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Still Feeling the Bern

NFN writer Susan Hutchinson backs Sen. Bernie Sanders for President and explains why. Third of a series by NFN writers about their choices.

I first became aware of Sen. Bernie Sanders when he ran for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2016. Unfortunately, that nomination went to Hillary Clinton, for whom I, begrudgingly, voted because I realized that anything else would be a vote for Donald Trump.

What struck me about Sanders was his no bones approach to campaigning. I always felt I was getting the real Bernie, someone who had, and would continue to work for the average American and not the CEO’s. In 2020 he continues to project, even more vehemently now, that man for the people image.d

This week Bernie Sanders comes back to the Myrtle Beach, SC area for a second time. This is something only Joe Biden has done. My biggest complaint about candidates, such as Elizabeth Warren, is that they have not spent any time here, concentrating only on the bigger cities.

To me, this shows Bernie really cares about everyone in the state and even though Biden is coming back too, I am a very strong proponent of “we need radical change now”, which puts Sanders way above Biden for me.

Does it bother me that he is a self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist? Not in the least. All that means is that he is not a Republican and in a two-party system like ours, if you are not a Republican you have to be some flavor of Democrat if you want to aspire to the presidency. His detractors say the term Socialist is akin to being a Nazi or Communist, terms that have been used to describe Sanders during this election cycle.

And not just by Donald Trump.

America became a “Socialist-lite” country when FDR created programs that were intended to get the United States out of the Great Depression. Bernie Sanders wants to implement programs to bring America out of the “Trump Depression” by making sure the poor, the working class, seniors and minorities all have a fair shot at what the rich have been able to afford for decades.

Medicare for All

Sanders’ key program for me is “Medicare for All”.

I worked in the healthcare industry all my life as a medical technologist and then in the clinical diagnostics industry, where I had an opportunity to live in England for six years under the National Health Service. It was hard to come back to an out of control, for-profit healthcare system.

The passing of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) went a long way toward realizing my goal of early retirement and for once in my life I could quit a job and not worry about how I was going to pay for treatment for my autoimmune disease, especially as the cost of the new drugs is appallingly expensive.

As good as the ACA is, Medicare for All is much better. For one thing, you will be covered throughout the country, not just in your home state and without exorbitant out of network costs if you get sick in another state.

Unfortunately, people are not really grasping the concept of what Sanders is proposing. Bernie keeps repeating that premiums, co-pays, deductibles and out of pocket maximums will go away under the new system; however, the only questions he gets are “how much will it cost and where will the money come from?”

I recently found a site where people can estimate the difference between their current taxes and Sanders’ plan, which also calculates potential savings. Check it out and have a play with it making sure you include annual costs of all prescriptions, which would always be included under Medicare for All, but which may not be covered, or too costly to purchase, through current insurance.

Some other key Sanders plans include tuition free college, eliminating the student debt, fighting the climate crisis and making sure everyone has a living wage and won’t have to work paycheck to paycheck. All of this sounds wonderful and may only be a pipe dream, but Sanders’ passionate pleas for change makes me believe it can be a reality with the right person in the White House.

Bernie Sanders is that person.

Vote Blue, No Matter Who

He can’t do it alone though; we need to make sure Democrats control both houses of Congress as well. Change can only come if everyone works together and, right now, the GOP, especially Mitch McConnell, is bound and determined to keep this country from moving into the 21st century if he still controls the Senate.

So, no matter who your current candidate for President is, get out and vote blue in November no matter who is on the ballot. It’s the only way to take back our Democracy. And even if it’s Bernie Sanders, who may be more left wing than you would like, the alternative will be devastating.

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