Freshman representative Ilhan Omar (MN05) held a town hall focusing on Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s (WA07) Medicare for All bill in the U.S. House of Representatives last Thursday evening. The event was held at the Sabathini Community Center and featured Omar, Jayapal, Minnesota State Senator Melisa Franzen, Rose Roach (executive director of the Minnesota Nurses Association), Dr. Dave Dvorak (and emergency room physician and a member of Physicians for a National Health Plan) and former Minnesota House Majority Leader Erin Murphy.
Watch the event:
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Omar: [00:00:04.71] All right. We got a short time. Let’s get started. I just want to take a moment and thank you so much for coming out tonight. It is really great to be home.
I know there are a lot of people that are trying to distract us now, but I want you all to know that we are not going to let down. I’m going to continue to do the work on behalf of the Fifth (District). Because you all send me to Washington to do the important work of progressing our country.
And we did some of that important work today. Today, the House of Representatives passed a landmark bill to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
I’m not sure if my big brother Keith Ellison can hear us or if he’s here, but I wanted to give him a special shout out. has been a tireless advocate for raising the minimum wage, and I am so glad to be there today to take that vote on his behalf and on behalf of all of you.
But right now, we are gathered to talk. Another big issue affecting working families across the country. And that is access to health care. We know that the American health care system is broken.
We are one of the wealthiest countries in the history of this world, and yet millions of adults in the United States still do not have health care insurance. One in four Americans cannot afford or access health care they need because of the prohibitive costs. This is unacceptable. It is a moral imperative that we fix it and Medicare for All will do that. Here is what Medicare for All means in real terms. High quality health care for all U.S. residents. Comprehensive coverage, including dental, vision and long term care. No co-pays, deductibles or other cost sharing. Substantial administrative savings through global budgeting of hospitals and a more effective, efficient health care system by cutting out private insurance company middlemen. In this Congress, we make real progress, and I think it’s important we honor that.
Earlier this year, the first ever hearing on Medicare for All was held in the House of Representatives, which was no small feat.
I want to congratulate my colleague. One of the co-chairs of the Progressive Caucus, Rep. Jayapal for all of her work in getting us to this point. It’s long past time that the United States joins every other industrialized country in the world. And once and for all guarantees, every single American. their basic human rights to health care.
Tonight, I look forward to a conversation with experts, advocates and friends on the frontlines of this fight. We’re going to be joined by them. And I want you to give them a warm welcome.
First we’re going to welcome Dr. Dave Dvorak, who is an emergency room physician with over 20 years of experience and member of Physicians for the National Health Plan. We’re also going to be joined by Rose Roach, the executive director of the Minnesota Nurses Association, with over 30 years of experience in the labor movement. We also have Senator Melisa Franzen, who is a Minnesota state senator representing District 49, a member of the Health and Human Services Finance Committee.
And you all know we can’t have a conversation about health care and Medicare for all without my big sister or my mentor, my hero, someone that I am so proud to practice the politics of joy with, former Rep. Erin Murphy, who is a registered nurse, a former majority leader of the Minnesota House of Representatives, and a fierce advocate on this issue.
And before I invite our guests of honor to give some remarks. I want to acknowledge. My sister, whose house were in, Andrea Jenkins, is a beacon of light. She is one of the most tenacious advocates of equality that I know. Someone who on my hardest days has pushed me to remember the purpose of why we do this work, and I am so honored to be in her house for all of us to have this conversation and for her to welcome us so generously. Thank you so much. Andrea Jenkins. And now. As many of you know, I have the honor of being one of the vice chairs of the Medicare for All caucus. And as I said, we’ve had our first hearing this year. We’ve had two more hearings since then. And none of this work. None of this conversation that we’re having would be possible if it wasn’t for Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal.
Pramila represents Washington, the wonderful state of Washington, and is here to have this conversation so that we can get our country on the right track and make sure that we recognize that health care is a human right. Jayapal.
Jayapal: [00:09:12.76] Good evening, Minnesota.
Let me just first say thank you, thank you, thank you to the Fifth District for sending Ilhan Omar to the United States Congress.
I just have to tell you, we got elected the same year, actually. She was elected to the state house and I was elected to the United States Congress. And it was the same year that another guy was elected that we’re not going to talk about. And Ilhan was one of the bright lights around the country. And I can tell you that there is no doubt in my mind that we have a great American, a great patriot, a great woman champion for workers, for people across this country, who is shaking up Congress and the United States of America in all the best ways. Thank you, Ilhan. Andrea, thank you for walking, welcoming us to your home. It is such a blessing to be here and to all of the panelists that are here tonight.
Thank you for all of the work. You all have done incredible work and it is really, truly a privilege for me.
My name is Pramila Jayapal, I represent Washington 7th District. For those of you that know Washington State, that is the Seattle area and surrounding. And I have the great honor of being the first Indian American woman ever elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. And also, Ilhan and I are two of the 14 naturalized citizens that serve out of 535 in the United States Congress, and it is a fantastic, fantastic honor to be able to do that.
And I also have the great honor of serving as the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. We have 98 members now in the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and last year we started a Medicare for All Caucus as well because we knew that this was the year that we were going to make tremendous strides forward on Medicare for All. And I am so excited to be here. I’ve been around the country talking about Medicare for All and doing town halls. I was in Michigan with Debbie Dingell. I was in Oregon with Earl Blumenauer and Suzanne Bonamici. I’m going to Boston with Rep. (Joe) Kennedy. And the energy everywhere is incredible. And it is because of you. It is because of nurses and doctors and activists and organizers who have been building this movement for a very long time. But we are finally at that place where we are actually getting some of the attention that this incredible policy deserves. And so, yes, this year I got to be the lead sponsor of the 2019 expanded and improved Medicare for All Act in the United States House of Representatives. And Ilhan has been right there as a vice chair of the caucus, and we have been doing everything we can within Congress to build the support that we need, and I am proud to tell you that as of now, we have a hundred and eighteen co-sponsors on the Medicare for All Act.
And just imagine that a policy of this importance has never had a hearing before this year. Never had a hearing in any chamber of Congress, not in the House of Representatives and not in the U.S. Senate. And this year we were able to negotiate for the first time, not for just one measly hearing, not for just two hearings, but actually for three hearings on Medicare for all. First in the Rules Committee with the fabulous Ady Barkan. If you didn’t watch that testimony, you really need to.
He is a phenomenal activist who is dying of ALS. And he came and he spoke through his voice machine because he no longer has a voice. And if there’s one thing you do, go back and look him up and watch that testimony, it completely changed the room to have his story. And we had a wonderful physician also from the Physicians for a National Health Program. And it was a phenomenal hearing. And at the end of that rules hearing, a reporter came up to me and said, Rep. Jayapal, wasn’t that just amazing? And aren’t you surprised? I said, what do you mean? Why would I be surprised? And she said, “it was a detailed discussion about a real plan.”
