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Recap on “Medicare for All Debate”

By Aditi Thakur

With the 2020 elections approaching quickly, Medicare for All is once again at the forefront of intense debate. Sharp divisions exist not only along party lines, but also within parties themselves, as the progressive and moderate wings find themselves debating the merits of a complete overhaul or a more gradual transition to single payer healthcare. As with most hot-button topics, the Medicare debate has, unfortunately, devolved into a partisan issue with a lack of substantive debate about its economic and policy nuances. 

The Adam Smith Society, or SmithSoc, is a national chapter-based network of MBA students that facilitates nonpartisan discussion and debate of pressing economic and public policy issues. Thus, the NYU chapter in partnership with the Stern Healthcare Association invited subject-matter experts to dive deeper into the Medicare for All debate, to help Sternies become better informed about this complicated issue. Dr Stephanie Woolhandler, a physician at Hunter College, and Dr. Christopher Pope, an expert at the Manhattan Institute, took the affirmative and negative sides respectively on a Medicare for All debate held on campus in October 2019. Professor Joseph Foudy served as the moderator. The debate focused on issues of costs, administrative upheavals, healthcare outcomes, and the performance of universal healthcare systems in other countries. With both speakers making cogent arguments and supporting their claims with hard data, there was no definitive answer to the Medicare for All debate. However, the event uncovered nuances often ignored by political narratives dominating the media and helped Stern students gain a more comprehensive perspective on universal healthcare. In today’s highly polarized world rife with echo chambers, it was refreshing to see Dr. Woolhandler and Dr. Pope agreeing on many issues, such as the inadequacies of the current system which leaves many uninsured, and how it underperforms relative to other countries’ programs. 

SmithSoc looks forward to engaging the Stern community even more in the coming months. In Spring 2020, the NYU chapter plans to organize more debates and discussions on pivotal issues such as the national student debt crisis and the lack of affordable housing in New York. Stay tuned for more events!

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