The US is the richest country in the world and the only developed nation that does not provide universal healthcare. Everyone should have the right to see a doctor when they are sick, without worrying about how they’ll pay for it. Healthcare should not be a for-profit industry. That’s why my ultimate goal is a single-payer healthcare system, such as Medicare for All. Even people with private insurance often avoid seeking medical care because they cannot afford the copays and deductibles. The COVID pandemic further highlighted the disparities in the healthcare system particularly for black and brown Americans. It’s time to fix that.
Medicare for All
I would like to see a single-payer healthcare system, commonly called “Medicare for All”. I think that’s the best way to weed out inefficiencies in health insurance and provide the most coverage to the most people at a lower out of pocket cost. In the short-term, I think Medicare should cover dental care. Then start to gradually lower the eligibility age for Medicare to 60, 55, 50, until we ultimately allow everyone to have Medicare. I would also let Medicare negotiate prescription drug prices.
Medicaid provides solid coverage to the people who qualify, without co-pays. However, the income requirement is low, $24,353 annual gross income is the cap for a household of two. Maintaining coverage is extremely difficult for many people. They mail consumers extensive forms every 6 months that need to be completed and returned within 14 days or less. The initial application and some follow up forms must be done online, which creates a barrier for people who do not have access to a computer, internet, smartphone or people who do not have the literacy or technological skills to navigate this complex system. Contacting a DHS worker is difficult as they are overworked and underpaid. I believe the reporting requirement should be changed from 6 to 12 months. Funding should be increased for DHS offices to hire additional staff in order to better assist people. As Medicare for all is phased in, the need for Medicaid will be phased out. In the meantime, we must ensure that our most vulnerable populations can access this service.
Prescription Drug Prices
The US has the highest prescription drug prices in the world. As a former pharmaceutical drug analyst, I know this is done out of greed. I have introduced legislation in the Michigan State House to cap out of pocket prescription co-pays at $30 per month (including insulin). In Congress, I’ll fight to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices and put a cap on out of pocket costs for medication. No one should have to choose between paying for their life saving medications and buying food or paying rent.