I said I’m not surprised at all. It is a detailed discussion about a real plan. We went on to have a hearing in the Budget Committee and then we had a hearing just recently in the Ways and Means Committee. And we hope in the fall that we will have our next hearing in the Energy and Commerce Committee.
And these hearings have been substantive because they allow us to describe exactly what is going on and what is going on. What is going on is that 70 million Americans do not have health insurance or are under insured and tens of millions more cannot afford to get the health care that they need every single day. Americans are experiencing the impact of our broken health care system and every single day they are making untenable choices, choices like foreclosing on their home or getting their cancer treatments, choices like raiding their kid’s college fund if they happen to have one. Choices like not getting their full prescription because they can’t afford it. And so instead they cut their prescriptions pills in half at their kitchen table. And they hope that maybe that is going to do what they need. And what Americans see every day is that their new best insurance plan is go fund me. And that is on acceptable for the richest country in the world to not provide health care as a human right. That is unacceptable. And that’s what Medicare for all fixes once and for all. Now, I want to just spend a minute telling you, talking about why it is that every other industrialized country in the world can provide health care for almost half of what the United States spent. We spend about 18.5% of our GDP on health care every year. That is about — this year — about 3.6 trillion dollars. And in 10 years, we will be at six trillion dollars if we keep going. A year. A year.
And other countries can do it for significantly less. Almost half of the cost, and so why is it. It’s because our system puts profits over patients. It’s because the insurance companies, for-profit insurance companies and for-profit pharmaceutical companies are making money off of people’s illnesses. And Medicare for All says we put patients first. We ensure that everybody is in and nobody is out and that we eliminate all of those profits and administrative waste that exist in our current health care system.
Now, if you’re questioning, because some people are questioning whether or not there really is that much profit built in, I just want to give you some numbers. I just want to give you a few numbers because we got a lot of television stations here. And so this is the perfect opportunity for us to tell the truth about Medicare for All and about our current healthcare system.
So even as people die because they can’t afford their health care. Let me tell you what the top pharmaceutical companies raked in: $75 billion a year in profit. In 2018 alone. The health and medical insurance industry took in $43 billion in profits. The United Health CEO took home $83 million in salary. The Aetna CEO took home $59 million and the Cigna CEO took home $44 million.
This is as people are dying. So when you hear that Medicare for all is unaffordable, you have to ask for whom. Because it is not unaffordable for the American people. It may be unaffordable for those pharmaceutical companies and those insurance companies, but it is not unaffordable for the American people.
So we are here today because we believe that health care is a human right. It is a human right. It is not a privilege for the wealthiest few. Ilhan mentioned some of the key things, so I will just quickly touch on them that are in this plan. Number one, everybody is in and nobody is out. Everyone is covered under Medicare for All. Second, no co-pays, private insurance premiums or deductibles. And here’s the thing you have to know, because it comes in later with one of the attack lines that we’re getting. You will get to keep the same doctor or hospital that you have Medicare for all does not change or take over the existing delivery system.
The only thing it does is provide guaranteed insurance so that if you change a job or you lose a job or you go from one place to another, you are always covered by a guaranteed insurance program. So what that means is that you actually have more choice because instead of being told that you can’t go to a hospital or a doctor because it’s out of network, you actually go to see anybody you want whenever you want. You have more choice and no hospital or doctor is is out of network.
Third, comprehensive coverage. You heard about it, vision and mental health. We want to make sure you get the care that you need when you’re sick. And we, by the way, also include maternal health care. And here we repeal the Hyde Amendment.
Fourth, we control costs. We talked about that we get rid of the administrative waste, all the profit, and we believe that people will get this comprehensive coverage and pay significantly less because the average American is paying $20 thousand in health care costs every year. And that’s if you buy insurance on the marketplace that doesn’t even include surprise billing, etc. And finally, this is a big one for the first time in history. The Medicare for All bill includes long term supports and services.
We cover people with disabilities and we make it so that the default is home based and community based care, not institutionalized care.
And we cover our seniors who desperately need to be able to do that now. Last thing I’ll say before I close. There is lots of information out there. Most of it is wrong and that you hear on TV. But when you hear that people don’t want this because they don’t want to lose their private insurance, let’s just take a little poll here. How many people liked their for-profit private insurance companies? Anybody? Oh, look, Ilhan, there’s not a single hand raised in the count in that in the entire room? When people when pollsters ask that question, because the support for Medicare for all is very high up at around 70%, then the pollsters say, most of whom are funded by these insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies, they say, well, do you how do you feel about losing your private insurance? And then the support does go down. But then if you go one step further, which just happened with the Morning Consult polling that just came out and you say what if you could keep your doctor or your hospital but get rid of your private insurance company, guess what happens? The support goes even higher than before.
So let’s just be really clear that the American people are ready for Medicare for All. And if anybody says to you, it is too bold, it is too ambitious. I would just say when in the United States of America., have we ever achieved something by thinking small? We sent somebody to the moon. We got rid of slavery. And we gave women the right to vote. We darn well can give everyone health care for all through Medicare for All. Thank you all so much.
Omar: [00:22:42.51] Thank you, Rep. Jayapal. We’re just gonna go down the list and give everybody a minute to say any opening remarks that they want, so we’ll start with Senator Franzen.
Franzen: [00:22:55.43] Thank you. I’m so excited to be here and thank you for the invitation. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, I love saying that because this is a substantive conversation. And to have an auditorium full of people who are interested in health care is really heartwarming as I’m in my seventh year in the Minnesota Senate. And when I first got elected, I lobbied to be on the health care committee, which is also called Hell and Human Sacrifice. (Laughter), No joke. I was vice chair for four years and during those four years, we were able to pass the Affordable Care Act or adopt the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion in 2013. So it took us a few years. The bill did get passed in Congress in 2010, but Minnesota had a little hiccup with some of the differences in my journey. I’m a minority with Republicans who really don’t want to make any progress in health care. And and now fast forward now.
You know, I’ve always thought health care is a fundamental human right. I went to a conference in Austria once when I first got elected and (it) was all about health care. And the delegations did not want to sit with the Americans because we did not see health care as a human right. And that was very eye opening. Canada didn’t want to sit with us. Africa didn’t want to sit with us. We felt really lonely.
But no one, as I would say it stated before, should have the impossible choice to make of what to put on the table food, to put a roof over their head, or pay for child care for me. No one should have to go take a bus to Canada to pay for to get fair pricing for insulin to keep them alive. And that’s what’s happening. I’ll wrap up my first minute. I am proud to be here because Minnesota has always been a leader in health care. We had we implemented the ACA, like I mentioned, we had MinnesotaCare, which is our basic health care option. Basically, the Congress, the United States of America looked at Minnesota as a guiding post for further how they would framework the basic health plan. And we were the first one in the entire country to have it. And we continue to want to expand that. And we also have a provider tax that is a 2% and now will be a 1.8% that funds health care in Minnesota. So that is something that we have as Minnesotans seen as a basic human right. And we put our dollars where our morals are. So I’d love to see this happening as we progress in the country and with some of the vision that we are going to talk about tonight. Thank you.
