Medicare for All
What does Medicare for All mean for Seniors? Better care for less.
Medicare for All expands on what Medicare covers today. Medicare for All would eliminate the need for Medicare Part A (hospital), Part B (physician), and Part D (prescription drug) coverage. Instead, Medicare for All would cover them all automatically, with no cost sharing. Medicare for All would also include dental, vision, mental health, in-patient and out-patient services, and long-term care - giving American seniors coverage they have needed but could not afford. Long-term care coverage would pay for nursing homes, home health aids, and rehabilitation for injuries or disability.
Today, we ask families to pay for expensive long-term care out of pocket. They drain their life’s savings and only then will Medicaid kick in. Medicare for All’s universal long-term care would save seniors from having to impoverish themselves before the government steps in. And it would also save their family's’ time, energy, and resources that are currently going towards paying for home aids or nursing homes.
What does Medicare for All mean for folks on private insurance? No fees and full coverage.
Health insurance lobbyists try to confuse folks about Medicare for All, so let’s set the record straight. The American people like their doctors, their nurses, or their clinics. What they don’t like is their health insurance, who sits between you and your doctor demanding additional tests, forcing cheaper and less effective alternatives, or outright denying coverage for certain treatments. Medicare for All gets rid of private health insurance companies and their greed altogether. So what does that mean for your family?
In the richest country in the world, fees should not stop Americans from getting necessary health care. Medicare for All will get rid of copays, deductibles, and premiums. Medicare for All will give every American full health care coverage from dental, vision, mental health, and long-term care. Every doctor will be in your network. And you and your doctor can decide which treatments and medications are best for you, without a for-profit middleman standing between you. Finally, Medicare for All would uncouple health care from your employer. Management should not decide your choice of doctor. If you lose your job, under Medicare for All, you will not lose your health care.
What does Medicare for All mean for families on Medi-Cal? Dignity and a level playing field.
Just because you have fallen on hard times, you do not deserve sub-par and degrading treatment while getting health care. Unnecessary paperwork and limited choices can delay your care and can make it difficult to get back on your feet. Finally earning a decent living should not result in losing access to your health care. Medicare for All restores our dignity and security when we are hurting most. Medicare for All levels the playing field and will put every American in the same single-payer, universal health insurance system. That means having access to every doctor and specialist, regardless of income. It means having health care coverage for life, no matter how much or how little you earn. And it means no more health insurance interference and no more premiums and copays.
Does Medicare for All mean government run health care? No. It means no one is standing between you and your doctor.
Medicare for All does not mean government run health care. For example, Sutter will continue to own and run Sutter Hospitals. Kaiser Permanente will continue to run their centers. And doctors with private practices will still own their private practice. What Medicare for All does is change who our doctors will bill for our care. Medicare for All, as the single-payer national health insurance program, will be the only insurance our doctors charge. It will cut down on the amount of paperwork and forms you and their billing departments need to navigate while trying to get health care. Instead, both you and your doctor can focus on getting you the treatment you need.
What about prescription drug prices?
Americans pay some of the highest prices for prescription drugs. Giant pharmaceutical lobbyists have spent billions to ensure the profits and wealth of their CEOs and shareholders come before the health of the American people. With Medicare for All, we will finally be able to fight back. A single-payer national health insurance company will have the buying power to negotiate lower drug and medical equipment prices.
Homes For Our Families, Not For Wall Street
A Focus On Putting Down Roots
Corporations and wealthy investors are buying up single-family homes. Families are priced out even though they spend years saving for a down payment. This forces them to make a tough decision. They either move further away and commute or rent the very home they were trying to buy. Buying a home is a key part of fulfilling the American Dream and it cannot just become another get richer scheme for the already rich. My priority is families wanting to put down roots in our towns, not the wealthy few.
Rent Control and Renter’s Protections
A quarter of Central Valley residents spend over half their paychecks on rent. This makes dealing with all the other costs of life difficult. Food, healthcare costs, basics like car maintenance, and educational opportunities for their children - high rents can put them all out of reach. High rents also hurt our local economy. Money spent on rent is money taken out of our cities and towns and into the pockets of far away landlords. I support stronger rent control than what we already have in California and rent stabilization. Folks with a 30 year fixed-rate mortgage should not be the only ones with the equivalent of rent control. I also support a tenant right-to-counsel, completely funding Section 8 vouchers for all eligible families to get rid of waitlists, and promoting tenant unionization.
Build Homes Where We Need Them Most
We are not building housing where we need it most. Instead, developers are putting up luxury apartments in the center of large cities like Sacramento. This lets them charge high prices and high rents. We all understand the urgency of building more housing. But we cannot afford to wait around for developers or waste our taxpayer dollars on tax breaks to convince them to build in towns like Stockton and Lodi.
Everyone must have affordable and high-quality housing. I support a goal of building 10 million affordable, mixed income, publicly owned homes in ten years. Publicly owned housing plays a key role in that goal. We will also build accessible and supportive housing for groups with unique needs like people suffering from drug addiction, the formerly homeless, and those with disabilities. Building out publicly owned housing will also create thousands of well-paying union jobs.
