Reaching Back into the America Dissected Archive to Remember Ady Barkan | Crooked Media
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November 28, 2023
America Dissected
Reaching Back into the America Dissected Archive to Remember Ady Barkan

In This Episode

Ady Barkan was a lion for healthcare justice. After his diagnosis with ALS, he spent his final years fighting for Medicare for All. Ady passed away this month at 39. We go back into the AD archives to 2019, when Abdul sat down with Ady to learn about his activism and his hopes for the America he’d leave his kids.

 

TRANSCRIPT

 

[AD BREAK] [music break]

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, narrating: Hey, friends, I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. We want to do something a little different today. A few weeks ago, my friend and fellow health care activist Ady Barkan passed away from complications to ALS. To remember Ady and what he stood for, we went back to the America Dissected archive to an episode about the cause that animated Ady’s life, Medicare For All. His words ring as true today as they did back in 2019 when we taped it, if not truer considering the pandemic we just lived through. Here’s our show. [music break] Last episode, Lisa Cardillo, a mom from my home state of Michigan who tragically experienced a heart attack at the age of 36, shared her story with us. Through her experience, we diagnosed the American health care system’s many problems. See, Lisa’s heart attack or her husband’s cancer before weren’t their biggest worries. 

 

[clip of Lisa Cardillo] When your medical bills become more stressful than your husband’s brain cancer diagnosis, something is not right. 

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, narrating: The system is sick and we outlined five different ways how. Let’s recap. First and foremost, our health care system is a business with multiple industries profiting when we get sick. That leaves Americans paying for health care rather than the health we actually want. Second, the illusion of choice. We think we have choices in health care, but really we’re restricted to getting care where we are. And meanwhile, our choices are declining. Third, the system leaves us relying on the same folks to tell us what’s wrong and to sell us the solution, allowing them to upsell us. Fourth, the third party payer problem means that we’re stuck having to ask insurance to pay for the health care we need after the fact. And fifth, costs are out of control. And rather than fight to reduce them, health insurers have just figured out ways to pass those expanding costs back onto us. Today, we’re going to talk about how politicians are proposing to fix it. 

 

[clip of Bernie Sanders] What’s expensive and what’s unsustainable is the current health care system. 

 

[clip of unspecified politician] For too long, giant insurance companies have pretty much run the show when it comes to health care in America. 

 

[clip of unspecified politician] We can do this better. 

 

[clip of unspecified politician] I am someone that believes we need to improve on our health care. 

 

[clip of unspecified politician] The system that we have today is broken. 

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, narrating: Castro. Warren. Harris. Sanders. Booker. Biden. Buttigieg. All the candidates agree that there’s something fundamentally wrong with the American health care system. Even the GOP wants to overhaul it. 

 

[clip of Donald Trump] And one thing we have to do, repeal and replace the disaster known as Obamacare. 

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, narrating: Okay. Yeah. But what comes next? They don’t really have a plan because their plan? It was Obamacare, which was originally a health care plan born out of the conservative Heritage Foundation and beta tested in Massachusetts as Romneycare. Republicans, you all can get some airtime on my podcast when you come up with an actual plan. Until then, I’ll read you my favorite Crooked Media shirt, Repeal and go F yourself. Now back to folks who have plans. 

 

[clip of unspecified politician] He wanted every single person in this country covered. My plan would do that. Your plan would not. [?]. 

 

[clip of President Joe Biden] I know that the senator says she’s for Bernie well I’m for Barack. 

 

[clip of Bernie Sanders] For senior citizens, it will finally include dental care, hearing aids, and eyeglasses. 

 

[clip of unspecified politician] But you don’t know that. 

 

[clip of Bernie Sanders] Second of all. 

 

[clip of unspecified politician] You don’t know that Bernie. 

