Blog

January 14, 2019

Chapter Spotlight: Portland DSA Pressures Sen. Wyden to Support M4A

by Portland DSA for M4A

DSA Portland shared some footage of a recent interaction with Senator Ron Wyden at one of his town halls in Oregon. One of our comrades, Adam, had an opportunity to share why Medicare for All would be a benefit to him and his family - take a look.


Sen. Wyden has yet to co-sponsor the Medicare for All bill in the senate, S.B.1804. His Democratic counterpart Senator Jeff Merkley has—thanks, Senator! Incidentally, Sen. Wyden has received over $1.4 million from big pharma and the healthcare lobby since 2015 alone.

During the town hall, the Senator asked to speak with the campaign afterward. Sen. Wyden gave some lip service on incrementalism and how he's fighting prescription drug costs and gave other reasons why he isn’t going to support Medicare for All.

Sen. Wyden asked us to look at his record and point to a single piece of legislation that he has not supported because of the money he receives, and we did; the answer is simple. The Medicare for All bill is legislation that Wyden does not currently support because of the money he has received. Medicare for All would give millions of Americans the care that they so desperately need.

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... (read more)
January 1, 2019

Chapter Spotlight: Bloomington-Normal DSA's OPERATION: MEDICARE FOR ALL

by Bloomington-Normal DSA M4A Working Group

The morning after key elements of the Affordable Care Act were struck down in a Federal Court in Texas, the Bloomington-Normal Democratic Socialists of America doubled-down on the chapter’s Medicare for All organizing efforts. While tabling, our members had more than 20 unique conversations leading to support for M4A throughout the day, and despite some setbacks from traditional detractors in our community, our M4A working group and DSA member-organizers pulled out all the stops to bring the message of healthcare being a human right to the working class of McLean County, IL.

Leading up to that morning, the Bloomington-Normal DSA had been granted permission to participate (host an Operation tournament) in the annual Trades and Labor Christmas Party for the Un(der)employed Families of McLean County, hosted by McLean County Chamber of Commerce and the Bloomington and Normal Trades and Labor Assembly. However, When our six member-organizers arrived at the local high school to set up our table, the local Chamber of Commerce director - let’s call him “Mr. Commerce” - instructed the event’s lead labor organizer of the event to tell us to leave, citing the DSA’s presence was “inappropriate” for a children's' charity event.

Setting up for... (read more)

December 18, 2018

Crisis in Elder Care

by Abigail Gutmann-Gonzalez

Originally appeared in the Winter 2018 issue of Democratic Left.

Women who work outside the home are facing a generational crisis as they find themselves searching for home care for elderly relatives. The U.S. elderly population, defined as those age 65 or older, accounted for 13% of the population in 2010, a figure expected to grow to 20% by 2030.

The elderly population has greater need for in-home care and few means to attain it. For this reason, caregiving often falls to the family—particularly wives, daughters, and daughters-in-law. Daughters are 28% more likely to care for an elderly parent than are sons, and women provide almost two-thirds of unpaid elder care overall. Time magazine highlighted the case of Ruby Lawrence, who had to shoulder the burden of caring for her elderly mother with dementia because her family could not pay for extended long-term care but was not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid. Caregivers like Lawrence may also experience negative psychological consequences, such as anxiety, depression, and stress, as a result of providing care.

Because women on average make 80 cents for every dollar that men make, women are often pressured to take on a caregiver role in order to ensure that the one wage shared in a family is... (read more)

December 11, 2018

A Health System That Punishes the Sick

by Natalie Shure

Originally appeared at Jacobin on November 16, 2018.

Obamacare is finally safe.

With the Democrats’ retaking of the House, Republicans will no longer have the votes to try, once again, to “repeal and replace” Obamacare with their latest ghoulish plan to block millions from the healthcare system. In an era where voters consistently rank health care as their number one issue, the election results were widely seen as a repudiation of right-wing ideology on health care.

Like practically every partisan fight over the future of Obamacare, the midterm battles foregrounded the law’s most popular plank: protection for people with preexisting conditions. So supportive are voters of that policy (recent polls register approval at over 80 percent) that Republicans publicly pledged their commitment to the cause: “All Republicans support people with pre-existing conditions,” Donald Trump tweeted in October. “And if they don’t, they will after I speak to them.” Midterm voters, it seems, were justifiably skeptical of this promise, which contradicted both the party’s legislative record and the logical underpinnings of right-wing economic policy.

But if Republicans want to leave sick people at the mercy of the market, it’s worth noting that people with preexisting conditions are hardly protected under the Obamacare status quo. The American healthcare system... (read more)

November 30, 2018

Lobbyist Documents Reveal Health Care Industry Battle Plan Against Medicare for All

by Lee Fang and Nick Surgey

Published by Democratic Socialists for Medicare for All with permission from The Intercept in partnership with Documented.

Now that the midterms are finally over, the battle against “Medicare for All” that has been quietly waged throughout the year is poised to take center stage.

Internal strategy documents obtained by The Intercept and Documented reveal the strategy that private health care interests plan to use to influence Democratic Party messaging and stymie the momentum toward achieving universal health care coverage.

