One of the most critical issues everyone should be fighting for now is Single-Payer Medicare for All. Dr. America, Sanjeev K Sriram lays out the case perfectly that should help those who are not sure. It inoculates from the false information that the Plutocracy & the Right continue to promote.
Dr. Sriram is the host of "Dr. America," an innovative podcast about health justice on We Act Radio. He also writes about the relationships between health policy and civil rights. Dr. Sriram completed his medical degree and his pediatrics residency at UCLA, where he also served as Chief Resident at the Department of Pediatrics. In June 2009, he earned his Masters in Public Health after completing the Commonwealth Fund Mongan Fellowship in Minority Health Policy at the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Sriram then moved to Washington, DC to advocate for passage of the Affordable Care Act. He currently practices general pediatrics in southeast Washington, DC and is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences.
Dr. Sriram is a supporter of the ACA but wants the country to transition to Single-Payer Medicare for All. He was on stage at the launch of Medicare for All with Senator Bernie Sanders and others and gave a prescient speech that included his belief that health care is a right.
I had an extensive interview with Dr. Sriram at Netroots Nation 2018.
"Medicare for All means peace of mind," Dr. America said. "Over half this country is struggling to put together $400 for a family emergency. It could be for anything as much as like trying to get a plane ticket to go see someone who's in trouble. And when Americans are in such dire straits, the last thing that they need is for health care to be yet another struggle on top of everything else in their life. With Medicare for All, it means that you don't have to pick between, 'Am I gonna go broke when I get sick? Can I take care of my health? Can I take care of my wealth?' We end those false choices. And you get to go to the doctor when you need one regardless of what you look like, regardless of what you earn, regardless of where you live. You get your basic human right of health care."
I played devil's advocate claiming Medicare for All was too expensive. Dr. Sriram had the answer.
"I actually love that question because to me the status quo is actually way too expensive," replied Dr. America. "And we don't get any health for like the status quo that we have right now. And whenever somebody worries about how do we pay for it? First and foremost we're going to stop paying for the most expensive drugs in the world. We're going to start getting Medicare to negotiate with Big Pharma to decrease those drug prices. That alone saves four hundred billion dollars a year. And then on top of that, we're going to repeal the GOP tax scam. It's about darn time that millionaires & billionaires on Wall Street started paying for their fair share because while they're enjoying the good life we've got little kids putting up bake sales and lemonade stands to pay for their mama's chemotherapy. We've got people putting up GoFundMe pages so that they can get money for their partner's surgery. With Medicare for all we end all of that."
At this point, I wanted to dispel the notion that somehow making the wealthy pay more is somehow not fair.
"I want to give an economic answer," I interjected. "I have a lot of conservative listeners to this show as well. ... I want to tell you about what he [Dr. America] just said -- some of you are going to say, 'Wait a minute. That is free stuff and those people worked for their monies.' ... Do remember that the wealth of the wealthy is the excess labor of the poor, the excess labor of the middle class. They didn't make it. The ones who produced it or the ones who did not garner the entire value of what they produced. So, therefore, having an economy that taxes the excess labor of others is what makes sense. It's not a giveaway. It's ensuring that an economy works."
Dr. Sriram pointed out that as the price of health care continued to increase, tripled, Americans were not getting the value for these additional expenditures.
"I can't tell you that since I started medical school that we're doing three times of a better job in healthcare," Dr. America said. "I am not three times a better doctor than I was."
Listen to the entire interview. After listening to Dr. Sriram, one cannot but come away in support of Single-Payer Medicare for All.