Bernie Sanders. Photo: Gage Skidmore. Wikimedia Commons.
In the midst of this terrible, terrible pandemic let us not forget for one second, the economic collapse that our country is now experiencing. The official statistics are that some 22 million Americans have applied for unemployment benefits. The truth is that a lot more than that have lost their jobs and many more in the coming weeks and months will also be losing their jobs.
So the immediate crisis is not as Trump indicates, how do we get the economy open as soon as possible and endanger the health and well-being of millions of people? That’s not the goal. The goal is how do we make sure as quickly as possible that all of our people have the financial resources that they need to feed their families, to pay their rent, to go to the doctor when they have to.
That’s the crisis that we face. So I want you to all know that what we’re working on, I and other progressives in the Congress are working on a couple of issues. Number one, the fastest way to guarantee that working people continue to get the income they need and the health care they need is to guarantee them a continuation of their paycheck.
That is what many European countries are doing and that is, by the way, what we did in the last bill for workers in the airline industry. You may not know this, but there was a $25 billion provision that went to the airline industry to make sure that every worker and 2 million of them in that industry continue to receive their paycheck for six months and that is what we’ve got to do for every worker in America.
We’re working really hard on that. Second thing that we’re working on is to make sure that in this crisis, all Americans have the healthcare that they need without out of pocket expense. That means medicare right now covering the uninsured filing the gaps for the uninsured, the people who have high deductibles and copayments.
Nobody should be afraid about going to a doctor or the hospital right now because you don’t have the resources. Federal government should cover all out-of-pocket healthcare expenses in this country.
Third thing that we believe in is that that $1,200 check that people hopefully will be receiving in the near future and the 500 bucks for your kids, is a start but nowhere near enough and we want to see at least $2,000 every month, for every adult in this country that is similar to what other countries are doing and I think that would ease a lot of the financial anxiety a lot of folks are feeling today.
There are a million other things that have to be done obviously in the midst of the crisis, but those are three areas that we’re working hard on.
All right, everybody out there stay healthy, continue to do social distancing. I know it’s not fun, but we all have to get through this crisis in one piece.