July 7, 2020

Medicare for All Policy & Organizing Workshop July 19 2020

by DSA Medicare for All Campaign

Join us on Sunday, July 19, 7:30 PM ET, for a Medicare for All Policy and Organizing Workshop. Pre-register here.

Now is the time to act: Democratic Socialists for Medicare for All is organizing a nationwide campaign to call on our representatives to support the Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act, and to advance the only real solution: Medicare for All. As part of this campaign, we are hosting a policy and organizing workshop to walk through what’s at stake in the current crises, and why socialists should organize around healthcare reform. We will provide training on how to phone bank and organize in this unique moment. This training is designed to provide useful skills that you can take with you into your organizing projects.

The current moment demonstrates why it is so vital to fight for universal healthcare. COVID-19 has left millions unemployed, uninsured, and struggling to afford basic necessities like rent. This crisis has been particularly hard-hitting due to our for-profit healthcare system, which withholds healthcare from those who cannot afford it. Only a publicly financed and administered system can prioritize public health, early intervention and prevention, and provide free vaccines. We must fight against for-profit insurers and... (read more)

June 23, 2020

Fighting the Health Impacts of Racialized Capitalism During the COVID-19 Pandemic

by The DSA Medicare for All Steering Committee

The COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionately killing communities of color. In Chicago, New York and other states, COVID-19 has been more deadly for Blacks and Latinos. In California, the same is true for Asian and Pacific Islanders. In the UK, 34% of 6770 critically ill COVD-19 patients were from ethnic/racial minority groups. 

Socio-economic and environmental factors, along with co-morbidities rooted in the for-profit healthcare system, account for the disproportionate deaths from COVID-19 among people of color. That the professional class is mostly white and living in suburbs and wealthier urban enclaves explains their relatively lower rate of infection and death from the novel coronavirus. 

The structural characteristics of capitalism, and especially its current form of finance capitalism that further devalues wage labor in favor of huge rewards to speculative investment and monopoly rents are responsible for: 

  1. Environmental racism that place pollution sources in these communities and create toxic vectors for worsening disease from the coronavirus; 
  2. Black and Latino workers concentrated in “essential” jobs, rather than being able to work from home, or exposed to the health effects of unemployment from hospitality sector wage and gig jobs that closed down; 
  3. Mass incarceration in jails (without the cash for bail) and in petri... (read more)
May 1, 2020

[All In: May] Everything you need to know about the Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act

by DSA M4A

Hello and welcome to the May issue of All In, the Democratic Socialists for Medicare for All newsletter! 

We are excited to announce a campaign in support of the Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act, which is legislation introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Pramila Jayapal that would empower Medicare to cover all healthcare costs for the uninsured and all out-of-pocket expenses for those with insurance for the duration of the coronavirus crisis.

The legislation also “bans surprise billing, empowers Medicare to purchase pharmaceuticals at the same prices as the VA, and prevents private insurance companies from increasing copayments and deductibles, or decreasing coverage, for the duration of the health care crisis.”

Our campaign calls on our representatives to support the Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act specifically.

This campaign will include a variety of tactics, starting with national and local virtual phone banks to start pressuring our representatives while maintaining social distancing. We have a variety of resources to help you and your chapter, including:

If you want to get involved in this work but aren’t sure... (read more)

April 29, 2020

The Astroturfed Campaign to Undermine Medicare For All

by Luke Savage

Originally appeared in Jacobin on December 3, 2019.

Officially at least, the Democratic Party is currently engaged in a spirited debate about the future of health care policy in America. While the plans being proposed by the presidential hopefuls come in endless shades and variations, the basic division is formally about how best to provide and improve coverage: through reform of the current system or comprehensive replacement with a single-payer model. Though the former camp acknowledges the shortcomings of the status quo, it continues to express skepticism about a “one-size fits all” solution that reduces the “freedom” and “choice” afforded via privately provided insurance.

Seen in these terms, Democratic politicians are helping lead a constructive public debate about how to improve health care and having a good faith disagreement about the best way forward — with most, having weighed the alternatives, coming down on the side of some model that includes a continued role for private insurance companies.

Anyone with even a perfunctory knowledge of how Washington, DC functions in practice will, of course, instantly recognize something amiss in this portrait. Health care is a multitrillion-dollar industry and private insurance is a hugely lucrative business. Given the Wild West that is America’s political financing regime, it would... (read more)

March 21, 2020

Keep Calm and Fight for Medicare for All

by Tobias Kirchwey, Robert Fain, Pranav J. Sharma, Elias Kleinbock

Originally appeared in Jacobin on March 18, 2020.

Every gap in health coverage threatens to accelerate COVID-19’s spread. If the estimated 87 million Americans who are uninsured or underinsured delay testing or treatment due to cost, we will struggle to “flatten the curve” of the pandemic no matter how well we socially distance. Our health system may well collapse under the weight of COVID-19 cases, as did the health systems in Northern Italy and China’s Hubei Province. If this happens, we will run out of ventilators for those who need them, while our capacity for routine lifesaving interventions, like stents for people who have heart attacks and emergency surgeries for trauma victims, will be curtailed.

Our inadequate preparation for COVID-19 extends beyond the lack of guaranteed health care for all. Years of underfunding the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and its laboratories impedes our ability to track, confirm, and intercept cases. Furthermore, chronic disinvestment from local and state departments of health prevents us from addressing emerging health crises and communicating vital information to communities. This lack of investment in public health infrastructure is symptomatic of a system oriented toward covering individuals rather than communities. Our vulnerabilities speak to our health system’s broad misallocation of resources.

We... (read more)

March 10, 2020

[All In: March] Super Tuesday results show Bernie won with Medicare for All

by DSA M4A

Hello and thank you for reading the March issue of All In, the DSA Medicare for All campaign newsletter!   

