Guest Opinion | A healthcare message being answered

Medicare for All would solve various healthcare problems that Americans face.


Hayden Froehlich

The University Counseling Services office is seen in the Old Capital Mall on Monday, Feb. 17, 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic has sent a clear message to Americans that has been ignored by many of our politicians. America needs Medicare for All to help people in this time of crisis. This message comes to the American people when we begin to ask basic questions about our current health care system.

These vaccines are now basically free with just an administrative fee which most insurance pays for. However, why shouldn’t hospital treatment for those most harshly affected by COVID-19 be free for all regardless of insurance? It’s a pandemic, and it’s not someone’s fault they contracted the virus after taking all the suggested safety measures.

In fact, why not make life-saving treatments like chemotherapy free? Why should someone and their family have to go into near, if not complete debt just for the chance of survival? Why not make mental health services and treatment free to cut down on the quickly rising mental health crisis COVID-19 has exacerbated, which many college students — myself included — have struggled with?

Medicare for All answers all these questions and more. These treatments should be free at the point of use, not behind a paywall insurmountable to many Americans today. Medicare for All covers not just primary health, but also vision, dental, and mental health, along with prescription drugs and more. There would be no copays, deductibles, or premiums.

All besides the wealthy would pay less under a progressive public tax for health care than what we currently pay in insurance and out-of-pocket expenses. Medicare for All gives people the freedom to choose their health care providers instead of the current freedom to choose between which insurance company tells us where to go if we want to use their services

The cost of mental health care is especially pressing to my fellow students and I, who have statistically had the most mental health issues than any generation before, specifically when it comes to depression. At the UI, we are fortunate enough to have access to services like University Counseling Services as part of our tuition.

But when one needs more help outside University Counseling Services, the American paywall comes in. Therapy outside of UCS with insurance can be quite expensive, not to mention the nightmare that is the out-of-network issue where one may have to travel quite a distance to get a therapy session that their insurance partially covers.

All these costs students face getting treatment for our mental health issues can really start to add up with our college costs. Additionally, if we do not get treatment our studies will suffer, making money spent on our education perhaps wasted as we can’t function at our true potential. This mountain of debt we face as students will have us climbing it for years. Medicare for All helps those of us suffering from mental health issues and other health conditions deal with a portion of that debt.

Thankfully, there are some politicians who have proven that they care about their constituents and have answered the message the American people have been receiving by introducing the Medicare for All Act of 2021 in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The act currently has the backing of half of the Democrats in the House of Representatives and may soon see more support. If the act is to pass through Congress and is signed into law, we can breathe a sigh of relief that America can truly improve its painful health care crisis. Regardless, I am prepared to fight for the eventual passing of Medicare for All with my fellow grassroots organizers and everyday Americans to improve our quality of life and end our health care crisis.


– Nolan James Hanson, University of Iowa student and lead organizer for HealthcareNow Johnson County