Blog

December 10, 2019

ALL IN - DECEMBER: Union Support for Bernie Shows Why He's the Only M4A Candidate

by DSA M4A

As we head into 2020, we have everything to gain and the polls to back it up: support for Sen. Sanders is growing in key states like New Hampshire, and voters consistently say he’s the candidate they trust most to enact Medicare for All in office. This is an unprecedented moment in history where the United States could see a Sanders presidency, and Medicare for All is closer to reality than ever before. Working alongside dozens of other coalition organizations, thousands of socialists in DSA chapters across the country have spent countless hours this year organizing events, door-knocking, phone banking and talking to their friends and neighbors about Medicare for All. We know we’ll have to fight much harder in 2020, but it’s clear our hard work is paying off. Please remember to forward this issue to everyone you know interested in Medicare for All and in Bernie's political revolution and get them to subscribe so we can hit the ground running in January.

Big pay-offs have come lately in the form of major union support for Sanders and his Medicare for All plan. National Nurses United endorsed Bernie for president in November, counting his “trailblazing leadership” on “Medicare for All” as one of the reasons for their endorsement. NNU is a leader in the fight for Medicare for All nationally, and support from the nation’s largest nurses union speaks volumes about which candidate has the trust of working-class people to enact Medicare for All and fundamentally disrupt the status quo.

Nurses aren’t the only ones backing Bernie — United Teachers Los Angeles, the second-largest teachers’ local in the country, overwhelmingly voted to support Sanders’ run for president. Union members voted to endorse Sanders not only because he has “the most comprehensive, progressive plan for public education among the candidates,” but also because his platform “aligns with our values on a range of issues, including rebuilding the US labor movement and winning Medicare for All.”

NNU and UTLA are the two most recent large unions to endorse Bernie, with more joining daily. Shoutout to the APWU of New Hampshire, who endorsed Sanders on December 6th, and IBEW Local 1634 in Iowa, who also recently endorsed. These unions follow the lead of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, which was the first major union to endorse him in August. The fact that more than 150,000 nurses, 36,000 electrical workers and machinists, 34,000 public school teachers, New Hampshire postal workers and many other locals have endorsed Bernie Sanders and his Medicare for All plan sends a crystal clear message about who is truly on the side of working people and committed to taking the profit motive out of healthcare.

Contrast those endorsements to what happened in the stock market when Elizabeth Warren announced her “Medicare for All” plan: managed-care and hospital stocks actually rose more than 5 percent after notably slumping for the first nine months of 2019. Capital knows that Warren is no threat, which means she is no friend of ours.

In 2020 we need to maintain the momentum we’ve built while remaining uncompromising and steadfast in our demands: we’re fighting for Medicare for All and nothing less.

If you have friends, family members or colleagues who are interested in keeping up with the campaign, tell them to sign up here to receive All In straight to their inbox. Thanks for reading, and see you in 2020!

📋 From the campaign 📋

News from the M4A blog and the broader campaign

Tell us why you’re fighting for Medicare for All through our #DontBargainWithOurLives campaign! We’re encouraging union members and DSA chapters to upload short videos of themselves talking about why Medicare for All is so important. Fill out this form to share your video with us and we’ll help promote it when the campaign kicks off TODAY, December 9. Let’s flood social media with #DontBargainWithOurLives videos and messages! We want to make it clear that the labor movement isn’t just fighting for their own benefits — they’re fighting with all of us for Medicare for All.

A statement from the campaign: A public option is not a solution, and Bernie is the only Medicare for All candidate. November’s Democratic debate was especially illuminating because it finally laid bare what so many Medicare for All advocates already knew: Elizabeth Warren will not fight for truly comprehensive single-payer healthcare any time soon. Despite Warren’s claims, we know the public option is actually no option at all because it carves out space for private insurance companies and would exacerbate the inequalities that exist in our current system. The public option is no yellow brick road to single-payer, and the only candidate committed to fighting for Medicare for All from day one in office is Bernie Sanders.