Green New Deal & Good Union Jobs
A Green New Deal for Workers
While the surge in solar and wind deployment is encouraging, the low pay of the workers in these sectors is not. Yes, we need a mass worker mobilization to combat climate change. But it cannot come on the backs of nonunionized and poorly paid workers. Let’s not repeat the mistakes of the past and rely on profit seeking investors. The federal government should create or expand agencies such as FDR’s New Deal’s Tennessee Valley Authority - a public power company owned by the federal government. Through these agencies, we will deploy solar, wind, and retrofit our buildings while creating unionized jobs with good pay and benefits.
We must continue the development of “clean firm power,” or carbon-free power sources. We need power sources we can rely on whenever we need them. This means funding research and deployment of nuclear, geothermal power, hydropower, and carbon capture and storage technology. Jobs with these technologies are high-skilled, high paying, and easier to unionize. They can serve as a just transition for today’s fossil fuel sector workers and their families. We need a long-term federal commitment to building our sustainable energy sector. It’s key to rebuild our strong working class.
The Port of Stockton is one of our biggest job creators. It is why we have huge transportation and shipping sectors. These sectors are also some of the hardest to switch over to clean energy. It’s vital for our local economy to ensure these industries continue to grow as we decarbonize them. Our federal government must invest in researching and producing new solutions for clean, long-haul transportation. Hydrogen production from nuclear power is one such option.
Publicly Owned Utilities
We all know about PG&E’s failures. Still, they are asking customers to pay for making sure their equipment does not start another wildfire. Meanwhile, PG&E executives took home millions in compensation last year. PG&E is an investor owned corporation. Its primary goal is to make a profit for its investors. But, for many of us, it is our only choice for electricity. We have no choice but to pay for them.
That is why I support state, municipal, and cooperative ownership of utilities like PGE. The utilities that we all rely on should focus on delivering good service and keeping us safe. Not cutting corners to make an extra buck and putting us in danger. The creation of democratically elected regulatory bodies would ensure that our utilities work for us, not for their shareholders.
Public utilities also include broadband. Only four companies, including Comcast, control nearly 2/3 of our entire telecom and cable market. And they have successfully lobbied our government to keep out competition. At the same time, they charge consumers increasing prices. The federal government must use its antitrust authority to reign them in. We should regulate broadband to increase transparency, eliminate hidden fees and surprise billing. And we must support municipalities in building their own networks. This is especially important for rural communities that currently lack good broadband infrastructure.
Liberty To Prioritize Our Families
Prioritizing Family Over Work
We need an economy that gives us the liberty to prioritize the people closest to us over another shift at work. That’s why I support a United States Vacation Act. Every American deserves up to four weeks of paid vacation time. I also support implementing a federal sick leave program. No worker should have to go to work sick because they can’t afford to miss a single shift.
Family Leave, Free Child Care, and Pre-K
We all know it is difficult to start a family and raise children in this country if you are not well off. We also know how important the first four years of a child’s life are intellectually and emotionally. Children who spend more time with their parent(s) and who have early care and education perform better in school, are less likely to interact with the criminal justice system, and earn more throughout their lives. Everyone American would benefit if all our children can live up to their God given potential.
I support giving a minimum 36 weeks of paid leave for parents with a newborn. I support giving every child in America free childcare from infancy to age three, regardless of income. And I support giving every child, starting at age 3, access to a high quality pre-kindergarten education, regardless of income.
Many families with children are enjoying the Biden administration’s expanded Child Tax Credit. But its implementation means many of the poorest families are having difficult accessing the benefit. I support overhauling both the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit. Our government should work to cut or end the need to file extra paperwork. Struggling families should not need to jump through hoops to get these benefits.
Federalize Unemployment Insurance
We need to overhaul our unemployment insurance program. I support a centralized federal unemployment insurance program that is tied to a postal banking account. When we leave our jobs, we should not have to spend time and energy applying for unemployment. Unemployment insurance should automatically be deposited into our bank accounts. That way we can focus on getting back on our feet.
Expanding Social Security
Too many of our seniors dare not dream about retirement. 40% of households aged 50-64 have nothing at all in personal retirement accounts; two-thirds in that age group have less than one year of income saved up for retirement. This means that instead of enjoying retirement, seniors are continuing to work. And they often work at low-paying jobs. We must end the shameful crisis of senior poverty. I support returning the retirement age to 65. And I support Bernie Sanders’s Social Security legislation to strengthen and expand Social Security. After a life of hard work, everyone deserves to retire in security, with dignity.
Let me be clear: Social Security is not going broke. That is not the problem. The problem is the wealthiest Americans not paying their fair share into the system. Today, billionaires like Jeff Bezos pay the same amount of money into Social Security as someone who makes $132,900 a year because the Social Security payroll tax is capped. I support lifting this cap and applying the payroll tax to all income over $250,000. This would allow us to expand benefits across the board; increase minimum benefits to lift millions of seniors out of poverty; and increase cost-of-living adjustments to better keep up with the rising costs of healthcare.
