Nation Rallies for Medicare for All

Nation Rallies for Medicare for All

By Margaret Flowers for Health Over Profit. Above photo from Indivisible Omaha.

The national demand for Medicare for All continues to gain momentum. The Republican’s attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act with even crappier private health insurance before the spring recess failed, and instead people organized to create what every other industrialized nation has – a publicly-financed universal healthcare system.

Eighteen members of Congress signed on last week to HR 676: The Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act after citizen lobby days, phone calls from constituents and pressure at local town halls. The bill currently has 94 co-sponsors in the House, more than ever in its 14-year history. More are expected to sign on after the spring recess where they will continue to hear from constituents on this issue. And Senator Sanders is expected to introduce a companion bill to HR 676 in the Senate in May.

If your member of Congress has not signed on, then contact them while they are home for the recess. You’ll find helpful tools here.

The spring recess started with rallies in more than 5o cities in the United States for Medicare for All. Here are excerpts and photos from a few reports:

Corvallis, OR

About a dozen health care activists braved wind-driven showers Friday afternoon to demonstrate for universal health care in the heart of the city’s medical complex.

Wearing parkas and rain boots, the group occupied a stretch of sidewalk on Northwest Elks Drive in front of the main Corvallis Clinic building and across the street from the Samaritan Health Services cancer center.

The demonstrators, most of them members of Mid-Valley Health Care Advocates, chanted slogans such as “Everybody in, nobody out” and toted signs that read “Medicare for all” and “Medicare: extend it, don’t end it.”

Some wore placards that read “Health insurance is like a hospital gown: expensive, flimsy, and it doesn’t cover your bottom,” with artificial derrieres strapped on over their clothes to underscore the point.

Retired Corvallis physician Mike Huntington, one of the event’s organizers, said the rally was aimed at building support for “Medicare for all,” a plan to extend the federally subsidized health insurance plan for older Americans to the rest of the country as well. Backers of the idea have been trying to get a bill through Congress for more than a decade, but it has attracted additional support since the election of President Donald Trump, whose vow to repeal the Affordable Care Act has stoked fears of lost coverage. [Read more…]

Louisville, KY

Dozens of people gathered outside U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s office to show their support for single-payer national health insurance, which is sometimes referred to as “Medicare for all.”

A new system is needed because “we’re fed up. Enough is enough,” said Dr. Garrett Adams, a former Louisville pediatrician who spoke at the event. “We’re sick and tired of our lives being run by greedy profiteers,” such as “the health insurance industry, for-profit hospitals, Big Pharma and medical device companies. It doesn’t have to be that way.”

Dr. Carol Paris, president of Physicians for a National Health Program speaks in Louisville, Ky.

The national day of action was organized by Physicians for a National Health Program and several other organizations. It focused attention on U.S. Rep. John Conyers’ HR 676 Medicare-for-all bill, which the Michigan Democrat has introduced in Congress since 2003.

“This is a historic day,” said Adams, a former president of the physicians’ group. “All across the country, we are demanding a health-care system that works for all of us.” [Read more…]

Frederick, Maryland

First it was her mom. Now it’s her 8-year-old son, who was born with fetal alcohol syndrome as a result of his birth mother’s substance abuse and addiction.

Czeh recounted the uphill battle that she and her husband have fought since taking guardianship of the boy when he was 27 months old. Fighting for his treatment, and paying the skyrocketing bills, has reinforced her belief that the country’s health care system is broken.

Czeh, a city resident, was among about 60 people who gathered Saturday in downtown Frederick to demonstrate support for health care reform. Chants of “health care is a human right,” and “our fight is their fight” echoed down Market Street as the group marched from Baker Park to Carroll Creek Linear Park, where they gathered for a rally.

Speakers at the event, including Czeh, shared stories of how their own medical challenges, or those of family and friends, have forced them to choose between health and wealth.

Czeh recounted never-ending phone calls with her insurance company, a slew of surgeries for her son and paying out of pocket for medications not covered by their insurance. She quit her job as a public school teacher because her son’s condition requires that he be home-schooled.

Many held signs proclaiming “Medicare for All” and “We Support HR 676,” a reference to a bill filed in the U.S. House of Representatives. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. John Conyers Jr., a Michigan Democrat, proposes a single-payer, Medicare-style system.

The cost of insurance for all, as proposed in the bill, would be covered through a combination of existing government revenue sources, increased income and excise taxes proportional to people’s earnings, and taxes on stock and bond transactions.

With the recent defeat of the Republican health care plan still fresh in people’s minds, a movement to a single-payer system is gaining traction, advocates said. [Read more…]

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