Roach: [00:25:38.02] Well, good evening, fellow patients and greetings from your nurses. So, yeah. Nursing. Before I begin my remarks about Medicare for All, I’m going gonna just take a moment to share with you a resolution that the Minnesota Nurses and the National Nurses United have passed at a recent convention. They said, whereas the pervasive problems of racial and economic injustice that have so stained our nation are generating overdue dialogue. And whereas as nurses, we are dedicated to prevent all forms of illness, protect health and alleviate human suffering. And whereas racism remains a significant public health issue, with racial disparities still prevalent in access to health services and in outcomes. And whereas structural racism is also reflected in political practices, from voter suppression laws to electoral gerrymandering and to racist campaign rhetoric, and whereas the Minnesota nurses and you reaffirm our commitment to fight forward, to defend and uphold the rights of all Americans, including women, people of color, the disabled, all ethnic minorities, immigrants and members of the LGBTQ community. Therefore, be it resolved that MNA and NNU content and and you continue to champion patient advocacy beyond the bedside by partnering with organizations and communities of color as part of our work to build a wider movement that will fight for an economy that works for everyone and a society that cherishes and celebrates our rich diversity. Rep. Omar, I want you to know that on behalf of MAN and NNU, we are so grateful for all of the amazing work that you are doing in Congress and we stand with you.
Ok, now onto Medicare for All.
I want you all to think about two things during tonight’s town hall meeting. Are you or is someone that you love suffering with a health care problem? And if so, I want you to think about is the current health care system making that suffering better or worse? Nurses will tell you that the patients that they care for these days are sicker than they’ve ever been. So why is that? Well, it’s because our fragmented, complex system includes barrier on barrier for people to get care. And that number one barrier is cost. But thankfully. The bill, the law of the land health doesn’t operate under the basic theory of supply and demand because health is not a consumable good. It is a public good. I often say we don’t decide to have a heart attack one day because the hospital down the streets having some sort of a discount sale on bypass surgery. Right. It just doesn’t work that way. Medicare for all recognizes health as a basic human need, providing not only universal coverage, but also a proven cost containment. Rep. Jayapal’s bill contains four essential cost containment elements. First, it bypasses the insurance industry. The federal government will provide pay payer pay providers directly and will not funnel dollars through fifteen hundred insurance companies so they can scrape 20% off the top before passing the rest on to the providers and hospitals.
That’s why we call it a single payer.
Second, America’s 5,500 hospitals will get their own budget will cut hospital administrative costs in half. And third, doctors will be paid on a uniform fee schedule. That uniform schedule plus payment from just one payer will also cut those overhead costs for physicians in their clinics as well. And finally, Medicare for all sets limits on what drug companies can charge.
I do think it’s important to emphasize what Rep. Jayapal said. And we are not slashing costs by slashing provider and hospital income. That’s another myth. It does this by slashing overhead and reducing drug prices. Another myth that’s being perpetrated these days is the one also addressed about us loving our health care. Right. That’s tied to our employment. Well, after 30 years in the labor movement, I can assure you that isn’t the case. Did you know that the U.S. Department of Labor estimates that about one claim in seven made under the employer health plans is initially denied? That’s 200 million claims a year. Collective bargaining over health benefits has become a massive transfer of wealth from workers to insurance companies and pharma. It’s being used as a powerful weapon in the class warfare that we are struggling and engaged in in this day and age. Workers don’t love their employers having control over their health care. And I got a newsflash for you. Employers don’t much care for it either. Most businesses would much rather know every year exactly what their health care costs are without having the uncertainty of annually having to negotiate premium costs and being forced to choose higher costs for themselves, or shifting those costs onto the backs of workers while restricting networks and doing all those fun things that they do to try to keep down costs that don’t work. So under Medicare for All, unlike private insurers, you can always keep the same doctor and hospital. Health care is the issue of intersectionality in the broader justice movement.
Nurses view all issues through the lens of health. They see the devastating impact that racism on affordable housing, food insecurity, income inequality and lack of access to public transportation and environmental destruction has on our health. Can we ever be free of corporate control of our lives when we’re treated like a profit center? Can democratic people-centered power be a reality when a core public need health care is governed is governed not by elections and legislation, but by industries whose central motive is profit? Can racial justice be achieved for people of color and indigenous people who have, far, far higher rates of chronic disease and shorter life expectancies than white people? Can environmental and climate justice be achieved when they’re not equipped to handle the adverse health impacts of climate change? As Princeton University professor of Political Economics Louis Reinhart once said, if health care costs in the United States were lower, most people would probably agree that ill, low income citizens should receive the needed health care that is available to better off individuals. The problem is that our health system is in danger of pricing kindness out of our souls. Well, your nurses are working to make sure that that doesn’t happen. We are working with the labor community, with people of faith, with farmers, disability rights communities and our legislators to enact finally, once and for all Medicare for All. Si, se puede, everybody.
Dvorak: [00:33:15.91] Hi. My name is Dave Dvorak. I am an emergency room physician. I’ve been practicing for over 25 years. I’ve practiced in a number of different emergency department settings. I trained at Hennepin County Medical Center. Then I practiced in the private community at Fairview Emergency Department for many years. And most recently, I’m at the V.A. Over those years I’ve seen endless uninsured patients. And it’s always struck me as kind of a cruel irony that when people are down and out and have no other place to go, they end up having to access one of the most expensive parts of the health care system. It’s really wrong.
And they tend to access it at in ways that don’t benefit them, whether it be somebody with a chronic disease, diabetes, asthma, trained to kind of plug the gaps in the emergency department. One, of course, these chronic illnesses are best managed by a primary provider or more tragically, when a patient puts off the care they need because they’re uninsured and then they show up in the emergency department with a catastrophic medical situation. It might be somebody with a disabling stroke who did not have their hypertension and diabetes managed over the years. Maybe it’s a woman who comes in with symptoms that turn out to be stage four metastatic colon cancer. It turns out she was unable to get a colonoscopy because she was uninsured, totally preventable. Any emergency physician can give you countless stories of people who have suffered because of this health care system, who have delayed or actually declined to get the care they need because they can’t afford it. So the big thing is the electronic medical record that it bedevils physicians and nurses alike. It’s been called a glorified cash machine.
