With the Democratic National Convention just a week away, a grassroots coalition of Maryland healthcare activists and providers on Monday joined the national campaign calling for inclusion of a Medicare for All plank in the Democratic Party's 2020 platform.
"In the middle of a global pandemic, it's a winning electoral strategy for the Democratic Party to stand with the majority of Americans in supporting Medicare for All," Kristy Fogle, founder of the Maryland Progressive Healthcare Coalition (MPHC), said in a statement.
MPHC is calling on Maryland voters to sign a petition urging the state's convention delegates to "pledge to only vote for a 2020 platform that includes a universal, single-payer, Medicare for All platform plank."
"We believe that healthcare is a basic human right, not a privilege or a luxury," the petition reads.
As Common Dreams reported last month, more than 700 DNC delegates have already vowed to vote against the Democratic platform if it excludes Medicare for All, arguing that the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting economic collapse have spotlighted "the need to separate healthcare from employment." The four national co-chairs of Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) 2020 presidential campaign have endorsed the delegates' effort.
Speaking on behalf of Our Revolution Maryland, Chrissy Holt, Co-Chair of Our Revolution Anne Arundel, said in a statement Monday that fighting for the inclusion of a single-payer plank in the Democratic platform would put Maryland delegates in "alignment with the majority of Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives who have co-sponsored the Medicare For All Act of 2019." MPHC pointed to a Hill-HarrisX survey from April showing that 69% of registered voters—including 88% of registered Democrats—support Medicare for All.
Despite the policy's popularity among Democratic lawmakers and voters, members of the DNC Platform Committee last month overwhelmingly rejected an amendment that would have inserted a Medicare for All plank into the party platform. In its current form (pdf), the platform contains a nod to "those who support a Medicare for All approach" but does not endorse a single-payer system.
"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, told Politico. "We want a genuine political commitment to healthcare as a human right."