Welcome to the second issue of All In, the Democratic Socialists for Medicare for All newsletter!
First, we have some celebrating to do: Democratic Socialists all over the country ran and won elections in the midterms, and many centered M4A as a key component of their campaign. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) were elected to Congress, while the number of Democratic Socialists elected to state legislatures jumped from just four to 11. While the blue “wave” turned out to be more of a trickle, these small gains made by socialists all over the country show our movement is growing and that people are “ready to rally around a politics that foregrounds classwide demands.” Let’s keep the momentum up!
But, while these wins in the midterms were exciting, we must not let our guard down. Republicans have begun their long awaited attack on Medicare for All and its advocates, and unfortunately they aren’t our only threat. While Trump peddles lies about the “Opportunity Costs of Socialism” (wherein he accidentally endorses single-payer), leading liberals have tried their best to misinform the public about what state-sponsored insurance means while crowding the legislature with a number of counterfeit proposals that bear little resemblance to Medicare for All (beyond the name). This month’s All In is dedicated to helping dispel some of the myths about single-payer, and in particular push back against the liberal enthusiasm for the “public-option” approach to health care reform. We need Medicare for All, and we won't accept anything less.
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📋 From the campaign
Goodies from the M4A blog and the broader campaign
- The public option is not a solution, writes M4A organizer and policy subcommittee member Tim Higginbotham. In this piece published on the M4A blog and later re-published in Jacobin, Higginbotham explains how a public option — which would would allow people to “buy in” to public health insurance through Medicare, Medicaid, or a public plan on the ACA market — simply reinforces all the things people hate about our current system, and does little to offer coverage to those who don't already have it. We need universal coverage through a single, public program.
- We went on tour! Long-time DSA member, Sanders Institute Fellow, and leader in the Healthy California single-payer campaign Michael Lighty visited cities across the south and west in October for the first-ever DSA Medicare for All speaking tour. He visited almost a dozen cities — stretching as far east as Miami and as far west as East Bay — and lectured on a number health-related issues, including how Medicare for All can become a key political demand made by the working class over the next two years. Hear Michael talk about Medicare for All in this campaign video, or check out footage from Miami’s stop that included union leader Jose La Luz or DSA North Texas’ stop.
- “There is no health without justice, and there is no justice without health,” writes Michael Lighty in this Jacobin piece we re-published ahead of his tour. Lighty explains why single-payer should become a litmus test for all politicians on the campaign trail, and how campaigns like Medicare for All can effectively unite people across the political spectrum. Turning this moment into a movement, he writes, could motivate millions to demand more of the society in which they live.
- Rob Hudson has been on Medicare for eight years, and it’s made him realize one thing: How life-changing a single-payer healthcare system would be for millions of American seniors. He’s experienced first-hand how complicated our current patchwork healthcare system is, and although many costs are covered, services such as dental work and vision exams are not. Even with Medicare coverage, he estimates him and his wife still pay more than $10,000 a year for healthcare, not including co-pays, exams and other miscellaneous costs. His solution? A truly universal healthcare system like Medicare for All.
Related news articles, essays, articles from outlets beyond the campaign
- The pitfalls of half-fix healthcare schemes are on full display in a bill put forth by Pramila Jayapal (D-WA). Jayapal co-chairs the House Medicare for All caucus, and her bill makes it easier for any state to request permission to opt out of programs like Medicare and Medicaid and receive federal waivers in their place. While it might put Washington state residents a few inches closer to a state single-payer plans, it offers no meaningful challenge to the insurance industry machine, and in fact it repeats many of the same mistakes made by Obamacare. At this critical moment, we can’t afford to accept these kinds of healthcare “half-fixes.”
- The American people overwhelmingly support Medicare for All, but guess who doesn’t? Republicans, centrist democrats and the donor class that keeps them in office. As pundits and party leaders start ratcheting up the anti-M4A rhetoric, it’s important to remember that the fight isn’t between Democrats and Republicans—who see a common enemy in M4A. It’s between regular working people and the corporate class of politicians and industry lobbyists who will seemingly stop at nothing to kill single-payer.
- Tens of thousands of children in West Africa will likely die after Merck & Co. Inc. ended a long-term agreement to supply the rotavirus vaccine to four low-income countries, NPR reports. More than a half-million children in West Africa may not receive the vaccine in 2018 and 2019, and the company will completely stop delivering the vaccine by 2020. At the same time, the company has started sending the vaccine to China, where price per dose will likely be more than 10 times the amount sold to Gavi, which distributes the vaccine. The company could massively boost sales if it gains approval to sell the vaccine in China, where the population alone offers a giant untapped customer base, one analyst said.
🔦 Chapter spotlight
A look at what locals are doing around the country
- Dubuque DSA is fighting for Medicare for All and created this video to encourage people in their chapter to donate their time and skills to the campaign.
- Philip Kim of Sacramento DSA explains how winning Medicare for All would mean a better, healthier future for everyone in America.
- Tampa Bay DSA has been hard at work canvassing for Medicare for All with National Nurses United. Here’s one canvasser’s personal story on why fighting for Medicare for All means so much to her.
- When Michigan Governor-elect Gretchen Whitmer announced her transition team, she included a troubling corporate exec: Blue Cross Blue Shield CEO Dan Loepp. Detroit DSA is now working hard to campaign for Loepp's removal. Read their statement and sign the petition here.
The best stuff from our feeds
👯♀️ Unofficial campaign mascot and comedian Rob Delaney shows off his “voting in 2016” vs “voting in 2018” attitude.
😞 Aetna was ordered to pay $25.5 million dollars after denying coverage to a woman who died of cancer. It’s clearer than ever — the entire parasitic industry has to go.
✊ We’re fighting for a truly comprehensive system with the full range of services completely covered. Nothing less will do.
🤔 After taking back control of the House, Nancy Pelosi’s messaging was… less than perfect.
😎 69% of millennials support Medicare for All.