Subcommittee on Primary Health and Retirement Security

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is the ranking member on the Subcommittee on Primary Health and Retirement Security. The subcommittee is part of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Sen. Sanders’ subcommittee activities include work on: community health centers; access to medical, dental, and mental health care; the primary care provider workforce; social services for seniors and the Older Americans Act; preventing and addressing elder abuse; health disparities and economic inequality; and other health and aging policy issues.


Congress Investigating Why Generic Drug Prices Are Skyrocketing
Is Poverty a Death Sentence? The Great Divide: Life in McDowell County
The Effects of Medicaid Expansion: One Border, Two Cities and a World of Difference on Health Care
The Effects of Medicaid Expansion: Across the State Line

Press Releases

10/20/16 Sanders, Cummings Send Letter on ARIAD's Staggering Price Increases
10/20/16 Sanders Announces $4.3 million to Vermont Nonprofit to Boost Job Training for Low-Income Seniors

Sanders, Warren: Prioritize Life-Saving Drugs, Not Drugmakers’ Profits 


Senators Raise Concerns About Mylan’s EpiPen Price Hike


Vermont Health Centers Receive Federal Awards Totaling $840,000 for High-Quality Care

7/13/16 Sanders Statement on Opioid Legislation

Sanders, Cummings Lead Letter to FDA Condemning AstraZeneca Putting Profits Over People


Sanders Announces $1 Million to Expand Dental Care at Vermont Health Centers


Sanders Announces $1.2 Million in Health Center Funds for Substance Abuse Treatment in Vermont


Murphy, Sanders and Democratic Senators Call on Appropriators to Fully Fund the President’s $1.9 Billion Request to Fight Zika Outbreak


Pfizer Dodges Taxes and Price Gouges Patients, New Report Finds


Sanders Statement on FDA Nominee’s Confirmation

More Press Releases



The Prescription Drug Affordability Act of 2015

Medicaid Generic Drug Price Fairness Act of 2015

Older Americans Act Reauthorization Act of 2015

Comprehensive Dental Reform Act of 2015
Medicaid Generic Drug Price Fairness Act
Teaching Health Center Reauthorization Act
Older Americans Act Amendments of 2013
Comprehensive Dental Reform Act of 2013
Expanding Primary Care Access and Workforce Act


Seniors Update 2015These are tough times for many seniors in Vermont and throughout the country. Poverty among seniors is rising, and with today’s high prices for food, housing, and prescription drugs, millions of seniors are one bad break away from an economic crisis. The good news is that for the last 80 years, Social Security has provided retirement security for our nation’s seniors. And for the past 50 years, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Older Americans Act have provided critical health care and long-term services and supports that seniors need and deserve.

Single PayerMany Americans receive the best health care in the world, including state-of-the-art screenings, cutting edge treatments and life-saving drugs. At the same time, millions of Americans have little or no access to even the most basic health care services. While the U.S. spends nearly twice as much on health care as any other country in the world, our health outcomes are worse than other high-income countries. This report highlights elements of high performing single-payer health care systems that are easier to access, navigate and afford than health care in the United States.

Is Poverty a Death Sentence? For the first time in our nation’s history, children born in some parts of the country are expected to live shorter lives than their parents’ generation. This report highlights research on the devastating long-term effects of poverty on health and life expectancy.

Dental CrisisMany people in the U.S. have access to the best oral health care in the world, yet millions are unable to get even the basic dental care they need. This report highlights the shortage of dental providers, insufficient dental insurance coverage, and costs of untreated oral health problems and offers potential solutions for increasing access to affordable dental services.

Senior HungerNo senior citizen should go hungry in the U.S. Unfortunately, hunger among the nation’s senior population is a growing crisis—hunger rates have more than doubled for poor older adults in recent years. This report finds that while Older Americans Act meals programs are critical to alleviating senior hunger, these programs do not have the funding to meet the growing need across the country.

Primary CareNearly 57 million people in the U.S. – one in five Americans – live in areas where they do not have adequate access to primary health care due to a shortage of providers in their communities. 52,000 primary care physicians will be needed by 2025. This report highlights several reasons why the primary care shortage is growing and presents several policy solutions to address this crisis.

Latest Hearing

Generic Drug Prices Skyrocket Sharp increases in prices for many generic drugs were examined at a Senate hearing where three pharmaceutical companies refused to testify. Generic drugs, copies of drugs no longer protected by patents, historically have cost much less than brand-name prescription medicines. During that period, nearly 10 percent of all generic drugs more than doubled in price, according to the analysis of data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Read more »

In the News

7/7/16 STAT News

Sanders, other lawmakers urge FDA approval of generic Crestor

5/26/16 STAT News

Bernie Sanders accuses US Trade Rep of intimidating Colombia over Novartis patent

4/14/16 The Wall Street Journal

How the Life-Expectancy Gap for Rich and Poor Skews Social Security

3/18/16 The Washington Post

Bernie Sanders calls on Treasury to stop Pfizer from moving overseas to lower taxes

1/26/16 The Washington Post Three senators now holding up FDA nominee – for three different reasons



Rebates from generic drugs would have saved Medicaid $1.4b, report finds

12/7/15 The Washington Post

Why going to the dentist is so hard for the elderly

More News