America gravely needs Biden’s health care plan

Public option vital but no reason to abolish private insurance


Shriya Vanparia

Former Vice President and Democratic presidential-hopeful Joe Biden proposes a hybrid of private and public health care costing $750 billion over a decade. The Sidekick staff writer Nicolas Reyes endorses Biden’s health care plan for the upcoming primary election.

Nicolas Reyes, Staff Writer

“No Malarkey.”

I had no idea what that meant either so I will give you a second to find out.

When former Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden unveiled his new slogan across a sleek navy bus with a tweet, he was likely expecting a more enthusiastic reaction. But all the world saw was a very Biden-esque tagline.

Former President Barack Obama’s 2008 “Yes we can” speech engulfed me in a passion for politics and public service. It led me to dream of a brighter future. “No malarkey” does not pull on my heart in the same way. However, this rather dull slogan is exactly what the nation needs right now, especially in health care. 

In the United States, about 30 million individuals are uninsured due to the crippling cost of health care (costing between $4,500 and $8,300 for the average worker). Not only that, the country pays about $3.5 trillion a year to sustain the mediocre system; this comes out to about $11,000 per person.  

The health care system in this country is tattered, and it is clear a public and an affordable option insuring every American is needed. However, this does not mean the entire framework of the nation’s health care system needs to be scrapped.

The left-wing of the Democratic party has spewed unfeasible plans in a variety of areas, including health care, that threaten to undermine previous successes. The party has made large strides in the fight for accessible health care such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and though the program is not perfect, it was a momentous accomplishment to insure more than 20 million individuals while barring insurance companies from denying care. 

It is worth noting that the bill that was passed reeked of concessions which resulted in the ACA looking very different from the original proposal, including the exclusion of a true public option. Even with a blue majority in both chambers of Congress, passing the bill was not an easy process.

For that reason, and because Republicans currently have a majority in the Senate, it is ludicrous to suggest that passing a health care bill that would purge the nation of private insurance is feasible (even if it were desirable). However, it is not stopping Democratic presidential candidates Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren from doing so (though they have each said there would be a transition period during their presidencies). They do not realize politics is a game of “how”. Accessible health care is a very basic tenet; you are not special for wanting it, you are special for getting it done.

Americans do not want the government stripping them of their right to enjoy the benefits private insurance provides, but Americans also want everyone to be covered. Subramanya Achanta (father of The Sidekick staff writer Laasya Achanta), a Coppell resident and thyroid cancer survivor, is one of the many Americans who has had a positive experience with the private sector.

“At the time I was suffering from cancer, I was receiving my insurance from work so I didn’t have a problem with paying for treatment,” Achanta said. “But for someone who doesn’t have insurance, the process is very difficult.” 

Biden’s plan understands people like Achanta because it trusts the American people to do what is best for them by providing an option. Under this plan, one can choose to remain with private insurance or one can choose to buy into “a public health insurance option like Medicare.” His proposal proves government-sponsored health care and private insurance are not mutually exclusive. 

Warren and Sanders stubbornly claim their health care plans will be better for every American and refuse to actually put those theories to the test. If a government health care program really is significantly better for everyone, the free-market should eliminate private insurance on its own. In fact, BidenCare’s lower premiums are likely to attract many already insured people.

Accessible health care is a very basic tenet; you are not special for wanting it, you are special for getting it done.

The fact of the matter is that two candidates do not know the situation of 330 million individuals so they have no right telling them what they need. A country with completely socialized health care has as little liberty as a country run by private providers.

One story those candidates are glossing over is that of Juliana Onalaja (mother of The Sidekick staff photographers Anthony and Precious Onalaja), a nurse at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. Onalaja treats many patients who do not have health insurance; they instead rely on charity-based funding to pay for their treatments.

“In a socialized health care system where there is no private option and everything is paid for by tax dollars, people will start taking services for granted,” Onalaja said. “I have seen the change in the patients where I work. The word before working-patients were encouraged to pay small fees was ‘Go to Parkland, you get everything free’ and the same people came over and over again to the hospital for the littlest things. It was running the hospital to the ground.” 

However, Onalaja still thinks everyone has the right to see a doctor because she has witnessed the severity of a system that does not provide that.

“People with health care go through all these preventative measures, like wellness checks, to make sure that as they get older, the doctor will catch whatever problem might occur,” Onalaja said. “By the time people without health insurance go to see doctors, it’s usually very bad. If we can perfect the Affordable Health Care Act to help those who don’t have a lot of money while still providing the same type of services, that would be ideal.”

The Biden option does not attempt to claim that Americans will have no out of pocket expenses – to do so would be nothing but malarkey – but Biden’s plan ensures practically every American can afford to see a doctor. One of the ways this will be done is by lowering costs for those who buy into the public option by negotiating directly with hospitals and health care providers.

Besides providing a public option, Biden’s plan expands on the ACA by increasing the value of health care tax credits as well as making more people eligible to receive them. And this is not just for the lower class, middle-class families will also receive tax credits that could cut their premiums almost in half.

Fellow presidential candidate, South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg, has proposed a similar plan to that of Biden, its title of “Medicare for All Who Want It” makes the likeness clear. The difference is Buttigieg’s plan costs $750 billion more over a 10 year period. 

By raising the top marginal tax rate and the rate on capital gains for the wealthy, paying for Biden’s plan will not prove to be difficult. It is by far the cheapest and most cost-effective plan out of those proposed by leading candidates

On March 3, Texas voters will announce who they want representing the Democratic party. Texans who want to someday live in a nation where an Uber does not seem like a better idea than an ambulance must vote for a man who will get things done in Washington. 

Every second, there are patients in life-threatening conditions fighting for their life with their every fiber and with their meager savings. There is no time for apathy but there is also no time for rhetoric. 

Vote for a health care system free of malarkey. Vote for a brighter future. Vote for Biden.


Follow Nicolas (@nico_reyes19) and @CHSCampusNews on Twitter.