Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

If you’ve been waiting for the right time to support our work—that time is now.

Our mission is simple: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

But without the support of our readers, this model does not work and we simply won’t survive. It’s that simple.
We must meet our Mid-Year Campaign goal but we need you now.

Please, support independent journalism today.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Local politicians and hospital workers protest the imminent closure of Hahnemann University Hospital at a rally outside the Center City facilities in Philadelphia on July 11, 2019. (Photo: Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

'History Will Not Judge This Kindly': DNC Platform Committee Votes Down Medicare for All Amendment

"It's like opposing the New Deal during the Great Depression. Unforgivable."

Jake Johnson

A Democratic National Committee panel on Monday voted down an amendment that would have inserted a plank supporting Medicare for All into the party's 2020 platform, a move progressives decried as out of touch with public opinion and a slap in the face to the millions of people who have lost their health insurance due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The DNC Platform Committee rejected the Medicare for All amendment introduced by longtime single-payer advocate Michael Lighty by a vote of 36-125 during a virtual meeting Monday. The committee also voted down separate attempts to include support for expanding Medicare to children, dropping the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 55, and legalizing marijuana.

"Shameful. And during a pandemic," tweeted progressive radio host Kyle Kulinksi in response to the defeat of the Medicare for All amendment. "History will not judge this kindly. It's like opposing the New Deal during the Great Depression. Unforgivable."

Winnie Wong, former senior adviser to Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) presidential campaign, tweeted late Monday that she "can't even imagine what went on in the heads of those 125 DNC Platform Committee members who voted Medicare or All down."

"The fact that our nation is the only advanced industrial country without universal healthcare cannot be blamed on Republican obstruction alone. It was also caused by Democratic leaders who've spent decades catering to corporate interests."
—Jeff Cohen, RootsAction.org

"Today. Now. When the country is in the deathgrip of a global pandemic and people are dying because they can't afford to the upkeep of their sick-care," Wong wrote. "Shameful."

Lighty said ahead of the vote that with more than 100 million people and counting either uninsured or underinsured amid a deadly pandemic, "it is vital that the Democratic Party join the NAACP, the Poor People's Campaign, the Rising Majority, Mijente, community-based organizations all over the country and demand guaranteed healthcare for all through an improved Medicare for All system."

Speaking in support of Lighty's amendment during the platform meeting Monday, Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, former health director for the city of Detroit and 2018 Michigan gubernatorial candidate, said the Covid-19 pandemic has "revealed that our house of healthcare was built of straw."

"We have a for-profit healthcare system that's left 27 million more people without healthcare because we attached healthcare to jobs," said El-Sayed.

As of late Tuesday, more than 600 DNC delegates had signed a petition vowing to vote against the Democratic platform if it doesn't include support for Medicare for All, a policy solution supported by around 80% of Democratic voters and a majority of House Democrats. Most of the petition's signatories are Sanders delegates, according to organizers, but some Biden delegates have also signed on.

Mike Casca, a spokesman for Sanders, said in a statement that the Vermont senator "believes that the Democratic Party platform should advocate strongly for Medicare for All."

"The senator appreciates that, amid a deadly pandemic which is creating a national health emergency, his delegates understand that now more than ever we must guarantee healthcare as a human right," Casca said.

The draft (pdf) version of the Democratic platform includes one mention of Medicare for All but does not endorse the policy that would provide comprehensive healthcare to everyone in the U.S. for free at the point of service.

"Generations of Democrats have been united in the fight for universal healthcare," the draft reads. "We are proud our party welcomes advocates who want to build on and strengthen the Affordable Care Act and those who support a Medicare for All approach; all are critical to ensuring that healthcare is a human right."

Progressives said the brief nod is nowhere near enough. "Democrats who understand the profound need for Medicare for All don't want a pat on the head," Norman Solomon, national director of progressive advocacy group RootsAction.org and a Sanders delegate from California, told Politico on Monday. "We want a genuine political commitment to healthcare as a human right."

In an op-ed for Common Dreams on Tuesday, RootsAction.org co-founder Jeff Cohen wrote that "the fact that our nation is the only advanced industrial country without universal healthcare cannot be blamed on Republican obstruction alone."

"It was also caused by Democratic leaders who've spent decades catering to corporate interests (while collecting their campaign donations)—and refusing to fight for universal coverage," Cohen added. "This history of Democratic obstruction and vacillation is why hundreds of elected delegates to next month's Democratic convention have put their foot down."


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

"I'm sure this will be all over the corporate media, right?"
That’s what one longtime Common Dreams reader said yesterday after the newsroom reported on new research showing how corporate price gouging surged to a nearly 70-year high in 2021. While major broadcasters, newspapers, and other outlets continue to carry water for their corporate advertisers when they report on issues like inflation, economic inequality, and the climate emergency, our independence empowers us to provide you stories and perspectives that powerful interests don’t want you to have. But this independence is only possible because of support from readers like you. You make the difference. If our support dries up, so will we. Our crucial Mid-Year Campaign is now underway and we are in emergency mode to make sure we raise the necessary funds so that every day we can bring you the stories that corporate, for-profit outlets ignore and neglect. Please, if you can, support Common Dreams today.

 

'We Need Action': Biden, Democrats Urged to Protect Abortion Access in Post-Roe US

"The Supreme Court doesn't get the final say on abortion," Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Tina Smith wrote in a new op-ed.

Kenny Stancil ·


Motorist 'Tried to Murder' Abortion Rights Advocates at Iowa Protest, Witnesses Say

Although one witness said the driver went "out of his way" to hit pro-choice protestors in the street, Cedar Rapids police declined to make an arrest.

Kenny Stancil ·


'A Hate Crime': Oslo Pride Parade Canceled After Deadly Shooting at Gay Bar

A 42-year-old gunman has been charged with terrorism following what Norway's prime minister called a "terrible and deeply shocking attack on innocent people."

Kenny Stancil ·


'We WILL Fight Back': Outrage, Resolve as Protests Erupt Against SCOTUS Abortion Ruling

Demonstrators took to the streets Friday to defiantly denounce the Supreme Court's right-wing supermajority after it rescinded a constitutional right for the first time in U.S. history.

Brett Wilkins ·


80+ US Prosecutors Vow Not to Be Part of Criminalizing Abortion Care

"Criminalizing and prosecuting individuals who seek or provide abortion care makes a mockery of justice," says a joint statement signed by 84 elected attorneys. "Prosecutors should not be part of that."

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo