33-year old democratic candidate for governor, Dr. Abdul El-Sayed says, what some think are disadvantages are quite the opposite.
"Folks make a big deal on if somebody with my background, with my name, can win this race and when they say I can't, they're not betting against me, they're betting against the people in the state."
This former Rhodes Scholar says he become a medical professional so he could solve problems for people. It’s a specialty that led him to become the youngest health director in a major U.S. city at Detroit’s Health Department at just age 30.
He says far too many times he saw the real struggle wasn't providing patients the diagnosis, but watching them suffer due to realizing they can't pay for medical treatment.
"Nobody in our society should go through that and as a doctor I’m committed to making sure every Michigander has health care."
El-Sayed touts his Michcare plan -- a single-payer, Medicare for all style of health coverage he says will remove copays, deductibles, and premiums.
"Michcare will provide access to healthcare, from 0 to 65 when they start on Medicare. It would save the average Michigan family $5,000 a year, from a $48,000 budget, and it would actually reduce the costs for almost all businesses."
He says Michcare would remove insurance companies from serving as the middle man, allow the state of Michigan to become its own negotiator when it comes to dealing with pharmaceutical companies to bring prescription drug costs down, and says this single-payer plan will also save Michiganders in other ways as well.
"We're one of the only states that asks auto-insurance to double as health insurance. If you give everybody health insurance, then you can ask auto insurance to go back to being auto insurance and it drops those rates too."
El-Sayed supports legalization of recreational marijuana for two reasons, Michigan’s mass incarceration problem and lack of extended research on pot. He says if voters choose to legalize and he wins the governor's race, he would quickly move for a mass pardon for all people currently incarcerated for marijuana incidents who do not have any violent crimes on their record, plus support more medical marijuana research.
"What we don't realize is that the recreational ban has also had consequences for our medical understanding of how best to use this medication."
One of the biggest decisions El-Sayed made before his campaign kicked-off, was vowing to not accepte one cent of corporate money to spread his message.
"I’ll tell you this, I don't want to be in a position in Lansing and some corporation says, it's time to pay the piper, because I’m uninterested in governing for their profits."
Instead, he says a team of 10,000 volunteers are going door-to-door, sending texts, and making phone calls. It’s a strategy he claims has truly reached more Michigan voters than both his opponents combined.
"In the end, if you want to lead for people, you have to be about people and you have to be willing to stand up for people against the corporations who have dominated our politics for a very long time."
It's a swampy battle El-Sayed says he's ready to fight. He says there's a growing problem from Michigan politicians who are supposed to be working for the people, but are instead helping the rich get richer, while also ripping vital health care away.
"In the end, the core of public service is about humility, empathy, and about compassion and it seems like we have forgotten that in our politics."
A sad reality Dr. Adbul El-Sayed says is currently underway, and why he was inspired to lead the state of Michigan as governor.
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