Blog

February 19, 2019

Freedom for the Many

by Shant Mesrobian

Originally published at Jacobin on Oct. 11, 2017.

""Freedom From Fear," Norman Rockwell, 1943

When we talk about health care reform, it’s easy to focus on copays or premiums and forget what’s at stake: nothing less than the expansion of freedom itself.

While some employer-insured Americans are satisfied with the health care they receive, tethering health insurance to employment generates enormous economic anxiety and insecurity, shaping and constraining the life choices and aspirations of millions of people. People take jobs they find otherwise undesirable and stay in ones they’d otherwise quit. They curb their demands on the job for fear of getting fired and losing their health insurance. They’re prevented from realizing their potential not just because they might not get the care they need or because they might still end up in bankruptcy, but because of the oppressive hoops they must jump through to acquire health insurance.

For most Americans, a job is a job. This isn’t to say that people at all rungs of the economic ladder can’t derive meaning from their work (among non-elite professions, clergy and firefighters stand out in job satisfaction studies). But for the majority of Americans, work is more of an obligation than a passion. They do it to survive.

... (read more)

February 11, 2019

'Everybody In, Nobody Out': What We Know So Far About the Medicare for All Act of 2019

by Benjamin Day & Mark Dudzic

Originally published on February 7, 2019 on Common Dreams.

Joe Newman/Flickr

As the 2019 legislative session in Congress kicks off, the Democratic majority in the House will, in very short order, have to address a national surge of support for Medicare for All (otherwise known as single-payer healthcare). At the close of the last Congress, almost two-thirds of Democratic Representatives had signed onto HR 676, the Expanded & Improved Medicare for All Act. They will be joined by the long list of freshman Democrats who ran and won on this issue.

"Understandably, the transition to a new lead sponsor and an extensive rewrite process has created some nervousness and confusion in sections of the single-payer advocacy community."

Leading the charge in the House will be Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), who is assuming lead sponsorship of the Medicare for All bill after Keith Ellison stepped down to run for Attorney General of Minnesota. Jayapal got her start in the immigrant rights and civil rights movements, and has extensive ties to the social justice and labor movements in Washington State.

Her willingness to take the lead on the Medicare for All Act will come as no surprise: last year she helped to launch the first Medicare for All Caucus... (read more)

February 11, 2019

ALL IN: the DSA Medicare for All Newsletter, February 2019

by DSA M4A

Welcome to the February edition of All In!

You may have heard that Rep. Jayapal (D-WA) will soon introduce the Medicare for All Act of 2019 in the House. While the full version of the bill has yet to be released publicly, we’re excited to hear that the initial draft meets our five principles for a truly universal single-payer system. Our coalition partner, National Nurses United, has already pledged wholehearted support for the bill, and they report that key elements of the bill will include:

  • Comprehensive coverage for hospital and outpatient services, prescription drugs, dental, vision.
  • Long-term care services for people with disabilities, seniors and anyone else who needs them
  • Protection and inclusion of reproductive health services, including abortion
  • Wage replacement, retraining, retirement benefits and education for health industry workers affected by Medicare for All implementation
  • No premiums, no deductibles and no co-pays

We’re excited to join NNU and other coalition partners to rally people around the most promising healthcare bill in decades!

To that end, we’re also excited to announce a strategic, coordinated campaign led by DSA members and chapters to build Congressional support for this new bill. With Democrats controlling the House, we have a unique opportunity to... (read more)

February 6, 2019

Bernie and the Fight for Medicare for All

by DSA M4A Steering Committee

For the first time in our lifetimes, Medicare for All appears to be within reach.

For decades, one rogue Senator has repeatedly proposed single-payer healthcare, agitating against the profiteering of private insurers and drug companies while calling for a movement of working people to wrest healthcare out of the market. That Senator is Bernie Sanders, and now he’s on the verge of running for president.

Sanders made Medicare for All a leading demand in his 2016 presidential campaign, drawing out the division in the Democratic Party between billionaire donors, their establishment politicians and millions of working people.

Since 2016, Medicare for All’s popularity has only grown. Now single-payer healthcare enjoys the bipartisan support of a majority of Americans, and for the first time in history, will receive hearings in the House. But as the 2020 Democratic presidential primary heats up, we are seeing billionaires, centrists, and party leadership closing in to crush our movement.

As democratic socialists, we believe that the struggle over Medicare for All is class war: a fight between the wealthy few and the working many to redistribute wealth and power. Only on those terms can we build the mass movement necessary to win—and only Sanders... (read more)

February 5, 2019

The Case for Medicare for All

by Public Citizen

Originally published at Citizen.org

Medicare for All rally, Los Angeles, 2017. Molly Adams; Flickr

Contrary to the image painted by critics, Medicare for All would increase access to care and grow the economy, according to an analysis by Public Citizen. The analysis takes a comprehensive look at the research available on Medicare for All and lays out the facts, including that such a policy would reduce administrative waste, reduce profiteering of health care and lead to additional federal revenue. The analysis comes as U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) prepares to reintroduce Medicare for All legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives this month. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has announced support for hearings on the legislation, which would be the first time a single-payer health care system will be taken seriously by House leadership. Medicare for All opponents, including Big Pharma and health insurance companies, already have tried to squash any talk of such the reform because it would threaten their profit margins.

Read the report now.

The report addresses common Medicare for All questions by highlighting key facts, including:

  • The system would save money by reducing administrative costs by $500 billion per year and allowing the government to... (read more)
January 30, 2019

Medical Ethics Can Only Be Restored With a Single-Payer System

by David Penner

Originally published at Dissident Voice, on Jan. 28, 2019.

