This morning I saw this headline, from CNBC.
What has that got to do with the man mentioned in the headline? Here are the first two paragraphs:
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is proposing to wipe out an estimated $81 billion in past-due medical debt. Up to 80 million Americans could be impacted.
“People definitely need to have their debt either forgiven or negotiated lower, so they can afford it without a hardship,” said Craig Antico, the co-founder of RIP Medical Debt, which buys and forgives medical debt.
Followed by this tweet:
"In the richest country in the world, it is obscene that millions of people are pushed into poverty and insolvency because they had the bad luck of getting sick and needing to see a doctor." -Astra Taylor #EliminateMedicalDebthttps://t.co/sygLmiSwgf
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) October 5, 2019
Two-thirds of people who file for bankruptcy each year blame their health-care costs, according to one study. “People are one illness or accident away from financial ruin in this country,” Antico said.
Sanders’ announcement on medical debt builds on his Medicare for All plan, and would likely be paid for with a tax on corporations based on their CEO compensation. In a recent town hall, a military veteran from Nevada told Sanders he was considering suicide due to his $139,000 in medical debt.
CNBC spoke to people about how they fell into medical debt and how it shapes their lives.
This family’s store jumped out for me because it profiles a situation in which they are in trouble…even though they had health insurance! Needless to say, for people with no insurance it’s even more devastating.
DIANE DENTON’S husband, Don, woke up one morning in 2008 with a smashing headache that wouldn’t go away.
The Bolivar, Missouri, resident was diagnosed with viral meningitis and spent more than 75 days in different hospitals. He had two brain surgeries. The history and religious studies professor was out of work for more than a year. “We were devastated financially,” Denton, 60, said. “Our medical bills were 2 feet high.”
Even with health insurance, the family was forced to take on more than $30,000 in medical debt, a balance they’ll never be able to pay, she said. That’s in large part because of their ongoing health expenses: Like many American households, they spend more than $20,000 a year on premiums and co-pays.
My main point is, would CNBC interviewing struggling families if not for Bernie? Doubtful, imo.
I haven’t personally benefited from anything Bernie’s done (yet), but it gives me some hope to see the impact he and his proposals influence the conversation.
And, for that – Thank You Bernie!