‘Opponents of Medicare for All Are Deathly Afraid’

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      But that’s no reason to despair, argue Drs. Abdul El-Sayed and Micah Johnson in their new book Medicare for All: A Citizen’s Guide. Instead, the meteoric rise of M4A within a few short election cycles ought to galvanize advocates to keep building the movement to win it. This book is a resource toward that effort, laying out a case for how Medicare for All will revolutionize the US health care system, why no other reform proposal measures up, and how to navigate the hairy politics of passing it. I spoke with El-Sayed—a former Detroit public health commissioner, Michigan gubernatorial candidate, and Bernie Sanders campaign surrogate—about the signature demand of the ascendent left flank of American politics.

      NS: In your assessment of the political terrain for M4A, you delve into its relative and growing popularity in polling, but also note its limitations—the so-called public option also polls well, for example, and support seems to tumble when questions emphasize higher taxes. Meanwhile, pro-M4A candidates have both won and lost in various elections against establishment-friendly Democrats who oppose the policy. Given its ambiguous political potency among the electorate, should M4A be a litmus test for Democrats? And how do we make it one?

      ABS: Yes, and I think it’s already emerging that way. If you’re honest—if you really believe that health care is a human right, and you really believe that health care corporations are standing in the way—there’s really just one answer that you can reasonably come to. Elections are multifaceted things; the outcome of any given one isn’t a referendum on Medicare for All. Because of the health care industry’s enormous political spending, what you see in our politics is not necessarily representative of what people want on the ground. So what I would say is that if you were serious about fixing both our politics and our health care, then the answer here is pretty obvious. You need to support Medicare for All, and you need to support reforms to our political system that continue to corrupt it and prevent the will of the people from getting translated into our public policy.

      We focus a lot on the electoral politics in particular, but sometimes we forget that this movement is just getting started and has had some tremendous success, and I believe we can have more. Many of the opponents of Medicare for All are deathly afraid that we will continue forward, and they want this movement to believe that it cannot win, and to think that because we don’t have a president who supports Medicare for All, that it’s impossible. But I take it very differently—we’re not going anywhere, and I’m really excited about that.

      Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction

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