Opinion: ‘Medicare for all’ is a pathway, not a plan

Maddie Newingham

Maddie Newingham

Everyone is complaining about Sen. Bernie Sanders’ health care bill, so allow me to explain the purpose of the bill and keep the conversation focused.

Democrats are so tired of being on the defense. We want to control the conversation and push our agenda for a better United States. We are tired of being side-lined for Wealthcare, the republican-proposed “American Healthcare Act” and need not compromise to the far right. We are pulling the health care conversation back toward the left. We passed the Affordable Care Act and we get to improve upon it.

This bill serves multiple political purposes.

Sanders had very little support for the bill for a long time, and finally can control the conversation about how we treat people’s medical treatment in this country.

First, those who have endorsed the bill are almost certainly planning to run in 2020. Their support of the bill is necessary to push the conversation left, but please, Cory Booker has no intention of passing single-payer. Furthermore, Trump has been president for eight months, my friends.

It is 2017. I do not care about who is running for president in 2020. I am concerned about DACA, I am concerned about paying for college, I am concerned because my Mylan epipens will cost me $800 if I lose my insurance and I am concerned about Sen. Sherrod Brown winning his re-election in the midterms.

So, I do not care that Rep. Tim Ryan or Sen. Kamala Harris want to run for president three years from now, as much as I adore them. They can deal with their personal endeavors, and I will care when the time comes. We have to fight for our values and focus on the now as we are living it.

While everyone is talking about the next presidential election, no one is talking about how vile a human being Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel is or that Trump is being played by North Korea. I know talking about presidents is much more attractive and entertaining, and we have many inspiring candidates coming into the fold, but stay focused.

Second, anyone endorsing this bill knows that this version of the bill will not be passed, and no one is expecting that.

The bill serves as a basis to control the health care debate. We want better policies that work for more people, and we want to explore what a single-payer system could look like here in America. That does not happen without debate.

This bill strategically hinders Republicans from pursuing a privatization bill, and hopefully forces their compromise on a bill we believe will work for all people, not just rich people.

Americans will not suddenly decide to have a surgery because it is cheaper to do so, and doctors will not perform appendectomies for those who do not need them.

The purpose of this bill is to bring down the cost of care for people who really need it. While there is much debate to be had about the logistics of a better health care system, even if we can just improve the ACA as a result of the discussion around the bill, then it has been successful for the people.

Let democracy do its thing.

Maddie Newingham is a columnist. Contact her at [email protected].