A recruiting poster for Australian nurses from World War I.

It is the year 2019, and American health care is in a state of profound crisis. While oligarchic parasites from the pharmaceutical industry and health insurance companies make enormous profits, bankruptcy and the fear of being denied care hang over the American people like a sword of Damocles. This diabolical order, predicated on greed and placing profit-making over human life, has stripped doctors of their autonomy and given birth to an inhuman and deeply unjust multi-tier system.

Unless we are able to disenthrall ourselves from the tyranny of privatized health care, Americans will continue to die as a result of avaricious insurance companies denying coverage for needed drugs and procedures, and from treatment which is delayed due to requests for “prior authorizations.” Moreover, medical students and residents are being taught that good health care is a privilege and not a right, and that the oath to do no harm applies, but only to a privileged few. In a world turned upside down, doctors in training are being inculcated with the pernicious notion that the job of a doctor is not to listen to the patient, perform a comprehensive physical, respect... (read more)

January 15, 2019

Chapter Spotlight: Detroit DSA: Holding Whitmer’s Feet to the Fire

by Kyle Minton

Dan Loepp with illuminated eyes. (All photos: Aaron Barton)

Detroit DSA demanded that Governor Gretchen Whitmer remove Blue Cross Blue Shield CEO Dan Loepp from her transition team, citing BCBS’s role in benefiting from the private insurance model. When Whitmer declined, DSAers decided to march on the Blues’ Lansing headquarters to demand Loepp step down.

On December 14, two dozen organizers reconnoitered at a nearby library, mostly from Detroit DSA but also from other progressive groups. Some came from as far away as Holland. Before protestors even left the library, Capitol police arrived to tell them they would intervene if either side broke any rules.

Blue Cross Blue Shield was ready, too. When activists arrived at the doors, they were locked. Several security guards and maintenance employees stood behind them. Coincidentally, a Jimmy Johns delivery driver pulled up just as the demonstrators arrived. When the door was opened, every protestor pulled out their BCBS membership card and proceeded through the doors after the delivery. They demanded, as paying customers, that they should be able to get a meeting.

Security and maintenance employees immediately began shoving. One employee told a protestor they would be in “a world of hurt” if they... (read more)

January 14, 2019

Chapter Spotlight: Portland DSA Pressures Sen. Wyden to Support M4A

by Portland DSA for M4A

DSA Portland shared some footage of a recent interaction with Senator Ron Wyden at one of his town halls in Oregon. One of our comrades, Adam, had an opportunity to share why Medicare for All would be a benefit to him and his family - take a look.


Sen. Wyden has yet to co-sponsor the Medicare for All bill in the senate, S.B.1804. His Democratic counterpart Senator Jeff Merkley has—thanks, Senator! Incidentally, Sen. Wyden has received over $1.4 million from big pharma and the healthcare lobby since 2015 alone.

During the town hall, the Senator asked to speak with the campaign afterward. Sen. Wyden gave some lip service on incrementalism and how he's fighting prescription drug costs and gave other reasons why he isn’t going to support Medicare for All.

Sen. Wyden asked us to look at his record and point to a single piece of legislation that he has not supported because of the money he receives, and we did; the answer is simple. The Medicare for All bill is legislation that Wyden does not currently support because of the money he has received. Medicare for All would give millions of Americans the care that they so desperately need.

January 8, 2019

ALL IN: DSA MEDICARE FOR ALL NEWSLETTER #3

by DSA M4A

Hello and welcome to the first issue of All In of 2019! We’re glad you’re joining us in the new year to continue fighting for Medicare for All. 

We even have a late gift: The most comprehensive study on Medicare for All to date.

The 200-page analysis of Bernie Sanders’ Senate bill comes from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute (PERI), and finds that Medicare for All will save the US $5.1 trillion over 10 years while drastically cutting ordinary Americans’ healthcare expenses. And many health policy experts believe that's a conservative estimate!

At long last, Medicare for All advocates have credible economic research to supplement our most important arguments: that single-payer healthcare will save lives, end healthcare insecurity, and help us build a more just society anchored by solidarity. 

A look at a few of the study’s key findings:

  • The average individually-insured family would save nearly $8,400 per year under Medicare for All. The average employer-insured family would save $1,570.
  • Bernie’s Medicare for All bill will cut overall health spending by at least 9.6% — saving Americans more than $5.1 trillion over 10 years — while guaranteeing comprehensive care to all Americans free at the point of... (read more)
January 1, 2019

Chapter Spotlight: Bloomington-Normal DSA's OPERATION: MEDICARE FOR ALL

by Bloomington-Normal DSA M4A Working Group

The morning after key elements of the Affordable Care Act were struck down in a Federal Court in Texas, the Bloomington-Normal Democratic Socialists of America doubled-down on the chapter’s Medicare for All organizing efforts. While tabling, our members had more than 20 unique conversations leading to support for M4A throughout the day, and despite some setbacks from traditional detractors in our community, our M4A working group and DSA member-organizers pulled out all the stops to bring the message of healthcare being a human right to the working class of McLean County, IL.

Leading up to that morning, the Bloomington-Normal DSA had been granted permission to participate (host an Operation tournament) in the annual Trades and Labor Christmas Party for the Un(der)employed Families of McLean County, hosted by McLean County Chamber of Commerce and the Bloomington and Normal Trades and Labor Assembly. However, When our six member-organizers arrived at the local high school to set up our table, the local Chamber of Commerce director - let’s call him “Mr. Commerce” - instructed the event’s lead labor organizer of the event to tell us to leave, citing the DSA’s presence was “inappropriate” for a children's' charity event.

Setting up for... (read more)