March, 17 2021, 12:00am EDT
For Immediate Release
Jayapal Introduces Medicare for All Act of 2021 Alongside More Than Half of House Democratic Caucus After Millions Lose Health Care During a Pandemic
Legislation guarantees health care to everyone as a human right by providing comprehensive benefits including primary care, vision, dental, prescription drugs, mental health, long-term services and supports, reproductive health care, and more with no copays, private insurance premiums, deductibles, or other cost-sharing.
Today, U.S. Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and Debbie Dingell (MI-12) introduced the Medicare for All Act of 2021, transformative legislation that would guarantee health care to everyone in America as a human right at a moment in which nearly 100 million people are uninsured or underinsured during a pandemic. Endorsed by 300 local, state, and national organizations and co-sponsored by more than half of the House Democratic Caucus including 14 committee chairs and key leadership Members, the landmark bill provides comprehensive benefits to all with no copays, private insurance premiums, deductibles, or other cost-sharing.
The Medicare for All Act of 2021 is being introduced in the House of Representatives one year to the day that the COVID-19 virus was first confirmed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. This devastating public health crisis, which has taken the lives of more than 540,000 Americans, has only underscored how the country's current health care system leaves millions behind. As unemployment skyrocketed to historic levels during the pandemic, millions of additional families lost their health care and the country experienced the highest increase in the number of uninsured Americans ever recorded.
"While this devastating pandemic is shining a bright light on our broken, for-profit health care system, we were already leaving nearly half of all adults under the age of 65 uninsured or underinsured before COVID-19 hit. And we were cruelly doing so while paying more per capita for health care than any other country in the world," said Congresswoman Jayapal. "There is a solution to this health crisis -- a popular one that guarantees health care to every person as a human right and finally puts people over profits and care over corporations. That solution is Medicare for All -- everyone in, nobody out -- and I am proud to introduce it today alongside a powerful movement across America."
"A system that prioritizes profits over patients and ties coverage to employment was no match for a global pandemic and will never meet the needs of our people," said Congresswoman Dingell. "In the wealthiest nation on earth, patients should not be launching GoFundMe pages to afford lifesaving health care for themselves or their loved ones. Medicare For All will build an inclusive health care system that won't just open the door to care for millions of our neighbors, but do it more efficiently and effectively than the one we have today. Now is not the time to shy away from these generational fights, it is the time for action."
The Medicare for All Act builds upon and expands Medicare to provide comprehensive benefits to every person in the United States. This includes primary care, vision, dental, prescription drugs, mental health, substance abuse, long-term services and supports, reproductive health care, and more. The Medicare for All Act of 2021 also includes universal coverage of long-term care with no cost-sharing for older Americans and individuals with disabilities, and prioritizes home and community-based care over institutional care. Additionally, patients have the freedom to choose the doctors, hospitals, and other providers they wish to see without worrying about whether a provider is in-network. Importantly, the legislation streamlines the health care system to negotiate drug prices and reduce exorbitant administrative waste.
This growing movement for universal, single-payer health care has robust support inside and outside of Congress. The Medicare for All Act of 2021 has several new co-sponsors including the Chair of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Representative Frank Pallone, Jr. who just committed to a hearing on Medicare for All. Last Congress, the legislation had four historic hearings--the first-ever on Medicare for All--in the House Committee on Rules, the House Committee on Ways and Means, the House Committee on the Budget, and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Medicare for All is supported by 69 percent of registered voters including 87 percent of Democrats, the majority of Independents, and nearly half of Republicans. Additionally, over 50 cities and towns across America have passed resolutions endorsing Medicare for All.
The Medicare for All Act of 2021 is also endorsed by 300 local, state, and national organizations that represent nurses, doctors, business owners, unions, and racial justice organizations. This includes Physicians for a National Health Program, Public Citizen, National Nurses United, Center for Popular Democracy, People's Action, Social Security Works, Labor Campaign for Single Payer, SEIU, and hundreds more.