 

[clip of Bernie Sanders] Second of all. [banter] I do know it, I wrote the damn bill. [sound of cheers]

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, narrating: Our 2020 candidates may all agree that the American health care system is failing people like Lisa. But the question isn’t whether or not health care is broken. It’s how we’re going to fix it. Today using the problem list we generated during our last episode, we’re going to look at some of the more popular plans and consider how they solve or don’t solve the problems of American health care. Oh, and we’ve got a really special guest to remind us what’s at stake in this whole thing. This is America Dissected. I’m your host, Abdul El-Sayed. [pause] In America, health care is big business. Those businesses and not the patients are the big winners in our current system. And as such, they’ve tried to tank every single effort at real reform in American history. In the lead up to the Clinton era health reform fights, for example, the Coalition for Health Insurance Choices, ransom now infamous ads featuring the fictitious Harry and Louise. A regular American couple who were oh so scared about their private insurance being taken away. When they choose, we lose, they said. And we’ve heard all the Obamacare scare ads since. It’s nothing new. In fact, it goes all the way back to the first serious push for a national health insurance plan under Harry Truman, way back in 1945 that was stymied by a huge advertising campaign by the American Medical Association, the once powerful physician lobby who feared they’d lose money under a nationalized plan. Truth be told, they were the first to popularize the term socialized medicine. That term would soon catch on. This is a young Ronald Reagan parroting it in 1961. 

 

[clip of Ronald Reagan] One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine. And at the moment the key issue is we do not want socialized medicine. 

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, narrating: Because of politician’s fears that big health care will spend millions on ads like these to scare the public. Many of the plans we’ll discuss in this episode try hard to accommodate big health care. But if the central problem with American health care is that it’s run like a business, well, you can see how this becomes a real obstacle for meaningful reform. Okay. So nearly every Democrat running for president has announced their support for some kind of plan. You’ve heard terms like Medicare for All, also known as single payer or Medicare for America or Medicare buy in. Also known as the public option. All of these plans are built on the same idea. Try to solve some of the problems in our health care system. But how they go about it differs and so does who wins and who loses. And yes, there are winners and losers. We’ll get to it. So today we’re going to tackle three different plans. Number one, a public option. Number two, Medicare for all. The number three, Medicare for America. There are, of course, other plans. Things like Medicare expansion or a voucher system. But these are the three main ideas being discussed by candidates right now. Before we explain these programs in detail, let’s define one very important program that’s tossed around a lot in each of these plans, Medicare. Right now, Medicare is a huge national health care program that covers basic health care for Americans over 65 or with certain disabilities. It’s a great program. When people talk about Medicare for All or Medicare for America. What they’re advocating is expanding Medicare to cover more people in more ways. So let’s dive in and let’s start with the least reformey of them all. The public option, also known as Medicare buy in or Medicare for All who want it. 

 

[clip of President Joe Biden] I rolled out my health care plan that lays out in detail how to build on Obamacare. And folks, we provide for a public option. 

 

[clip of unspecified politician] And then you see the Affordable Care Act as a beginning and not an end. 

 

[clip of unspecified politician] Medicare for all who want it means we take a version of Medicare and we make it available for every American. I also believe Americans ought to be able to decide for themselves. 

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, narrating: This means that rather than just allowing Medicare to be insurance for people who are over 65 or with certain disabilities, the average Joe or Sally or Marquis or Khadija could buy into Medicare, the government insurance program. That’s why this is a public option. You have the option to buy a government health insurance plan. So if you’re under 65, rather than paying Blue Cross Blue Shield, instead you pay the government for your Medicare. But you could also still choose to pay Blue Cross Blue Shield, your choice. Essentially, if you switched jobs or got divorced or got kicked off of your parents insurance, you’d have the ability to buy a plan run by the government right there. A public option isn’t new. In fact, it was an original part of the plan for Obamacare. 

 

[clip of Barack Obama] One option among multiple options should be a public option. 

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, narrating: However, as Democrats adjusted the Affordable Care Act to make it more palatable for the GOP, the public option was left on the cutting room floor. A public option comes off as a compromised plan. It helps to solve some things, but it’s got its faults. Here’s what it solves. It offers more people an affordable health care plan. And because it competes with private health insurance, it might force health insurance companies to start to contain costs. But because there is no profit motive, the government plan would be cheaper and could outcompete private plans over time. Probably a long time. But here’s where it fails. Under this plan, some people are still going to be priced out of the market for health care. Left without health care coverage at all. In general, the public option doesn’t do much to address the problems we talked about last episode because it keeps in place the private insurance system. It doesn’t really solve the health care as a business problem. And it also sustains the third party payer problem. There’s another issue, doctors and hospitals can choose not to accept the public option like they don’t have to accept Medicare now. And because enough people will still be on private plans, those doctors and hospitals won’t have to. So despite appearances, it likely doesn’t offer patients more choice in what doctor you can see or hospital you can go to. There’s no doubt that a public option would be better than what we have now. And so it might make many people’s lives better. But not people like Lisa. Why? Because it does nothing about the janky, profit driven private insurance system that’s got her in such a bind. On to the next plan, Medicare for All. 