Democracy In the Workplace
Worker Power In The Workplace
We spend more than half of our waking hours at work. For too many people, low pay, insecurity, and a lack of workers’ rights dominate those work hours. But unions can put workers on even footing with their employer. That’s why I support legislation that will help create more unions and strengthen the ones we have. I support the PRO Act, which would reverse decades of legislation meant to crush unions and it would put power back into the hands of workers.
Democracy In The Workplace
A worker cooperative is a business that is owned and controlled by its workers. In worker cooperatives, workers organize, manage, and direct their workplace democratically. One worker, one vote.
Studies show that workers know how to run their business better than corporate executives and CEOs. Employee owned businesses have increased productivity, survive longer than conventional businesses, and have fewer layoffs.
I support fiscal and tax incentives to encourage the creation of worker cooperatives, such as allowing financial firms to deduct a portion of their interest income from loans made to employee-owned firms and requiring or favoring these firms in government procurement. I also support low-cost policies that would spread information and break down institutional barriers to worker cooperatives, including the establishment of a national office to support employee ownership.
Tax On Extreme Wealth
Money is power in our corrupt political system. It’s the power to influence our politics, own our media, and shape what we think is politically possible. It is no surprise then that our government continues to allow more and more of our nation’s wealth to fall into the hands of a few ultra rich individuals.
In 2007 and 2011, Jeff Bezos - the wealthiest man in the world - paid nothing in federal income taxes. In 2018, Elon Musk - the second wealthiest person in America - paid nothing in federal income taxes. The fact that they paid nothing, and it being legal, is the problem. By corrupting our political system, the ultra rich have rigged a system in which they don’t have to pay their fair share of taxes. That’s why I support Bernie Sanders’ Wealth Tax. A wealth tax would ensure that the wealthiest Americans join the rest of us and pay their fair share of taxes.
There are two main reasons to implement a wealth tax on the ultra rich. One is to fund policies and programs that will help working families. The second is to reduce the wealth, and therefore the political power, of the ultra rich. History has shown our economic elites will use their unearned wealth to undo and take away any gains made by the working class. If we are going to create a government that runs in the interest of the many, not the few, we must implement a wealth tax and create a more fair political system.
Investments In Education
Supporting Public Education
Children are the future workers and leaders of our communities. But California students’ reading and math scores are below the national average. California also has the highest rate of child poverty in the country. Giving all of our children a fair shot will require thinking beyond additional textbooks at our schools. I support increasing school resources to shrink class sizes; providing additional support for English learner students; expanding after school and summer programs, teen centers, and tutoring; providing dental care, mental health care, and substance abuse prevention; ensuring states cover the cost of tests such as the ACT, SAT, and related college preparatory exams, and hosting services such as job training classes, GED and ESL classes. And I support increasing the pay for our overworked and underfunded teachers.
Many of these resources are only available to families who can afford them, but I am committed to leveling the playing field. There is so much untapped potential in younger generations. It is time we give all our children a fair shot.
Tuition Free Trade Schools, Public Colleges, and Universities
I support Bernie Sanders's College for All Act to eliminate tuition and fees at four-year public colleges and universities, tribal colleges, community colleges, trade schools, and apprenticeship programs. That includes increasing funding for the federal Pell Grant Program, funding for the work-study program, and covering any gaps that may still exist for low-income families.
American Wealth Fund
Essential Workers and Wealth Inequality
Last year, there were two realities in America. One reality for the many, who faced unemployment, hunger, and tragedy. And one reality for a tiny few at the very top, who saw their fortunes skyrocket on the backs of the front-line workers who risked their lives to do their jobs. But the pandemic revealed who is actually essential for our country to function. It's not investors on Wall Street or executives and CEO's. It's everyday working people, doing their part.
Since the 1970s, working Americans across the board have been left behind. While we are more productive than ever, our wages and benefits have barely budged. This means that when we work harder, the economic gains from our sweat and labor do not come back to our families - they go into the pockets of the wealthy few at the top. The creation of an American Wealth Fund would help fix that.
The American Wealth Fund
The idea behind the American Wealth Fund is simple: the federal government creates a wealth fund and issues one share of ownership in the fund to every American when they turn 18. After the creation of the fund, the government would bring in assets through taxes on Wall Street and the richest individuals in our country. These assets would go towards the purchase of shares and bonds. Those shares and bonds will generate dividends that will be paid out to Americans every year. So, when our economy does well on the backs of American workers, we all benefit.
This idea is not new for America. We already have funds like the Permanent University Fund in Texas and the Alaska Permanent Fund. But the wealthy few at the very top, who would stand to lose their unearned fortunes, will tell you that it cannot and will not work at the federal level. We can choose to believe them, or we can choose to take back the vast wealth that we work every day to create.