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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 service.
  • The wealthiest 5 percent of families ($401,000+) currently receive a net subsidy in healthcare spending, meaning the tax subsidies they receive amount to more than what they spend on healthcare. Under Medicare for All, they would begin spending 4.7 percent of their income in healthcare taxes.

The study’s proposed taxation methods would fully fund Medicare for All and leave it with a 1 percent surplus, which would in turn fund the bill’s jobs program for displaced insurance industry workers. This would include full wage replacement, job training, relocation support, and retirement assistance.

Medicare for All is even better than we thought, and you can read a more thorough analysis of the study by DSA Medicare for All organizer Tim Higginbotham to learn more.

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!

📋 From the campaign 📋

News from the M4A blog and the broader campaign

  • Earlier this year, Austin DSA helped campaign for paid sick leave … and won! The chapter joined a broad coalition of organizations fighting for the South’s first paid sick leave ordinance, which could affect more than 200,000 local workers, according to the Austin Chronicle. The Austin City Council voted to pass the legislation in February, representing a huge victory for working-class people. Despite recent court attempts to block the measure, the chapter’s work demonstrated what a successful local pressure campaign can look like.  The chapter and the national Medicare for All campaign put together this recent webinar on how to launch coordinated, targeted local campaigns in your own chapter, and how to connect local legislative battles to the larger M4A campaign.
  • Elderly people are expected to account for 20 percent of the U.S. population by 2030, and the task of caring for them will fall disproportionately to women. Cuts to Medicare and Medicaid and the rising costs of healthcare are forcing many families to seek the informal care of wives, daughters, sisters, aunts and nieces, who must balance caregiving responsibilities with their primary job (or jobs) and other responsibilities. But there’s a solution: a publicly funded, universal, single-payer healthcare program that includes long-term elder and hospice care. 

🗞 News 🗞

Related articles, essays, articles from outlets beyond the campaign

  • For those who say M4A would be too expensive to implement, consider this: it already costs the U.S. government almost $700 billion to subsidize the insurance industry every year. While federal programs like Medicaid and CHIP account for the largest chunk, the next largest portion comes from tax write-offs employers take for providing coverage to employees. Our current patchwork insurance system leaves some people with coverage, others without, and nearly all with feelings of uncertainty about how they might pay for their next medical procedure or doctor visit. We can afford Medicare for All.
  • In one of the more bizarre rhetorical attacks against M4A, some critics argue that transitioning to Medicare for All would inflict too much “switching pain.” But as Matt Bruenig writes, that argument quickly becomes totally indefensible. In our current system where health insurance is tied to employment, Bruenig estimates 150 million people are pushed off their employer-provided health insurance every 5 years anyway due to being fired, laid off, or separated from their job for any number of reasons. Meanwhile, the switch to universal healthcare means a single switch where workers are guaranteed high-quality healthcare for life. The piece is part of a series called Single Payer Myths. Read the rest here.
  • Medicare for All’s popularity continues to rise and now the attacks are coming. Documents obtained by The Intercept reveal that the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future — an informal network of private health insurance interests — is waging a disinformation campaign to “wean Americans away from supporting single payer.” The group’s talking points describe our current system as providing “world-class care” and that anything else would mean “ripping apart our current system.” (Surprise! That’s the goal!) But Medicare for All advocates say they have nothing to hide, and “once single payer is widely understood as a program that covers everyone … support will only grow.”
  • Wendell Potter spent 20 years as a private health insurance executive who now has some crucial advice for House Democrats: offering anything less than Medicare for All would be a “huge gift to the private insurance industry.” He writes that health insurance companies “have no interest in doing anything that might in any way jeopardize profits” and that it’s time to stop offering reforms that rely on them to play fair. Instead, he urges Democrats to give Americans what they overwhelmingly want: Medicare for All. 
  • After years of decreasing, the number of uninsured kids in America is on the rise according to new research by Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families. The study found around 3.9 million children were uninsured in 2017, up from 3.6 million in 2016. While it’s difficult to isolate the exact causes, the study points to a combination of factors that may have contributed, including a devastating lapse in funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program. No child should have to forgo healthcare due to lack of coverage, and a universal, single-payer healthcare system like Medicare for All means none would have to. 

🔦 Chapter spotlight 🔦

A look at what locals are doing around the country

  • Philadelphia DSA is hosting an M4A Town Hall with Michael Lighty on Jan. 26! Lighty is a Democratic Socialist, Sanders Institute Fellow, and leader in the Healthy California single-payer campaign. He'll be in Philadelphia to speak about the current political and economic crisis and how the demand for Medicare for All has the potential to galvanize a mass working-class base. Get all the details here! 
  • Seattle DSA Medicare for All organizers held a panel discussion in December about what M4A’s rising popularity means for DSA and how a Sanders presidency could help build support for the movement. The future is bright in 2020!
  • Portland DSA is mounting a pressure campaign to urge two Democratic legislators to support M4A bills in the House and Senate. Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) is the only House Democrat in Oregon who does not support H.R. 676, while Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) is the only Senate Democrat in Oregon who doesn't support Senate Bill 1804. Watch this video of Portland DSA members confronting Sen. Wyden at a town hall about why he must support M4A.
  • Detroit DSA continued their campaign calling for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan CEO Dan Loepp to step down from Gov.-elect Gretchen Whitmer’s transition team. You can sign the chapter’s petition calling for Loepp’s removal here.
  • Bloomington-Normal DSA has been out tabling for M4A, but one event presented an uphill battle. After being unexpectedly kicked out of a charity event supported by trade and labor leaders, campaign volunteers made the best of the situation and canvassed outside the event instead.They made connections and built support for M4A one conversation at a time, and then later held a successful tournament featuring the board game Operation. Donations from the tournament will go to families burdened by medical debt. Great work!
  • Boston DSA voted to make M4A a chapter priority in 2019.  
  • Denver DSA held a panel discussion featuring healthcare providers and activists explaining Medicare for All.

😎 Social media 😎

The best stuff from our feeds

💖 We celebrated our first birthday on Twitter! Here's to another year of good, wholesome M4A content for the TL.

📺 Catch Bernie Sanders talk M4A on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

💪 Private insurance vs. the guy she told you not to worry about

😫 We hope no one ever has to write one of these healthcare horror story roundups again.

😈 The greatest trick private insurance ever pulled was convincing you it was the only option

😐 “I literally worry more about bankrupting my family at this point than I do about dying.”

✅ Medicare for All is so simple, you can explain in just six emojis.

🕵️‍♀️ Show us the lie!

Newsletter graphics and design by Stephen Gose. Content written by members of the DSA M4A Communications Subcommittee.