 

[clip of Bernie Sanders] Health care, in my view, is a human right. And we have got to pass a Medicare for All single payer system. 

 

[clip of unspecified politician] I’m with Bernie on Medicare for All, and let me tell you why. I spent a big chunk of my life studying why families go broke. And one of the number one reasons is the cost of health care, medical bills. 

 

[clip of unspecified politician] I’m clear in what I believe, I believe in Medicare for all. 

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, narrating: Medicare for all is a single payer health care plan. That means that under Medicare for All, the federal government is the only payer, hence single payer for health care to everybody in the nation. It’s like we gave Medicare to everyone. It’s why it’s called Medicare for All. Before we go any deeper. I want to clarify something here. People love to talk about how the government’s going to be your doctor. 

 

[clip of unspecified politician] The worst case scenario is that the government, because they are paying our bills with tax payers money, gets in the business of telling us how to be healthy. 

 

[clip of unspecified politician] The government is a bureaucracy. I have to appeal bill to the government sometimes and I get on the phone. A distant bureaucrat is approving or disapproving of some procedure I think a patient needs. That’s going to get worse here if we had Medicare for All. 

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, narrating: Nope, that’s not true. Under Medicare for all, doctors and hospitals stay private. The government doesn’t become your doctor, only your health insurer. Pharmaceutical companies stay private, too. Here’s how it works. Under Medicare for All, every single American is enrolled in an improved version of Medicare. So rather than paying for your health care through co-pays, deductibles and premiums, your health care would be paid for through some combination of taxes. Now, who pays those taxes depends on whose plan you’re looking at. 

 

[clip of Bernie Sanders] So let me tell you what we do. We raise your taxes if you’re somewhere in the middle of the economy, about 500 bucks. But you know what we’re going to do for health care? We’re going to reduce your health care cost by $5,000 so you’re going to pay a little bit more in taxes, but you’re no longer going to have to pay private health insurance premiums. 

 

[clip of unspecified politician] It doesn’t raise taxes on anybody but billionaires. And you know what? The billionaires can afford it. And I don’t call them middle class. 

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, narrating: Regardless of who pays, the overall cost of health care would be way lower. That’s because the government is way more efficient at being your health insurer. No marketing costs, no millions of dollars in CEO pay. What about the problem list? Medicare for All solves most of the problems we laid out last episode because it tackles the overarching health care as a business problem. And solving that problem has a ripple effect throughout the system. Here’s how, in becoming the single payer, the government becomes what’s called a monopsony. It’s like a monopoly where there’s only one seller of a good. But in this case, there’s only one buyer of a good as the only buyer of health care for every one in the nation, the government can dictate the price of care from doctors and hospitals, and in doing so, force health care costs down. If the government is the only buyer of prescription drugs, it can force prices down for those too and so on. No more prices inflating and inflating. What about choice? Well, Medicare for All can’t magically transport you to the best hospital for your care right before you’re going to get a heart attack. But it can make sure more hospitals stay open because it can pay doctors and hospitals a little bit more in communities where they might be at risk for closing because, again, it gets to dictate the costs. And you really can see any doctor you want because if Medicare is the only insurer, doctors and hospitals have no choice but to accept it. Here’s who loses, big health care. And as such, they’re doing everything they can to fight Medicare for All. In fact, they formed a new consortium, the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, who’s already running ads to try and scare you. 

 

[clip of ad against Medicare for all] We come from different walks of life. But we agree on one important thing. We don’t want to be forced into a one size fits all government insurance system. 

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, narrating: Sound familiar? Which gets us to Medicare for America. Bear with me, because this one’s kind of hard to explain. Medicare for America. What at least one of the candidates is trying to call Medicare for All is an attempt to get universal health care while playing nice with the private health insurance industry. 

 

[clip of unspecified politician] My health care proposal is a Medicare for all proposal, but what it does is it allows people choice. So under my Medicare for All proposal, they get the choice of a private Medicare for All plan or a public Medicare for all plan. 

