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Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) meets with Medicare for All advocate Ady Barkan. (Photo: Elizabeth Warren/YouTube)

Medicare for All Advocate Ady Barkan Endorses Warren, Praises Her Understanding of the 'Central Challenge of Our Time'

"Warren understands that the central challenge of our time is the unequal distribution of power in America, and the grave human consequences of that imbalance."

Julia Conley, staff writer

Medicare for All advocate Ady Barkan on Wednesday announced his endorsement of Sen. Elizabeth Warren in the 2020 Democratic primary, applauding her plan to expand healthcare coverage to all Americans by using legislative tools other Democratic leaders have shied away from.

Barkan, who was diagnosed with ALS weeks before President Donald Trump was elected in 2016, made the announcement in an editorial for The Nation and in a video on social media featuring his week-old daughter Willow and three-year-old son Carl.

"My dear little Willow," Barkan says in the video, "you have arrived in this world at a profound and poignant moment, for our family and for our country...This year, we are in a struggle for the future of our democracy. That is why your mom and I are supporting Elizabeth Warren for president."

"She has the brains, and the brawn, and the moral clarity to overcome the challenges we face," Barkan added.

At The Nation, Barkan detailed his support for Warren, who he worked closely with before he was diagnosed with ALS on a campaign to ensure Federal Reserve funds were used for the public good instead of going to Wall Street firms.

"Warren understands that the central challenge of our time is the unequal distribution of power in America, and the grave human consequences of that imbalance," Barkan wrote. "From climate change and unaffordable housing to police brutality and the healthcare crisis, the major issues of our day feel intractable because of the vicious feedback loop between racial, economic, and political inequality. She has spent her career studying and describing and fighting against against those inequalities, putting the lived reality of working families first."

Barkan noted early in his editorial that supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who has championed Medicare for All for decades and wrote the legislation in the Senate which he would fight to pass as president, may not support his choice to endorse Warren.

"I have no intention to diminish his incredible work building our progressive movement or the ways in which his historic campaigns for president have shifted American political discourse," Barkan wrote of Sanders.

The Center for Popular Democracy organizer highlighted Warren's plan to pass a "Medicare for All option" in her first 100 days in office which would cover 135 million Americans immediately and which she says would lead to "eventual free coverage for everyone."

Barkan also applauded Warren's "bold" commitment to using budget reconciliation in the Senate to pass sweeping changes to the U.S. healthcare system after first covering all children under 18 and all Americans living within 200 percent of the poverty line under Medicare for All.

"This is important, because budget reconciliation requires only 51 votes in the Senate," Barkan wrote. "Republicans use this all the time, and used it for the tax scam they passed last year. But unfortunately, even past Democratic presidents have balked at availing themselves of this simple tool. Warren makes clear that she will use all the tools available to provide Medicare for All–type care to as many Americans and as quickly as she can—and then she will complete the final part of her plan in the last two years by transitioning the remaining people into that same comprehensive care."

The senator expressed gratitude to Barkan for his support in a message on Twitter.

Barkan also exchanged warm words with Sanders, who wrote of Barkan after the endorsement was announced, "I look forward to fighting alongside him to guarantee health care for all Americans."

"You may prefer Sanders, and I have deep respect for that choice," Barkan wrote at The Nation. "We are, ultimately, on the same side. When the dust settles, Warren will enthusiastically endorse Sanders, or vice versa, and then we will need to all struggle together, as one progressive movement."

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