Bernie Sanders calls for bigger government to solve differences in life expectancy

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., on Thursday, as a chairman of the Primary Health and Retirement Security Committee, argued that differences in life expectancy among varying income and education brackets are justifications for more and bigger government.

“Here in the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, where we spend far more per capita on health care than people in other countries, the truth is that our life expectancy, how long our people live, trails behind many other industrialized countries,” he said.

Sanders added that he thinks this is the product of income inequality.

“What we have seen over the last number of years, again pre-COVID, is that this declining life expectancy is impacting lower-income and working people in a very significant way — people with less education and people who live in rural areas. In terms of life-expectancy, as it happens, the very wealthy are doing just fine,” he said.

Phil Roeder/Flickr

INCOME INEQUALITY AND HEALTH: Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., says that disparities in income correlate with average life expectancy.

The hearing on “Addressing Disparities in Life Expectancy” was held in a subcommittee for the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, and took testimony from various experts.

Dr. Kathleen Harris, a resident of North Carolina, was asked by Sanders how socialism might make a difference in longevity.

“Not only are we seeing a decline in life expectancy in many sectors of our society, but we have for many years lagged behind other wealthy industrialized countries,” Sanders said. “What impact would it have on life expectancy in America if all of our workers had decent wages, there was at least a livable wage, decent housing, and if we did what every other major country on earth does and provide health care as a human right? Would that, in your judgment, impact life-expectancy in the country?”

Harris said income levels have a correlation with health outcomes.

“Yes it would,” Harris said. “A lot of people look at the differences in life expectancy between the United States and our peer countries and attribute it to the racial and ethnic disparity. But, even if we eliminated that, we would still be behind. So, the cause is much deeper and broader than just racial inequality; it’s also economic inequality, poor economic conditions and the stress of living with those conditions.”

Harris also suggested gun violence is to blame for lower life expectancy.

“In the report we were focused on what was causing the rise in mortality,” she said, “and there’s significant evidence showing that states that have looser gun laws and more guns have higher rates of suicide and death, as you said, especially for young adults. That is among the leading causes.”

Another factor in life expectancy addressed at the hearing was drug abuse.

Police Chief Robert MacKenzie, of Kennebunk, Maine, discussed law enforcement’s struggle with rising substance abuse, which occurred as Americans were instructed to stay home over the past year.

“Once COVID came, what we were told to do was isolate,” he said. “Now substance abuse disorder is a disease of isolation. Many people that use, they are by themselves when they use. In addition, many of the resources that had become available [to addicts] were really no longer available, especially the peer-to-peer support.”

MacKenzie said the loss of in-person contact really inhibited the ability to help people.

“The in-person meetings — that would be a help. We tried to struggle through that and be creative and maybe do some meetings through Zoom, and other platforms, but one of the issues is that many people who utilize substances do not have the resources or the ability to go online. It’s not that easy for them.”

Dr. William E. Cooke, from Indiana, also testified that not everyone is enjoying the same health care access.

“As the Surgeon General’s report on Community Health and Economic Prosperity indicates, our nation is at a health disadvantage due to inequitable access to vital community conditions that shape health and wellbeing,” he said.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Image courtesy of Phil Roeder/Flickr

16 thoughts on “Bernie Sanders calls for bigger government to solve differences in life expectancy

    • While he doesn’t name him specifically, he calls people who act and do things like Bernie a parasite on the liberals (American loving) of America.

      He is making the very important distinction between Liberal and Leftists.

      Liberals are also terrified of leftists.

    • Leftists need a HOST….darn auto correct. They are parasites’, just like Bernie has been for the Vermont Democratic party, keeping anyone from running against him, then dropping the D for an I after the primaries. Clearly they are working and coordinating the plan.

  1. What do you expect from a man who spent his honeymoon in the soviet union. Ask Bernard how much of his millions that he is willing to share with less fortunate. This is just more BS from BS.

  2. Big Government provided nice pandemic bonus checks which were used by some junkies to purchase their favorite products… as indicated by the observed jump in overdose deaths after the checks came out.
    Will Bernie take that into account?

  3. Progressive “Equal Outcome” extended to mortality? Bernie knows how to make the life span of people who work, build equity throughout their lives and improve their standard of living equal to the lives of people who do drugs, live on the streets and shoot each other. The Bernie the Commie version of the Cuomo solution. Reduced New York’s pension obligation, too. The Progressives have a solution for everything. Legislated Life Spans. Dystopian novels in real life.

  4. Vermont’s barking buffoon again spewing pure nonsense, yes his newly founded mindset
    is in line with what the DemocRATs agenda pure control of your life by the Government with
    handout after handout to keep you hooked.

    “Here in the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, where we spend far more per capita
    on health care than people in other countries, yes we do but he’ll never mention all the handouts
    to all the illegals that keep pouring into our country………

    Of course, he wants a bigger govenment, it’s all he knows he has been on the Government
    dole his entire life, Vermont’s leading carpetbagger and we have plenty !!

  5. Sanders has it wrong.

    It is partially due to global warming. People who cannot afford AC die like flies during a heat wave.

    Also, poorer folks tend to have dysfunctional lifestyles, no government program could ever cure. They live shorter lives, smoking, drinking, eating junk food, not exercising, etc., largely due to their own faults

    Poorer folks also do drugs, and they tend to shoot and kill each other, per underfunded police records. No government program can alter that.

    I invite others to add to my list

  6. I’d call Sanders an idiot but he went from a non working dependent into a government official who is now a multi millionaire. All on the governments dime. Big government has worked fine for him.
    He’s a perfect example of it’s not how hard you work but how much BS you can get the people to buy into..

    • RPB … on the governments dime.. you got that wrong.. it’s the peoples DIME The SOB hasn’t worked a day in his life.. When he came to Vermont he lived off of friends, when they finally kicked him out he got married and his first wife worked while he bummed around pretending to know everything about politics. She finally left him as he wouldn’t get a job. He’s a crook, he stole power from the neighbors, hooked right into their power. after then he lived off the people of Burlington, then Vermont’s government and then the United States government.. in other word we the people are supporting his a$$.. Only thing he knows is how to spwnd other peoples money and steal. !!!

    • I rather like CHeney’s “Barking Buffoon” moniker. And having been at a number of Veterans’ gatherings with him, “Slobbering Socialist” would work, too.
      Either way, he doesn’t have a clue as to what is best for Vermont. We Vermonters deserve better, and none of our “Three Stooges” quite grasp that…

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