moines
ahead of the Iowa AFL-CIO convention, announced a comprehensive plan to at
least double union membership during his first term as president, rebuilt the
middle class and substantially raise wages. This is from the Sanders campaign:
“Corporate America and
the billionaire class have been waging a 40-year war against the trade union
movement in America that has caused devastating harm to the middle class in
terms of lower wages, fewer benefits and frozen pensions,” Sanders said. “That
war will come to an end when I am president. If we are serious about rebuilding
the middle class in America, we have got to rebuild, strengthen and expand the
trade union movement in America.”
Sanders’ Workplace Democracy Plan would essentially repeal Iowa’s Chapter
20 law that stripped the rights of public sector workers to collectively
bargain for better benefits and safer working conditions by giving all public
sector workers the freedom to negotiate.
The sweeping proposal
to strengthen unions would end right to work laws, give every union worker in
America the right to strike and ban the replacement of striking workers.
As president, Sanders
also pledged to sign an executive order preventing large, profitable
corporations that engage in union busting, outsource jobs overseas or pay
workers less than $15 an hour from receiving federal contracts.
The plan would also
make it substantially easier to form a union and stop employers from ruthlessly
exploiting workers by misclassifying them as independent contractors or denying
them overtime by falsely categorizing them as a “supervisor.”
Other key elements of
this proposal include:
Requiring companies that merge to honor existing union contracts.
Bringing workers, employers and the government together across industries to negotiate wages, benefits and working conditions through sectoral bargaining.
Stop corporations from forcing workers to attend mandatory anti-union meetings as a condition of continued employment.
Protect the pensions of workers.
Establish federal protections against the firing of workers for any reason other than “just cause.”
In addition, the plan
makes sure that all union workers would be better off under Medicare for All.
If Medicare for All is signed into law, companies with union-negotiated health
care plans would be required to enter into new contract negotiations overseen
by the National Labor Relations Board. Under this plan, all company savings that
result from reduced health care contributions from Medicare for All will accrue
equitably to workers in the form of increased wages or other benefits.
The vigorous contest
of Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has produced excellent
policy proposals to address major issues. Senator Bernie Sanders, in the town
of Paradise, California, which was obliterated in last season’s wildfires, unveiled
his Green New Deal, “the only plan bold
enough to confront the climate crisis and create an economy that works for all.”
Under Sanders’ plan, the United States will reach 100 percent renewable energy
for electricity and transportation by no later than 2030 and complete decarbonization
by 2050. This is from the Sanders campaign:
is a pivotal moment in the history of America — and really, in the history of
humanity. The climate crisis is not only the single greatest challenge facing
our country; it is also our single greatest opportunity to build a more just
and equitable future, but we must act immediately,” said Sen. Sanders. “When we
are in the White House, we will launch the decade of the Green New Deal, a
10-year mobilization to avert climate catastrophe during which climate change,
justice and equity will be factored into virtually every area of policy, from
immigration to trade to foreign policy and beyond.”
Green New Deal boldly embraces the moral imperative of addressing the climate
crisis and builds on an unprecedented grassroots movement powerful enough to
take on the fossil fuel industry and win. As president, Sanders will mobilize
the political will necessary for a wholesale transformation of our society,
with support for frontline communities and massive investments in sustainable
energy, energy efficiency, and a transformation of our transportation system.
Green New Deal will avert climate catastrophe, transform our energy system,
build an economy for all and end the greed of the fossil fuel industry
Ending unemployment by creating 20 million jobs needed to solve the climate crisis.
Ensuring a just transition for communities and workers, including fossil fuel workers.
Ensuring justice for frontline communities, especially under-resourced groups, communities of color, Native Americans, people with disabilities, children and the elderly.
Saving American families money with investments in weatherization, public transportation, modern infrastructure and high-speed broadband.
Committing to reducing emissions throughout the world.
Green New Deal will pay for itself over 15 years by holding the fossil fuel
industry accountable for the damage it has caused. Sanders’ plan will:
Make the fossil fuel industry pay for their pollution, through litigation, fees, and taxes, and by eliminating federal fossil fuel subsidies.
Generate revenue from the wholesale of energy produced by the regional Power Marketing Authorities. Revenues will be collected from 2023-2035, and after 2035 electricity will be virtually free, aside from operations and maintenance costs.
Scale back military spending on maintaining global oil dependence.
Collect new income tax revenue from the 20 million new jobs created by the plan.
Reduce the need for federal and state safety net spending due to the creation of millions of good-paying, unionized jobs.
Make the wealthy and large corporations pay their fair share.
