Samson: Battling Cancer Will Make You Appreciate Bernie Sanders’ Health Care Plan

Last week I was blessed with the opportunity to introduce Bernie Sanders at a rally right here in Anaheim. It was one of the most exciting moments of my life. I wanted to take the time to make my speech a written endorsement of Bernie Sanders for President.

My name is Jestin Samson and just like Bernie, I am a son of two immigrant parents. I was the first in my family to be born in America. At birth, I was quickly diagnosed with an eye condition called Anaridea and I subsequently developed glaucoma soon. Despite my disability, I was able to graduate from high school and I recently graduated from California State University, Fullerton. Currently, I have been admitted into the graduate program at California State University, Fullerton in political science. My hope is to either teach political philosophy at a major institution of higher learning or run for public office, upholding the progressive values that Bernie has put forth.

My interest of Bernie Sanders came later than most. I didn’t know he was running until December of 2015. But, after hearing his name mentioned on The Young Turks, I went to do research on his platform. Before Bernie decided to run, I was already discontented with the political process. I knew that money truly had a corrupting power in politics both Democrats and Republicans were both guilty of being bought off by big money interests. So, I thought that the only way to protest this was to refuse to vote or vote for a third-party.

However, after hearing Bernie speak for the first time, I was immediately hooked that I wanted Bernie to be my next president. The two key items of Bernie’s platform that I instantly fell in love with was his suggestion of tuition-free college. As someone who has graduated college and is looking into attending graduate school, I can estimate that I will be over $100,000 in debt by the time I complete my graduate studies. After graduating with my bachelors, I am currently in $25,000 in student loan debt. I strongly believe that anyone who is qualified to attend college, ought to receive college education, despite the economic status of the parents or the student without nearly bankrupting them or saddling high amounts of debt.

However, the second and main reason I continue to fight for Bernie is his suggestion that healthcare is a human right. This, I have seen first-hand why we desperately need universal healthcare. For the past 8 years, my mother has been battling stage-4 breast cancer. Our family has had to spend around $100,000 to pay for co-payments, chemotherapy, and other medications. Because of this, we lost my childhood home due to our inability to pay the bills, in order to help the family, I had to take out credit cards and loans (I am in $20,000 in debt here and we are having to live on credit for the time being), and currently, we are having to resort to receiving subsidized housing assistance. It is this reason why I firmly believe why we need Bernie Sanders more than ever. I hope my story has shown that the status quo is not working, and in some cases, people are hurt by the status quo.

This, among many reasons, is why I have supported and will continue to fight for Bernie Sanders to be our next president. As Americans, we truly need to rethink how we think about politics and instead of an election being a contest between the lesser of two evils, we should flip it on its head and make it a contest of whose vision inspires people to take political action. In sum, Bernie Sanders has not just only talked a good game, unlike his opponents, but has taken action. It’s one thing to claim that you support American workers, but it’s another to go out and strike with them.

  • in_awe

    Just a few facts for the confused:

    “The data demonstrates that the U.S. individual income tax continues to be progressive, borne mainly by the highest income earners.

    Key Findings:

    In 2013, 138.3 million taxpayers reported earning $9.03 trillion in adjusted gross income and paid $1.23 trillion in income taxes.

    Every income group besides the top 1 percent of taxpayers reported higher income in 2013 than the previous year. All income groups paid higher taxes in 2013 than the previous year.

    The share of income earned by the top 1 percent of taxpayers fell to 19.0 percent in 2013. Their share of federal income taxes fell slightly to 37.8 percent.

    In 2012, the top 50 percent of all taxpayers (69.2 million filers) paid 97.2 percent of all income taxes while the bottom 50 percent paid the remaining 2.8 percent.

    The top 1 percent (1.3 million filers) paid a greater share of income taxes (37.8 percent) than the bottom 90 percent (124.5 million filers) combined (30.2 percent).

    The top 1 percent of taxpayers paid a higher effective income tax rate than any other group, at 27.1 percent, which is over 8 times higher than taxpayers in the bottom 50 percent (3.3 percent).”


    In fiscal year 2015, the federal government spent $3.7 trillion.Three major areas of spending each make up about one-fifth of the budget:

    >>Social Security:
    Last year, 24 percent of the budget, or $888 billion.

    >>Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, and marketplace subsidies:
    Four health insurance programs — Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace subsidies — together accounted for 25 percent of the budget in 2015, or $938 billion.

    >>Defense and international security assistance:
    Another 16 percent of the budget, or $602 billion, paid for defense and security-related international activities. The total also includes the cost of supporting operations in Afghanistan and other related activities.

    Two other categories together account for another fifth of spending:

    >>Safety net programs:

    About 10 percent of the federal budget in 2015, or $362 billion, supported programs that provide aid (other than health insurance or Social Security benefits) to individuals and families facing hardship.

    These programs include: the refundable portions of the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, which assist low- and moderate-income working families; programs that provide cash payments to eligible individuals or households, including Supplemental Security Income for the elderly or disabled poor and unemployment insurance; various forms of in-kind assistance for low-income people, including SNAP (food stamps), school meals, low-income housing assistance, child care assistance, and help meeting home energy bills; and various other programs such as those that aid abused and neglected children.

    >>Interest on the national debt:
    In 2015, these interest payments claimed $223 billion, or about 6 percent of the budget.

    The remaining fifth of federal spending supports a variety of other public services. These include providing health care and other benefits to veterans and retirement benefits to retired federal employees, assuring safe food and drugs, protecting the environment, and investing in education, scientific and medical research, and basic infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and airports.
    A very small slice — less than 1 percent of the budget — goes to non-security programs that operate internationally, including programs providing humanitarian aid.

