Medicare for All advocacy groups visited the offices of several Democratic senators on Thursday to deliver a total of one million petition signatures of Americans who support a universal healthcare system.
The petitions asked senators who have not yet signed on to Sen. Bernie Sanders' Medicare for All bill (S. 1804) to join 16 of their Democratic colleagues—including several who are considered top contenders to challenge President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election—in backing the proposal.
The signatures were gathered by progressive groups including Our Revolution, Public Citizen, National Nurses United, Students for a National Health Program, and MoveOn.org.
"In the wealthiest country in the world, it is outrageous that nearly 30 million Americans are without health insurance, leading tens of thousands to die each year because of unmet medical needs," said Eagan Kemp, healthcare policy advocate for Public Citizen, who led coalition members around to offices of nine Democratic senators. "Tens of millions more have such high out-of-pocket costs that they can’t afford to use the insurance they have. We need Medicare-for-All to finally ensure that all Americans are able to access the care they need."
Americans deserve access to high-quality health care, not heartless and dangerous cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. pic.twitter.com/mshx3GBU2g
— Public Citizen (@Public_Citizen) February 15, 2018
Other participants spoke of patients who end up in hospitals due to a lack of preventative care and people who aren't able to afford treatment or medications due to unaffordable co-pays charged by insurance companies.
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"Hospital corporations and insurance companies are profiteering off of these people to make massive amounts of profits over human life," said Kaitlin Thomas, a psychiatric nurse who is a member of National Nurses United (NNU). "We need to see this end. We need a Medicare for All system."
Today is an important day for the #SinglePayer movement. @snahp_national members Kami Veltri and Aida Roman helped @Public_Citizen deliver 1M+ petitions to U.S. senators. Please call YOUR senators at (202) 224-3121 and ask them to support (and improve) the #MedicareForAll Act! pic.twitter.com/lGxpA3wgVB
— PNHP (@PNHP) February 15, 2018
"We as medical students and future physicians want nothing more than to be able to treat our patients and we're sick of having our patients' care rationed by private health insurance companies," added Kami Veltri, a medical student.
The group delivered the petitions to lawmakers including Sens. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), with tens of thousands of signatures from residents of each of their states demanding that they support Medicare for All.