For a full list of endorsing organizations, click here.
"The pandemic has underscored the cruelty and irrationality of our current health care system--and the urgency of replacing it with Medicare for All. Amid the worst acute public health crisis in generations, millions lost their health insurance and health insurer profits soared," said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. "Medicare for All will ensure everyone has health care coverage, including when they need it most, and will eliminate the waste and profiteering that drives ever-escalating costs. Public Citizen thanks Reps. Pramila Jayapal and Debbie Dingell, as well as the other original co-sponsors of the Medicare for All Act, for their leadership and determination in delivering health justice."
"The pandemic has highlighted in deadly detail what nurses have known for decades: Our current health care system, based on private insurance tied to employment, is a colossal failure and leaves far too many of our patients to suffer and die unnecessarily," said Bonnie Castillo, RN and executive director of National Nurses United. "We thank Rep. Pramila Jayapal and Rep. Debbie Dingell for their leadership in guaranteeing health care is a human right. While we mourn the more than 500,000 lives lost to Covid, we rededicate ourselves to the fight to ensure that everyone is provided with high-quality health care regardless of where they live, how much money they make, or their health, immigration, or employment status. Nurses will never rest until we get this done."
"Physicians have been saying it for years: We cannot give patients the care they need in a fractured and profit-driven system. For too long, doctors have watched helplessly as our patients delayed or skipped needed care--even walking out our hospital doors--because they could not afford to pay. While some are uninsured, many of these are patients enrolled in commercial insurance plans, but can't afford the thousands of dollars they must pay upfront in deductibles and copays," said Dr. Susan Rogers, President of Physicians for a National Health Program. "Medicare for All is the only plan that puts patients first: It guarantees health care for life, with free choice of hospital and provider, and no financial firewalls to stand in the way of care. It's no surprise that a majority of physicians and other health providers now support single-payer Medicare for All."
"More than any other policy, Medicare for All, would help families impacted by COVID to recover and would move to address the extreme racial disparities in health care," said Jennifer Flynn Walker, Senior Director of Advocacy and Mobilization at the Center for Popular Democracy Action. "Imagine going to the doctor without the fear of an enormous bill. Imagine losing your job, but still being able to access health care for your family. Medicare for All is a necessary policy for us to address the new normal. It is not radical. It is compassionate and sensible policy making."
"This pandemic has made it plain that our collective health and our economy depend on all of us staying healthy and safe," said People's Action Deputy Director Bree Carlson. "Our government can make this a reality by passing Medicare for All, ensuring that every one of us has access to free, high quality health care. We can and we must build a health care system strong enough to protect us all from the next health crisis."
"The costs of our current health care system remain unsustainable for too many working families, for seniors, and for employers. IFPTE applauds Rep. Jayapal, Rep. Dingell, and the cosponsors of the Medicare for All Act of 2021 for proposing a solution that will benefit all Americans by ensuring that all Americans are guaranteed high quality comprehensive health care as a right," said Paul Shearon, President of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE). "Medicare for All would end the drag that rising health care costs have on our union members' wages and benefits, while advancing health justice and equity for all workers."
"We need to reform our national health care system now more than ever after everything we've been through this past year in battling a world-wide pandemic," said Eric Dickson, MD, President and CEO of UMass Memorial Health Care. "I believe a Medicare-for-All type of system could greatly improve health care equity in this country while ultimately reducing costs and physician burnout."
