Analysis

Media war on Bernie Sanders’ health plan

The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear that for everyone to be protected, the whole population needs medical coverage. Sander’s program of Medicare for All is urgently needed. Photo: National Nurses United.

Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders has presented a bold $2 trillion plan to fight COVID-19 pandemic, including direct monthly cash payouts of $2,000 to every household, 100 percent payment of unemployment benefits for everyone who loses their job as a result of the crisis as well as moratoriums on evictions, foreclosures, utility shutoffs and loan payments, and of course, free medical care at every level for all.  His has raised from his supporters more than $2 million in two days for groups helping people impacted by COVID-19.

The truth is that if the Sanders platform was implemented, the effects of  COVID-19 would be greatly reduced. If there was a Medicare for All, a single-payer, national health insurance program in place to provide everyone in the United States with comprehensive health care coverage, free at the point of service, people wouldn’t be afraid to seek medical attention for COVID-10 symptoms because that can’t pay for it. If we had already had such a program in place, workers wouldn’t have been going to work sick out of fear of losing their jobs and the medical coverage that goes with it.

The Sanders platform, and its core of Medicare for All, is more urgently needed and more relevant than ever, and this should be on front pages nationally. But it has hardly been covered by the corporate media.

While the Trump administration has been busy neglecting the needs of the people in the face of the of the COVID-19  health emergency, Corporate America, the Democratic Party establishment and the mainstream media have been busy too. They have been busy writing off the dynamic campaign of Bernie Sanders and remaking the once-flaccid Joe Biden campaign, turning him into some kind of people’s super-hero.

Health care profiteers call Biden the ‘safer’ candidate

Faced with the COVID-19 pandemic, however, when strong clear solutions are  urgently needed, Biden has been so quiet that he seems to have fallen off  the face of the earth.  This is because the pandemic has exposed capitalist, for-profit health care industry for its  criminal neglect of the people.  And when it comes to the health care industry, “Fightin’ Joe Biden” has been fightin’ on the wrong side. He wasn’t the only winner of recent “Super Tuesday” Democratic primaries.  The headlines after his primary wins told it all.

According to capitalist tool Forbes magazine, “After his campaign was left for dead, Joe Biden’s resurgence on Super Tuesday triggered a rally today on Wall St, sparked by healthcare stocks.”

MarketWatch said:  “UnitedHealth stock leads health-care stock rally after Biden’s Super Tuesday victory… its stock went up 12% for its biggest one-day gain since 2008…. Sanders’ proposal is for a national health insurance program that would cover many services without premiums, deductibles, copays or unexpected pharmaceutical bills… Biden is viewed as a safer pair of hands.”

Pundits connected to the Nasdaq Stock Market chimed in:  “Biden’s win has staved off ‘America’s  nightmare’  in case Bernie Sanders had won… Sanders’ views haven’t been positive for stocks….we think Biden will be better for the markets than Sanders…  Biden’s strong showing will push stocks higher…. under a possible Biden Administration the healthcare industry wouldn’t face a major shake-up….while Biden has publicly been critical of high drug prices he’s privately praised pharmaceutical firms. ”

All this happened before the current health emergency. With the COVD-19 pandemic  exposing the criminal neglect of the healthcare industry, the ruling powers have since been even more determined to get rid of Sanders’ candidacy.  Their media has been weaponized against the Sanders campaign. While now calling Biden the “presumptive candidate,” Sanders is labeled in the press as the spoiler.

Headlines read, “Bernie Sanders has some nerve,” “Bye bye Bernie,” “Sanders fruitless campaign,” and the totally absurd “Sanders should drop out for the sake of public health.” His supporters are being called, “the Sanders gang” who “force Democratic voters to trudge to the polls.“ And we are told “Biden is progressive, but sane.”

The Democratic Party leadership has been utterly hostile to Bernie Sanders as a presidential contender from the start. Four years ago the Democratic National Committee worked behind the scenes to support Hilary Clinton. This time they have waged an open war on the Sanders’ campaign.

It is clear to more and more people that the for-profit health care industry is actually an infection on top of the coronavirus, an infection that has dire consequences in “normal” times but is a disaster in the face of the pandemic. There  is  virtually no infrastructure, no preparation, no planning, no easy access testing and no ready supply of masks and ventilators even for health care providers, despite dire warnings two months ago about the impending disaster.

True to their billionaire corporate backers, however, the DNC is too busy worrying about the “danger” to the medical industry’s profit margins if Sanders were to be elected than worrying about health care for the public in time of crisis. Their war on the Sanders movement  reveals that they would prefer the reelection of Donald Trump to a President Sanders.

There is no greater urgency than a true socialist program that puts the needs of working class people first. A socialist program for health care is especially needed.

Bernie Sanders has called for a people’s movement to fight for what it needs. No matter what happens to the Sanders campaign, no matter who is president, no matter who is in Congress, no matter the propaganda of the billionaire class, the people’s movement will need to continue. An organized, determined working class struggle can win the health care desperately needed by all. To learn about an organization that will fight on after the elections, click here.

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