Views from the other side: a public health and policy professor attended a meeting about healthcare hosted by the Koch-funded “Manhattan Institute” and recaps what she saw. “The bad news is they were planting seeds of misdirection in the audience members’ minds that could eventually make their way to the airwaves or to political debates,” writes Dr. Naomi Zewde, an Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy at the City University of New York. “The good news is they are forced to respond to this growing movement, and that they have no good answers or even good questions.”

Another Weekend of Action is coming on January 18-19, 2020! In collaboration with the DSA for Bernie campaign, we’re asking DSA chapters to host canvassing events, town halls, or use a variety of other tactics to grow support for Medicare for All and Bernie Sanders’ campaign (see our organizing guide for ideas or check out what chapters did earlier this year for a WoA in June). Be on the lookout for more information soon, but for now, save the dates!

🗞 News 🗞

Related news articles, essays, articles from outlets beyond the campaign

#VoteLabourDecember12: We stand in solidarity with our friends in the Labour Party. Jeremy Corbyn’s party has pledged to keep the National Health Service safe from further austerity, and we hope the British people will vote Labour to preserve the healthcare system we’re so desperately fighting for in our own country. As American-expat Rob Delaney says, “even in its underfunded state, [the NHS is] still so vastly superior. You don’t want what I grew up with.” [Bonus: Read Meagan Day’s piece in Jacobin, “The Transatlantic Health-Care Struggle,” about what Britain’s struggle to preserve the NHS means for Medicare for All advocates here at home.]

DSA members have been canvassing for Medicare for All for months, and they consistently find one thing: people love the idea of M4A once they learn more about it. Liza Featherstone talked to DSA members in chapters across the country to get their perspective on what real people are saying and thinking about Medicare for All. “The questions people ask about Medicare for All aren’t the same ones the pundit class imagines, nor, in the context of an engaged conversation about their health care experiences, do their objections tend to be fatal,” she writes. Keep these lessons learned by other organizers in mind when you hit the streets!

Healthcare industry groups and lobbyists are using politicians as pawns to wage war against Medicare for All in the pages of the nation’s newspapers. Documents obtained by Medicare for All Now and given to The Washington Post reveal that lawmakers in several states published op-eds criticizing Medicare for All that were written with help from anti-M4A lobbyists. The lawmakers did not disclose they wrote the pieces with the help of lobbyists, and the lobbyists themselves were cagey when asked who they were working for — although it seems likely it’s Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, a powerhouse group funded by private healthcare interests.

🔦 Chapter spotlight 🔦

A look at what locals are doing around the country

Lehigh Valley DSA members celebrated a victory in November after the Bethlehem City Council unanimously adopted a resolution supporting Medicare for All. The chapter mobilized by encouraging members to attend the city council meeting and contacting council members to urge their support for the measure. The members who attended the meeting said in part: “No one should have to go bankrupt keeping themselves healthy. A society where people have to resort to GoFundMe to purchase insulin or pay for operations is not a healthy one.”

Bethlehem now joins cities such as Cambridge, Detroit, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Seattle in passing resolutions in support of Medicare for All. Keep the pressure on!

DSA members Ben Fong (Phoenix DSA and Medicare for All steering committee member) and Liz Deere (co-chair of the Central Arkansas DSA) were interviewed for this piece in The Atlantic that chronicles the meteoric rise in popularity of Medicare for All within the Democratic party. The writer sums up M4A’s popularity in part by saying, “Medicare for All is an easy-to-understand, decisive departure from what [Bernie] Sanders calls a ‘cruel and dysfunctional’ health-care system. So what if it’s socialist?” For us socialists, that’s the main selling point!

😎 Social media 😎

The best stuff from our feeds

🔥 The seventh level (or maybe the eighth? Possibly the ninth?), specifically

👊 James Adomian, thank you for this

💃 When we win Medicare for All, everyone will be having the time of their lives

🍽 The dinner argument to end all dinner arguments

🚗 We found a photo of Liz Warren’s healthcare plan