  • Jacki Livingston

    I believe, very strongly, that those individuals who are opposed to universal healthcare should be able to opt out. That should be their right as citizens of this country, which is lagging behind the rest of the planet in having such a thing. However, there should be one small caveat…

    If you choose to opt out, and not pay into a system which is designed to provide all of us, no matter if we are rich or poor, then you have to sign a document, which will be on file with every hospital and clinic in the country. You and yours will be opting out of any medical care that you cannot, immediately, pay for right out of your own pocket. That means, when Little Johnny breaks his legs boogie boarding, or Little Janie is hit by a car, or if Daddy Conservative has a heart attack, or Mommy is burnt by a grease fire in the kitchen, you get to whip out your checkbook and credit cards. If you cannot pay for every nickel of that care, no matter how dire the health crisis is, then, well…how do I put this gently? You gonna die. In the hallway, not on a gurney. You see, it is really easy to be too cool for school, when life is great. But the first time you lie on your belly, in the middle of a street, as a helicopter is landing because your seven year old was hit by a car? The whole cool thing is just an illusion. So, my friends, feel free to opt out of being on the healthcare ship. But don’t come upside with your rickety raft, when you are the one facing the drowning debt of healthcare, especially when it is for someone you love. Believe me, I have been there.

  • Philmore

    Well, gee, is it any surprise that the kids who find their stockings filled, will vote for Santa Claus ?
    HOW is that any different from any OTHER special interest beneficiary, whether tax breaks or Ag subsidies from PAC contributions or design of the system? Of COURSE you’re happy, HOW is THAT surprising?
    As the list of (“free” of course !) “human rights” expands, what human rights do formerly employed former middle class members have as they watch their taxes and prices rise as their no yield retirement funds disappear? Apparently, “the right to remain silent” ! Few have figured out that Mr. Sanders panacea tax on “Evil Wall Street Transactions” will be passed right BACK to THEM (Not its “targets”)in their OWN retirement funds, as well as pensions and all forms of insurance. Just WHERE (and WHO) do you think all those things fund their expenses from ? I see no mention among the “receives” and “ought to receive” about how all that is PAID FOR, so I doubt your pass through academia included much if ANY about Finance or Economics (OH! THERE it is, “Political Science” ! – WHY am I NOT surprised? ) Is it news to you that YOUR country (and mine) is (Uniquely in HISTORY) $20 TRILLION in DEBT ? Where does THAT fit in among our “human rights” – the right to be OBLIVIOUS ? Search YouTube for recent street-level clips on Venezuela to see how that’s working out.

    • D’Marie Mulattieri

      Wow, I don’t think you could have read what Jestin Samson wrote, otherwise, you would not have posted such an utterly ridiculous statement. Perhaps you ought to have studied political science so you would be able to discuss the real issues in a logical matter. First, free post secondary education is available to most industrialized nations on the planet. As a matter of fact some countries allow non citizens to attend their colleges because, unlike the United States, they understand that an educated person contributes to society of which we are all a part. Baby boomers who were raised in California remember what it was like to go to college for practically nothing. That WAS the norm, until greed set in. Second, any reduction in retirement funds is not because of a small retirement tax rate of 0.5 percent for stocks and 0.1 percent for bonds which is designed to not only pay for free public post secondary education but to reduce risky and unproductive high-speed trading and other forms of Wall Street speculation which contribute to low yields. Main Street bailed out Wall Street, it’s time for Wall Street to give back. And please take time to view the pie chart of the US budget. The bulk of our debt is not being spent on human rights, rather on the destruction of human rights of people in third world countries. Our war budget is out of hand. There is no accountability, Congress awards money to the Pentagon like they are handing out candy. No wonder Bernie is calling for an audit of the Pentagon. The United States actually spends more money on “tax breaks” than on discretionary spending. Our healthcare system is broken. Our healthcare costs are among the most expensive on the planet and provides mediocre health benefits. We are great at gunshot wounds/trauma but forget prevention and ongoing wellness. A person should not lose everything they have worked hard to accumulate because they have the misfortune of contracting cancer, yet this is what happens in the United States on a regular basis. Article 25 of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 states that “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical
      care and necessary social services.” It is indeed time for the wealthiest nation of earth to act like and take care of its own.

      • Philmore

        Yup! not a spec of math (or acknowledgement that “the wealthiest nation on earth” is $20 TRILLION IN DEBT !) ….ANYWHERE ! I hope “Santa” gets you that pony, with what that shovel is full of, there MUST be one around here SOMEWHERE !

        • Jacki Livingston

          Dude…seriously…take a pill. And, let’s state some truths. We are NOT the wealthiest nation on the planet, anymore. Part of that is foolish spending. You are right. But we can provide basic, universal healthcare to our CITIZENS, which everyone has to pay into. The problem is, we are overtaxing the middle class. We are killing them with too many taxes. We are actually giving money away to the worst people. We give to countries that hate us and steal our jobs. We give to big corporations, who take our money and then send our jobs overseas. We overpay do nothing politicians, and their luxury trips and cars and such. The wealthy need to pay their fair share, and they are not. We also need to start taxing the biggest landowners and profiteers in this country…CHURCHES. Oh, I don’t mean the local spot with a hundred folks putting their quarters in the box on Sunday. I mean mega-churches, the Catholic Church and others who are thieve in the temple. They want to play politics in this country? Groovy…tax them. Let them pay the price of political admission, just like everyone else. We could have an educated population, universal healthcare and other things, without Santa. We need to get smart, and we need to get tough. Every dollar spent on preventative care saves us three. We know this. If we stop wasting money, and start focusing it where it will help us build a stronger, smarter nation, we all will gain.