The Medicare for All Act of 2021 is co-sponsored by 14 committee chairs and several key leadership Members. Co-sponsors include Alma S. Adams Ph.D., Nanette Diaz Barragan, Karen Bass, Don Beyer, Earl Blumenauer, Suzanne Bonamici, Jamaal Bowman, Brendan F. Boyle, Cori Bush, Salud Carbajal, Tony Cardenas, Andre Carson, Matt Cartwright, Judy Chu, David Cicilline, Katherine Clark, Yvette D. Clarke, Emanuel Cleaver, II, Steve Cohen, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Danny K. Davis, Peter DeFazio, Diana DeGette, Mark DeSaulnier, Lloyd Doggett, Mike Doyle, Ted Deutch, Veronica Escobar, Adriano Espaillat, Teresa Leger Fernandez, Lois Frankel, Ruben Gallego, Jesus G. "Chuy" Garcia, Jimmy Gomez, Al Green, Raul M. Grijalva, Josh Harder, Alcee L. Hastings, Jahana Hayes, Brian Higgins, Jared Huffman, Sara Jacobs, Hakeem Jeffries, Hank Johnson, Mondaire Jones, Kaiali'i Kahele, William R. Keating, Robin L. Kelly, Ro Khanna, Daniel T. Kildee, Ann Kirkpatrick, James R. Langevin, Brenda L. Lawrence, Barbara Lee, Sheila Jackson Lee, Andy Levin, Mike Levin, Ted W. Lieu, Alan Lowenthal, Carolyn B. Maloney, James P. McGovern, Jerry McNerney, Gregory W. Meeks, Grace Meng, Jerrold Nadler, Grace F. Napolitano, Joe Neguse, Marie Newman, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Frank Pallone Jr., Jimmy Panetta, Ed Perlmutter, Chellie Pingree, Mark Pocan, Katie Porter, Ayanna Pressley, Jamie Raskin, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Bobby L. Rush, Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, Linda Sanchez, John Sarbanes, Jan Schakowsky, Adam Schiff, Robert C. "Bobby" Scott, Brad Sherman, Adam Smith, Jackie Speier, Eric Swalwell, Mark Takano, Bennie G. Thompson, Mike Thompson, Dina Titus, Rashida Tlaib, Paul Tonko, Ritchie Torres, Lori Trahan, Juan Vargas, Marc Veasey, Nydia M. Velazquez, Maxine Waters, Peter Welch, Susan Wild, Nikema Williams, Frederica Wilson, and John Yarmuth.
To view the text of the legislation, click here.
U.S. Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-07)
"We will make business as usual impossible until the U.S. stops funding and fueling a genocide," Jewish Voice for Peace said.
Nov 26, 2023
In what organizers said was the largest action of civil disobedience in New York City since the Iraq War, more than 1,000 protesters blocked traffic on the Manhattan Bridge for hours Sunday to demand a permanent cease-fire in Israel's war with Hamas in Gaza.
The action, organized by Jewish Voice for Peace, began around 2 pm Eastern Time, and traffic began moving again around 5:30 pm, The New York Times reported. The group included 1,500 Jews, Palestinians, religious leaders, and elected officials, Jewish Voice for Peace said on social media.
"These kind of things where you stop traffic brings more attention to the issue," 74-year-old participant Joan Glickman, who lives in Westchester, toldGothamist. "I do think there are many Americans who don't really pay attention to how serious this is."
The protest came on the third day of a negotiated four-day pause in hostilities between Israel and Hamas. On Sunday, Hamas released a third group of 17 hostages while Israel released 39 Palestinian prisoners, The Associated Press reported. However, activists expressed concern about what would happen when the temporary truce ended.
"There are only two days left before the Israeli government resumes its genocidal onslaught against the people of Gaza—funded and fueled by the U.S. Netanyahu has said, 'We will come back to annihilate them,'" Jewish Voice for Peace tweeted Sunday.
On October 7, Hamas attacked Israel, killing 1,200 and taking around 240 hostages. In the month and a half since, Israel has killed more than 14,800 Palestinians in Gaza, including 10,000 women and children. That figure is more than double the number of women and children confirmed killed in Ukraine in two years of war against Russia. More than 800 legal scholars have said Israel may be committing a genocide in Gaza, and one human rights lawyer and former United Nations official called Israel's campaign in Gaza a "textbook case of genocide."
