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February 11, 2019

ALL IN: the DSA Medicare for All Newsletter, February 2019

by DSA M4A

Welcome to the February edition of All In!

You may have heard that Rep. Jayapal (D-WA) will soon introduce the Medicare for All Act of 2019 in the House. While the full version of the bill has yet to be released publicly, we’re excited to hear that the initial draft meets our five principles for a truly universal single-payer system. Our coalition partner, National Nurses United, has already pledged wholehearted support for the bill, and they report that key elements of the bill will include:

  • Comprehensive coverage for hospital and outpatient services, prescription drugs, dental, vision.
  • Long-term care services for people with disabilities, seniors and anyone else who needs them
  • Protection and inclusion of reproductive health services, including abortion
  • Wage replacement, retraining, retirement benefits and education for health industry workers affected by Medicare for All implementation
  • No premiums, no deductibles and no co-pays

We’re excited to join NNU and other coalition partners to rally people around the most promising healthcare bill in decades!

To that end, we’re also excited to announce a strategic, coordinated campaign led by DSA members and chapters to build Congressional support for this new bill. With Democrats controlling the House, we have a unique opportunity to rally support for the bill and get it to the floor for a vote in 2019. Now’s the time to get House representatives to listen to their constituents, and we’re asking individuals and chapters to contact their reps and ask them to 1.cosponsor the bill, 2. join the Medicare for All Caucus and 3. endorse our five principles.

You can start by watching and sharing our campaign kick-off video, reading our chapter organizing guide to set up the first meeting with your rep, and filling out this form to join us in this effort. The road is long, and we know we’ll face constant attacks from private health interests, the insurance industry and legislators in the pocket of big pharma. But together, we can show people that universal health care is much more than a pipe dream — it’s something we can achieve within our lifetimes.

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

  • We went on tour… again! Longtime DSA member, Sanders Institute fellow, and single-payer champion Michael Lighty is on tour again, this time taking his universal healthcare message to the East Coast. Lighty visited Syracuse on Jan. 24 and then headed south to Philadelphia. The tour resumes on Feb. 28 in Rochester, and then he’s headed to Albany, Pioneer Valley, Boston, Hudson Valley, and more. Additional cities and dates will be added as the tour continues, so keep an eye on the tour page for details.
  • Myths about Medicare for All are circulating, but make no mistake: Medicare for All would increase care received and grow the economy, according to an analysis by Public Citizen. Common misconceptions such as increased wait times are all debunked by the report. It becomes clear when you pull back the curtain on these claims that they’re not about informing people of real risks — they’re about creating a boogey man so insurance interests can protect their profit margins.
  • Our current healthcare system divides people into “humans” and “subhumans,” writes David Penner. And not only that, a system built by privatized interests teaches medical students and residents that good health care is a privilege, not a right. The horrors resulting from this are numerous, from burnt-out, overtired doctors who accidentally make life-ending mistakes to patients who are treated more like products than people who need tender care. Penner concludes that the only thing that can end this vicious cycle that bludgeons both doctors and patients is a truly universal, single-payer system built on equal, quality care for all.

🗞 News

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

  • It would be considered heinous anywhere else, but in the U.S., it’s just another day in the America healthcare system: This North Carolina man was slapped with a $4,692 medical bill when he fainted after a flu shot. Matt Gleason has a history of fainting and was taken by ambulance to an emergency room to be evaluated for a heart attack. Although he spent most of his eight-hour visit in the waiting room, he incurred numerous charges for a battery of tests. Gleason appealed, but the hospital refused to make changes. Blue Cross Blue Shield wasn’t much help either, touting the fact that they reduced his bill by $980 but saying they could do nothing about the ER admission fee. Gleason was left with a $3,700 hospital bill, which he says will “wipe out” his family’s savings. We do not have to live in a world where receiving medical care can financially ruin an entire family. A better way is possible with Medicare for All!
  • Another uniquely American healthcare nightmare is the fact that hundreds of thousands of people turn to crowdfunding sites for help paying medical bills. So much so that a third of the donations made through GoFundMe.com, one of the largest crowdfunding sites, are intended to help people pay for medical care, according to CEO Rob Solomon. At least 250,000 campaigns are set up annually on the platform, raising total contributions of $650 million per year. “A crowdfunding platform can not and should not be a solution to complex, systemic problems that must be solved with meaningful public policy,” Solomon tells CBS News. We agree. 
  • It’s already notoriously difficult to pin down healthcare costs, and now one of the nation’s largest insurers says it will no longer provide data to a nonprofit group that researches health care spending. UnitedHealthcare — ranked no. 5 on the Fortune 500 rankings of the largest United States corporations by total revenue — will no longer provide deidentified data to the Health Care Cost Institute, citing concerns with “data security and privacy.” But it’s clear whose interests are being represented here, and as Axios points out, “ending a research agreement aligns more with their financial interests than the broader interest of industry transparency.” Private insurance companies exist to make money and patient care will always come second as a result. Medicare for All means abolishing the private insurance industry and putting patients first. We won’t settle for anything less.
  • “My heart literally dropped,” Kim Barding told WFTV news in Florida after receiving a $2.2 million medical bill from her insurance provider, Cigna. The bill was actually intended for her husband’s twin brother, Vince Barding, who died after being badly burned in a work-related accident. The couple immediately contacted Cigna and expected the error to be fixed, but soon found themselves locked in a Kafkaesque nightmare with the insurer. Barding says they were billed for Vince’s treatment for eight weeks, which she says wiped out her employer medical fund. The couple’s bill was ultimately resolved after they contacted the media, and Cigna issued a statement placing the blame on the healthcare providers. A world where everyone has the right to free and universal healthcare would prevent this from happening altogether.

🔦 Chapter spotlight

A look at what locals are doing around the country

  • Detroit DSA is continuing their campaign demanding that Governor Gretchen Whitmer remove Blue Cross Blue Shield CEO Dan Loepp from her transition team. The chapter has called for Loepp’s removal since he joined, and they’ve held several rallies making their demands known. This time, they went straight to the BCBS’s Lansing headquarters. It will come as no surprise that the insurance giant “gave more to Whitmer’s campaign than to any other gubernatorial candidate, and it did so to gain a seat at her table.” We have no doubts the chapter will continue to demand Loepp’s removal, and we’re proud to support them in their efforts.
  • Portland DSA has one simple question for Sen. Ron Wyden, but he can’t seem to answer it: Why doesn’t he support Medicare for All? Portland DSA members confronted Wyden at a recent town hall, where one member made an impassioned speech about why he should support the bill. As Wyden pockets millions from pharmaceutical companies ($1.4 million, to be exact), millions of people are without the health insurance they need. Medicare for All means no one is denied care because a politician is hiding in big pharma’s pockets.

😎 Social media

The best stuff from our feeds


🔢 You do the math: Any way you cut it, Medicare for All saves us all money.


🤗 We loved Adam Levine’s new tattoo!

 

😈 Well, this explains a lot.

 

🚮 In 2019 we’re cancelling copays, premiums, deductibles and the entire insurance industry.

 

✊ “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and inhumane."

 

🔥 That feel when you’ve been duped by both Fyre Festival and private insurance.

 

🎄 Some quality evergreen content.


💉 No clever text for this one: No one likes their private insurance plan because they all suck.