By Geri Katz
MNA Healthcare Reform Specialist
These are exciting times for those of us who believe healthcare is a basic need for every person, and no one should go bankrupt because they had the bad luck to get sick.
Healthcare was the number one issue for voters in November. Candidates across the country ran and won on a platform of Medicare for All. Prospective 2020 presidential candidates are signaling their support. Public opinion polls consistently show a majority of Americans – including a majority of Republicans, according to this poll – support Medicare for All.
MNA nurses and many of your fellow front-line healthcare professionals have long supported moving to a system that:
- guarantees healthcare (not insurance) for every American, including prescriptions, dental and vision;
- costs far less for Americans than they’re currently paying in premiums, deductibles, and co-pays;
- makes the system simpler for patients and providers and lets people focus on their health instead of their bills.
Your work advocating for healthcare for all is a big reason we have gotten where we are today.
The latest news comes from Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), who just officially announced that she will be re-introducing the Medicare for All Act of 2019 in just a few weeks. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has already vowed to hold hearings on the bill, a sign of the significant progress our movement has made.
As we move into the heat of the debate over Medicare for All, you’d better believe that the for-profit healthcare industry won’t take this challenge lying down. They’ve recently signaled that they’ll put all their energy toward defeating Medicare for All legislation, and any minute voters and elected officials will be inundated with their messages designed to stoke fear and anxiety.
Nurses and fellow healthcare advocates have a couple of very important roles right now:
First, be a critical consumer of advertising and sound bites.
When you hear groups claiming to represent patients say things like Medicare for All would “eviscerate” healthcare, always ask who their funders are. If they’re funded by America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) and Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, (PhARMA), they don’t represent patients at all; they represent the corporations that profit off of the current broken, unfair healthcare system. These corporations have something to lose if the health of Americans comes before the profits of the industry.
Second, your role is to influence elected officials to follow the will of the people, the majority of whom want healthcare for all.
The first thing you can do is call your Member of Congress now at (202) 858-1717 and ask her/him to be an original co-sponsor of the new Medicare for All Act of 2019.
We need to ensure that the bill has a large number of Congressional cosponsors on the day it is introduced. The number of original co-sponsors will determine how seriously Medicare for All is taken by Congress, the media, and the public, so we need to get to work now.
Call your Representative NOW at (202) 858-1717 and ask them to sign on. Forward this blog to friends and family and ask them to call, too.
Together, we can start off strong in 2019 as we fight healthcare justice.