The protesters Sunday blocked the Manhattan entrance to the bridge and sat down in the center of the entrance ramp, The New York Times reported. One person scaled the arch over the ramp to unfurl a Palestinian flag.
"We needed to continue to raise our voices and continue to speak out because there's thousands of Palestinians that are under the rubble right now," Jewish Voice for Peace member Jay Saper said at the protest, as the Times reported.
At one point, the protesters said they would refuse to leave until U.S. President Joe Biden called for a permanent cease-fire to the conflict, and they unfurled banners reading, "Lasting cease-fire," and "The whole world is watching."
"We will make business as usual impossible until the U.S. stops funding and fueling a genocide," Jewish Voice for Peace tweeted.
A spokesperson for the New York Police Department told Gothamist that it made "multiple" arrests.
"I hope that this message is strong and they're listening in the White House," Palestinian American activist Linda Sarsour said during the protest, as Gothamist reported.
Keep ReadingShow Less
"The surge in anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian sentiment we are experiencing is unprecedented, and this is another example of that hate turning violent," one advocate said.
Nov 26, 2023
Three university students of Palestinian descent were shot and wounded Saturday night in Burlington, Vermont.
The students were identified as Brown University student Hisham Awartani, Haverford College student Kinnan Abdel Hamid, and Trinity College student Tahseen Ahmed. In a Sunday morning statement posted on social media, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) said they had "reason to believe that the shooting was motivated by the three victims being Arab."
"We are praying for a full recovery of the victims, and will support the families in any way that is needed," ADC executive director Abed A. Ayoub said in a statement. "Given the information collected and provided, it is clear that the hate was a motivating factor in this shooting. We call on law enforcement to investigate it as such."
"The surge in anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian sentiment we are experiencing is unprecedented, and this is another example of that hate turning violent," Ayoub continued.
The three 20-year-olds were visiting one of the trio's family members in Burlington for Thanksgiving, police said, as the Burlington Free Press reported. They were walking along a residential street near the University of Vermont campus around 6:30 pm Eastern Time when a white man confronted them, according to Seven Days.
"The suspect was on foot in the area. Without speaking, he discharged at least four rounds from the pistol and is believed to have fled on foot," police said, as the Burlington Free Press reported.
Police said that two of the men were wearing keffiyehs at the time of the shooting, while ADC said that all three were wearing keffiyehs and speaking Arabic. Police, however, said they did not yet know the shooter's motives.
"The hate crimes against Palestinians must stop. Palestinians everywhere need protection."
"My deepest condolences go out to the victims and their families," Burlington Police Chief Jon Murad said in a statement reported by the Burlington Free Press. "In this charged moment, no one can look at this incident and not suspect that it may have been a hate-motivated crime. And I have already been in touch with federal investigatory and prosecutorial partners to prepare for that if it's proven."
The three men were taken to the University of Vermont Medical Center where two are stable and one "has sustained much more serious injuries," police told Seven Days on Sunday.
Two of the students are U.S. citizens and the third is a legal resident.
The families of the three men circulated a statement through the nonprofit Institute for Middle East Understanding.
"We call on law enforcement to conduct a thorough investigation, including treating this as a hate crime," the statement read in part. "We will not be comfortable until the shooter is brought to justice."
"We need to ensure that our children are protected, and this heinous crime is not repeated. No family should ever have to endure this pain and agony," the families continued.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said it was offering $10,000 to anyone providing information that led to the arrest or conviction of the shooter or shooters, and the FBI said it was aware of the incident and prepared to investigate if local police found evidence of a federal crime, according to TheAssociated Press.
The head of the Palestinian mission to the United Kingdom, Husam Zomlot, linked the shootings to the killing of six-year-old Wadea Al Fayoume last month, a Palestinian boy who was stabbed 26 times by his family's landlord in Chicago.
