WASHINGTON — Bernie Sanders celebrated the health care concessions he won from Hillary Clinton Monday night as he gave a rousing endorsement to his former presidential rival.
In a Democratic convention speech that revisited the agenda of his surprisingly competitive campaign for the nomination, Sanders reminded the audience that while he may have lost the race, he did succeed in convincing Clinton to support three important proposals: a “public option” for Obamacare, letting people join Medicare early, and a big funding increase for community health centers.
“This campaign is about moving the United States toward universal health care and reducing the number of people who are uninsured or underinsured,” Sanders said. “Hillary Clinton wants to see that all Americans to have right to choose public option in their health care exchange.”
Sanders noted that Clinton believes that anyone 55 or older should be able to opt into Medicare and has called for increased support for community health centers. All were ideas the Clinton and Sanders campaigns negotiated in exchange for his endorsement.
“She wants to see millions more Americans gain access to primary health care, dental care, mental health counseling, and low-cost prescription drugs through a major expansion of community health centers,” he said as supporters waved “Bernie” placards on the convention floor.
Sanders also found common cause with Clinton on one of the most popular themes in the Democratic primaries: tackling rising prescription drug prices.
“Hillary Clinton also understands that millions of seniors, disabled vets, and others are struggling with the outrageous high cost of prescription drugs; and the fact that Americans pay the highest prices in the world for the medicine we use,” Sanders said.
“She knows that Medicare must negotiate drug prices with the pharmaceutical industry and that drug companies should not be making billions in profit when 1 out of 5 Americans are unable to afford the medicine they need. The greed of the drug companies must end. “
Donald Trump, the Republican nominee, has also suggested that Medicare should negotiate drug prices — but to Sanders, he’s no agent of change. Trump, Sanders said, would be the “same old same old.”