The vigorous contest of Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has produced excellent policy proposals to address major issues. Senator Bernie Sanders released his plan to reform the entire criminal justice system. This is from the Sanders campaign:
Blueprint aims to reform every aspect of America’s dysfunctional criminal justice system, ridding it of institutional racism and corporate profiteering
COLUMBIA, SC – Senator Bernie Sanders, who is running to be the Democratic candidate for president, released a comprehensive plan to reform the entire American criminal justice system in a speech he delivered August 18 in the Greenview neighborhood of Columbia, South Carolina. The plan is designed to root out the institutional racism and corporate profiteering that is plaguing the existing system.
“If we stand together, we can eliminate private
prisons and detention centers. No more profiteering from locking people
up. If we stand together we can end the disastrous “war on drugs.” If we stand
together we can end cash bail. No more keeping people in jail because
they’re too poor. If we stand together we can enact real police department
reform and prosecute police brutality. If we stand together, there is nothing,
nothing, nothing that we cannot accomplish.”
Sanders has fought mass incarceration during his decades in Congress, and
for president in 2016 on a pledge to end for-profit prisons —
a pledge that other Democrats have subsequently decided to support 4 years
later. Sanders’ new plan reiterates his original call to ban for-profit
prisons, and builds on his leadership on criminal justice with new proposals
for a top-to-bottom reform of America’s law enforcement, judicial and
incarceration systems. They include:
greed in our criminal justice system, top to bottom
Ending for-profit greed in our criminal justice system, top to
bottom, including banning cash bail and banning civil asset forfeiture, which
allows police departments to seize property from people who have not been
accused or convicted of a crime.
Ensure the criminal justice system is not the “best justice
money can buy” by vastly increasing funding for public defenders and creating a
federal formula to ensure populations have a minimum number of public defenders
to meet their needs, and working with states to set a minimum starting salary
for public defenders.
Mass Incarceration and Excessive Sentencing and Inhumane Incarceration and
Transform the Way We Police Communities
Reversing mass incarceration and setting a
goal of cutting the incarcerated population in half.
Transforming the way we police our
communities, creating an unarmed civilian corp of first responders to handle
mental health emergencies, homelessness, and other low-level issues that should
not require contact with the police and criminal justice system.
Creating national standards for use of police
force that emphasize de-escalation rather than violence, and holding police
misconduct to strict federal standards, including limiting qualified immunity
for police officers, creating a federal deadly use of force database, and a
registry of disreputable officers.
Ending the War on Drugs, including legalizing
marijuana and expunging past convictions for marijuana-related offenses and finally
ending the sentencing disparities for crack cocaine and powder cocaine
Abolishing the death penalty and solitary
Enacting a Prisoner Bill of Rights for
incarcerated individuals, including living wages, access to families, access to
educational and vocational training, and the right to vote.
Criminalization of Communities, End Cycles of Violence and Provide Support to
Survivors of Crime
Reversing the criminalization of disability, addiction, and homelessness.
Treat children in the criminal justice system
as children. This means raising the age to charge children in adult court to
18, ending long mandatory minimum sentences and life without parole sentences
for youth, decriminalizing truancy, and investing in youth diversion programs
and alternatives to the court and prison system.
End cycles of violence and interrupt them
before they begin. This means focusing law enforcement resources on solving
homicides and other serious crimes, funding Cure Violence programs and similar
proven violence interruption models, and ending the national rape kit
Support the victims and survivors of crimes by
providing sustained resources to survivors and their families, including mental
health care, trauma recovery services, relocation services, and assistance with
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, running to be the Democratic nominee for president, on July 17 delivered a major address on Medicare for All, coinciding with the 54th anniversary of Medicare being signed into law. In his remarks, Sanders outlined his plan to make health care a human right for all Americans. Here is highlighted transcript of remarks as they were prepared for delivery: – Karen Rubin, News & Photo Features
Thank you all very
much for being here to discuss one of the major crises facing our country.
Let me also thank the dozens of organizations throughout America who
support Medicare for All and the tens of thousands of doctors, nurses and other
health professionals who support my legislation. Let me thank the 14
Senate co-sponsors that we have on this legislation and the 118 Members of the
House who support similar legislation. And mostly, let me thank the
American people who by the millions understand, as I do, that health care is a
human right, not a privilege.
Together, we will end
the international embarrassment of the United States being the only major
country on earth that does not guarantee health care to all of its citizens.
It is not acceptable to
me, nor to the American people, that some 87
million people today are either uninsured or underinsured.
It is not acceptable
to me that we end up spending almost
twice as much as any other major country on health care, while our life expectancy continues to decline
and our healthcare outcomes lag behind many other countries.
