Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

Activist Ady Barkan asked former Vice President Joe Biden to meet with him on Wednesday.

Activist Ady Barkan asked former Vice President Joe Biden to meet with him on Wednesday. (Image: screenshot/NowThis)

'Look a Dying Man in the Eyes': Activist Ady Barkan Wants Joe Biden to Sit Down and Talk About Medicare for All

"Look a dying man in the eyes and tell me how we fix this country."

Eoin Higgins

Activist Ady Barkan on Wednesday asked former Vice President Joe Biden, the only contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination who has not sat down with the dying healthcare activist, to find time to meet and discuss Medicare for All. 

Barkan, who is suffering from ALS, made the request in a video produced by Now This released Wednesday. The activist is going into surgery thursday for a tracheostomy to help him breathe, but said that after after his recovery, he and Biden should sit down. 

"The surgery will be intense, and I'll be in the hospital for a week of recovery," Barkan says in the video, speaking through his standard video screen that allows him to talk via eye movements. "But I'll be out soon and back in the struggle with you."

Despite his illness, Barkan has been at the forefront of the campaign to win Medicare for All, talking on camera with five candidates for president: Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), as well as former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro. South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and businessman Andrew Yang have all agreed to speak with Barkan. 

Not all the candidates support Medicare for All. Some, like Biden, want to stick with a private system but improve it and are critical of Medicare for All.

But Biden is the only candidate of the top tier to not answer the invitation to speak with the dying activist. 

"Share your personal and powerful story like your colleagues," Barkan said, referring to Biden's oft-repeated story of losing his son Beau to brain cancer, "and explain your vision of healthcare in America." 

Barkan ended his appeal on an emotional note. 

"Look a dying man in the eyes and tell me how we fix this country," said Barkan. "We may disagree, but that's okay."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Peace Advocates Sound Warnings as Progressive Lawmakers Go All-In for $40 Billion Ukraine War Package

"Russia's invasion of Ukraine must be condemned," says one activist. "But the administration has been telegraphing for weeks that its war aims now go well beyond defending Ukraine."

Brett Wilkins ·


Oklahoma Lawmakers Pass Strictest US Abortion Ban While Roe Still Stands

Reproductive rights supporters vowed to fight against the ban that begins at fertilization and, like legislation in Texas, "creates a bounty-hunting scheme" for enforcement.

Jessica Corbett ·


Judy Blume, Mo Willems Among 1,300 Children's Authors to Condemn 'Wave of Book Suppression'

"Reading stories that reflect the diversity of our world builds empathy and respect for everyone's humanity."

Kenny Stancil ·


Now Do Windfall Tax, Say Climate Groups After Passage of Big Oil Price Gouging Bill

"Voters will reward politicians who stand up for people, not polluters," said one campaigner, "and taxing windfall profits is wildly popular in every part of the country."

Brett Wilkins ·


Ocasio-Cortez: Maloney Should Quit DCCC Post If He Runs Against Mondaire Jones

"It's completely inappropriate" for Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney to be in charge of the House Democrats' campaign arm "if he's going to challenge another member," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo