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Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Health Care Issue


Issue May 29, 2009 - http://sanders.senate.gov

  Health Care

The United States is the only major nation without a universal health care system. Some 47 million Americans have no health insurance, even more are underinsured, and we spend more per capita on health care than any other country on earth. The debate over health care reform will be Topic A in Washington when Congress returns from a Memorial Day recess.  Senator Bernie Sanders will set the stage at a town meeting Monday in Burlington featuring T.R. Reid.  In the "Frontline" documentary "Sick Around the World," the award-winning correspondent examined why the health care system in the United States lags far behind other major democracies. For details on the town meeting, click here. To watch the PBS program online, click here. 

The Sanders Solution

The American Health Security Act would provide every citizen with comprehensive health care coverage through a single-payer program.  With the American public, the single-payer idea is extremely popular. An overwhelming 59 percent say the government should provide national health insurance, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll. But in Washington, where the insurance industry and medical establishment hold sway, Bernie is the single senator for single payer. To find out how to contact your senator, click here. For a copy of the bill, click here. To take our survey, click here.

States as Laboratories

Sanders has introduced legislation authorizing grants for states to create universal health care pilot programs. "The quickest route toward a national health care program will be when individual states go forward and demonstrate that universal and non-profit health care works, and that it is the cost-effective and moral thing to do," said Sanders.  Under his legislation, five states selected for the pilot program would win grants to carry out five-year demonstration projects. 

Bank Rip Offs, Credit Cards

When Congress this month approved new rules on credit card companies, Bernie warned that a nine-month delay before the law takes effect was "too much of an opportunity for the credit card companies to do mischief." Well, NPR just reported that some lenders didn't even wait for the outcome in Congress and "were hiking interest rates while they still could." Citing the defeat of a Sanders amendment to cap interest rates at 15 percent, USA Today said "Congress may have missed its chance to enact stronger consumer protections." For a transcript of the Morning Edition report, click here.

Single Payer Debate

"With 15,000 physicians supporting the concept of single payer, with single payer being the only system that can provide comprehensive health care to every man, woman and child, single payer should obviously be on the table," Sanders told Ed Schultz on MSNBC. Sanders' speech to a rally of hundreds of nurses who marched to Capitol Hill in support of a single-payer system was featured on Bill Moyers Journal. To watch the segment on The Ed Show, click here. For the PBS transcript and video, click here.

Community Health Centers

Some 60 million Americans do not have a doctor. Even more lack access to a dentist. Congress just doubled funds for community health centers and tripled resources for the National Health Service Corps to train more doctors, dentists and nurses. A Sanders Senate bill and a companion House measure introduced by Rep. Clyburn would quadruple the number of community health centers. "In the richest country in the world, no American should have to go without basic healthcare," the senator wrote in a column published by The Hill. To read the op-ed, click here.

Bank Rip Offs, Checking Fees

After gouging consumers with loan-shark interest rates on credit card balances, banks now are scheming up new ways to squeeze customers. Higher checking account fees are draining hundreds of dollars from accounts before consumers even realize what's happening, according to USA Today. "We need serious and major regulatory reform over these institutions or they will continue to rip off people in every way imaginable, with outrageous fees snuck in every single place," Sanders said. To read the article, click here.

Town Meetings on the Economy 

With the economy reeling from what some people are calling The Great Recession, the economy is sure to be the top topic at town meetings on Saturday and Sunday throughout northern Vermont.  

SATURDAY MAY 30 -- Richford When: 9 a.m. free breakfast, 9:30 meeting. Where: The Crossing Restaurant, 14 Province Street Orleans When: 12 noon free lunch, 12:30 p.m. meeting, Where: Orleans Municipal Building, 1 Memorial Square Hardwick When: 6 p.m. free light dinner, 6:30 p.m. meeting. Where: Hazen Union Drive, 126 Hazen Union Drive 

SUNDAY MAY 31Stowe When: 10:30 a.m. free brunch, 11 a.m. meeting. Where: Pie in the Sky Restaurant, 492 Mountain Road. Bradford When: 5:30 p.m. free dinner, 6 p.m. meeting. Where: Bradford Senior Center, 176 Waits River Road.

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