El-Sayed outlines health care plan

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, a Democratic candidate for governor, speaks at a MichCare Policy Rally at the Marquette Commons along Third Street Monday. El-Sayed spoke to a large crowd about his detailed plan for implementing MichCare, which would be a state-level single-payer health care plan that would cover all Michigan residents from birth to 65 years old, with no copays, no deductibles and no premiums. (Journal photo by Cecilia Brown)

MARQUETTE — Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, a Democratic candidate in Michigan’s primary race for governor, held a MichCare Policy Rally at the Marquette Commons along Third Street Monday.

El-Sayed spoke to a full house about his plan to reform and transform health care in Michigan. If elected, he said he would implement MichCare, a single-payer health care plan that would cover every Michigan resident from birth to the Medicare-eligibility age of 65 years old.

“MichCare is a plan for a state-level, single-payer health system, Medicare-for-all style health program that would fundamentally reform the way we provide access to health care in the state of Michigan,” he said.

El-Sayed, who was trained as a physician and worked to rebuild the Detroit Public Health Department as its health director, believes health care is a basic and fundamental human right — and that a single-payer model is possible to implement.

“We have to stand up and say health care is a human right.” he said. “You deserve to have it just because you are our fellow Michigander and we are willing to do the work of getting it done. It is, in fact, possible.”

With 600,000 uninsured in Michigan, he said, health care is a major concern in the state as, for many people, an unexpected health care expense would be devastating.

“Not only would it take your health, but it would take your financial well-being too,” he said.

He said it’s time to make politics work for health care — not the other way around.

“We have to ask ourselves, not how we make health care work for our politics, but how we make our politics work to make sure that everybody gets health care,” he said.

Under MichCare, he said, preventative treatment would become a priority.

“Most of the time, we want health, not health care — and you know what the best way to provide you health is? Prevention from getting sick in the first place,” he said.

El-Sayed laid out his detailed plan for funding and implementing MichCare for attendees, offering examples of how it could reduce health care costs for individuals, families and businesses.

He said while there would be an income-based graduated tax to fund MichCare, 80 percent of Michiganders would save money.

“The average family, earning about $48,000 a year, saves $5,000,” he said. “You know why? Because there’s no such thing called a co-pay, there’s no such thing called a premium, there’s no such a thing as a deductible.”

He said the plan would also help many businesses save on health care costs for employees — a tax would be implemented to pay for MichCare, but El-Sayed said most businesses wouldn’t pay anything.

“On the business side, we would tax gross receipts at 2 percent, up to 50 employees, that would go to 2.25 percent — but it would not start until $2 million in gross receipts and 75 percent of businesses don’t pay a dime,” he said. “But here’s the thing, even the big corporations — we estimated that a 40,000-person corporation would end up saving over $20 million on health care,” he said.

Michigan residents pay some of the highest rates in the nation for auto insurance, he said, and MichCare will also address that issue.

“We’re one of two states that asks auto insurance to be health insurance too — so if you’re injured in an auto accident, auto insurance in Michigan has to cover your injuries,” he said, adding, “You give every Michigander health insurance — and auto insurance goes back to being auto insurance and the cost goes down about 60 percent.”

El-Sayed said he is passionate about implementing MichCare, as he believes it will fundamentally help Michigan and its people.

“It’s the right thing to do because it’s the cost-effective thing to do, because it is the way that we put our folks forward on a system of sustainability and because we can send a message about who were are as Americans, because if we are willing to dignify our highest ideals, we got to stand up and get this done,” he said.

For more information about El-Sayed and details about his plan, as well as his views on other issues, visit: https://abdulformichigan.com.

Cecilia Brown can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248.