We have much to celebrate, because we just achieved an amazing milestone together: Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) introduced the Medicare for All Act of 2019 with over 100 cosponsors on Feb. 26! You can watch a recording of the bill’s release outside the Capitol building here.
The importance of this landmark legislation cannot be overstated, and we’re going to continue working alongside our coalition partners to make Medicare for All a litmus test for all candidates in 2020.
Big pharma, insurance industry lobbyists and career politicians will certainly redouble their efforts to spread misinformation and kill M4A, so we can’t let up. We’ve got a real, fighting chance to achieve Medicare for All!
Alongside Senator Sanders’ Senate bill, it is the only legislation to meet DSA’s five principles for a truly democratic socialist single-payer system. Those five principles are:
- A single health program in which everyone will have equal access to all medical services and treatments
- Comprehensive coverage where all services requiring a medical professional will be fully covered
- Free at the point of service, meaning no more co-pays, deductibles or fees for medical devices and prescriptions
- Universal coverage for every US residents, even non-citizens
- Job training and transition help for those who work in the private health industry
This is far and away the biggest win for our campaign yet, and we’re celebrating by dedicating this entire issue to the Medicare for All Act of 2019.
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📋 From the campaign
Goodies from the M4A blog and the broader campaign
- “This is a milestone in the fight for universal healthcare and an equitable society,” DSA national director Maria Svart writes after Rep. Jayapal unveiled the Medicare for All Act of 2019. “Now our task is to build a mass organization of working people that will not give up until we win.” A number of organizations are championing the single-payer fight, including Labor Campaign for Single-Payer, National Nurses United, Healthcare NOW, Women’s March and more than 100 DSA chapters with thousands of members. Our work is far from over, but as Maria writes, “the ruling class has woken up to the popularity of Medicare for All.”
- And those questions about cost? It turns out healthcare costs under Medicare for All could fall by about 19 percent, write Sanders Institute Fellows Robert Pollin and Michael Lighty. Pollin and his co-authors at the Political Economy Research Institute laid out the projected costs and how we might pay for a universal system in the Economic Analysis of Medicare for All study. They write that a single-payer program would increase demand for healthcare services by around 12 percent, but actually cost less ($2.93 trillion vs. the $3.24 trillion we currently spend). The study’s authors conclude that “Medicare for All could reduce U.S. Health Consumption Expenditures by about 9.6 percent while also providing decent health care coverage for all U.S. residents.” Sounds pretty good to us! [Bonus: Matt Bruenig of the People’s Policy Project talks to Vox about how to finance M4A.]
- The fight for universal healthcare is about much more than just “free stuff” — it’s about the expansion of freedom itself, writes Shant Mesrobian in Jacobin. The sinister link between employment and health insurance means millions of people are trapped in jobs they might hate but feel unable to leave because they so desperately need insurance. Employers know this and use insurance as leverage to exert even more control over the lives of their employees. In other words, “it is impossible to be free” when health insurance is tied to employment. A single-payer healthcare system, though, “would dramatically change the employment calculus for every working person in the country, shifting power away from the boss … In short, it’s not about free stuff — it’s about a free life."
- Sanders Institute fellow Michael Lighty is taking our Medicare for All message to the East Coast in the latest round of his Nothing Less! speaking tour. Listen to a recording of his interview on WXXI in Rochester here.
- The Medicare for All Act of 2019 is here, but that doesn’t mean our work is over. We still need everyone to remain vigilant and continue calling, emailing and requesting meetings with representatives to let them know how important this bill is to you. If your rep doesn’t support the bill, give them a call!
Related news articles, essays, articles from outlets beyond the campaign
- So what’s in the Medicare For All Act of 2019? Sarah Kliff at Vox writes that the benefits are “more generous than what other single-payer countries, like England or Canada, currently offer.” All primary care, hospital visits and reproductive health services like abortion would be covered. It even includes long-term care, which isn’t included in the current Medicaid program. There would be no deductibles to meet, and no out-of-pocket spending for co-pays, prescriptions, emergency room visits, medical devices and lab services. Vision and dental services are covered, too. It would also start relatively soon, with every citizen transitioning to the plan within two years.
- Lobbyists and special interest groups were heavily involved in writing the Medicare for All Act of 2019, but this group isn’t the usual suspects, writes Ryan Grim at The Intercept. Doctors, nurses, disability rights advocates and public interest organizations were consulted, resulting in benefits such as long-term disability care. Other key organizations included National Nurses United (the largest nurses union in the US), Physicians for a National Health Program, Public Citizen and several other progressive organizations with the public interest in mind. Who wasn’t at the table? Reps from the insurance and pharmaceutical industries.
- Before Rep. Jayapal released her bill, insurance industry lobbyists were already conspiring to kill it, according to this report in the New York Times. Lauren Crawford Shaver, a top lieutenant in Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, is spearheading their efforts and leading with an uninspiring (and untrue) message: the ACA just needs to be improved and most Americans like their plans. Not surprisingly, the American Medical Association, American Hospital Association and the nation’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans have latched onto the campaign. “This is a slippery slope to government-run health care for every American,” said an executive vice president of a lobby for health insurers. That is, of course, the goal.
🔦 Chapter spotlight
A look at what locals are doing around the country
- DSA chapters around the country have been hosting barnstorm events to get members excited about canvassing for M4A. Here’s a look at the events in Las Vegas, Sacramento and Birmingham. Great work, everyone!
- The Muhlenberg College chapter of YDSA held their first meeting in February and what was on their agenda? Medicare for All!
- Austin DSA has been hitting the streets for M4A, while North Texas DSA held an M4A town hall that turned out 75 people!
- Metro Detroit DSA is continuing their campaign calling for Gov. Whitmer to remove Daniel Loepp, CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, from her transition team. One of their recent demonstrations was covered by a local TV news station.
😎 Social media
The best stuff from our feeds
😈 Sure seems like someone read our press release
💯 We’re keeping score: only Medicare for all is the real deal
👯♀️ Bernie retweeting Rob is a true dream come true
🗞 These are not the stories that should dominate American news outlets
⏲ It may be a flat circle, but time’s up for private healthcare
Mark your calendars
We’re still on tour! Sanders Institute Fellow Michael Lighty is taking his M4A message to the East Coast, with upcoming stops in New York City, Teaneck, N.J. and Allentown, PA. See the tour page for more details or follow Michael on Twitter to keep up.