Viewpoint: Congress must overhaul 'dysfunctional' healthcare system, Bernie Sanders writes

Congress must listen to working families and overhaul a "dysfunctional" healthcare system where there is a massive labor shortage and excessive profit for some, says Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders Bernie Sanders, incoming chair of the Senate's Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP).

Writing in The Guardian, the Independent senator from Vermont, describes the almost $13,000 healthcare dollars spent on every person in the U.S. as "astronomical and unsustainable." It is a system which results in 85 million people being uninsured or underinsured, thousands of people declaring health-related bankruptcy each year and 68,000 people dying because they can't afford the care they need all while insurance companies reel in huge profits, Mr. Sanders writes.

"As a nation, we must focus on the reality that the function of a rational healthcare system is to provide quality care for all, not simply huge profits for the insurance industry," Mr. Sanders writes. "Our complicated and fragmented system is so broken that it cannot even produce the number of doctors, nurses, dentists and mental health personnel that we desperately need."

Mr. Sanders said in November he was looking to become chair of the HELP committee, which would allow him to pursue one of his most notable policy positions, Medicare for All.

In other congressional news, representative Jason Smith, R-Mo., was nominated to lead the influential House Ways and Means Committee which has oversight of Medicare and Medicaid among other healthcare issues. Mr. Smith still needs to be approved by the full House Republican conference.

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