With chapters organized in their local communities nationwide, the Democratic Socialists of America is spearheading a major grassroots push for Medicare for All this weekend as its members show that the demand for a single-payer healthcare system is ultimately useless if people are not organized on its behalf.
"We need Medicare for All because our healthcare system should prioritize the health of working-class Americans over the profits of insurance companies and their billionaire executives." —Megan Svoboda, DSA
The group said this is its first "nationally coordinated Weekend of Action," but would not be its last.
"We need Medicare for All because our healthcare system should prioritize the health of working-class Americans over the profits of insurance companies and their billionaire executives," said Megan Svoboda, who serves on the Democratic Socialists for Medicare for All campaign steering committee. "The Weekend of Action is going to bring that message to people all over the country."
The organizing push comes a support for a single-payer system, as Common Dreams recently reported, is "spreading like wildfire."
After a day of organizing on Saturday—which included canvassing and door-knocking in local towns and cities as well as chapter events and open gatherings—DSA on Sunday said its members were ready for another day to spread the message and galvanize support for a government-funded healthcare system that covers every single person and leaves nobody out.
Y’all ready for day two?— DSA for Medicare for All (@dsam4a) April 22, 2018
Many more chapters are ready to talk to their neighbors today about a healthcare system that works for all of us, not just the rich. We’re excited to share their work pic.twitter.com/lFlaXLMw1R
On Saturday, at least 40 chapters in over 20 states across the country participated:
Folks, it’s been quite a day. We highly recommend scrolling through our retweets if you need any smiling faces working for #MedicareForAll to brighten your day.— DSA for Medicare for All (@dsam4a) April 22, 2018
But we’re not done yet! There’s much more to come tomorrow. #DSAM4A pic.twitter.com/tghkhWjRL9
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According to DSA:
Nearly 30 million Americans are currently uninsured and an additional 30 million are underinsured, leaving them unable to afford rising out-of-pocket costs. At the same time, the beneficiaries of our current system are seeing record profits, with the average health insurance CEO making over $20 million per year. Funded through progressive taxes, Medicare for All will eliminate out-of-pocket spending and put an end to private health insurance, saving the average family thousands of dollars every year.
The campaign says it advocates for legislation like the "Medicare for All Act of 2017 (S.1804)," introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and the "Expanded and Improved Medicare For All Act (H.R.676)," the bill in the House whose lead sponsor is now Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.).
In an attempt to clarify that many approaches exist but that not all single-payer systems are equal, DSA's Medicare for All steering group also put out this statement of principles so that people understand exactly what they are calling for:
"Working people are ready to fight to win progressively-funded universal programs like Medicare for All that provide security from the cruelty of the market," said Jeremy Gong, who also serves on the campaign Steering Committee. "Every week, DSA chapters are knocking on doors and talking to their neighbors about a healthcare system that will work for all of us, instead of only taking care of the rich. We're not going to stop until we win."
Don't worry, said chapter organizers to people who may have missed this weekend's organizing events, they plan to make these regular occurrences.
Find the next one with a chapter near you. Meanwhile, if you are stuck at home or behind a screen, check out the weekend's dispatches from towns and cities around the country: