Sen. Bernie Sanders held a presser on health care at his Burlington office Monday morning before flying back to Washington and the budget battles ahead this week.
The folks joining him represented the seven Federally Qualified Health Centers, FQHCs, across Vermont. Five years ago there were just two, and the application process is currently underway for three more. FQHCs provide medical and dental care to Vermonters in need on a sliding scale.
Sanders: "We are making progress in the state of Vermont. In the last five years tens and tens of thousands of Vermonters have access on a sliding-scale basis to high quality healthcare and high-quality dental care, and we are trying to move forward even further. Today we’re looking at Springfield and Windham County. We’re looking at Addison County. Within a couple years we hope to be down in Bennington County.
"We’re gonna continue to fight to increase funding for the FQHCs so that the day will come, not only in Vermont but all over America when any person regardless of income will be able to walk into a high-quality community health center and get the health and dental care, mental-health counseling, low-cost prescription drugs that they need. That’s the point."
Q. And when do you think that day might be, within 10 years? 20 years?
Sanders: Well, that has something to do with politics and I suspect has something to do with who’s the president....
And yes, Ol' Bernardo said he is voting in the presidential primary. Casting an absentee ballot before flying back to Washington on Monday afternoon. He'll vote in the Democratic Presidential Primary, but declined to say which candidate will get his vote.
Sanders: "I am an Independent. I happen to think that the current administration will go down in history as one of the worst administrations in American history. They’re moving us in the wrong direction in almost every single area of public life. I hope our country will elect Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton as the next president. As an Independent I’m not going to be involved in the primary, but when the Democrats do select their nominee, I’m going to campaign as hard as I can to elect Obama or Clinton because I think this country must move in a very different direction."