Super Tuesday showed us one important thing: Bernie Sanders can run, and win, on Medicare for All. Sanders won California, the contest’s largest prize, by sweeping with almost 34% of the vote (out of about 4 million votes). The state is notorious for taking weeks to reveal the final delegate tally, but the fact that Sanders solidly won the popular vote in the world’s fifth-largest economy shows that his platform, and Medicare for All in particular, resonates with voters. And with six states headed to the ballot box today, we know Sanders can win again with Medicare for All.

Now that the contest for the democratic nominee is down to him and Biden, Medicare for All will likely be one of Bernie’s strongest talking points, too. Sanders himself has floated the idea of an hour-long debate with Biden on healthcare while doubling-down on the crucial need for Medicare for All

It’s an area where Biden is vulnerable. His healthcare plan is especially weak because it creates a “public option”—which preserves the role of private insurers to the detriment... (read more)

February 29, 2020

Surprise! We Need Medicare for All

by Meagan Day

Originally appeared in Jacobin on June 6, 2019.

Aetna’s website has a list of precautions you can take to avoid getting surprise medical bills. It reads:

  1. Research your preventive care coverage and billing codes before your visit.
  2. Ask your doctor to use in-network labs for bloodwork, MRIs and other tests.
  3. Shop around for the best price on medical tests and procedures.
  4. Beware of “facility fees.”
  5. Prep for emergencies by finding out about ambulance providers in your area.
  6. Know your rights around “balance billing.”

This is absurd. We shouldn’t have to do any of this. Here’s a better to-do list:

  1. Dismantle private insurance companies like Aetna.
  2. Implement Medicare for All instead.

Fifty-seven percent of Americans say they’ve received a medical bill they weren’t expecting. Sometimes their crime was being unconscious in an ambulance taking them to the nearest (out-of-network) hospital. Other times their mistake was failing to stop their (in-network) provider from commissioning an $18,000 urine test from an (out-of-network) lab. Surprise medical bills like these are a major contributing factor to medical debt, which is the leading cause of bankruptcy in the US.

Pretty much everyone agrees that this situation is intolerable. Democrats, Republicans, and even Donald Trump are promising to do something to stop surprise medical billing... (read more)

February 11, 2020

Mayor Pete’s Health Care Plan Is a Joke

by Matt Bruenig

Originally appeared in Jacobin on Feb. 10, 2020.

The health care debate has popped back in the news again, as Pete Buttigieg attempts to gain ground in the primary by attacking Medicare for All. Buttigieg’s health plan has mostly avoided scrutiny in the debate so far, which is a shame because it is so bad that it borders on comical.

Impossible Enrollments

In the first part of Buttigieg’s plan, he says he is going to automatically enroll the millions of uninsured people with incomes low enough to already be eligible for free insurance:

Over half of people with no insurance are eligible for either free insurance or an affordable insurance option. Anyone eligible for free coverage in Medicaid or the public option will be automatically enrolled, and those eligible for subsidized coverage will have a simple enrollment option.

Upon reading this, you should wonder to yourself: how on earth is the bureaucracy going to be able to automatically determine, in real time, who the low-income people are that are eligible for free insurance?

Remember, the people he is talking about here are not people who come into the welfare office and fill out forms recording their income information. These are the people who, despite being eligible, never... (read more)

February 3, 2020

[All In: February] Bernie leads with Iowans while M4A leads with doctors

by DSA M4A

Hello and thank you for reading our first issue of 2020! 

Sen. Bernie Sanders leads Joe Biden by 9 points in Iowa and 15 points in New Hampshire. In fact, he’s favored over Trump in every major poll conducted in the last month! But with Super Tuesday on the horizon, it’s more important than ever to continue building support behind Sen. Sanders because he’s the only candidate committed to enacting Medicare for All from day 1.

It’s also key to remember that Sanders is the only candidate whose healthcare plan adheres to our campaign’s 5 principles and truly earns the right to be called Medicare for All. Other candidates’ plans just don’t stack up, and this recent campaign video explains why:

Watch the full video here!

We’re still encouraging individuals and chapters to put pressure on their representatives to support Medicare for All, and now we’re also asking that people canvass, make calls and/or send texts for the Sanders campaign. Keep the momentum up!

As the Medicare for All movement grows, it’s also picking up support from crucial players in the healthcare system itself: doctors. The American College of Physicians — the country’s largest medical specialty organization representing more than... (read more)

January 27, 2020

Building momentum for Bernie with the largest Week of Action yet

by DSA M4A
Jabari Brisport, left, running for New York State Senate District 25, and Phara Souffrant Forrest, right, running for New York City's 57th Assembly District, attended a Medicare for All/Bernie town hall hosted by New York City DSA. (Photo via New York City DSA). 

In partnership with the DSA for Bernie campaign, we wrapped up our largest Week of Action yet in January!

From Jan. 13-19, more than 60 DSA chapters across the country held town halls, canvasses, watch parties and phone/text banking parties in support of Sen. Bernie Sanders and Medicare for All. In fact, many chapters even held more than one event! This was the first time the DSA for Medicare for All campaign joined forces with the DSA for Bernie campaign, and it was inspiring and motivating to see the power and strength of our movement.

With the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primaries in sight, we need to keep the pressure on. You can still get involved by volunteering directly with the Sanders campaign, or see our organizing guide for information and resources on how to build a local Medicare for All coalition in your area.

A huge thank you to every chapter that participated and every individual who told their friends, neighbors and community members about why Bernie is the only Medicare for All candidate. This is how we win!

Here's a look at the activities and events some chapters hosted during the Week of Action. You... (read more)