February 5, 2023

Health Mettler Institute

Healthy LifeStyle & Education

Congress must listen to working families and overhaul healthcare, minimum wage and education | Bernie Sanders

I am very pleased to be assuming the chairmanship of the US Senate’s well being, education and learning, labor and pensions committee (Assist), a committee with large jurisdiction over some of the most critical troubles experiencing the American people. As I move into that position I’m pondering about how we can most effective address some of the really serious challenges dealing with my fellow Vermonters and performing families all throughout the state.

Currently, in phrases of health, we have a dysfunctional health care process in which we expend the astronomical and unsustainable sum of nearly $13,000 for just about every man, woman and boy or girl, 2 times as substantially as most made countries and nearly 20% of our GDP. However, even with that substantial expenditure, 85 million People are uninsured or underinsured and we have worse wellness outcomes and lessen lifestyle expectancy than quite a few other nations. When the insurance policy companies make large earnings, above 500,000 persons declare individual bankruptcy each individual calendar year from medically relevant financial debt, and about 68,000 die due to the fact they simply cannot afford to pay for the treatment they need. Our challenging and fragmented program is so broken that it simply cannot even deliver the quantity of medical doctors, nurses, dentists and mental well being personnel that we desperately need to have.

As a nation, we will have to emphasis on the fact that the perform of a rational healthcare technique is to present top quality treatment for all, not only huge gains for the insurance plan industry.

Today, as we pay by considerably the best selling prices in the globe for prescription medication, the pharmaceutical field is producing document-breaking revenue and much more than a several executives in drug companies are turning into billionaires. Meanwhile, in spite of billions in governing administration financial investment in prescription drug investigate and development, nearly one out of four Us citizens are not able to pay for the drugs their medical doctors prescribe and too lots of seniors are splitting their lifesaving tablets in half due to the fact they just cannot afford to pay for them. And since Medicare doesn’t include dental, hearing and eyesight, there are hundreds of thousands of seniors who are striving to survive with out these essential health care demands.

But it’s not just our health care “system” which requirements a big overhaul. In terms of instruction, we will need to get a difficult look at how we are educating our children – from childcare to graduate university.

When psychologists tell us that the first four yrs of everyday living are the most essential in phrases of human intellectual and emotional growth, it is really hard to deny that our childcare program is in disarray. The price tag is unaffordable for lots of doing work mom and dad, there are not enough slots out there, the good quality is spotty and the shell out and rewards childcare staff receive is unconscionably minimal. This is not how we should really be managing our kids, the long term of The us.

The situation in K-12 education and learning is not a great deal far better. For a assortment of good reasons – absence of respect, low shell out, the worry of Covid and the politicization of school boards – 1000’s of gifted and dedicated teachers are quitting the job, leaving students unprepared for the challenges they confront as they enter the grownup world. The foreseeable future of this country depends upon the excellent of training we provide our young ones, and there is no explanation why we simply cannot develop the very best general public academic technique in the earth.

In phrases of better education and learning, we face the absurd problem of hundreds of 1000’s of vibrant younger people who have the wish and capability to get a higher education education but are not able to do so due to the fact their family members absence the revenue. How quite a few wonderful medical professionals, researchers, and teachers are we losing as a result? There are also hundreds of thousands of youthful people today who will need schooling in purchase to develop into qualified mechanics, carpenters, welders, and electricians who are not obtaining the submit-large university coaching they need. Additional, 45 million Americans are having difficulties with college student credit card debt – often in the hundreds of hundreds of dollars.

In phrases of labor and our economy, we need to figure out that we dwell in a time period of additional cash flow and prosperity inequality than at any time in the previous hundred a long time. While the pretty prosperous develop into richer and a few persons now very own additional wealth than the bottom half of American culture, 60% of American employees reside paycheck to paycheck and tens of millions are trying to exist on hunger wages. Meanwhile, we have a pathetic federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour which has not been elevated because 2009.

As far more and extra staff try to improve their normal of living by forming unions, they are experiencing intense and illegal union busting from these employers as Starbucks, Amazon, McDonalds and other main businesses.

There is a ton of discussion in the media about how “divided” our country is and, on quite a few challenges, that is absolutely genuine. But what we do not appreciate is that on some of the most significant problems experiencing our place the American people today – Democrats, Republicans, independents – are very united.

The American people today know we are being ripped off by the drug companies and they want reduced prescription medicine prices.

The American people know that our healthcare technique is outrageously highly-priced and they want common and decrease charge wellbeing care.

The American folks know that schooling is critical to our lives and the upcoming of this country and they want superior excellent and affordable education and learning from childcare to graduate college.

The American people today know that no a person can survive on a $7.25-an-hour bare minimum wage, and they want to elevate the minimum amount wage to a living wage.

The American persons know that personnel have a constitutional appropriate to type unions and that organizations that have interaction in illegal union busting things to do will have to be held accountable.

And these are just a few of the challenges in the jurisdiction of the Enable committee that a potent greater part of the American people today want us to deal with.

At a time when too a lot of People in america are supplying up on democracy, now is the time to try to restore religion in our authorities. Now is the time for Congress to have the courage to acquire on the lobbyists and potent special passions and display the American people today that our government can get the job done for them, and not just the 1%. Let us do it.

  • Bernie Sanders is a US senator, and the ranking member of the Senate spending plan committee. He signifies the condition of Vermont, and is the longest-serving independent in the background of Congress