Blog

June 11, 2019

What Medicare for All Means for Abortion Rights

by LIllian Cicerchia

Originally appeared at Jacobin on January 18, 2019.

Mary Whitehouse demonstration and rally, Sydney, New South Wales, October 1978 (Flickr).

In 2017, Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced the Medicare for All Act in the United States Senate. Medicare for All is what many refer to as single-payer, where citizens pay for publicly funded health insurance through taxes rather than paying for private insurance.

In the midst of Democratic Party backtracking on abortion rights, the bill came as a breath of fresh air to the reproductive justice movement.

Sanders’s Medicare for All bill mandates “comprehensive reproductive care,” including abortion. Mandated equal access to abortion care in federal legislation would mean nullifying the Hyde Amendment, which is the legislation that gets passed yearly preventing Medicaid programs from providing federal funds for abortions except in dire circumstances. There would then be no basis for Hyde’s annual passage, since preventing federally mandated abortion access is the reason Hyde exists.

Defeating Hyde means abandoning the defensive, legalistic way of interpreting reproductive justice solely through the lens of privacy, which mainstream nonprofits and reproductive rights advocates have clung to under Roe v WadeRoe is the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion on the basis of the Fourteenth Amendment’s due... (read more)

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... (read more)

May 28, 2019

Rep. Lloyd Doggett Co-Sponsors Medicare for All

by DSA M4A

Rep. Lloyd Doggett, June 2017. (Public Citizen/Flickr)

Lloyd Doggett, the chair of the Health Subcommittee of the Ways and Means Committee, and member of the Budget Committee, has co-sponsored H.R. 1384, the Medicare for All Act of 2019. This is the first time Doggett has sponsored single-payer legislation, and it marks a major turning point in our campaign.

Alongside coalition partners like NNU and The Texas Organizing Project, our own Austin DSA played a major role in pressuring Doggett to stand on the side of workers and not insurers. For well over a year, Austin DSA has run a targeted campaign, incorporating a number of tactics, to apply pressure and force Doggett to sign on to Medicare For All, with San Antonio DSA serving as a crucial partner in the fight.

Hundreds of DSA members from Austin to San Antonio participated in this campaign in some way:

May 21, 2019

Chapter Spotlight: Portland DSA Pressures Rep. Kurt Schrader

by Portland DSA M4A

Rep. Kurt Schrader (Wikimedia)

Portland DSA’s Medicare for All campaign has been working hard to keep the pressure on two key Oregon members of Congress in order to pass Medicare for All. Between the Senate and the US House, there are two electeds from Oregon who have not yet co-sponsored their respective versions of Medicare for All. Those Congress members are Senator Ron Wyden, and Representative Kurt Schrader.

Rep. Schrader is the target for the House bill, H.R. 1384, the Medicare for All Act of 2019, and has a primary challenger in 2020. Schrader sits on the important Energy and Commerce Committee which the bill will have to go through in order to get to a floor vote. Schrader is a member of the infamous “Blue Dog Dems Caucus.” An unsavory character with poor judgement, he is a part of the failing branch of the Democratic party and a perfect example of why Democrats at the electoral level of politics are out of touch with the American people.

Portland DSA’s Medicare for All campaign had the opportunity to pressure Rep. Schrader at his Town hall in May, and got the opportunity to ask him some pointed questions while... (read more)

May 16, 2019

5 Ways Medicare for All will Improve Children's Lives

by Harper Reid

(Pxhere)

Should the United States adopt a universal healthcare system? While the debate can get heated, it's difficult to argue that a single-payer system wouldn't save countless lives and would be a huge help to families all over the country.

Medicare for All would be administered at the federal level. It would be comprehensive, free at the point of service, and cover every US resident. The transition to a single-payer system would also include help for current industry employees. This way, those working in the current system won't have to worry about their jobs.

Medicare for All is especially important if we want to improve children’s lives. Here’s why:

Children will be covered before they’re even born

Prenatal care is extremely important to pregnancy. Screenings and check-ups can help to care for an unborn baby. Single-payer healthcare would allow expectant mothers to access these services and they'd be able to do so without worrying about whether or not they’re worth the cost. This would ensure that any issues during pregnancy could be taken care of so babies' good health is ensured from before day one.

Children will be given a better start in life

Even just giving birth... (read more)

May 6, 2019

All In: May - Medicare for All Enters New Territory

by DSA M4A

The campaign to win Medicare for All is entering new and exciting territory. Our demand is both more viable than it has ever been before, and more under attack than we have ever seen.

Within just the past few months, we’ve seen the introduction of Medicare for All bills in both the House and the Senate. Last week, Medicare for All had its first ever Congressional hearing — a landmark worth celebrating!

DSA member, lawyer and healthcare activist Ady Barkan, while dying of ALS, flew out to DC and delivered a powerful testimony:

"Despite these obstacles and despite the personal challenges that I face, I sit before you today a hopeful man, a hopeful husband, and a hopeful father. I am hopeful because right now, there is a mass movement of people from all over this country, rising up."

