Sisters and Brothers -
I believe, and I think you do too, that it is long past time for the United States to join the rest of the industrialized world in guaranteeing health care as a right to every man, woman, and child.
Rich or poor, we are all born, we all get sick, we all have accidents, we all need health care at the end of our lives, and we all die. And in my view, the function of a sane health care system in this country should be to keep all of our people well in a cost effective way, not to make health industry CEOs richer or to drive up the stock prices on Wall Street.
It wasn't long ago that the idea of Medicare for All was dismissed and ridiculed by the corporate media and political establishment in this country. Four years ago, I introduced the bill and there wasn't a single co-sponsor. We were actually relentlessly attacked for the idea before the Iowa Caucuses.
But then our political revolution really gained steam, and it became clear to candidates and elected officials alike that the American people were on board. They believe that it is the responsibility of the federal government to provide health care for all as a right, not a privilege.
And as a result of your passion, commitment and enthusiasm on this issue, when I introduced my Medicare for All legislation earlier this year, 16 of my colleagues in the Senate signed on as co-sponsors. I can tell you that no one would have ever thought that was possible just a short while ago.
But if we want to add to that number, our job now is to support those who have come out in favor of our bill and defend them when they are under attack for doing-so. So I want to ask you to do something very important for our our cause today:
Can you split a $3 donation between Elizabeth Warren's and Tammy Baldwin's campaigns for U.S. Senate? Elizabeth is running for re-election in Massachusetts and Tammy is running for re-election in Wisconsin. Both support our plan. Both have been attacked by Republicans for doing. Help them, and you help our effort to pass Medicare for All.
My Republican colleagues in Congress tell us, over and over again, that we have the "greatest" health care system in the world.
Today, 28 million Americans have no health insurance and many more are underinsured with high deductibles and co-payments. We pay, by far, the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. In fact, millions of Americans can't afford to purchase the medicine they need.
Too many Americans delay going to the doctor because of the cost, and too many others are forced into bankruptcy or financial ruin because of medical bills. It is not a radical idea to suggest that Americans should be able to get the health care they need, when they need it. Americans should not be dying because of their financial status.
There are millions of people who remain on their jobs today, not because they want to be there or enjoy their work, but because their present employer provides decent health care benefits - and they have no option.
Today the United States spends far more per capita on health care than any other nation on Earth. In fact, we are spending almost twice as much per capita as any other country, while our health care outcomes are often worse.
Instead of providing quality care to all in a cost-effective way, our current system is designed to provide hundreds of billions in profits to insurance companies, the pharmaceutical industry and medical equipment suppliers.
That system doesn't sound so "great" to me.
Medicare for All would mean comprehensive coverage for all Americans. It would cover the entire continuum of health care: inpatient to outpatient care; preventive to emergency care; primary to specialty care, including long-term and palliative care; vision, hearing and oral health care; mental health and substance abuse services; as well as prescription medications, medical equipment, supplies, diagnostics, and treatments. Patients will be able to choose a health care provider without worrying about whether that provider is in-network and will be able to get the care they need without having to read any fine print or trying to figure out how they can afford the out-of-pocket costs.
Of course, the insurance companies and drug companies in this country are extraordinarily powerful and they are not going down without a fight. They have obscene amounts of wealth and have used that money to protect a dysfunctional system that allows them to make billions in profits while leaving far too many Americans behind.
They will spend obscene amounts of money to stop the movement for Medicare for All, and the candidates and elected officials who support it. But if we stand together, we will win. That's why it's so important for me to ask:
It is time to wage a moral and political war against a dysfunctional health care system in this country. And that means supporting those who stand with us when they are under attack for doing so.
Thank you for taking action in support of our campaign to guarantee health care as a right in this country for every man, woman and child.