The people who have influenced me the most with respect to health care policy are Bernie Sanders, my dynamite wife Sharon (a physician), and Michael Moore. Growing up, our family was part of the Kaiser Permanente medical program for teacher’s families. This was the seventies and early eighties and it cost around one hundred to two hundred dollars a month for our entire family. Today, as an adult, our family’s health care cost is one of the highest expenses in our budget, despite not visiting the doctor all that often. As an economist, I think of the damage inflicted on all parts of our economy, not to mention on the lives of Californians, as a result of the continued failure by Congress to pass Medicare For All.
According to an exhaustive Yale study, Medicare For All would save an average of $450 billion a year and save 65,000 American lives each year. Lead author of the study, Alison Galvani said, “Our study is actually conservative because it doesn’t factor in the lives saved among underinsured Americans—which includes anyone who nominally has insurance but has postponed or foregone care because they couldn’t afford the copays and deductibles”.
The current health care system is designed to hurt people. It is unsustainable, morally, economically and socially and must be radically reformed. I will lead in reforming this system through ensuring better public understanding of who is winning in the current system, and how the public would fare with Medicare for All.
“Today, more than 30 million Americans still don’t have health insurance and even more are underinsured. Even for those with insurance, costs are so high that medical bills are the number one cause of bankruptcy in the United States. Incredibly, we spend significantly more of our national GDP on this inadequate health care system—far more per person than any other major country. And despite doing so, Americans have worse health outcomes and a higher infant mortality rate than countries that spend much less on health care. Our people deserve better.”
— Bernie Sanders
“Getting sick shouldn’t mean losing your house”. — Michael Moore
So how do we fix this?
Fixing our health care system’s failures begins with dramatically increasing the level at which the public is informed about its economic inefficiency and immorality. We need a campaign, orchestrated and organized at the federal level, that helps create the public will to overcome obstacles that have prevented Medicare for All.
Too many times, we’ve watched Presidential debates in which health care providers actually advertise against candidates who are proposing health care initiatives meant to make the system fairer, which would only mean fewer billions in profits for the few, at the expense of the quality of life, health and peace of mind of millions.
Three striking things about our healthcare system are 1) its bankruptcy-inducing costs for the majority of Americans, 2) how there are too few people our system efficiently and humanely serves, and 3) the overwhelming economic and medical evidence that Medicare for All in America is the best, lowest-cost, most humane long-term solution.
I will make these three points clear to the American people through a campaign unlike anything anyone has seen before.
What I Will Do If Elected
Once elected, I will make strategic investments in public education and public media to counterbalance the hundreds of millions of dollars spent by health care industry lobbyists and on health insurance advertising to the public.
I will use my office to work with the leaders in the US entertainment industry to join in making the case– through storytelling, in news programming and through advocacy– for a reformed health care system. I will make the case to these leaders why health care reform matters.
Ultimately, we can have a system that has both a strong economic and moral foundation. We can have a system that both rewards taking good care of oneself– through diet and exercise– and protects us when something bad happens.
Medicare for All is that system. It will increase efficiency, discourage greed, and treat human beings with dignity. Together, we can solve this essential issue. The solution begins with a better informed public which creates the overriding political will necessary to create a better health care system.