At least 48 incoming freshman lawmakers campaigned on enacting “Medicare for All” or similar efforts to expand access to Medicare. And over the last year, 123 incumbent House Democrats co-sponsored “Medicare for All” legislation — double the number who supported the same bill during the previous legislative session.

The growing popularity of “Medicare for All” in the House has made progressives optimistic that the Democratic Party will embrace ideas to expand government coverage options with minimal out-of-pocket costs for patients going into the 2020 election. But industry groups have watched the development with growing concern.

Over the summer, leading pharmaceutical, insurance, and hospital lobbyists formed the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, an ad hoc alliance of private health interests, to curb support for expanding Medicare.

The campaign, according to one planning document, is designed to “change the... (read more)

November 20, 2018

ALL IN: DSA MEDICARE FOR ALL NEWSLETTER #2

by DSA M4A

Welcome to the second issue of All In, the Democratic Socialists for Medicare for All newsletter!

First, we have some celebrating to do: Democratic Socialists all over the country ran and won elections in the midterms, and many centered M4A as a key component of their campaign. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) were elected to Congress, while the number of Democratic Socialists elected to state legislatures jumped from just four to 11. While the blue “wave” turned out to be more of a trickle, these small gains made by socialists all over the country show our movement is growing and that people are “ready to rally around a politics that foregrounds classwide demands.” Let’s keep the momentum up!

But, while these wins in the midterms were exciting, we must not let our guard down. Republicans have begun their long awaited attack on Medicare for All and its advocates, and unfortunately they aren’t our only threat. While Trump peddles lies about the “Opportunity Costs of Socialism” (wherein he accidentally endorses single-payer), leading liberals have tried their best to misinform the public about what state-sponsored insurance means while crowding the legislature with a number of counterfeit proposals that... (read more)

November 9, 2018

A Public Option is Not a Solution

by Tim Higginbotham

Bernie Sanders sealed Medicare for All’s place in the popular imagination with his 2016 presidential run.

Ever since, its popularity has continued to grow—multiple recent polls show that 70% of Americans support the single-payer policy, which would cover all American residents through a comprehensive, national insurance plan. This is bad news for establishment Democrats, who have a vested interest in maintaining the market-based system we have today. In an attempt to counter Medicare for All, they’ve rallied around a less radical approach that will preserve the private insurance industry and keep their donors happy—the “public option.”

The public option is a pretty self-explanatory idea—basically, the government would allow people to “buy in” to public health insurance, whether that be through Medicare, Medicaid, or a public plan on the ACA market. Proponents of the public option love to argue that people are happy with their private plans, and that what they really want is—in the words of Tim Kaine—“more choices, not less.”

This is a dishonest reading of public opinion. While polling shows that as many as 71% of workers say they are “satisfied” with their employer-sponsored insurance, this is in a country where the alternative is having no... (read more)

October 30, 2018

“We’re Having Those Light-Bulb Moments”

by Meagan Day, interviewing Kristin Seale

Originally appeared at Jacobin on October 22, 2018.

Kristin Seale is a democratic socialist candidate for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. She’s running to represent the 168th district in Delaware County, which encompasses the southern suburbs of Philadelphia. Seale’s campaign is endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America, and she’s a member of Philadelphia DSA.

Seale is a full-time worker whose family depends on her income, which means she’s been campaigning in her off-hours. She was a labor delegate for Bernie Sanders at the Democratic National Convention in 2016, and her platform sounds a lot like those of Sanders and the candidates he’s inspired since his presidential run: Medicare for All, a $15 minimum wage, tuition-free college and student debt relief, and strong action against corporations on behalf of the environment.

Jacobin’s Meagan Day talked with Seale about the public versus the private provision of goods and services, and the rise of working-class politics in the United States.

MD

Let’s start with healthcare, which is the first issue on your platform. How is the private health insurance system failing ordinary people?

KS

My district is a very mixed-income district. And what I’ve found, no matter what door I knock on in this district, healthcare is an issue... (read more)

October 30, 2018

The Feminist Case for Single-Payer

by Natalie Shure

Originally appeared at Jacobin, December 8, 2017.

Demonstration before the Supreme Court of the United States, June 2016. Jordan Uhl/Flickr.

In the spring of 1969, a dozen feminists gathered at a women’s conference in Boston and came to a sober conclusion: their encounters with the United States health-care system had been overwhelmingly negative. They felt unsettled by doctors, alienated from their bodies, grifted by fees, and altogether powerless to navigate an industry they believed objectified them just as popular culture did.

The conference launched a years-long project, with each participant delving into some aspect of anatomy, sexuality, or society related to women’s health. The result was a self-published volume of essays called Women and their Bodies, which the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective used to provide women with a resource produced from their own perspectives and experiences.

Within a few years, the landmark feminist booklet was re-dubbed Our Bodies, Ourselves, released by Simon and Schuester, and sold millions of copies. In 2012, the Library of Congress named it one of the most significant works in American history. In recent years, it has inspired Trans Bodies, Trans Selves, which similarly seeks to be a health-care guide “by and for” the transgender community.

While Our... (read more)