Legislation

Medicare for all

Aug. 9,
2018

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I support Medicare for All. My opponent does not. My seven-year old daughter survived open heart surgery when she was a newborn. Her recovery was rough, but she had a great prognosis. As a family, we were fortunate and grateful to have employer-sponsored health insurance. We didn’t have to worry about whether we could afford to pay for our daughter’s treatment. Unfortunately, this is not the case for many Americans.

With rising healthcare costs and the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), also known as ObamaCare, under constant attack by the Trump administration, no issue animates voters I meet on the campaign trail more than my vigorous support for Medicare for All.

In its current form Medicare provides healthcare to those age 65 and over, as well as people with disabilities. However, many people are still left uninsured, or underinsured. We need coverage through every stage of life, from cradle to grave. Medicare for All not only provides more choices of providers, but there are no co-pays, no premiums, and no deductibles because it is publicly financed. Today, the United States has the most expensive healthcare in the world, with unsustainable costs eating up some 18 percent of our GDP. In every other industrialized nation, healthcare costs are half of ours and health outcomes are better.

Poll after poll shows Medicare for All is overwhelmingly popular with the American people, with 65 percent in favor of it. The Medicare for All bill filed by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) has 122 co-sponsors in the House. Unsurprisingly, my opponent is not one of them. Rep. Neal continually says he wants to see individual states enact Medicare for All before the federal government does nationally. Rep. Neal is also fighting a rearguard action in propping up the ACA. With the individual mandate now repealed, the subsidies to the insurance carriers gone, and the Trump administration not promoting new ACA enrollments, Rep. Neal is fighting the wrong fight.

Of course, Rep. Neal’s failure to hold town hall meetings and district office hours may be a key reason why he has been ignoring the pleas from constituents to forcefully put his seniority behind enacting this critical legislation. Or, maybe it is the pushback from the special interests that have long funded his campaigns. Almost every health insurer, medical specialty group, and pharmaceutical company, has donated heavily to Rep. Neal’s campaigns, and they are all committed to keeping our most-expensive healthcare system as the status quo. Since Rep. Neal came to Congress in 1989, the insurance industry has poured a staggering $2.3 million into his warchest, followed by almost $908,000 from health professional organizations, and more than $689,000 from the pharmaceutical lobby. These sectors comprise three of Rep. Neal’s top four industries for donor contributions – totalling more than $3.9 million in campaign cash.

When elected:

• I will support all efforts to make Medicare for All a reality, including co-sponsorship of H.R. 676.

• I will work with providers to address concerns about too much paperwork and regulation.

• I will work to repatriate the $2.6 trillion in earnings of foreign subsidiaries of U.S. corporations that the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimates is now held offshore (up from $2.3 trillion in 2012) and trim down waste elsewhere.

• I will join the new Medicare for All Caucus which now boasts 60 House Democrats with more to come after Nov. 6.

Tahirah Amatul-Wadud
Candidate for Congress


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