And in essence, it is that. So the way it goes when I when I go in to see a patient, I take the history, I do the physical. And I come back and I sit at my workstation to put in the orders, which I am putting in in the hopes of helping that patient, whether it be blood work an xray, IV’s, medications. But with each click of my mouse, I am also compiling that patient’s bill – line item bill – in real time. And I went to medical school to help patients, but I realize at some level I am simultaneously hurting them because weeks later they’re gonna get that bill in the mail and they’ll say they’ll go dizzy looking at the lines in the pages, what is this? What is this? And. And then they have to square off with how do we how do we pay for this? And personally, I did not want to be, I did not want to be part of a system that harms our patients while we’re while we’re allegedly helping them.
My journey I, went to get a master’s of public health at the U about 10 years ago. And I learned more kind of the macro level about the dysfunction of the U.S. health care system and learned about alternative models and in what type of things might fix what ails our system. And single payer appealed to me. And most of you know that Medicare for All is a form of single payer. I was connected with an organization called Physicians for a National Health Program. Shout out to PNHP.
PNHP, for those who don’t know, is a national organization of 20,000 members, physicians and medical professionals, who believe in health care is a human right. And we believe that single payer Medicare for All is the most efficient and most equitable way to get there. And we’ve been, I’ve been involved with PNHP for about 10 years now. And when we started out talking to different groups, it was kind of a fringe thing. A lot of people were kind of scratching their heads. What’s this all about? And owing to the effort of so many people at so many levels, it’s now clearly in the mainstream. And, I’m proud to be sitting at this table with these distinguished guests. Thank you.
Murphy: [00:38:03.7] I am Erin Murphy. I am delighted to be here. And I really want to talk about health care. But it is important for me and I think important for us in the room to recall last night. And to recognize that we have a president who used a powerful platform to incite hateful rhetoric that is dangerous. And I want to say how grateful I am that I am here in Minnesota with us, where we can stand up for what we believe in. We can disagree and we can do it in a way that is respectful and civil and moves the country forward. And I am grateful to be in this room with you. Rep. Ilhan Omar, my sister. Right.
Somany of you know me, I am a registered nurse. I served in the Minnesota house for 12 last year, ran for governor and almost won. We talked a lot about health care in our campaign and it is an issue that is near and dear to the hearts of the people of Minnesota. And each of us tonight have talked about how health care is a human right. And it is. And for me, as a registered nurse, it’s a professional obligation. And when I took care of patients in the hospital and today when people come to me and say they’re sick, I say, tell me about your symptoms. How are you feeling? I don’t say. Show me your insurance card. That insurance card. That question is a barrier to fundamental care. And to ask that question to think about that first is antithetical to my professional obligations as a registered nurse and for anybody from my perspective, to stand up and say that I believe that health care is a human right and then not fully put yourself into the path forward to talk about it, but not to act is an empty promise. And I know from the people of Minnesota in the work that I have done and I have been all over the state and listened to Minnesotans that they are tired of politicians with empty promises. They are looking for action on the issues that they face in health care across the state, regardless of what you do. If you work for a large corporation, if you’re a small employer, if you’re a farmer, families, children, people who are single people are struggling with health care. And that is why I’m here tonight, because we need to take action. There it is awesome that we are seeing the kind of leadership on the federal level with Medicare for all. It is about time as.
And we have a role to play, too. We have a role to play in making sure that we’re supporting our members of Congress who are acting on this, but we also need to do work here because we know that we can build up to federal action here in the states. And one of the most profound things I have learned in my work across the state is Minnesotans actually care about each other. And if we remember that the health care system is about care. And when we look at each other and we remember, right. That we are tied together in a web of humanity, that we can use that power, that power of what brings us together to move policy at the state level. And in my many years of working first as a nurse and then as a policymaker and as an advocate, when I worked for the Minnesota Nurses Association, we have made tremendous progress in the state of Minnesota. I can see John Marty in the back of the hall. There he is. Right. All right. John Marty, the author of the Minnesota Health Plan. He has been at that for a very long time. That’s right. And he will continue.
And it is one example. One example. It is one example of the way state legislators can work in partnership with our representatives in Congress to make the kind of progress that we need for the people across the country. We will divine and design our own unique plan here, right? That’s what we do in America. But for everybody who says this is too hard, it’s too radical. There’s just no way we can get it done. I say that’s malarkey because we can do anything that we put our minds to in this country.
And it’s time for this. It is time for health care for all. The last thing I’ll say, that the people of Minnesota are ahead of policymakers and you see it in that 70% support for Medicare for all. And the barriers in front of us are the status quo holders of power who don’t want to see change. They don’t want to see change because they like the money that they’re making. When people are sick and people are sick and the profit is coming at the expense of their health. Of their lives, and that is unforgivable. And that is what we need to change, as I like to say, this is no time. This is no time for tippy-toe politics. This change will take all of us together. But I know seeing you in this room and when I think about the people across the state who are ready to stand up. Stand together. Fight for what we believe in. We will make the progress we need to make sure that everyone in America has health care. Thank you.
Omar: [00:43:54.57] Thank …thank you all. I’m gonna try to get through a few questions so that we can take some questions from the audience.
But I did want to honor the fact that Senator Marty, here in our state has been a champion for, Medicare for All and has been pushing before people even knew what it was that he cared about. And one of the rising stars, Rep. Alice Mann is the author of the bill in the Minnesota House. And it’s really wonderful that you join us, Senator. Thank you.
Jayapal, I wanted to sort of speak to something Erin mentioned … that we really are not in the business of doing tippy-toe politics. I know when we did our big press conference to sort of celebrate the first hearing that the bill had and the second hearing it was going to happen, the Ways and Means, one of the things that we talked about was how this bill and we were excited when it had 30 co-authors. And now that it’s expanded. You have more coauthors. It looks like that when you are being bold that there are more opportunities for people to believe in that than when you’re cutting them short or selling them short. And I want you to touch on what the distinction is between your bill and the Senate version of this bill and why you’ve decided to have long term care included. And why just having public option wasn’t adequate enough.
Jayapal: [00:46:16.04] Thank you for the question. I think the the the Senate bill, which is Senator Sanders bill, and I really want to give an enormous shout out to Bernie, because Bernie. This really, when I think about what has led us to this place, I would say there are sort of three things. One is the people. Senator, thank you for your work. It sounds like you were you were talking about this long, long, long ago and we deeply appreciated the nurses, you know, people, doctors who have been pushing for this for a long time and building the organizing movement around the country. The second was Bernie running for president and elevating the issue to a presidential level. And and then the third was the Affordable Care Act gave people the belief that health care actually could be possible and it expanded health care for tens of millions of people.
And health care really became seen as a human right after the Affordable Care Act got passed and people started realizing, “oh, wait a second, I have a preexisting condition, I should still get health care.” And then when the republic I guess this would be the fourth when the Republicans started stripping away health care. People don’t like things being taken away from them that they’ve already gotten. They want more of what they just had that was really good.
