With Trumpcare Vote Looming, Medicare For All Supporters Set to March
"Now is the time to guarantee healthcare as a right for everyone and we will take that message to Congress every day until it happens."
With grassroots support for Medicare for All experiencing an unprecedented surge in the face of Republican efforts to leave 22 million more Americans without health insurance, Our Revolution and dozens of other progressive organizations are set to march on Monday to demand that lawmakers back legislation that would guarantee healthcare for all.
"Poll after poll after poll makes it clear: the American people are ready for Medicare for All. Congress must represent their constituents and follow the will of the people."
—Nina TurnerThousands are expected to turn out for the march, which will take place midday in the nation's capital as Senate Republicans are gearing up to move forward with their plan to repeal Obamacare.
Several prominent speakers will be featured—including Our Revolution president Nina Turner and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif)—alongside "citizens sharing their personal stories about why Medicare for All is necessary."
"The march is one component of a larger grassroots effort in order to increase pressure on Senators to kill [Trumpcare] and support the expansion of healthcare to all Americans," Our Revolution said in a statement ahead of the event. "The march will focus on expanding Medicare by calling on Congress to go beyond fighting to prevent the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Even with the ACA, there are as many as 29 million Americans without adequate access to healthcare."
Specifically, the mass demonstration will call for lawmakers to back the Medicare for All bill—H.R. 676—put forth by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), who has remarked that support for the legislation is more widespread than ever.
"I have been introducing the Medicare for All bill every session of Congress since 2003, and I'm the longest serving member of Congress," Conyers has said. "I have never seen more enthusiasm and energy behind this issue than what I'm seeing today."
As Common Dreams has reported, a growing majority of Americans say they believe it is the federal government's responsibility to ensure that every American has healthcare. The latest poll found that 62 percent of the public supports a federally funded, Medicare-for-All type plan. Furthermore, 80 percent of Democrats support such a system.
Groups like Our Revolution have of late been pressuring Democratic lawmakers to get on board with the majority of their constituents by backing Medicare for All, along with a slate of progressive legislation aimed at raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour and making public colleges tuition-free.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in an interview on Sunday that Medicare for All is "on the table" for Democrats, an indication that party leaders are taking notice of the groundswell of enthusiasm for universal healthcare throughout the nation.
Monday's march was organized by a large coalition of progressive organizations, collectively titled Millions March for Medicare 4 All. The coalition's website offers flyers as well as a map for activists to find events taking place in their states this week.
Despite numerous indications that Trumpcare is "headed for failure," progressive groups have persistently warned that the legislation is far from dead and have implored constituents to keep up the pressure on their representatives.
"If you're involved in the fight against Trumpcare (and if you're not, join now), this week is going to be insane."
—Ben Wikler, MoveOn.orgMass demonstrations at the Capitol and at the offices of senators across the country continued last week; the Associated Press reported that over 150 people were arrested on Wednesday alone.
More of the same is expected this week, as reports indicate the GOP could vote Tuesday on a motion to proceed with their legislation, formally named the Better Care Reconciliation Act.
"If you're involved in the fight against Trumpcare (and if you're not, join now), this week is going to be insane," MoveOn.org's Washington director Ben Wikler wrote on Sunday.
Monday night, following the Medicare for All march, activists from several groups—including MoveOn.org and the Alliance for Retired Americans—are set to carry out an "Emergency Die-in to Stop Trumpcare" at the Capitol. The following morning, disability rights activists will gather in D.C. for a rally and a march. And on Wednesday evening, Planned Parenthood is holding a rally to "let politicians know that they can't take our health care away."
The thread that is tying these demonstrations together, argues Our Revolution president Nina Turner, is the surging opposition to the current for-profit healthcare status quo and support for a system that provides good healthcare for every American as a right.
"Poll after poll after poll makes it clear: the American people are ready for Medicare for All. Congress must represent their constituents and follow the will of the people," Turner concluded. "In the United States of America, no one should be go bankrupt from health care costs or be forced to choose between prescription medicine and groceries. Now is the time to guarantee healthcare as a right for everyone and we will take that message to Congress every day until it happens."