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Congressional candidate Nabilah Islam, who is uninsured, suspended her campaign's in-person canvassing efforts on Thursday in light of the coronavirus outbreak. (Photo: screenshot/Nabilah for Congress)

Coronavirus Outbreak Forces Uninsured Congressional Candidate to Suspend Door-Knocking Efforts

"Coronavirus makes clear what so many working Americans already know: our healthcare system is broken."

Julia Conley

A progressive congressional candidate's decision on Thursday to stop in-person canvassing on her campaign due to the coronavirus outbreak and her lack of health insurance shed light on the choices many working Americans are being faced with as lawmakers scramble to pass public health and economic relief measures.

Nabilah Islam announced she would suspend door-knocking on her campaign for Congress in Georgia's 7th district as the number of presumed and confirmed cases of the coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, reached 31. 

"Our grassroots campaign relies heavily on person-to-person contact, but I cannot in good faith ask our campaign staff or volunteers to knock doors—nor do I feel safe canvassing in person myself," Islam tweeted.

As Common Dreams reported, Islam's campaign drew attention in January when the Medicare for All advocate petitioned the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to allow her to use campaign funds to pay for her health insurance, saying the move would put runs for public office within reach of more working people.Islam is one of more than 100,000 people in her community who lack health insurance.

Being uninsured is now forcing Islam to limit her contact with voters in her district, she said.

In her announcement, Islam wrote that her situation is just one of many ways the COVID-19 pandemic is exposing how vulnerable many Americans are made by a political system which has left 27.5 million people without health coverage.

"Coronavirus makes clear what so many working Americans already know: our healthcare system is broken," she tweeted.

Islam's congressional bid has garnered endorsements from progressive groups including Matriarch, which supports working-class women who run for public office in order to help more people who have experienced poverty and income inequality in positions of power, in the hopes that such candidates will the advocates marginalized communities need on Capitol Hill.

"A reminder that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was also uninsured when she ran for Congress," tweeted journalist Daniel Medina after Islam made her announcement.

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