And so, Bernie’s bill was really the basis of this plus. Conyers Bill 676 and then sitting with a big coalition that included and then you add included the physicians and a whole bunch of different advocacy groups. We sort of looked at 676 and Bernie’s bill took the best of both of them and added anything that we didn’t think was there. And long term supports and services was a big piece of that. What Bernie did is he took a piece of what we did, and he made the default community based care for those long term supports and services. So he flipped that from institutional care to community based care and home based care. But our long term supports and services are more robust than Bernie’s. The other difference is that we have a two-year transition and Bernie has a four-year transition. And I’ll tell you why we did that. It’s because if you think about a transition and remember that Social Security was put into that, that Social Security was put into place in a year, that Medicare is adding a tremendous number of people every year. But if you are transitioning in the way that we’re talking about of a big system, you might think that it’s better to just sort of, you know, do it more slowly.
But the problem is you don’t gain any of the cost savings. And if you think about private insurance companies being told that in four years, they’re gonna be completely phased out. What do you think is going to happen to premiums during those four years? They’re gonna spike way up because there’s no incentive for them to try to hold costs down. They know they’re gonna have to get out. And the quicker the transition, the better. But a year is a little bit too short. In my bill, we, for the first year, we combine all the administrative systems. The second year we cover 19 and under and 55 and older just to sort of test it out in the third year, everyone is covered. So those are the big differences between the Senate bill and the House bill. But I really think Bernie deserves so much credit for really putting this issue on the map in a way that nobody else has done.
And we work very closely together, by the way, on this. I just had dinner with him last night and so did you (lhan). So, in terms of why not a public option, look, a long time ago, so many of us thought maybe having a public option was the best we could get. We were all fighting for single payer health care during the Affordable Care Act struggle when we couldn’t get that, we were pushing to get a public option. But the problem again is the fundamental system is broken and having a public option does nothing about the private insurance companies that are out there just covers more people, which is good. But it doesn’t fix the system. It doesn’t take care of costs at all. And it doesn’t really address some of the deeply-rooted problems of a health care system that is designed around profits instead of patients. So maybe there’s a few more people that get coverage. But even now, we are seeing those costs escalate to the point where Medicare and Medicaid are challenged, employer-based health care is challenged. And so a public option is like it’s like nibbling around the edges. What did you call it? Tippy, tippy-toe, tippy-toe politics. It is nibbling around the edges, it doesn’t take on the fundamental issue, which is all of the for-profit stuff that is baked into the system. And if you don’t take that out and you don’t also address costs at the same time, then you are not going to get a system that is sustainable. Because remember that this system we’re talking about is going to cost us $60 trillion over 10 years. So when somebody says, well, if you look at the Koch brothers study that says Medicare for all costs, $32 trillion over 10 years, I would just ask you, would you rather pay $32 trillion and get comprehensive care over 10 years or would you rather pay $60 trillion and get no care? I don’t know, it seems like a pretty easy choice to me, right? But that’s why we’ve got to go – we have to really redo the whole system and we have to get refocused on patient care and health care as a human right.
Omar: [00:52:31.27] you said, people don’t like having, their things taken away. They want more of whatever was good. And so, Erin, when the ACA became law in 2013, Minnesota was one of five states that was able to expand Medicaid and so I’m wondering, did Minnesota learn anything from expanding eligibility of an established public coverage program? And what were some of those lessons that were learned.
Murphy: [00:53:08.73] Minnesota has – and someone alluded to this already – we have been a leader on health care for a long time and one of the reasons why we were one of five states to be able to expand medical assistance, what we call Medicaid here is medical assistance, early is because we had done so much work to cover people. And so the law allowed us to extend medical assistance to the people who made less than 138% of federal poverty. They don’t make much money. But in addition to the women and children who had been covered. Anybody. And the reason why I think this is important is because we expanded a program that we already knew it had been in law since 1965, like Medicare. The infrastructure was already in place like Medicare. And we had to enroll new people, which was not difficult because they lived in Minnesota. They had to sign up. They knew how to do that. The infrastructure was already there. And it happened almost immediately after Gov. Dayton was first elected. It was the first thing he did after he was sworn in because he knew it was gonna be very important.
That’s right. It was a really big deal. Often, we hear this idea of Medicare for all is just too left. And we’ll hear it’s too left, which I think is funny because for me, health care is not a left or right issue. And when we are called to represent the interests of people trying to solve a problem for the people is not a left or right issue. This is an issue of right and wrong. And we know when we expanded medical assistance here in the state of Minnesota and covered more people that it worked. You didn’t hear complaints about it. You didn’t hear about infrastructure breaking down, commuters breaking down. We made it work. We also took provisions from the Affordable Care Act like the basic health plan, and applied that to MinnesotaCare so we could draw down some more funding. But the lesson for us and the applicable lesson for Medicare for All is the infrastructure already exists. We already know how to do this. So we’re not inventing something brand new.
We’re using something that we already know and making it work for more people. We can trust that people trust Medicare. It is a worthy, worthy platform for more people.
Omar: [00:55:37.31] I wanted to speak a little bit about the labor movement. I recently was listening to a speech one of my colleagues was making in one of our committees, as you know, I said on the Education and Labor Committee. And he said something to the effect of, you know, we people in the labor force have negotiated with their employers for the perfect healthcare. And so I want you to talk about that. What has the experience of being part of this labor movement for 30 years meant in regards to those negotiations? And what would Medicare for All mean for people, our brothers and sisters in labor?
Roach: [00:56:31.86] Sure, I always find that to be such an interesting statement when I hear it. You may all have been paying attention to the news just a month or so ago when the nurses over at Children’s Hospital had actually taken a strike vote. And they were ready to go on strike. And guess what the issue was? Health insurance, right? This is nurses. Right? Who work in a hospital? And we’re ready to go on strike over the increased costs that were being put on them in relation to their health insurance. The reality is, is that we can’t bargain health care. That is a failed strategy for labor to think we can do that. It’s not working. All we do is yell at each other across the table about who’s going to pick up the cost. And we don’t realize we might have a, “common enemy”. And that is the industry itself that keeps raising those costs that are not going to care. They are going to things other than care. When Rep. Jayapal talked about the CEO of United Health making $88 million, my question is who did he heal? For $88 million. Right. I mean, it’s a big fat goose egg.
And he doesn’t get $88 million for, you know, for making sure other people don’t get care, because the only way you make money in health insurance is to deny care because you’ve got to take the money in and not pay it out. That’s immoral from nurses viewpoint. So this idea that the labor movement has fought hard for many, many years for for these types of benefits. And there was a time in an age where those things had a different kind of meaning than they do nowadays. But this benefit is losing its its value at the bargaining table because we now give up wages, we give up salary increases because all of that money ends up going into insurance company pockets. And we therefore have wage stagnation in this country. And that is not good for our overall economy that is causing continued income inequality as well.
