I Talked Healthcare With Howard Schultz. He Doesn't Have Any Good Ideas

I Pressed Howard Schultz On His Plans For Healthcare. His Answers Sucked

Why shouldn't the government eradicate a broken, exploitative industry?


On April 10, 2019, the former CEO of Starbucks — and possible Independent presidential candidate — Howard Schultz visited my hometown of Wichita, KS for a town hall. I was particularly surprised by someone like Schultz going to a town in Kansas to openly take questions that aren't previously vetted. For that, I certainly give Schultz credit. Schultz has said that he will only run if the Democrats don't choose a moderate candidate, so it's very possible he could be a spoiler to help Trump. Thankfully, I had the chance to ask him about his very anti-Medicare for all stance.

Below are the exact words of Schultz and I for you to evaluate on your own. Of course, I will splice in some of my opinions here and there.

If you're unsure of what Medicare for all is, it's a policy presented by some Democrats and Independents such as Bernie Sanders that propose to expand the current Medicare program to every American citizen to ensure that every person has the right to healthcare, including those that currently can't afford private health insurance.

Before we start, I'll say that while I certainly disagree with him on healthcare, there are a few stances I agree with such as the need for serious reform on prescription drug prices. I also think Schultz himself is a good guy that is well-meaning. Just because I disagree with him on policy does NOT mean I don't like him as a person.

Anyways, let's talk healthcare with Howard Schultz.

So recently you had quoted that you felt Medicare for all was "un-American" and "unaffordable." So, we already pay double the amount in healthcare insurance premiums compared to every other developed country, and there's also a study from the American Journal for Public Health that 45,000 people die [every year] from lack of insurance. [According to other studies] Medicare for all would actually save Americans money, as the estimated cost is $32 trillion, and Americans pay $34 trillion a year for their private health insurance. So, I'm just wondering, why do you feel that Medicare for all is "unamerican" and "unaffordable?"

Schultz: Thank you for the thoughtful question, the homework you did. I'm not gonna agree with the math. I think you're citing almost chapter-verse the Bernie Sanders Medicare for all program.

(Schultz rejected the math and studies that I have cited here. One of my pet peeves is the rejection of claims or stats without a proper or alternative explanation, which is clearly what's going on here.)

I'll also add that [the cost] was estimated by a Republican think tank study, of $32 trillion, which I would assume is somewhat inflated due to partisan politics.

Schultz: The beginning is the ACA (Affordable Care Act). It was then and was proven to be imperfect. The idea was to provide access as much as possible to 20 to 30 million Americans who do not have health insurance. Since then, two bad things have happened. Premiums have doubled, and 20 to 30 millions Americans are uninsured.

(Schultz is right. The ACA was watered down and wasn't fully what it needed to be. Its original intention was great, but compromise and the Democratic Party's inability to unite forced a very weak version of the original bill.)

Those insured under Obamacare?

Schultz: Yes, those insured under Obamacare. (...) But now we get to you. Medicare for all (...), there is a big downside to the disruption of that. The government hasn't really demonstrated running anything well, let alone a healthcare system for America.

(This is where I'm a bit concerned. The government does, in fact, run two public health systems, Medicare and Medicaid, and they're both viewed favorably by large majorities of the public. Polls also indicate a high level of support for government being responsible for healthcare coverage. It's concerning Schultz didn't realize this.)

Schultz: 180 million Americans get their insurance from their employer. The disruption is massive. (...) You've heard Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris and other Democrats say, "We're gonna eradicate, we're gonna remove the insurance industry from America." That is what is un-American. I don't think the government has the right to eradicate an entire industry.

(The eradication of an industry is very much needed and possible when it is exploiting Americans or affecting Americans in a negative way. Take for example the banking system pre-Federal Reserve. Before the central bank was established, there was a private currency system that was different for every state bank. You had different bank notes from different states with different volatilities. To solve this, we instituted the Federal Reserve which made sure to have a central currency that could be accepted everywhere.

One could also say that the measures the government has taken against for-profit college were made to specifically take down that industry.

Plus, 180 million Americans getting insurance from their employer is irrelevant. Under "Medicare for all"... ALL have coverage.)

Schultz: So what're we going to do? Every American should have affordable access to healthcare. (...) What we need is more competition, more choice. Then, (...) I would change the corporate tax rate to 25%, then [incentivize] companies with a tax break to provide all of their employees with health insurance. (...) But, I wanna move back in and fix the ACA.

(First off, "access" is very different from actually getting healthcare. I currently have the right to purchase a Rolls Royce, but I'm not going to be able to buy one. Also, when you take into account how expensive it is to provide private healthcare for employees — way more expensive than paying them elevated wages — it would have to be an incredibly hefty tax break.