The day before the hearing, we joined Ady Barkan and National Nurses Unitedin a rally outside of the HQ of PhRMA (the most prominent pharmaceutical lobbyist). DSA chapters and other coalition groups have been diligently spreading the word for months through canvassing, town halls, and bird dogging their representatives. We can’t let stop now, and the bill now heads to... (read more)

May 1, 2019

I'm Dying From ALS and Here's My Message: No More Half Measures. Only Medicare for All

by Ady Barkan

Dying healthcare activist Ady Barkan speaking from his wheelchair on Monday, April 29, 2019, at a Medicare for All rally held in Washington, D.C. by National Nurses United. (Photo: Twitter/AdyBarkan)

Note: Ahead of a Tuesday hearing in the U.S. House Committee on Rules regarding Rep. Pramila Jayapal's bill to establish a single-payer Medicare for All health care system in the United States, dying healthcare activist Ady Barkan released the following prepared remarks. Owing to the advanced progression of his ALS, Barkan will deliver this testimony using a computer system that tracks his eye movements and subsequently converts text into speech. 

Chairman McGovern and members of the committee, thank you for inviting me to testify today. My name is Ady Barkan. I am thirty-five years old and I live in Santa Barbara, California with my brilliant wife Rachael and our beautiful toddler Carl. She is an English professor at the University of California Santa Barbara and I am an organizer at the Center for Popular Democracy and the Be A Hero project.

Watch Ady's Testimony

I earned my bachelor’s degree from Columbia University with a major in economics and my law degree from Yale Law School. For twenty years, since I... (read more)

April 30, 2019

Corporate Media Hate Medicare for All

by Alan MacLeod

Originally appeared with a different title at FAIR on April 29, 2019.

The Wall Street Journal (11/12/19) called Medicare for All a “false promise,” despite evidence that it would save the US trillions.

The race for the Democratic presidential nomination is heating up, and healthcare is a key issue up for debate. A number of high-profile candidates, including Kamala Harris, Tulsi Gabbard and Elizabeth Warren, have endorsed a Medicare for All solution to America’s healthcare problem. However, the idea is most closely associated with Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has made it a central platform of his election bid.

The United States spends around twice as much on healthcare as other high-income nations, with inferior results. Worse still, around 45 million Americans, 13.7 percent of the population, have no healthcare whatsoever. The Medicare for All plan, which aims to create a nationalized healthcare system like those employed by virtually every other high-income nation, is highly popular among the general public. In late 2018, polls from Reuters and Harris found that at least 70 percent of Americans supported the proposal—including majorities of Republicans.

However, corporate media appear to be almost univocally against the idea, with the flow of doom-mongering stories increasing to a roaring flood as the notion gains more traction... (read more)

April 25, 2019

Nothing Short of Medicare for All in 2020

by Heather Gautney

Originally appeared at Jacobin on February 5, 2019.

Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Medicare for All is going to be the litmus test of progressivism in 2020. Legislation will soon be introduced in both chambers of Congress by Senator Bernie Sanders and Rep. Pramila Jayapal that would guarantee health care to every person in America. The bills come after a midterm election in which Democrats took back the House with dozens of candidates running on universal single-payer health care, some of them in deep red states.

A majority of House Democrats supported single payer in 2016, as did all of the 2020 hopefuls in the Senate. At the opening of this 116th Congress, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced her support for hearings on Medicare for All following the launch of the House Medicare for All Caucus last summer. (Though, out of the other side of her mouth that day, Pelosi oversaw the passage of “Paygo” legislation, an austerity measure that requires all new spending to be offset with deficit reduction.)

Recent polls tally support for Medicare for All at 70 percent, with 85 percent of Democrats and more than half (52 percent) of all Republicans. Single payer’s growing popularity, in and outside the Beltway, is a function... (read more)

April 19, 2019

The Corporate Campaign to Kill Bernie’s Medicare for All Bill Is Here

by Luke Thibault

Originally appeared at Jacobin, on April 19, 2019.

Senator Bernie Sanders speaks at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, PA. (Smugmug)

The class war over Medicare for All is here. On one side is Bernie Sanders, who recently introduced new and improved Medicare-for-All legislation with the support of a burgeoning grassroots movement and historic small-donor fundraising. On the other side is UnitedHealth, the massive health care company — the fifth-largest US corporation by total revenue of any kind — whose stocks have been plummeting since Sanders revived the bill.

UnitedHealth can no longer hide their efforts to destroy Sanders’s public health system proposal: a whistleblower recently revealed that UnitedHealth’s insurance subsidiary, UnitedHealthcare, is working hard to ensure Democrats focus on reforming the Affordable Care Act (ACA) instead of pushing for Medicare for All, which will eliminate their entire industry. When asked about their stance on Medicare for All, the company’s chief executive Steve Nelson said, “We are advocating heavily and very involved in the conversation.”

They’re also warning their investors of the bill’s potential to “destabilize the nation’s health system.” Nelson explained that the company is “trying to be thoughtful about how we enter in the conversation, because there’s a risk of seeming like it’s... (read more)