For the labor movement, it is in some ways, you know, there are some that still have decent insurance. But I would argue this in Canada, there are strong unions in Canada and Canada has a form of national health care. Right. And those unions have those union workers and members have figured out that if they did when they first instituted that system, that if everyone is at risk of losing that access to health care, We’re next on the chopping block. As Jim Hightower says, “if you aren’t at the table, you’re on the menu.” And that is exactly what is going on when it comes to this health insurance. This means we will be able to put money into resources, rebuild defined benefit pensions in this country again. How about a dignified retirement? Those are the things we can start to do. If we don’t have to worry about pouring all this money into health insurance, instead, we can put it into salaries and other programs that help individuals individually. Thank you.
Jayapal: [00:59:47.59] That that was perfect, and I just wanted people to know that while in the past not all the labor unions were on board, that is different this year, we have built a really phenomenal Labor Coalition. So all of the almost all of the major unions, SEIU, AFT, NEA, the UAW, the mineworkers ILWU. I mean, it is really a phenomenal Labor Coalition. This time around and it is what Rose said, even when employers if you look at employer premiums, even if you have employer covered health care, those premiums are going up and up and up. There’s about $775 billion that employers pay to private for-profit insurance companies for those premiums. So those premiums are going up. The employers either absorb the costs themselves or they push it down to the employees. More and more employees are having to pay more and more for employer health care and they’re not getting as much service. And if you only have a buck at the bargaining table, Rose knows this really well. If you’re only about buck at the bargaining table and 60 cents of that has to go to health care, you’ve only got 40 cents left for wages. There is a direct tie between wage stagnation and the rising cost of health care.
Omar: [01:01:13.66] So I’m glad we kind of debunk that myth that this isn’t good for the labor movement, and now I want to sort of look at debunking another myth. Dr Dvorak?
So, Dave, the critics of Medicare for All, say doctors who and physicians who support this policy are sort of not doing it on in the interest of their own behalf, that by implementing this that we are going to have their income, the income of the hospital and the income of the providers slashed so they will be paid less. How do you respond to that? Why would this be a good thing for you if you’re going to make less money because of it?
Dvorak: [01:01:36.1] Well, yeah, I have the opportunity to speak to groups of physicians on this topic and that question a hand usually goes up or if it doesn’t go up, most of them are thinking that very thing like how is this going to affect my my compensation? And, a fairly recent polls showed 58% support amongst physicians for single payer Medicare for All. And I would guess that a lot. That do not support it have that very concern that the compensation is going to get hurt. Hospitals are gonna get squeezed when, in fact Medicare for All – it doesn’t. I realize it’s incredible savings like cutting provider salaries or harming hospitals. Medicare for All realizes that savings by slashing the massive waste in the system is Rep. Jayapal mentioned that we spend three point seven trillion dollars on health care annually. Twice what other industrialized nations do. It’s not that we’re not spending enough money on our health care system. It’s how are we spending it? One other statistic is that 31% of our health care spending is not going towards health care. It’s going towards administrative overhead and profit taking.
Medicare for All. Takes the waste, the massive waste and the profit taking and directs that to actual health care. And that’s how that’s how the savings happen. That’s how we’re able to insure the uninsured and make sure everybody has a comprehensive plan without the barriers of co-pays and deductibles. It’s through the mechanisms that that we’ve mentioned it through cutting that this administrative waste and the duplication and the private insurance industry and all the profit taking that we talked about. It’s about it’s about negotiated hospital global budgets and it’s about negotiating fair prices for pharmaceuticals. Okay. Those three mechanisms alone save countless billions of dollars and free up plenty of money to make sure we all have coverage. One other quick statistic that I found interesting. Duke University Medical Center has nine hundred and sixty two beds. To handle the billing of those 962 beds where each of the patients that walks in the door has a different coverage, different plan, different co-pays to cover those 962 beds. Duke University has a billing department of 1,600 billing personnel. OK, so if you’re looking for inefficiency in the system, you don’t have to look very far.
And one other point I made to fellow physicians is that we if you – most of you are aware, there’s a there’s a high burnout phenomenon going on in medicine, both in physicians and nurses – and a lot of that is attributed to the layers and layers of complexity that we’re up against with the private insurance system, where, again, each of our patients has different coverages. We’re spending our time basically asking insurance companies for pre authorization. We’re filling out forms, making phone calls.
We’re asking insurance companies for permission to treat our patients as we see fit. That’s a big hit to your job satisfaction. The average American physician spends about $80,000 per year interfacing with insurance companies. In Canada, it’s about a quarter of that. There’s more than just salary and the salary is not touched in most single payer models there. They find these savings and they assume no change in provider compensation. So not only does the compensation stay safe, but your job satisfaction goes up appreciably. And I think we need more and more doctors and nurses to keep doing what they’re doing, to take care of to take care of American patients.
Omar: [01:06:36.5] Thank you for the opportunity to debunk that other myth. And so we’re close to the end and have a little bit time left and I want to give the audience an opportunity to ask a few questions. It’s no surprise that we used up about an hour and a half with four politicians and a nurse and a doctor sharing a stage. And we’ll take a few questions in the audience.
Audience member: [01:07:32.1] I’m asking this question on behalf of relatives who live out state, actually. And hello to Seattle. My brother lives in your district. I sent him a text already. If a bill and as I was writing this, I realized there probably should have studied the health care bill that you already did pass. If a bill with fixes for Obamacare comes to you on the floor, will you vote for it? And one with a public option.
Omar: [01:08:08.92] All right. How about I just I. OK. If a bill with fixes for Obamacare comes to the floor, will you vote for it? Public option additions. How would Medicare for all effect rural health care? What should we start with, local? Maybe answer this question (Melisa)?
Franzen: [01:08:33.05] Well, if it was at the local level, we have already done in Minnesota some fixes after passage … I voted on two bills actually since I was in the Minnesota House. Sure, there has been a lot of bills. What’s happened in Minnesota? And just for perspective, just to start off, Minnesotans are covered mostly through employer health care, 52.9%. And then the rest for the most part is public programs like Medicaid, Minnesota Care and Medicare. That’s 36.5%, which leaves about roughly 350,000 uninsured. So those folks are going to the individual market or MnSure and buying their insurance off MnSure in this case. Right now, we have MinnesotaCare, which is the basic health plan is what what’s the similarity with the federal language, so what we’re looking at in Minnesota is to expand perhaps a public option. We’ve had the previous administration, Democratic administration under Dayton, too, that pushed a public option. And then the current administration, which is also under Tim Walz, is also pushing OneCare, basically using MinnesotaCare as a model, but beefing it up and making it a platinum level plan so it competes in the individual market. So it’s another option, because right now most things most plans in the Minnesota or MnSure are gold or silver plans. As a question relates to rural communities. We’ve also experienced some plans pulling out of rural communities across Minnesota, which has been obviously very detrimental to some of our constituents across the state. And what the state has done is pushing up more of those plans to be able to the public option would be an option that could be used in rural communities. That’s the framework, I guess, or the landscape in Minnesota. I do want to go back real briefly, if I may, with Rose’s comment about economics. And this is really an economic issue. We also pass a 25% premium increase or subsidy in Minnesota because the market destabilised. And we were trying to give some relief to individual market payers because they were there, their premiums were going through the roof 30% or more. We did that to help and we also passed reinsurance. I know this is a lot, but it is complicated when we say health care is complicated it really is. It is complicated. Reinsurance right now, which I’m not a huge fan of, is basically giving health plans, money to really make up their losses. And I don’t think that’s a long and stable fix for health care in Minnesota or the country. So there is a lot of room for these ideas. For me, Minnesota having a public option is the next step that would get us closer to insuring all Minnesotans.
