April 23, 2018

Spotlight On...NYU YDSA


On February 24th, New York University’s YDSA chapter canvassed in public housing in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan to mobilize around universal health care —Medicare For All (M4A), on the national level, and our statewide fight for the New York Health Act (NYHA). Despite bad weather, over 20 participants from NYU YDSA, Lower Manhattan DSA, and the NYC DSA Socialist Feminist Working Group turned out to agitate working-class residents around health care and ask them to join in advocating for the NYHA.

The NYHA is a single-payer health care bill for the state of New York; it's essentially a state-wide version of M4A. If the NYHA passes and is implemented in New York, this would be a huge tactical victory for the national M4A campaign. Given regular population movement, it would create serious pressure on neighboring state governments for health care transformation. It would lend credence to a demand that all NY legislators support the national bill. And it would prove to the rest of the country that single-payer can and will succeed in the U.S.

We began with a brief one-hour training from the Socialist Feminist Working Group. In just a short training, canvassers got a comprehensive overview... (read more)

April 22, 2018

Earth Day Must Be Anti-Capitalism Day

by DSA M4A

Joint Statement of the Climate & Environmental Justice Working Group and the Democratic Socialists for Medicare for All Campaign Committee

To truly affirm a commitment to environmental stewardship this Earth Day, we must oppose the destructive and inhuman practices endemic to capitalist production. Earth Day, in other words, must be celebrated as Anti-Capitalism Day. The U.S. economy’s foundation on profit for the few is a contributor to the lack of access to both quality healthcare and a healthy environment. We are well past the point where the half-measures and compromises propagated by green-washing capitalists should have any appeal or be viewed as legitimate solutions to multiple, global crises. It is time to reorient the system to address the needs of the planet and of people rather than the pursuit of endless growth and profit. Only a clear-thinking, ecosocialist program anchored in a working-class politics that puts the ruling class on its heels can save us from environmental catastrophe.

In the shorter term, the ever more apparent effects of climate change have made life worse for people everywhere, most so among oppressed and marginalized communities. It is low-income Americans who overwhelmingly are found living in proximity to polluting industries, freeways and... (read more)

April 19, 2018

Democratic Socialists of America Primed for Medicare for All Weekend of Action

by DSA M4A

On April 21-22, DSA chapters in dozens of cities around the country will host rallies, canvasses, and town halls as part of the Democratic Socialists for Medicare for All campaign’s first nationally coordinated Weekend of Action.

40 chapters in over 20 states will participate, with activities scheduled to begin on the morning of Saturday, April 21 and continue through the weekend. Included in the planned activities are over 20 canvasses, a Medicare for All rally in Denver, a debt clinic and health fair in New Orleans, and town halls in several cities, including Houston and Dallas. Multiple chapters will host launch events for their local Medicare for All campaigns.

These DSA Chapters Are Making it A Weekend of Action
  • East Bay DSA
  • Philly DSA
  • North Central West Virginia DSA
  • Pittsburgh DSA
  • DSA LA
  • Whatcom DSA
  • Lousiville DSA
  • New Orleans DSA
  • Houston DSA
  • Austin DSA
  • North Texas DSA
  • Green Country DSA
  • San Antonio DSA
  • Twin Cities DSA
  • Chicago DSA
  • Lawrence DSA
  • Madison DSA
  • Denver DSA
  • Phoenix DSA
  • Seattle DSA
  • SnoCo DSA
  • Chattanooga DSA
  • Quiet Corner DSA
  • South Sound DSA
  • Detroit DSA
  • Huron Valley DSA
  • Grand Rapids DSA
  • Western Suburban DSA
  • Kansas City DSA
  • Boone DSA
  • NC Piedmont DSA
  • NYC... (read more)
April 16, 2018

Jacobin & Dissent Team Up In the Fight for Medicare for All

by DSA M4A

Two leading magazines of the left have new issues out, focusing on health care—and they're offering them both to you for the price of one.

Dissent's new issue, with a special section on Healthcare for All, and Jacobin’s "The Health of Nations," are each packed with articles on the struggle for a health care system that works for workers and not for profit.

"The left will not live forever on the sidelines of political power," writes Adam Gaffney in the introduction to the special section of Dissent's issue. "When we have an opportunity to remake our health care system, we must be sure to seize it." The issue provides a piercing diagnosis of the current health care system in the United States—and a path for how to fix it. 

And you won’t want to miss an exclusive interview with Senator Bernie Sanders in Jacobin. He’s got a message on health care—and the message is good. 

For a limited time, get both magazines for the price of one. You'll receive copies of both Jacobin and Dissent — for just $12.95.

We know winning Medicare for All in the United States won't be... (read more)

April 12, 2018

DSA Medicare for All Campaign Spring Update

by DSA M4A

Clockwise from top left: SW Michigan DSA; NYU DSA; Denver DSA

DSA's national Medicare for All Campaign Committee has been working to put together new materials to support the campaign and reaching out to and coordinating among the now 100-plus Local Chapters working on the campaign!

We have an updated website with new organizing materials, Local Chapter updates featured in our blog and we are now organizing for our first National Weekend of Action. Read more below.


Our Communications team has been hard at work popularizing our principles and pushing a bold democratic socialist message around Medicare for All.

Our social media is in full swing, so be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter. We want to use these channels to highlight the amazing work of local chapters in front of a national audience. To help with this, we’ve written a communications best practices guide so you can maximize your chapter’s outreach and engagement.

