Opinion: ‘Medicare For All’ is practical, long-overdue, says former Potsdam resident
Friday, January 31, 2020 - 9:11 am

My name is Jennifer Zhang. I’m a college student and recent graduate of Potsdam High School, running to represent our congressional district at the 2020 Democratic National Convention as a delegate pledged to Elizabeth Warren.

One of Warren’s flagship policies is Medicare For All. While some may consider the plan “radical,” we must remember that Americans pay more for health insurance and receive poorer coverage than practically every major developed country—the average US household spends $12,000 annually on healthcare.

Why is this the case? Having decentralized, privatized insurance adds copious amounts of bureaucratic red tape to every healthcare interaction. Every form providers fill out and angry phone call patients make to insurance companies adds to the net cost of healthcare. The expenses of jumping through bureaucratic hoops and fighting with insurance companies comprise one third of nationwide medical costs. Medicare For All would drastically reduce these costs, streamline healthcare coverage, and expand patients’ choice in providers and medication.

Medicare For All would also have significant positive ripple effects in the rest of the economy. Households will get to keep the $12,000 they would otherwise spend on average per year on healthcare, and can use it to instead buy consumer goods and boost the economy. Doctors and health providers could start family practices more easily because they don’t have to hire a team of administrators to fight insurance companies for payments.

People would have more employment flexibility and be able to switch jobs and start their own businesses without worrying about losing their employer health insurance. Rural hospital access would increase since the current system—which incentivizes providers to work in cities—would be fundamentally reformed.

Most importantly, Warren has created a dollar-for-dollar financing plan that would pay for Medicare For All without raising taxes on people earning less than $50 million. The vast majority of the program would be funded by employers paying roughly the same amount of money that they currently do for private insurance to the government instead. The rest of the funds would come from raising taxes on large corporations and the wealth of individuals earning over $50 million. Practically all of the North Country will NOT pay more in taxes.

Medicare For All is a practical, long-overdue solution to the intrinsic problems of our current healthcare system. It is a key component of Elizabeth Warren’s platform to bring big, structural change to our government and economy, and one of many reasons why residents of the North Country should support her campaign.

Jennifer Zhang

Democratic National Convention Delegate candidate