Jayapal: [01:11:23.76] Yeah. Just in terms of what we’ve done at the house. I mean, there is no contradiction in my mind between shoring up the Affordable Care Act and doing everything we can to shore up the Affordable Care Act and pushing for Medicare for All. We have to we have to do whatever we can to protect health care for Americans right now. And any suggestion from any political candidates out there that somehow, if you’re for Medicare for All you’re for destroying the Affordable Care Act is absolute nonsense. I did one of the largest rallies to shore up the Affordable Care Act. Bernie’s was the largest mine was the second largest to shore up the Affordable Care Act. And we did take up on the House of Representatives floor and both Rep. Omar and I voted for these packages, a series of bills to actually address, some, some, but not all of the shortcomings of the Affordable Care Act. We are also in the process of pushing for a bold progressive bill that would deal with pharmaceutical pricing as well. And that is built into the Medicare for All legislation we have not just negotiation, but we actually have the hammer of if competitive licensing. If a pharmaceutical drug manufacturer doesn’t want to negotiate, we say, fine, you don’t have to negotiate, but then we’re going to license a generic and we’re going to bring competition back into the marketplace to keep the prices down for consumers. And the Progressive Caucus is pushing very hard for a bold prescription drug pricing bill. We don’t have to wait for Medicare for All to do that. There’s a lot of things we should be doing and we are doing around shoring up health care right now. But we also have to have a vision of how we fix this. This is not going to get fixed with those shore ups, I’m sorry to say. We really do need to fix the whole system.
Omar: [01:13:29.77] Ok, so we’re going to try to give quick answers because we. We have a lot of questions, and so Erin, will take this question.
Murphy: [01:13:42.32] At the recent Democratic presidential debate, Rep. John Delaney claimed Medicare for All would cause rural hospitals to close because of the reimbursement rates. Is this true? “No.”
Jayapal: [01:14:05.22] Ok, I tell you he’s a colleague, but he’s just wrong. All right. What else?
Omar: [01:14:15.25] Yeah. You want to go for this, OK? You can. You can take that, you can answer it yourself. All right.
Murphy: [01:14:19.81] So the next question is Ilhan, Rep. Omar, Ilhan my friend is the only member of the Minnesota delegation on board with Medicare for All. All right. Then the question is. “What can the people in this room do to move them? Or should we vote them out?” That’s the question. All right. because we’re not in North Carolina, and because we’re in Minnesota, let us remember how powerful we are. Each of us. Each of us. You’re here because you care about this issue and you have a powerful voice. And not only do you use that when you talk with your representative like Rep. Ilhan Omar. But the people who represent you need to know that this is a priority issue for you, that you’re going to vote on this issue, that you’re going to organize on this issue, the most important thing that each of us can do is talk to our fellow neighbors and friends, the people we go to church with, the people we work with. Our democracy is under attack right now. And if we don’t take back our power to drive our own future, we won’t earn the things we won’t win the things we won’t build, the things that we’re capable of. So to the question, what should we do out of this? We must all act. We must use our power as constituents, as Americans, as Minnesotans to build the kind of change that we need.
Omar: [01:16:05.3] Jayapal, I think this question is for you. How much will this bring up our taxes and how will you handle the Republicans pushback?
Jayapal: [01:16:16.64] Thank you. This isn’t a one-word answer. We currently pay $3.5 trillion dollars a year or $36 trillion over 10 years – is what health costs us today. Two thirds of that are costs that the federal government is already paying. So that’s through Medicaid, Medicare and private subsidies. And so when somebody says Medicare for all is going to cost 32 trillion, which was a Koch Brothers conservative study, by the way, but let’s just accept it … over 10 years, that’s not 32 trillion in new spending. Understand that? That would be 32 trillion total. Well, we’re already paying for two thirds of that. Let’s say that’s 3.2 trillion a year. We essentially have to come up with about a trillion dollars that the federal government is not currently paying. Remember I told you that employers are paying about two thirds of a trillion dollars – 770 billion dollars a year in private for-profit insurance premiums. There is now a great Businesses for Medicare for All coalition. And the Post CEO just came out for it. Blue Apron, Joe Sandberg. I just had dinner with him the other night because these employers are saying we are at a competitive disadvantage.
Jayapal: [01:17:37.64] In fact, Warren Buffett, no less than Warren Buffett, called the US health care system the “tapeworm of economic competitiveness.” The reality is you can’t compete with any other industrialized country because you have health care on your books. And to Dave’s point. We have a major hospital CEO who is about to come out for health care, for Medicare for All. And what he told me is exactly the same. He said the insurance companies have armies of hundreds of people who are there just to deny claims. And they have to have hundreds of people in order to fight for those claims to be filed. He said I could just pay a portion of what I’m paying right now or I could even pay all of what I’m paying right now and my employees would get better health care. So Bernie put out a paper last year. There’s a whole bunch of different ways to come up with that trillion dollars. You could have employers pay a certain premium just like they do right now for four for Social Security.
You could have a financial as very small financial transaction tax on the wealthiest, though. Ilhan’s going to use that for college for all. And don’t forget that the Republicans just passed 1.5 trillion dollars in tax cuts for the wealthiest. There is a lot of room for us to come up with that. This is not a question of cost. It’s a question of will.
Omar: That was more than two words. I’ll start with Erin on this and see if anyone else wants to chime in. Though there is a lot of questions around disparities. Social, economic, racial disparities. And we know it’s structural racism is fundamental to why a policy like Medicare for all is needed. It brings a structural fix to a structural problem. Studies have shown that racial disparities diminish when folks turn 65 and gain access to Medicare. What are the important implications of Medicare for All on racial equity?
Murphy: [01:20:09.47] This is this is critically important question in Minnesota, but across the country where we know we’re experiencing significant disparities in health outcome based on race and arguably when everyone is in and everybody is covered, we’re going to get a better health outcome. I think fundamentally the passage of this law will advance the closure of the disparities. But I think we have to be honest that for those of us who are providers, there is bias. We know that that is one of the reasons why we see disparities in maternal health outcomes. In addition to making sure everyone has access to care, we have to do the very hard work of examining why people are experiencing disparities. We have to look at the social determinants of health, where we live, the environment, poverty. But we also have to look at the bias that we hold within ourselves. And I’m speaking now as a provider to make sure that I am not ignoring or dismissing the symptoms of a person that’s coming to me because of a bias I have inside my head. That is a significant additional piece of work that we need to do with the workforce in health care. And we can.
