Maybe it’s just luck, but Atul Goel is the one candidate running for the US Senate who has experience in the three biggest issues of the day: health care, immigration and the military.
Goel is an immigrant himself -- he was born in India but became a US citizen years ago and quickly joined the military. But it is that third part of his background which drove him to politics.
“I'm a physician by training. I also used to be a medical director in the Medicare system and the single biggest reason that I am running is to ensure that we have affordable access to health care for everyone,” Goel said.
It’s what he hears most from voters as he crosses the state.
“I've been in all 100 counties and I've talked to many people -- Republicans, Democrats and unaffiliated,” Goel said. “Many people like the health care system that they have and we don't have to completely just rock the apple cart, clean up the plate, table and start with a brand new solution. So, I do not feel that it's necessary to be highly disruptive.”
That’s why Goel says he does not advocate for a single-payer system, at least not now. But he says there is a crisis for most people with serious conditions trying to navigate the system.
“They just get swallowed up and swamped up by a bureaucratic health care system,” he said. “People shouldn't need a doctor in the family to make sure the health care system provides them with what they need and that's something I can fix.”
Nowhere is that more prevalent, he says, than with his fellow veterans
“We must take care of our veterans. And I understand the veteran health care system really well because I was on the medical staff at a combined military and veterans hospital. I was involved in doing disability adjudication for veterans -- severe disability ratings that are given -- I understand that thoroughly. And we must provide the health care for our veterans that they deserve,” he said.
And, as an immigrant himself, he emphasizes the need for keeping families together in what can be a strange land and culture for some of them.
“You keep hearing about, 'Well, let's only bring in the people who are going to help our economy,'” Goel said. “What’s implied in that is bring in the Ph.D.s and physicians and people like that -- and the scientist. No question we want to encourage them. But another perspective that I believe that is very important is that we must help stabilize families -- all families.”
Hear more from Goel in this Your Local Election Headquarters report.