Blog

June 4, 2019

All In - June: The Weekend of Action is Coming

by DSA M4A

In just a few short months, Medicare for All has received unprecedented attention in the legislature. After the introduction of Medicare for All bills in both the House and Senate, there was a powerful first-ever hearing in April featuring lawyer and healthcare activist Ady Barkan. Then, the Congressional Budget Office released a thorough report in May on the impacts of establishing a universal healthcare system. These recent gains are a result of our coalition’s constant grassroots work, and we’re creating a litmus test that shows whether our representatives are on the side of healthcare profiteers or the side of the working class.

And now, we’re closer than ever to a historic floor vote on Medicare for All and we need your help: join us for a Weekend of Action on June 15-16 to seize this unique opportunity.

These weekends are a large scale, coordinated effort between DSA chapters across the country with the goal of reaching out to friends, neighbors and community members to offer a vision of a healthcare system safeguarded from the profit motive of private insurers. You might remember our Weekends of Action last year in April and August, when chapters held town hall events, canvassed their neighborhoods, organized speaking events and tabled at community events.

Any chapter can participate in the Weekend of Action. Every canvass, tabling event and face-to-face conversation helps, no matter how small! Be sure to fill out this form for your chapter so one of our regional organizers can be in touch. We also have plenty of resources to help plan your action:

We already have nearly 60 chapters across the country pledged to participate!

We hope this will be our largest Weekend of Action yet, and we’re excited to keep the momentum going to bring Medicare for All to a historic floor vote. We’re going to win, and we’re going to do it together.

📋 From the campaign 📋 

Goodies from the M4A blog and the broader campaign

  • Austin DSA helped pressure a Democratic Rep. in Texas to support Medicare for All! Working alongside coalition partners like NNU and The Texas Organizing Project, Austin DSA played a major role in pressuring Rep. Doggett to stand on the side of workers and not insurers. This is a huge win for the campaign because Doggett is the chair of the Health Subcommittee of the Ways and Means Committee and a member of the Budget Committee. For well over a year, Austin DSA ran a targeted campaign to apply pressure and force Doggett to sign on to Medicare For All, with San Antonio DSA serving as a crucial partner (watch the awesome video they put together about the campaign here). We know the road to Medicare for All is long and sometimes hard, but this huge win shows what happens when we build true working class power and apply sustained, strategic pressure to our elected officials. Rep. Doggett is just the start!
  • There’s no doubt Medicare for All would benefit every American, but the most vulnerable among us have the most to gain. Harper Reid writes that infants and children would uniquely benefit from a universal healthcare system because coverage would start before a child is even born through check-ups and screenings for the mother, and then continue through birth and the rest of the child’s life. In a country where black babies die at more than twice the rate of white babies, Medicare for All would ensure that all children receive equal, quality care, regardless of a parent’s ability to pay. And it goes without saying, but children born with disabilities or complex medical conditions would be immeasurably better off under a universal system. If we want the best for our kids, we need Medicare for All.

🗞 News🗞

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

  • Medicare is the country’s most popular and cost-effective health care program, so why not expand it to everyone, Sen. Bernie Sanders asks in this USA Today op-ed. Sanders has been a powerful champion for universal healthcare for decades, and his candidacy for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination means universal healthcare policy has a fighting chance in the White House. He says that opponents made similar arguments against the original Medicare by claiming it was “un-American” to enact such a universal program, but now, millions of Americans couldn’t imagine living without it. Why should something so vital be reserved for a small subset of society? “Lobbyists and front groups for those industries are going to spend a lot of money on deceptive ads trying to scare Americans,” Sanders says. “But I believe we are finally on the verge of defeating these forces of the status quo.” So do we.
  • Roughly 9 percent of the US population — or 28 million people — do not have health insurance. Another 26 percent, 86 million people, are underinsured (for comparison, that’s almost double the amount of people who live on the entire West Coast). Medicare for All would change that, writes Robert Pollin at Common Dreams in his analysis of the Congressional Budget Office report on Medicare for All. Pollin notes that while the report is nonpartisan and does not advocate for a position either way, it does state (emphasis ours): “Unlike private insurers, which can experience substantial enrollee turnover over time, a single-payer system without that turnover would have a greater incentive to invest in measures to improve people’s health and in preventive measures that have been shown to reduce costs.” The CBO doesn’t take sides, but we think that speaks for itself.
  • “Without the support of the state, I shudder to think of where we would have ended up,” writes Ohio Sen. Nina Turner. Sen. Turner is a Medicare for All champion and a national co-chair of the Bernie Sanders 2020 campaign. Writing for Vogue, she says that our for-profit healthcare system disproportionately places a burden on Hispanic and black Americans: “About 20,000 people a year die from not being able to afford health insurance. And Hispanic and black Americans are particularly impacted by our fatally costly health-care system: One out of four non-elderly Hispanic Americans and almost one out of 10 non-elderly black Americans are under- or uninsured.” She knows this firsthand and uses her own experience growing up as a newly married 22-year-old in Cleveland raising a newborn and her six siblings after her mother died. “As is true for millions of Americans, the social safety net saved us,” she says. Universal benefits like Medicare for All don’t discriminate on the basis of skin color, economic status, or gender, and they make it possible for people to live fulfilling, dignified lives. As Sen. Turner writes, structural problems require structural solutions like Medicare for All.
  • We won’t accept anything less than Medicare for All because we know that anything less will fail those who need healthcare most. We need only to look to Ireland for an example, writes Amber A’Lee Frost for The New Republic. The Irish system blends public and private healthcare providers, which leaves a gap that’s all too familiar to Americans: Many Irish people make too much money to qualify for public insurance, but not enough money to fully utilize the benefits of their private insurance plans. Frost writes that these problems aren’t unique to Ireland, and in fact they are “the direct result of a health care system that tries to supplement a public service with a private market” (that might also sound familiar). If American politicians want to learn lessons from our Irish counterparts, they’ll back a healthcare system that is comprehensive, universal and free at the point of service.

🔦 Chapter Spotlight 🔦 

A look at what locals are doing around the country

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