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, narrating: Think of it as Medicare for everyone who doesn’t have employer provided health insurance, plus a public option option for those who do. Unlike the public option, Medicare for America requires everyone to have health insurance. But unlike Medicare for All, it doesn’t require you to be on the government’s health insurance. Starting on day one, everyone who doesn’t get health care through an employer gets enrolled on Medicare. Every American born after day one is automatically enrolled on Medicare, too. But everyone who has employer provided private health insurance on day one has a choice. They can either stay on their private plan or enroll in Medicare, a.k.a. a public option. Their choice. But everyone is either on a private plan or the public plan. There’s another big distinction, how it’s paid for. True Medicare for All pays for itself through a combination of taxes, no premiums, co-pays or deductibles. But Medicare for America would require people who can afford to pay for Medicare to pay the government a premium for it. So instead of paying your insurance company, you’re paying the government. Onto the problem list. This plan would certainly get us to universal health coverage, but it goes out of its way not to solve the health care as a business problem. And so it can’t do much about expanding costs and it can’t do much to increase choice for patients because private insurers are left to do as they will. Sure, they may face pressure trying to compete with the public plan, but they still call too many of the shots in the system. Unlike in single payer Medicare for All, where the government plan becomes the only buyer. So those are the technical aspects of each of these plans. After the break, we’ll have a special guest who makes the moral case. [music break]

 

[AD BREAK]

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, narrating: Before the break, we broke down the technical aspects of three popular proposals being discussed by the Democratic candidates for president. The public option lets you buy a government health care plan if you want it. Medicare for All guarantees you a public health care plan and eliminates your private one. Medicare for America tries to do some of both. Now, I want to introduce you to a friend of mine who is advocating for one of these plans with every last ounce of his energies. He is a true American hero and someone I look up to tremendously. You may remember his special shout out in one of the Democratic primary debates. 

 

[clip of Elizabeth Warren] Now I want to have a chance to tell the story about my friend Ady Barkan. Ady is 35 years old. He has a wife, Rachel, he has a cute little boy named Carl. He also has ALS, and it’s killing him. Ady has– 

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, narrating: I met Ady on the campaign trail when I ran for governor of Michigan in 2018. He was gracious enough to put his weight behind my campaign. After all, he’s been a leading voice to promote something we both feel really strongly about, Medicare for All. He inspired me then, and he inspires me now. 

 

[clip of Ady Barkan] Hey there. My name is Ady Barkan. I’m 35 years old and I live in Santa Barbara, California, with my wife Rachel and our young son, Carl. I am speaking to you through a computer because my tongue and diaphragm aren’t up to the task. For the past three years, I have been living with ALS, a deadly, mysterious neurological disease that has paralyzed me almost completely. 

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, narrating: Ady was diagnosed with ALS in 2016. It’s a debilitating disease that attacks the nerves in your body that control movement. Without the signal to move, your muscles begin to deteriorate, locking you inside. So Ady sits in his wheelchair a few feet in front of his face is a computer screen with a keyboard on it. By looking at the letters on the screen, he forms sentences and speaks to us. Though his voice may sound different. His message has not changed. 

 

[clip of Ady Barkan] We have a functioning democracy. We still have the ability to raise our voices. We have to do it. We have to persevere. We have to put a little self-sacrifice in. 

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, narrating: Ady’s always been a passionate advocate for health care, a just economy and worker rights. He made it his life’s work as a community organizer for the Center for Popular Democracy. 

 

Ady Barkan: I had a pretty perfect life before ALS. Rachel had just given birth to this ridiculously cute and friendly boy. We went to bed happy almost every night, and we could see decades of happiness stretching out before us. 

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: How did you know that something was wrong? 

 

Ady Barkan: My left hand started getting weak. My fingers got tired after ten minutes of playing the guitar. I assumed it was carpal tunnel or some other manageable problem that had resulted from my holding baby Carl in my left hand so much. But a doctor friend of mine took a look and told me that I had to see a neurologist. Within a week I was given my death sentence and told that I had about 3 to 4 years left. It’s exhausting and infuriating. It strips me of my dignity. It inserts itself into every moment of my life. It prevents me from doing 95% of what I want to do in short. It sucks, and I don’t recommend it to any of your listeners. 

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, narrating: In a cruel twist of fate, Ady’s own health care experience has given him special insight into the brokenness of our health care system, allowing him to be that special kind of advocate. 

