Seniors Agree: America Needs Medicare For All

Bob Burke addresses Our Revolution’s Organize To Win Summit in Braintree, MA on Sunday, January 19, 2020.

My name is Bob Burke and I’m 83 years old. I spent most of my career working for the federal government after serving in the military.

People my age are scared. They are scared of change. But they’re also scared of losing their healthcare.

When you get to be my age, you tend to start getting sick more often. I was healthy my whole life until two years ago I developed onset Parkinson’s disease. Now I have a heart condition. I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have health insurance. I don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t afford my medicine.

Yet today, in the wealthiest nation in the world, nearly a quarter of all seniors with prescriptions can’t afford their medication. For seniors taking brand name medications, the annual price of those medications was more than $30,000 in 2017, which is more than most seniors’ annual income.

When my friends tell me they are scared of change, I tell them they should be scared of things not changing.

Because if things don’t change, we’re going to continue on this downward trajectory. We’re going to continue to be a country where thousands of people die each year because they are denied access to quality healthcare. We’re going to continue spending twice as much per capita on healthcare than every other country, with worse health outcomes.

I tell them that if we pass Medicare for All, no one in America will pay more than $200 a year for the medicine they need — which means the pharmaceutical industry will have to stop ripping off seniors.

And they will see an expansion of the benefits most seniors now get from Medicare — with coverage that will include dental care, hearing aids, routine vision exams, podiatry, home-based health care and community-based services, rehabilitative services, durable medical equipment and assistive technology.

I tell them that the worst thing you can do right now is take Medicare for All off the table.

If we elect Bernie Sanders as president, he will make sure that Medicare for All becomes the law of the land. And he will expand Social Security benefits so that more people my age can live with dignity.

Bernie has spent his entire career fighting for all people. Now, we need to make sure he becomes our nation’s next president so that he can deliver the change we desperately need.

Our Revolution is dedicated to organizing a political revolution strong enough to challenge the structural forces that threaten our survival as a society.