Sanders Talks Health Care In Speech To Local Nurses

April 16, 2019 GMT

PLAINS TWP. — Hundreds of nurses were “feeling the Bern” Monday at Mohegan Sun Pocono.

Before U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Democratic presidential candidate from Vermont, started speaking, the crowd was chanting “Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!” Then during a 20-minute speech at the annual conference of the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals, Sanders talked about his Medicare for All plan to the delight of the crowd.

“How unacceptable is it that every single year we are losing tens of thousands of Americans — you have seen it, I have seen it — tens of thousands of Americans who are dying unnecessarily because they don’t get the medical care they need when they need it. That is not something that should be allowed to continue in this country,” Sanders said. “So I believe — as I think most of you do — that health care is a human right, not a privilege.”

He noted “34 million Americans have no health insurance at all” and said five major drug companies last made $50 billion in profit.

“That is criminal,” Sanders said, echoing a comment from a person listening. “Meanwhile one out of five American cannot afford to fill the prescriptions that doctors and nurses write. How insane is that?!”

Sanders said he wants to improve Medicare for seniors by adding coverage to pay for dentures, hearing aides and eye glasses. Medicare is a government health-insurance program created in 1965 to help older Americans pay medical bills.

“I think he did a great job. He touched on all the important points that we as nurses are interested in,” Roben Schwartz, Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals vice president and union president at Geisinger Community Medical Center, said after Sanders finished speaking to the crowd.

The Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals supports Medicare for All, Schwartz said.

“We are in a position where we see people who are left out of the insurance programs,” Schwartz said. “But they still come to our emergency rooms, and it’s important that everybody is covered by some sort of insurance. It’s a human right to have insurance.”

The Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals endorsed Sanders for president in 2016 and has not yet endorsed a 2020 candidate, Schwartz said.

Contact the writer:


570-821-2073, @cvmikebuffer