An updated version of our website is now live! This is Version 3.0, and it has a host of new features that will better serve the campaign and our Local Chapters. We have developed and made available more flyers, posters, stickers, editable... (read more)

April 10, 2018

Model Consumers

by Natalie Shure

Full article appears in the Winter 2018 issue of Jacobin.

When the GOP passed its austerity tax plan late last year, it also ended the means of enforcing the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate penalty, a move meant to destabilize the ACA, allowing an imagined healthy population to cast off the shackles of mandated insurance and thereby remove their contributions from a pool meant to spread risk evenly. Republicans rejoiced at gutting the mandate, as well as, they'd hoped, President Obama's signature legislation. Democrats feared for such an exodus of the healthy from the private market. Both viewpoints share the notion that individuals purchase health insurance like one does soda pop.

In Jacobin, Natalie Shure writes that "this urge to fix the health care system by tweaking individual incentives and optimizing consumer choices" is emblematic of for-profit health care's consumerist "hellscape" where cost burdens are ever-offloaded onto individuals, to protect corporate bottom lines.

"As insurers struggle to maximize profits amid ACA rules preventing their most barbaric tricks...they've ramped-up cost-sharing. Some 40 percent of Americans now hold a high-deductible plan...around 37 percent of them have foregone care due to high out-of-pocket costs, with little distinction between necessary and frivolous treatments. Smaller user fees like co-pays have an impact on lower-income patients,
... (read more)
April 8, 2018

Spotlight On...Green Country DSA

by Green Country DSA

DSA organizers in Oklahoma's Green Country are finding ample opportunity in recent weeks to make the case for socialism. Not only have GCDSA comrades turned out in solidarity with teachers of the public school teachers' strike, they've thrown themselves into their work on Medicare for All by partnering with Oklahoma University - Tulsa's School of Community Medicine for an educational event on universal healthcare, featuring GCDSA member Scott Carter. Watch a recording of the forum here on Facebook.

Also, comrades Daniel and Jeremy shared their personal stories of coming up against this country's for-profit healthcare system.

Daniel's family suffered greatly for his sister's rare disease — even while covered by excellent private market insurance. Watch Daniel's story here.

Jeremy, a social worker with HIV-positive clients, describes his frustration at getting lost in the machinations of a system whose liabilities take precedence over people's health. Watch Jeremy's story here.

April 5, 2018

Medicare for All Would Eliminate My Job, and Other Reasons I Support It

by An Anonymous Medicare Broker

Photo by Glyn Lowe

I work as a Medicare broker for a private exchange. Every workday, I talk to someone who has been thrown into the world of individual medical insurance and needs advice: “What plan should I select?,” “How do I sign up?,” “When can I sign up?,” “Is there something I can afford?” Depending on their age, gender, state, county, zip code, date of birth, retirement status, health, the current date, carrier-specific rules and dozens of other possible variables, I end up either advising them and getting them something that will meet their particular needs, or I do my best to sound like the news I have to deliver is not that bad.

And it’s not…usually. Medicare, as it is, does a decent job of covering those who are eligible for it. Many people I speak to end up getting better coverage for less money than their old group plans used to provide. Some people have cancer, and learn that being changed over from their group coverage means they can now, finally, get a fully comprehensive level of coverage that doesn’t threaten to bankrupt them with “cost sharing” every year. The original parts A and B of... (read more)

April 3, 2018

Fighting Unequal Access

by Marian Jones

Originally appeared in the Spring 2018 issue of DSA’s Democratic Left magazine.

Barack Obama signing the Affordable Care Act into law in March 2010.

In a 2013 report on healthcare issues among African Americans, radio station WNYC reported on then-52-year-old Mike Jackson, who battled diabetes and hypertension. His prescription drugs cost $500 a month. After he lost his job and healthcare, he cut back on the amount of insulin he took to treat his diabetes. Within eight months he had developed neuropathic damage in his toes and feet and permanent damage in his left eye. His story is not atypical.

A program of universal healthcare such as Medicare for All would have a significant impact on African Americans. Members of our community have higher rates of hypertension, prostate or breast cancer, asthma, and diabetes than non-Hispanic whites. The infant mortality rate among African heritage people is almost two-and-a-half times higher than that of their non-Hispanic white counterparts.

Although there are environmental factors, lack of healthcare coverage is a major cause of these health disparities. African Americans, who have lower incomes than non-Hispanic whites, are more likely to be uninsured. Thus, they put off receiving care, forgo routine doctor visits, and cannot afford the prescription medicine that could help them.

African Americans make... (read more)

April 2, 2018

Down With the Copay

by Natalie Shure

Originally published on Reprinted with permission.

A hospital in New Ulm, MN in the 1970s. Kathy Phillips / US National Archives

In the week preceding the release of Bernie Sanders’s Medicare for All bill, the Vermont senator’s office was flooded with calls — so many, in fact, that the legislative aides on the other line often guessed callers’ purpose before being prompted. At issue was whether the single-payer health care system Sanders’s bill envisions should include copayments, out-of-pocket payments for health services at the point of care.

For the single-payer advocacy group Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), the answer was a resounding “no.” So upon discovering that copays remained in Sanders’s penultimate draft, they sprang into action. After a week of open letters, tweets and appeals from like-minded organizations, Sanders ultimately struck copays from the bill’s final version.

Earlier versions of Sanders’s bill probably included copays for doctors visits and prescription drugs for the same reason that economists like them: they drive down health care usage and costs. After all the attacks branding Sanders’s relatively pedestrian social-democratic platform as fantastical promises of ponies for all, perhaps Sanders’s legislative aides believed meager copays gave their proposal an air of seriousness.

But the obliteration of copays... (read more)