In the week that preceded Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-7, D) introducing the Medicare for All Act of 2019 (with over 100 cosponsors), the members of Bloomington-Normal’s Medicare for All working group drafted and sent a letter requesting a meeting with Representative Rodney Davis (IL-13, R).
The twin cities of Bloomington and Normal are both split between districts 13 and 18, represented by Rodney Davis and Darin LaHood. Neither candidate has made any indication that they would support a Medicare for All bill, but we felt it was prudent to request a meeting with both of our representatives through the candidates’ preferred contact methods. We sent both an email and a letter and requested a reply by March 4th. By our proposed deadline, we received no acknowledgement of our requests from either candidate.
The BloNo DSA Medicare for All working group has been gaining support in our community through regular canvasses and participation in community events. Since October, we have been able to gather pledges to support Medicare for All from over 100 Bloomington-Normal residents. We know that the residents of Bloomington-Normal support a single-payer healthcare system, but we don’t know if our two House members will fairly represent their constituents and sign on to the proposed bill.
On Monday March 4, 2019, Bloomington-Normal DSA was informed that Rep. Rodney Davis would be in uptown Normal for a fundraiser organized by the McLean County Republicans. In light of their silence, our working group drew from our supporters and mobilized members to confront him at the fundraiser. We put the word out and several community members joined us. In total, 20 passionate Medicare For All supporters disrupted the fundraiser, demanding that he speak with us about M4A.
We showed up to the $100-a-plate event and tried to enter. We were immediately stopped by security and venue staff, but we made our voices heard anyway. Rep. Davis, whose healthcare is fully covered by the government, is captured on video below, as DSA members lead a mic check on his fundraiser.
During the action, venue staff were ordered by the venue’s owner to escort us out. We asked them if they themselves had access to employer-provided health insurance. They said no. DSA leaders responded “We are doing this for you, we’re doing this for all working people who don’t have access to health care.” After realizing what our action was about, the workers became much less insistent, which allowed us to finish.
We finished our program and marched down the streets of Uptown Normal chanting “MEDICARE FOR ALL.” Several local business owners, customers, and passersby joined us.
The residents of Bloomington-Normal want a healthcare system that benefits everyone, and we will continue to bring this message to congress people like Rodney Davis. It’s problematic and hypocritical when our elected officials will not sign on to a bill guaranteeing healthcare for all, but will accept government provided healthcare for themselves. Bloomington-Normal DSA is committed to organizing around this issue and we plan on keeping up the pressure on our elected officials until we win Medicare for All.