Three congressional advocates of Medicare for All are joining with progressive healthcare leaders at 8:00 pm ET on Wednesday for a virtual town hall hosted by Public Citizen to discuss "the crisis of racial health disparities in our for-profit healthcare system, the dangers of tying health coverage to employment, and how insurance companies and Big Pharma are profiteering from the coronavirus pandemic."
The event will feature Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.); Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.); Public Citizen president Robert Weissman; Sara Nelson of the Association of Flight Attendants; Rev. William Barber II of the Poor People's Campaign; Ady Barkan of Be a Hero; Dr. Abdul El-Sayed; former insurance executive and whistleblower Wendell Potter; and MoveOn executive director Rahna Epting.
The speakers are set to address recent progress made by the growing Medicare for All grassroots movement, including local resolutions adopted by U.S. cities.
"The for-profit healthcare system is broken and riddled with discrimination," Public Citizen said in statement announcing the event. "Despite spending the most of any wealthy country on healthcare, Americans have inadequate and unaffordable coverage and worse health outcomes than our international peers."
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"Black, Brown, and low-wage workers are being failed by insurance and pharmaceutical companies that put profits over patients," the group continued. "And long-standing systemic racism, which creates health and social inequities, has put these groups at significantly increased risk of getting sick and dying from Covid-19."
In a tweet promoting the event, Public Citizen added: "How can you watch 12,000,000 people lose healthcare in a pandemic and not think our system needs to fundamentally change?"
Speakers also took to social media to tease some of their takeaway messages. Sanders reiterated a message that he's repeatedly emphasized while pushing for Medicare for All in the Senate, declaring that "healthcare is a human right."
Jayapal—who, like Sanders, has sponsored historic single-payer legislation at the federal level—tweeted Wednesday that "healthcare needs to be guaranteed to everyone as a human right. It's long past time for #MedicareForAll."