 

[clip of Ady Barkan] The biggest cost for us is the personal care that I need and which isn’t covered by insurance. I basically need someone by my side 24/7 to do everything from bathe, wash and dress and feed me to adjusting my hands and feet when I get uncomfortable. That’s our biggest expense. We’re paying $9,000 every month. It’s pretty nuts. 

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, narrating: I asked Ady what tackling ALS has taught him about what we need to do to fix health care in America. 

 

[clip of Ady Barkan] I think one fundamental truth is that our health care system is far worse than we deserve. We’re the wealthiest country in human history, and yet we haven’t managed to use that wealth to build a healthy society. 

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, narrating: Ady puts the blame squarely at the feet of the insurance corporations operating for their profits. 

 

Ady Barkan: Try explaining to a six year old why we need massive insurance corporations in our health care system. You can’t do it. And our system of insurance radically distorts our system for care. Doctors and nurses spend their time with paperwork instead of with patients. I know you’ve seen this up close during your training and experience as a doctor, right? 

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: No. Absolutely. And uh you see it everywhere in the health care system. You see it in the decisions that are made by doctors when they’re treating patients. You see it in who gets care and who doesn’t. You see it in whether or not we choose to prevent or not prevent disease. Um. You see it in the way that we’ve organized health care. The people who need it most in rural and urban communities don’t get it in the same way that folks in suburban communities who tend to be richer um and whiter get it. And you’re right. What’s the solution here, Ady? 

 

Ady Barkan: The first most important solution is Medicare for all. The solution is building a society where every single person, rich or poor, has access to excellent quality medical care. Because we believe that healing shouldn’t just be available to CEOs. The solution is a society where we believe fundamentally that health care is a human right and not a commodity like a car. No more getting on the phone trying to convince your insurance company to cover something. It’s all covered. This is personal for me. One of the things I’ve come to deeply understand over the course of this diagnosis is that our time here is the most precious resource we have. Should we really be spending the limited amount of time we have on Earth on the phone with Aetna? Why does it have to be that way? 

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: I’ve been asking myself that question, too. 

 

Ady Barkan: I’ve come to believe that fundamentally we need radical disruptive change to the status quo. The only plan I’ve seen that aims for that level of ambition is Medicare for All. I believe our health care system just isn’t going to work for people instead of corporations as long as massive corporations are profiting massively off of denying people necessary medical care. 

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: So why are politicians hedging against Medicare for all? We see it every day in the debates in the news. 

 

Ady Barkan: Some of it is structural. The influence of pharmaceutical and insurance industry lobbying and electioneering on politicians is undeniable. Some of it is that members of Congress just don’t have any understanding of what a crisis our health care system is for real people. They make a healthy, comfortable salary and have excellent health care. And some of it is they’re just scared. Politicians don’t generally do big, bold things that threaten the wealthy moneyed establishment on their own, which is where we come in. We’re building a movement to force them to do exactly that. And it’s working. 

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: People often push back. They say Medicare for All is too expensive. How do you respond to them? 

 

Ady Barkan: We are already paying far too much for our health insurance system. I would say it’s too expensive not to enact Medicare for All. It’s too expensive to keep paying the bloated salaries of insurance CEOs and pharmaceutical executives who profit off of hiking the cost of prescription drugs and denying people necessary care. 

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: And what mistakes in this conversation that we’re having right now about health reform are we making that is walking us down the same path? 

 

Ady Barkan: We need to stop negotiating with ourselves and panning ourselves into preconceived notions about what people are capable of understanding. We need to not be afraid to have a real conversation about health care policy in this country. Voters understand deeply and personally how broken the status quo is so let’s not be afraid of what Fox and the right wing will say. When I see people argue that Medicare for All will never pass because Republicans are going to call us socialists or attack us for raising taxes. That makes me sad. It’s an argument that doesn’t give voters enough credit. Yes, Medicare for All will probably mean a new tax, but that tax will be less, way less than how much we’re spending on health care bills. Let’s make that argument. I think we’ll be successful. 

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: You have a young boy, Carl. What do you hope will change about this country for him? 

 

Ady Barkan: Well, that’s a big one. There’s a lot that needs to change. Most urgently I think we need to stop destroying the planet. I guess my fundamental hope for Carl is that he’ll get to grow old and watch his children and grandchildren inherit a more just and equitable and sustainable democracy than we have right now. 