Frankly, I am sick and
tired of talking to doctors who tell me about the patients who died because
they were uninsured or underinsured, and walked into the doctor’s office when
it was too late. And we are talking about over 30,000 Americans who die every year because they are uninsured or
under-insured. What a tragedy.
I am sick and tired of
seeing working class families and small
businesses pay far more for healthcare than they can afford, and 530,000 Americans declare bankruptcy each
year because they cannot pay off the outrageous cost of a medical emergency
or a hospital stay. Families should not be driven into financial ruin
because someone in the family became seriously ill. How insane is that?
I am sick and tired of
hearing from Americans who lost loved ones because they could not afford the unbelievably high cost of prescription drugs, or
hearing from constituents who are forced to cut their pills in half due to the
In fact, later this
month, I will be travelling from Detroit, Michigan to Windsor, Ontario with a
busload of Americans who have diabetes in order to purchase insulin in Canada
at one-tenth of the price that they pay in America.
I am sick and tired of
talking with people who are struggling with mental illness but cannot afford the mental health counseling they
I am tired of talking
to people who have teeth that are rotting in their mouths, but cannot afford the high cost of dental care.
Let me be very honest
and tell you that, in my view, the
current debate over Medicare for All really has nothing to do with healthcare.
It has everything to do with greed and the desire of the healthcare
industry to maintain a system which fails the average American, but which makes
the industry tens and tens of billions of dollars every year in profit.
It is about whether we
maintain a dysfunctional system which
allows the big drug and health insurance companies to make over $100 billion in
profits last year, while the top CEOs in that industry made $2.6 billion in
total compensation – all the while 1 out of 5 Americans cannot afford the
prescription drugs their doctors prescribe.
It’s about whether we
maintain a system in which the CEO of the Aetna insurance company, Mr. Mark
Bertolini, received a golden parachute worth nearly $500 million after his
company merged with CVS Health, while elderly people lack the resources to
purchase a hearing aid.
It’s about whether we
maintain a system that allows the former CEO
from Gilead (John Martin) to become a billionaire by charging $1,000 a pill for
a hepatitis c drug called Sovaldi that costs a dollar to manufacture.
Let us make no mistake
about it. The struggle that we are
now undertaking, to guarantee health care to all Americans as a right and to
substantially lower the cost of prescription drugs, will be opposed by some of
the most powerful forces in America – entities that have unlimited amounts of
money. We’re talking about the insurance companies, the drug companies,
private hospitals, medical equipment suppliers, Wall Street and other powerful
Let me make a
prediction. In order to defeat the Medicare for All movement, powerful special
interests will be spending millions on 30 second television ads, full page
magazine ads, and corporate-sponsored “studies” to frighten the American people
about Medicare for All – which is exactly what happened before the passage of
Medicare in the 1960s. They failed then and they’re going to fail now.
And let me give you an
example of the kind of money and power we are talking about.
Over the last 20 years, the insurance industry
and pharmaceutical companies have spent more than $330 million in campaign
contributions and over $4 billion in lobbying to get Congress to do its
The pharmaceutical industry alone has hired
some 1,200 lobbyists – including the former leadership of both political
I find it quite
interesting that Billy Tauzin, the
Republican Congressman who wrote the bill to prevent Medicare from negotiating
for lower drug prices and then went on to become the President and CEO of
Pharma, received over $11.6 million in compensation in 2010.
That’s how business is done in Washington. Well, I have a different vision of what
a rational healthcare system is all about. Instead of massive profits for the drug companies, the insurance
companies and Wall Street, we must provide a healthcare system that provides
quality healthcare to all in a cost effective way.
And that is exactly what Medicare for All does.
legislation, every family in America
would receive comprehensive coverage, and middle-class families would save
thousands of dollars a year by eliminating their private insurance costs as we
move to a publicly funded program.
The transition to the Medicare for All program
would take place over four years. In the first year, benefits to older people
would be expanded to include dental care, vision coverage and hearing aids, and
the eligibility age for Medicare would be lowered to 55. All children under the
age of 18 would also be covered. In the second year, the eligibility age would
be lowered to 45 and in the third year to 35. By the fourth year, every man,
woman and child in the country would be covered by Medicare for All.
Medicare for All will reduce – let me repeat,
reduce — overall health care spending while lowering the number of uninsured
and underinsured people in this country to zero.
We accomplish this
because Medicare for All creates a
system of health care insurance that isn’t designed to generate profits for
insurance and drug companies — it will be a system focused on delivering actual health care. It will save lives, save money, and end the
frustration of endless paperwork, denials, and desperate fights with an
insurance company to cover medically-necessary medications and procedures.
Medicare for All will
fully eliminate health insurance premiums, deductibles and co-payments. Make no
mistake about it: These are nothing less than taxes on the middle class.
