Timothy Faust emphasizes a point during his talk Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018, at Bloomington Public Library. Faust, an activist with the Democratic Socialists of America, has gone around the country to make a case for a single-payer, “Medicare for all” health insurance system.
BLOOMINGTON — “Medicare for all” is the first step toward correcting health disparities caused by the United States’ “intolerable” health care system.
That’s according to Timothy Faust, an activist with the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) who has traveled to 32 states discussing “health care inequity” and advocating for a single-payer, Medicare for all health insurance system.
“Medicare for all is the first step to health justice,” Faust told The Pantagraph Wednesday night during a break in a Bloomington-Normal DSA Medicare For All Town Hall meeting at Bloomington Public Library.
Faust, a socialist firebrand and co-host of the podcast “Heavy Medical,” delivered his prepared remarks in a spirited, rapid-fire manner before taking questions and comments from a supportive but quieter audience of about 30 people.
“Single-payer is moral, single-payer is necessary and single-payer is achievable,” Faust said, pounding on a lectern.
Americans pay more for health care than any other country in the world but we aren’t the healthiest, he said. Infant mortality and maternal mortality are high and life expectancy is low compared with other wealthy countries and those rates are worse for the poor and minority groups, he added.
Faust, who lives in Boston and works in the insurance industry, said, “You are being exploited.” Health care dollars, rather than going to people providing the care, largely go to CEOs and administrators and the insurance industry, he said.
When people can’t afford health care, they put it off, meaning minor problems can become life-threatening, he said.
“America is the most dangerous place to be sick,” he yelled. “That sucks, so what do you do?”
The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) did some good but didn’t go far enough, he said.
He called for Medicare for all, in which everyone is covered by one health insurance program administered by the federal government.
“Care won’t be dictated by an insurer because everyone’s care is covered by Medicare,” he said.
Asked by The Pantagraph about the cost, which opponents of Medicare for all have put at $32 trillion, Faust said, “We’re spending that now.” But much of the money is going to administrative costs rather than people providing the care, he said.
Medicare for all would be a single-payer system that would eliminate that “waste” and provide the first step to equal access to health care for everyone, he said.
He steered away from endorsing a specific bill or member of Congress, saying the “movement” must scare elected officials into acting.
He called Medicare for all the “first attack.”
“We must aim for the heart of capitalism,” he said.
Earlier, Lauren Pruter, a part of the Medicare For All Working Group of the 55-member Bloomington-Normal DSA, cast a calmer tone in speaking with The Pantagraph, arguing “We are committed to Democracy.”
“Medicare is popular right now because it’s a well-run program,” she said. “We want to expand it. I think, in the next five years, we’ll get to a single-payer system.”