This Pandemic Would’ve Looked So Much Different Under Medicare For All

Abdul El-Sayed’s new book ‘Healing Politics’ makes the case for a different approach to public health

Sarah Begley
GEN
Published in
9 min readApr 9, 2020

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Photo source: Bill Pugliano

AtAt a fraught time for both politics and public health, Dr. Abdul El-Sayed has a uniquely insightful view from the intersection of the two. His resume includes but is not limited to: epidemiologist, Detroit health commissioner, Michigan gubernatorial candidate with endorsements from Bernie Sanders and AOC, and podcast host. And now, author of the book Healing Politics: A Doctor’s Journey Into the Heart of Our Political Epidemic.

We caught up with El-Sayed about how our political system has failed to prepare us for the Covid-19 pandemic, and where we go from here.

GEN: To oversimplify, you got into politics and wrote this book because you had a professional view into how messed up the public health was in this country, and you wanted to fix it. How has the American response to Covid-19 confirmed or contested your understanding of those structural failings?

El-Sayed: The reality of public health is that it’s a lot more about preventing than it is about responding. So the fact that we’re even in a position of responding speaks to the foundational failure of our system. Not to take…

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Sarah Begley
GEN
Writer for

Director at Medium working with authors and books. Formerly a staff writer and editor at Time.