And when we do that, the
average middle class family will save an estimated $3,000 each and every year.
Further, unlike the
current dysfunctional system, Medicare for All allows people the freedom to
choose any doctor, clinic, and hospital without worrying about whether their provider is in-network or
not. People will be able to make
the health care choices that are best for themselves and their families without
some insurance bureaucrat telling them which providers they can see or not
see. Medicare for All is at the end of the day empowering patients and health
In addition, a
Medicare for All system will allow us to
address the serious problem of medically underserved areas.
Just to demonstrate
how absurd our health care system is, I was in Philadelphia two days ago
rallying with the people of that city to try to stop the closure of Hahnemann
University Hospital, an important, safety net hospital in that community.
Why do the owners want to close this hospital? Because they can make more
money redeveloping that property into condominiums and hotels.
Let me address some of
the half-truths, misinformation, and, in some cases, outright lies that people
may be hearing about Medicare for All.
Medicare for All
critics tell us that Americans just love their private health insurance
companies. We heard this most recently from UnitedHealth CEO David Wichmann,
who by the way, made $83 million in 2017 and who said Medicare for All would
“destabilize the nation’s health system.”
But let’s remember: the current system is already disrupting
and destabilizing millions of people’s lives. In the current system, 50 million
Americans every year lose their existing health insurance when their employer
changes insurer, when they change jobs, or when they cannot afford their current
plan. For many of them, they will no longer be able to see the doctor they have
relied on for years. For others, important treatments for long-term
conditions or disabilities will be changed or stopped altogether.
Here is the simple
truth. The American people do not like their private health insurance
companies. In fact private health insurance companies are quite unpopular.
What the American people do like are their doctors, nurses and other
health care providers.
While our opponents
claim that Medicare for All is too expensive, the reality is that it is much more cost effective than our
The Center for
Medicare and Medicaid Services estimates that, if we do not change the system, this country will be spending $50
trillion over the next ten years –19.4 percent of our nation’s GDP.
This is unsustainable and will be incredibly harmful to the people of our
country, to the business community, and to the entire economy.
And the reason why we spend so much is obvious. It
is not just the huge profits in the insurance industry and the pharmaceutical
industry, but it is the incredible and wasteful bureaucratic maze developed by
thousands of different healthcare plans. Today, hospitals and doctors
must deal with patients who have different deductibles, different co-payments,
different networks of coverage, and different coverage for pharmaceuticals, or
no insurance at all. All of this is not only driving doctors and nurses
and hospital administrators to distraction, but it is wasting
up to $500 billion a year on unnecessary administrative costs.
Unlike our current
system, there is broad consensus – from conservative to progressive economists
– that Medicare for All would result in substantial savings to the American
people. Two of the most recent studies on this issue have estimated that Medicare
for All would save the American people between $2 trillion and $5 trillion over
a 10-year period.
Let us be clear, the
fight against Medicare for All today is not a new development. Powerful
special interests have always opposed healthcare programs that work for the
people and not for corporate interests.
Let us not forget that
when President Harry Truman first proposed a program guaranteeing health care
to seniors that idea was billed as radical, “un-American,” and an attack on
basic freedom. And because of that assault, the idea stalled in Congress for
years — until voters made their voices heard.
In 1960, America
elected John F. Kennedy after he campaigned in support of Truman’s idea. That
election prompted serious work on universal health care bill, and Kennedy at
the time noted that “what we are now talking about doing, most of the countries
of Europe did years ago.”
Finally, following the
1964 Democratic election landslide, the new Congress was able to pass what is
now known as Medicare despite intense opposition from the health insurance
industry and the pharmaceutical companies.
More than a
half-century after that achievement, the time is now to go forward. The
time is now to expand Medicare to every man, woman and child in this
Let us be very clear.
When it comes to health care, the insurance and drug industries have been
able to control the political process.
If we are going to break the stranglehold of
corporate interests over the health care needs of the American people, we have
got to confront a Washington culture that is corrupt, that puts profits before
That is why I am
calling on every Democratic candidate in this election to join me in rejecting
money from the insurance and drug industries. That means not accepting
donations over $200 from health insurance or pharmaceutical company PACs,
lobbyists or executives. Candidates who are not willing to take that pledge
should explain to the American people why those corporate interests believe
their campaigns are a good investment.
Of course, President Trump should do the same but I am not going
to even waste my breath suggesting that he will. His efforts to throw 32
million people off their health insurance to have it replaced with junk
insurance shows exactly what side he is on.
Finally, let me say,
eliminating health insurance and drug company money from the Democratic primary
won’t solve all the problems, but it is an important step forward. Now is the
time to tell the health care industry that your profits are not more important
than the lives of the American people.