Healthcare: Medicare for All

The time is long overdue for universal, single-payer health care for all.

Issues tend to affect everyone differently, but the overwhelming exception to this rule is health and wellness. When my father needed a new liver several years ago, we were incredibly lucky that my mother had great health insurance that could cover his needs while not bankrupting our family. Had we not had health insurance through my mother’s employer, my father’s last few years with us and our family’s financial stability would have suffered immeasurably, possibly bankrupting us. Unfortunately, this is the reality for millions of Americans: being forced between the rock and hard place of taking care of their loved ones, while having to manage their own financial interests.The system, as it stands, often forces working class Americans to make the devastating decision between their financial well being and their health.

This is wrong. This is why I stand in firm support of H.R. 676 - the Expanded & Improved Medicare For All Act

A heart attack does not care what income bracket you fall under. Cancer does not care if you are rich or poor, black or white, a Republican or a Democrat, an employee or an employer. Thus it stands to reason that we ask our healthcare system not have such biases either. The path to a robust, single-payer system for every American starts with the expansion of Medicare for all.

I applaud President Obama’s stride in the creation of the Affordable Care Act, but this must be recognized as the beginning, not end, of our healthcare revolution. I get my health insurance through the ACA Marketplace. I have personally watched premiums for my daughter and I increase year after year, luckily I am fortunate enough to currently absorb these costs. But this is not the reality many Americans face and I know this pain. There have been times in my life that I’ve left myself uninsured and vulnerable due to high premiums relative to my financial status. We are constantly faced with enormously tough decisions, like whether we stay with our employers indefinitely to maintain our insurance plans or pursue more worthwhile endeavors and potentially leave our loved ones without healthcare coverage. More disheartening, is the fact that, as a developed country, we lag behind the entire developed world when it comes to healthcare.

We must support legislative policy that covers in-patient, out-patient, and preventative care, as well as more robust solutions to assist those struggling with and being unfairly stigmatized by their mental health issues. Even issues such as the rampant price increases for necessary prescription drugs – where we see prices often dramatically varying from location to location – can be combated by a centralized healthcare system capable of addressing these issues through legislation.

To get us to Medicare-for-All, we must have a common sense taxation plan to fund it. We need a much more progressive rate at the highest brackets, and a clear delineation between those making half a million dollars and those making billions. Moreover, we must tax capital gains and dividends paid to shareholders at the same rate as work. This would drastically increase the revenue we would have available to fund a national healthcare plan. Finally, the subsidies and tax breaks that become obsolete under such a plan would immediately free up an additional $310 billion to reinvest into our healthcare sector with American interests in mind.