COLUMN: Let’s care about healthcare

Some wrote the bill, some read the bill, very few understood it

Bon Adamson is a sophomore journalism and history major at MU. He is an opinion columnist who writes about politics for The Maneater.

I want every single human being to have access to healthcare. I feel like that’s a simple enough opinion. However, watching the Democrats’ third primary debate, you might begin to feel like this is one of the most complicated ideas conceivable.

During the Sep. 12 debate, there was quite a bit of talk about healthcare and specifically, “Medicare for All.” For those trying their hardest to avoid knowing anything about the prospective future of our nation, Medicare for All refers to a single-payer healthcare plan popularized in 2016 by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. Sanders has recently picked up quite a bit of steam for the idea, even authoring a Senate bill to establish Medicare for All.

In the world of headline-stealing, pundit-impressing zinger contests that are presidential debates, there have been quite a few sound bites passed around about Medicare for All. In the second set of primary debates, Sanders seemed pretty definitive in saying “I do know that, I wrote the damn bill!” This statement has needed a comeback from all of the candidates that want to say what it will and won’t do. Because what can you say to that? When trying to say what a plan will and won’t do, how do you argue with the author of the plan?

In the most recent primary debate Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., took a stab at this question by saying, “While Bernie wrote the bill, I read the bill.” Klobuchar went on to talk about how the bill said private insurance would no longer exist and said, “I don’t think it’s a bold idea. I think it’s a bad idea.”

This statement echoes a lot of the same sentiments that detractors of Medicare for All have had. The main detraction being that private insurance would no longer exist. There’s really only one response to this I can think of — duh.

Of course, the goal of a universal public option is to get rid of the private option. And it’s honestly befuddling watching this conversation have to be dragged back out in every debate. We’ve watched every moderate, vanilla democrat onstage beat this dead horse to a pulp, and they’re still doing it.

There’s a sort of mixed message and a contradiction going on with this whole thing. While some candidates will say people don’t want to give up their private insurance because they like their private insurance, others are saying this will leave millions on private insurance uninsured. This is very misleading and contradictory. To begin with, this plan would leave no one uninsured — that’s the entire point. Second, the whole idea of anxiety about losing your private insurance is unfounded. This is not what scares voters. A Morning Consult/Politico poll found that support for Medicare for All among voters goes up from 53% to 55% when told they can keep their doctors and providers. Have we already forgotten Barack Obama had to reassure voters on this very subject?

In 2009, the American Journal of Public Health found that 45,000 Americans die per year due to lack of health insurance. In addition, the Lookout Mountain Group found that in 2016, 1.7 million college students were uninsured. Any politician who isn’t going to take this seriously — who isn’t going to critically consider a single-payer option — shouldn’t be taken seriously by voters. Especially not voters without insurance. We have nothing to lose but our premiums.

Edited by Bryce Kolk | bkolk@themaneater.com

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