Bernie Sanders is 78 years old, the oldest candidate running for president (including IMPOTUS). Bernie suffered a mild heart attack a few months ago, though he quickly bounced back and is keeping a full campaign schedule. Still, he is an old man with a heart history who is running for the most stressful job in the world, and according to actuary tables he is likely not to live a full term. The American people need to know as much as we can about his health before we vote to give him that job.
But he won’t release his medical records.
To be clear, he has released some documents. On Dec 31, 2019, the Burlington Free Press reported that Sanders “released letters on Dec. 30 from his primary physician and two UVM cardiologists that said he's healthy, able to campaign without restriction and fit to serve as president.” They also listed medications and described other conditions. But these letters are not medical records, which Sanders had promised to release by the end of the year.
Now the media are calling him on it. Chuck Todd, who occasionally and probably only by accident has been known to commit journalism, asked Bernie about those records over the weekend. Bernie was not really forthcoming. As HuffPost put it, Bernie Sanders Walks Back Promise To Release ‘Comprehensive’ Medical Records
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Sunday backpedaled on his promise to release comprehensive medical records, saying his doctors have confirmed he’s in “good health.”“You can start releasing medical records ― it never ends,” Sanders told NBC’s “Meet The Press” when asked whether he planned to release additional medical records after having a heart attack in October.
. . .“Meet The Press” host Chuck Todd asked Sanders on Sunday whether voters should be able to see his full medical records before Super Tuesday, which is on March 3.“We have released as much documentation I think as any other candidate,” Sanders said.
No. Warren and Biden, both septuagenarians like Bernie, have released standard full medical records. I can’t find Klobuchar’s or Buttigieg’s, but they are a lot younger. A few letters from doctors isn’t the same — and indeed recalls that infamous letter from Trump’s gastroenterologist, though, to be fair, Bernie’s doctors did give more information. And Politico is comparing Bernie’s touchiness about his medical reports to Trump’s: Sanders Joins Trump in Telling the Media to Go to Hell
Ok, some thoughts here. First is that Bernie is not my first or even second choice for president. I think he is too extreme and too absolutist, plus he has too many weaknesses that Trump can exploit. That said, I’ve heard him speak on MSNBC several times, including the other day, and he is cogent, forceful without being obnoxious, and could take on Trump one-on-one in debate (not that Trump is likely to agree). And it should go without saying that I will support WHOEVER the Democratic nominee is.
Also, it’s long been clear that some of the media are nervous about Bernie, not because he might lose but because he might win. (Same thing applies to Warren.) Even so, they do have a point: We need to see Bernie’s medical records.
There are good reasons for this:
First, we should see every presidential candidate’s medical records and history as part of our making a determination who should be the next president. (Personal aside: When I applied to join the Foreign Service, a much less stressful government job, I was required to submit to a full medical examination as part of the standard application process. Same thing should apply here.)
Second, releasing the records further distinguishes our candidates from Trump, who doesn’t want anything, including his real height and weight, to be known. We really do need to see Trump’s true medical status — is he obese or just very overweight, is he eating anything close to a healthy diet, how vulnerable is he to heart attack or stroke, is he showing signs of dementia. If Bernie makes full disclosure, he has the cred to demand Trump do the same.
Which brings me to my third reason: I cannot escape the feeling that Bernie, like Trump, is hiding something. Something that might make us worry about whether we can afford to install him in the Oval Office. He needs to address that concern. Now.
One last comment: Normally, medical records are and should be private. You give that up when you run for president.