Guest column from Sue Dvorsky, former Iowa Democratic Party chair.
Thirty million people in this country don’t have access to health care. And the rest of us? Too many Americans have such inadequate plans they can barely afford to take their kids or parents to see a doctor.
I remember the hope we felt electing Barack Obama, and how we took the first step toward the promise of expanded health care right here in Iowa. For so many of us, it wasn’t just the change in leadership we were hoping for, it was the change to our health care system we’d all been working for.
President Obama had big ideas, like a public option to get everyone covered because he believed that health care is a fundamental right. And we got pretty far, but we didn’t get as far as we needed to.
That is one of the greatest failures of our generation. That we have left people behind, and even claim to call people “covered” when they cannot afford their care.
In a historic field of candidates that has spent debate after debate picking apart all the ideas in the Democratic Party, Kamala Harris has the standout health care plan that takes Iowans’ concerns into consideration. I know because we were there with all of you for the first six months of this election, waiting for a better option.
While most Democrats are united behind the belief that we must get to universal care that is affordable for each and every one of us, so many of us were concerned about what that would look like and if it would be realistic.
Kamala Harris brought us the answer. Kamala’s Medicare for All plan strikes the balance we need.
Kamala listened. She heard from people in every corner of this country about so-called coverage they couldn’t afford to use. A woman in Iowa putting off her knee replacement because her deductible was too high. Or mothers sitting outside an emergency room just in case their child’s fever got any worse. Kamala’s Medicare for All plan eliminates co-pays and deductibles, covers those with pre-existing conditions, and importantly expands Medicare coverage for not just our seniors, but everyone, to include vision, dental, and hearing aids.
Kamala listened. Iowans told Kamala they wanted everyone to have care, but that they really wanted to keep their choice between a private and a public option. That’s why Kamala designed her plan to let people choose what fits best for their family, unlike other Medicare for All proposals in the field. Of course, Kamala would hold private insurers accountable by demanding that they have to compete and follow strict rules that put people over profit.
Kamala listened. She recognizes that our brothers and sisters in labor worked hard to negotiate their contracts, giving up higher wages in order to get better health care coverage. Other candidates in this field support a Medicare for All policy that would force all Americans to transition in 4 years, far short of those union contract expirations. Kamala’s plan would let everyone without affordable insurance to get covered starting on day one, but give those with insurance up to 10 years to transition so labor negotiations can take into account this new reality and families can make the move when it fits their life cycle changes.
Kamala is a leader. She refuses to raise taxes on middle class families. She is concerned that the other Medicare for All plan supported by some of her opponents on that debate stage, whether they will they admit it or not, would seriously raise taxes on those making under $100,000 a year. So she found a solution that takes the burden off those families by replacing a middle class tax increase with a reasonable tax on Wall Street trades. We need to make it easier, not harder for people to access care.
Kamala won’t waiver. Kamala believes getting to universal coverage is non-negotiable. It’s what President Obama was aiming for. Leaving the American people short is a moral and economic disaster for American families. It’s 2019. The Democratic Party of today cannot in good conscience support plans or candidates that leave more than 10 million people without health care or keeps power in the hands of insurance companies like some are suggesting. That just won’t cut it.
Something I heard Kamala say recently really stuck with me. She isn’t just running, she plans to govern. Don’t you want a leader who listened and came up with the best solution with you and me in mind?
Kamala’s plan is not only realistic, I know it can garner broad support as people really dig into their options. No middle class tax hike, a longer transition, expanded coverage, and real choice.
Just like in 2008, Iowa has an out-size role in this election. Kamala Harris’ path is how we win this thing in November and get our country back on track. Her Medicare for All plan is smart, thoughtful, and drawn up with you in mind. Take a closer look.
by Sue Dvorsky