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, narrating: Ady’s message resonates deeply with me. My daughter Emmalee is about the same age as Carl. She is my eye to the future, and I measure every action I take by what it will mean for the world she inherits. After our interview, Ady and his wife Rachel were blessed with another baby, a little girl they named Willow Simone. Ady may not be around to watch Carl or Willow grow up, and that’s why it’s on all of us, to make them and all our kids our eyes to the future. Ady just released a book. It’s called Eyes to the Wind. It’s a beautiful, moving portrayal of his experiences and his vision for what our future could be. I encourage you to pick it up at one of your local bookstores. Like Ady, I believe deeply in Medicare for All. As a doctor, I’ve seen what happens to people when they can’t afford their health care, up close and personal. After medical school, I made a choice not to practice medicine because I didn’t want to work in a broken system, a system that chews up and spits out people like Lisa and Ady at the hardest moments of their lives. That system was architected by the businesses who profiteer off of health care every day. I don’t believe we ought to be accommodating them any longer. While any of these plans would be an improvement on our current system. Medicare for All is the only one that solves the central cause of the system’s dysfunction. And that’s why I believe in Medicare for All. If we’re going to get there, our leaders have to find the courage to stand up to the big corporations who’ve stood in the way for far too long. But more importantly, we have to find the courage to resist their fear mongering and believe in a better system rather than fear the change that people like Ady needed a long time ago. This isn’t just technical work, it’s political work. It’s the reason I left Medicine and Public Health to run for office in 2018. 

 

[clip of unspecified Fox news reporter] Embracing a Socialist Agenda, progressive Democrats are vowing to give some form of free single payer health care at the state level, including Democrat Abdul El-Sayed, who is running in tonight’s Michigan primary. 

 

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, narrating: Okay Fox News. I didn’t win my race, but the work continues. For me, this podcast of course. I also wrote a book. As an epidemiologist turned politician, I wanted to take a look at the political disease that I think is ailing us and the politics we’ll need to treat it. It’s called Healing Politics. And you can preorder now at HealingPoliticsBook.com. For all of us the work continues in 2020. We’re facing one of the most important elections in American history. I don’t have to tell you why Donald Trump is terrible. I don’t have to tell you what’s at stake on our southern border, for our economy, for our standing in the world. But throughout this series, what I hope I’ve shared is what’s at stake when it comes to our health. Because health, like we’ve discussed in just about every episode, is about science and government. And both of them are under assault. People like to say that science isn’t political. That’s garbage. Politics is how we allocate scarce resources, and science needs those scarce resources to discover new antibiotics, to tackle the opioid crisis, to understand how best to prevent children from being poisoned by lead. Federal funding for science has been falling for decades, but it’s gotten way worse under this administration. Trump proposed deep funding cuts for key research branches like the NIH and the NSF, despite an economy doing better than ever. The Trump administration is undercutting government’s role in public health too. They specifically directed the CDC, the country’s health department, to stop using certain words, words like evidence based. Meanwhile, they proposed cutting 10% of the agency’s budget. Cuts to these critical agencies will continue to deteriorate the relationship between science and government that has been so critical to improving and protecting American health over the past century. At a time where our health is already starting to struggle. For science, for government, for the billions they help around the world every day. Get out there. Be a part of the action. Organize. Knock doors. Make phone calls. Send text messages. Talk to your friends and your neighbors. Yes. Even the ones with the MAGA gear. Remind them what we have to lose and all we have to gain. [music break] America Dissected is a product of Crooked Media. Our producer is Austin Fisher. Our associate producers are Tara Terpstra and Emma Illick-Frank. Vasilis Fotopoulos mixes and masters the show. Production support from Ari Schwartz. Our theme song is by Taka Yasuzawa and Alex Suigura. Our executive producers are Leo Duran, Sarah Geismer and me. Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, your host. Thanks for listening. [music break] This show is for general information and entertainment purposes only. It’s not intended to provide specific health care or medical advice and should not be construed as providing health care or medical advice. Please consult your physician with any questions related to your own health. The views expressed in this podcast reflect those of the host and guests and do not necessarily represent the views and opinion of Wayne County, Michigan, or its Department of Health, Human and Veteran Services.