As lawmakers and the public awaited the Congressional Budget Office's score on the GOP's "horrific" Trumpcare bill, Congressional Democrats on Tuesday doubled-down on their call for a Medicare-for-All system to provide universal healthcare to all Americans.
At a morning press conference outside the U.S. Capitol, Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) was joined by fellow lawmakers and healthcare advocates in promoting HR 676, the Expanded and Improved Medicare-for-All Act. As Common Dreams previously reported, the legislation has more Democratic support than it ever has before; as of Tuesday, there are 111 co-sponsors including the chairman of the House Democratic caucus, Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), who signed on last week.
"I've never seen more energy behind this issue of Medicare for All," Conyers said at Wednesday's event, which can be watched in full below:
The GOP's cruel American Healthcare Act (AHCA) has galvanized much of that energy, he said, but the shortcomings of the status quo have also played a role. It's time for something new, Conyers declared—for something visionary.
"People know what we are against, but we want to promote more what we are for," Conyers said. "As a Democrat I believe that healthcare of course is a right, not a privilege. I believe [in] universal healthcare, for every American—not just a plan or a contract, but the ability to see a doctor and get treatment whenever they need it. We will never get universal care building on a foundation of private, for-profit insurance."
Still, more than 80 House Democrats don't seem to have gotten the message.
And Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), who is deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), thinks that could hurt them during next year's midterm elections.
"It's not the proper role of me at the DNC to tell people what they're going to stand for, that's a choice the candidates make for themselves, but I recommend that you win your election and I think a good way to do it is to support Conyers's bill," Ellison said Wednesday.
As Justice Democrats, a group leading the fight to get more party members on board with the surging idea, put it over the weekend:
— Justice Democrats (@justicedems) May 20, 2017