Jayapal: [01:21:27.28] Just very quickly, I wanted to say that last week a whole coalition of racial justice organizations released a letter endorsing Medicare for all and talking exactly about this. The NAACP has endorsed the Leadership Conference Center for Public Popular Democracy, United We Dream, a number of other racial justice organizations. There’s a really fantastic coalition specifically around getting folks of color in our bill for the first time. Also ensures that everybody, including all of our immigrants across this country, regardless of citizenship, will be included in the system.
Omar: [01:22:15.3] And I think importantly. The fact that we don’t have a lot of diversity within the profession of healthcare, right in in net providers is an important one. And I know that when we introduced our college for all in cancelling out student debt and in making sure that college and universities were free. The important piece of it was to make sure that there are more people who are able to practice. Health care in that field and we even I know talked about how access to health care in the rural parts of our country was important and diminishing because people who had that of three hundred thousand dollars were less likely to go and return to to their rural communities to to practice and become a provider there. And by freeing students from the shackles of debt, we might have an opportunity to make this profession a more equitable one and a more diverse one. And I know there’s a lot of media here. I will ask this one question and I would love to get an answer from all of you and we’ll try to. I do that, though. The one question I have is yours is the one that we have time for.
If there was one thing that you could address with how this legislation has been framed in the media, what would it be? And we will start with Melisa.
Franzen: [01:24:29.46] Sure. Thank you. And just for the record, in my district, Senate District 49, I both have Ilhan Omar and CD5. And I have Rep. Dean Phillips in CD3. And I love them both. They’re my friends. And I think we’re in this fight together to make sure it’s affordable to have health care and not be bankrupt and not have families disrupted by the mere fact that we get sick or injured. What I would change the question is what I would change. And how the media frames it. I go back to it’s an economic issue, it’s absolutely about cost. And we need to prioritize. It will be expensive to cover more people if we have a public program like we do already in Minnesota. But how to expand it for people to be able to afford into it and pay into it. We can figure this out. We’re the most powerful nation in the world. I hope we continue to remain there. But I think the cost. It’s an economic issue. It’s a bread and butter issue that we all struggle with every single month, whether it’s when you go to Walgreens to fill your prescription, whether it’s when you get denied a prescription because the PBS aims and are denied and through the process of prior authorization and taking money off of of your access to drugs or whether it’s you go to the E.R. because it’s the weekend and that’s when your little kids get sick. We all struggle with this. And the economic imperative is how to frame it so people don’t go and say, this is such a left issue. This is such a socialist issue. No, it’s an economic issue of our time. And the Democrats have a solution.
Roach: [01:26:10.23] I would just tell them to research the bill. How’s that for an idea? And actually have an opportunity to know what it is and ask the questions based on what is actually there in the bill as opposed to taking talking points off of funders that may or may not actually be in support of the bill.
Dvorak: [01:26:39.45] First of all, I would say that it seems like when we we talk about Medicare for All, we’re oftentimes on defense. There’s a lot of detractors, a lot of criticisms, and we’re constantly fielding those. I would try to remember to stay on the offense, too, against the insurance industry and the pharmaceutical industry who who have much more highly paid PR people than we do. But we have to we have to expose them for the profit taking industry as they are. And then one other point I’d like to make is, I mean, they oftentimes like to make this point. It’s a lot a lot of talk about socialism. And have you heard it’s a bad thing. But if you just step back and think there there’s a lot of things in this country that we as a country have come together and decided our common goods, whether that be national defense with the military, whether it be libraries, schools, police, fire, these are common goods you can call the socialism in America. And I think we all agree that this helps make America a better, safer place for all of us. It’s not a it’s not a big leap to talk about health security as one more common good. If we truly want to be the best country on this planet and we want to be proud of ourselves. We need to guarantee health care for all of us. It’s not a big stretch.
Murphy: [01:28:10.98] This is an issue about people. This is an issue about human lives. And often the humanity of what we’re discussing gets lost in a discussion about politics, which I confess I love. But if we’re not talking first about the people and what we stand to lose, if we don’t fix this, we will never capture the hearts of the people who we know care for one another. Because although here is the fight, we we in America shouldn’t lose our lives if we can’t afford our insulin. We shouldn’t lose our jobs because we’re sick. We shouldn’t lose our insurance because we’re sick and we can’t work. The human impact is so profound if we don’t get this right and we should keep the lives of people front and center as we talk about our solutions.
Jayapal: [01:29:16.37] So I would say the question should be not we can’t afford this or the statement should be we can’t afford it. The statement should be we can’t afford not to do this. And then the second thing I would just say is we are proud progressives, we love we. You know, I’m the co-chair of the Progressive Caucus. But I don’t think that this is a progressive policy or issue. I think actually, if you think about the word centrist, which has been co-opted to mean serving the top 1, you know, 10% or 20%. But if you thought about it as centrist being serving the majority of people or the center of the country, then this would be a centrist policy because it would serve everybody. And I think that, you know, there are some people who are like, oh, it’s too radical. It’s to this. Well, it’s not too radical for all the other industrialized countries in the world. It is not too radical. It is not too radical for the people who are losing their lives every year and their family members. And in the end, it is not about the label you attached to the policy. It is about what is the right thing to do. And this is doable. We can do this and we can provide health care to everybody in the United States.
Omar: [01:30:46.89] So I’m going to use mine and steal it from a question that came in earlier. This is a brutal business, policy. Because it reduces administrative burden. And it is. One of the most economically feasible things for us to do. Because it cuts waste. And for the Republicans that try to make a case out of these progressive left policies and how we are just going to spend money. Keeping with the status quo on health care is wasteful. Keeping the status quo with health care is deadly for many Americans. Keeping with the status quo in health care is psychologically impacting many of us. Keeping with the status quo in health care can no longer be sustained by Americans. And so with that, I thank you all for being here. I look forward to continuing these conversations. I know many of you are probably wondering why I don’t say too much in many of these conversations, because I know that the opportunity that you get to be in this discussion with these experts might be limited and so I wanted to make sure that you heard from our guests who traveled from afar, who have spent days and nights studying these policies and (I) wanted to give you the opportunity to get the tools that you needed so that you can have this conversation with your family members who didn’t come, with your neighbors who are not here, with your cousins and aunties and uncles who you might call tonight and talk to about this wonderful forum that you went to and to all of your Twitter and Facebook friends. And so thank you again for giving me the honor and the privilege of serving you in Congress. And thank you so much for showing people that in Minnesota. It might be cold, but we have warmest hearts. Thank you.