News & Politics

Gillibrand: Treat Health Care as 'Earned Benefit' Like Social Security

WASHINGTON — Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, argued that health care should be treated as an “earned benefit” for Americans like Social Security.

“The beauty of ‘Medicare for All’ is that everyone, no matter who you are, will have access to high quality, good health care, that protects you when you need it, giving you the medicine you need, the treatments you need, the hospital stays you need, no matter what it is — that’s why when you have health care as a right, not a privilege, it should be an earned benefit — it should be just like Social Security because everyone today has retirement as a safety net to know they will not die of poverty and they will not die of hunger and that’s why we created Social Security,” Gillibrand said during a meeting with Iowa State University Democrats.

“We should apply the same mechanisms to health care. And if you have a transition period of 4 or 5 years and 90 percent of America buys in, getting to that single-payer system as an earned benefit is going to be really easy and that’s the quickest way to do it and the best way to do it,” she added.

Addressing her support for “Medicare for All,” Gillibrand said that everyone should have the option to contribute 4 percent of their income as a way to transition to a single-payer health care system in America.

“If people could buy-in at 4 percent of their income over time and give them a chance, they’re going to choose it because it’s cheaper and higher quality than what they are paying today,” she said.

According to the annual Social Security and Medicare trustees report, the costs of Social Security will “exceed” its “total income” in 2020 and the program’s trust fund is projected to run out by 2035. The trustees have estimated that Medicare’s trust fund “will be depleted in 2026.”