Schultz earlier in the town hall talked about compromise and working with both parties in Washington. I thought the ACA would be an excellent example to ask him about his stance on compromise in certain situations.)

I agree with you. I think the ACA is a bit of a watered-down policy. You talked about moderation and working across the aisle, I feel that the Democrats with a supermajority in the Senate worked too much with Republicans and they didn't get a good version of the ACA passed.

Schultz: You are 100% right.

So, I think moderation in that sense wouldn't be a good idea. So, are you pushing for moderation in all cases, or just a few?

Schultz: (...) It's not a question of moderation, it's a question of bipartisanship. We should not be passing bills on the basis of one party's ability to have a supermajority, we should be passing bills that are in the best interest of the country.

(While this quote sounds nice, it really is just a soundbite. This doesn't really answer my question either. It was all about the fact that even with a supermajority, Democrats compromised too much, and it hurt a very good bill that would have done a lot more good for Americans.)

* * *

Based on his responses, Howard Schultz is somewhat mum on healthcare in America. He's completely fine with private healthcare because getting rid of a broken system would "cause too much disruption." What he doesn't (or perhaps does) understand is that insurance companies are not in the business of helping people. It's about the money. He proposes to give an assumed HUGE tax credit to corporations to pay for corporation employee healthcare, as well as a rework of the ACA. There needs to be a serious change regarding healthcare in America, and that begins by giving Americans healthcare as a right, not a privilege for those who can afford it — and I don't believe Schultz is the candidate to do that.

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.

It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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Everyone Should Care About Latinx Issues, Regardless Of Their Own Identities

It's important no matter who you are or where you come from.


Disclaimer: As someone who is white, I am speaking on a culture that is not my own and which I am not an authority on. Please remember this and do your own research. Reach out to those who do identify as Latinx but as always, respect that it is not the job of any minority population to field all questions and educate.

People often say that no matter how old you get or how much you think you know, you never stop learning. I've always found this to be true but recently I was reminded of just how true it really is. On March 27, Bowling Green State University held their 24th annual Latino/A/X issues conference. I had heard about the conference in passing much earlier in the month and it piqued my interest but admittedly slipped my mind pretty quickly after hearing about it. It wasn't until a friend of mine had informed me that she and another one of our friends were receiving awards at the conference that I finally put it on my calendar.

As I looked through the program at all of the different events scheduled for the day, the first to catch my eye was a theatrical performance called Spanish Ohio: Reflections on loss, gain acceptance and belonging moderated by a Bowling Green professor and friend, Emily Aguliar. I can confidently say that I have not, in a long time felt so confused and lost in a theatrical setting in a long time. The performance was presented in about 90% Spanish and 10% English and having little more than a basic understanding of Spanish from my high school days, I was able to understand a few key words or phrases here and there but more I just found myself intrigued by what I didn't understand...which was a lot. At the end of the performance, there was a sort of Q&A; where we as the audience could ask questions to the performers. During which time an audience member made a comment that really opened my mind.

She had said that it was important for people outside of the Latinx community to be lost in that moment. That the not understanding was what so many people whose first language isn't English feel all the time.

This statement really hit me hard and stuck with me. Even though I was at a performance at my college where I knew that I was safe, secure and taken care of, not knowing what was going on around me was overwhelming and a little unsettling. Not because I fear the existence of languages other than English, but because I felt as if I was expected to understand and take away things that I simply couldn't. And the fact that people move about in the world feeling like this every day in a society where they are not looked after or cared for was a painful but oh so necessary realization.

People are being forced to exist in a place that doesn't make it easy for them to do so. All too often the one piece of 'advice' given to those who speak any language other than English is simply to 'Just speak English' as if it is more important for the majority to feel comfortable and unthreatened by the existence of a language outside of our own than it is to respect the culture, language, and diversity of the Latinx community.

This conference really opened my eyes to the struggles of the Latinx community but at the same time, it highlighted and celebrated the achievements as well. I was lucky enough to be able to see two women who are very important to me receive awards for the work that they've done in and around the community. Both of these women are beyond deserving of the accolades they received. They are passionate, strong, opinionated women with knowledge and heart and I was thankful to be there to witness both of them receiving the recognition that they so deserve. It is SO important to recognize the contributions of people who have been pushed to the sort of outskirts of the conversation so to speak and I can say that it was very moving for me to see my friends as well as the others at the conference reveling in their identities and their cultures.

This is how it should be at all times, not just at a conference.

People should feel comfortable in their identities and people who are in positions of privilege should be using their voices to amplify the marginalized. I am so very thankful to have been able to attend this event and learn and grow in my understanding of culture, identity, and people. So, thank you to BGSU and LSU for putting in the work to make this possible for everyone, and to Emily and Camila-I'm proud of you both! Amplify the marginalized and underrepresented and never stop learning everything you can.

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