"The hate crimes against Palestinians must stop," Zomlot tweeted. "Palestinians everywhere need protection."
Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders also issued a statement.
"It is shocking and deeply upsetting that three young Palestinians were shot here in Burlington, Vermont," Sanders said on social media. "Hate has no place here, or anywhere. I look forward to a full investigation. My thoughts are with them and their families."
In the wake of Hamas' October 7 attacks on Israel and Israel's bombardment of Gaza afterword, both Islamophobic and antisemitic incidents have increased in the U.S., The Guardian reported. CAIR said it had received 1,283 reports of discrimination and petitions for help between early October and early November, a 216% increase from the same time period last year.
Keep ReadingShow Less
The request would remove most conditions on Israel's use of a U.S. weapons stash, including a requirement that it only use surplus or obsolete weapons and a cap on how much the U.S. can spend resupplying the stash.
Nov 26, 2023
The Intercept story came the day after Biden seemed open to the idea of putting conditions on military aid to Israel while answering questions from reporters in Nantucket.
President Joe Biden has requested that Congress to lift most of the restrictions on Israel's access to a U.S. stockpile of weapons in the country, The Intercept reported Saturday.
The request came in the administration's supplemental budget request to the U.S. Senate, sent October 20. It concerns the War Reserve Stockpile Allies-Israel (WRSA-I) that the U.S. has stored in Israel since the 1980s for its own use in a potential conflict in the region. The U.S. allows Israel to access the stockpile under certain conditions, but Biden's request would remove most of these conditions, including a requirement that Israel only use surplus or obsolete weapons and a cap on how much the U.S. can spend resupplying the stash.
"The President's emergency supplemental funding request would essentially create a free-flowing pipeline to provide any defense articles to Israel by the simple act of placing them in the WRSA-I stockpile, or other stockpiles intended for Israel," Josh Paul, a former State Department official who resigned over U.S. arm transfers to Israel in the midst of its bombardment of Gaza, told The Intercept.
"The Biden administration's supplemental budget request would further undermine oversight and accountability even as U.S. support enables an Israeli campaign that has killed thousands of children."
The news comes in the midst of a four-day cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, which has given journalists and humanitarian organizations a moment to assess the extent of the death and destruction unleashed by Israel in Gaza since October 7, when Hamas attacked Israel, killing 1,200 and taking around 240 hostages. In retaliation, the Israeli military has killed more than 14,800 people in Gaza, around 10,000 of them women and children. That means the number of women and children killed in Gaza in less than two months is more than double the number confirmed killed in Ukraine in two years of fighting with Russia, The New York Times concluded Saturday. One of the reasons for the high civilian toll, the Times said, is Israel's use of 2,000-pound, U.S.-made bombs in a densely populated Gaza Strip.
Despite this, Biden's request would allow Israel to access all weapons from the WRSA-I, not just excess or obsolete ones, something that could hurt U.S. preparedness, Paul told The Intercept. The request would also remove a requirement that Israel provide concessions to the U.S. in exchange for accessing the weapons, lift the $200 million per year restocking cap, and shorten a requirement that the government inform Congress 30 days ahead of a weapons transfer under "extraordinary" circumstances.
"The Biden administration's supplemental budget request would further undermine oversight and accountability even as U.S. support enables an Israeli campaign that has killed thousands of children," John Ramming Chappell, a legal fellow with the Center for Civilians in Conflict, told The Intercept.
The U.S. typically provides Israel with $3.8 billion in military aid every year, more than it sends to any other nation, according to Al Jazeera. The House has already approved additional aid this year to the tune of $14.3 billion.
The Intercept story came the day after Biden seemed open to the idea of putting conditions on military aid to Israel while answering questions from reporters in Nantucket.
"I think that's a worthwhile thought, but I don't think if I started off with that we would have gotten where we are today," Biden said, as HuffPost reported. "We have to take this a piece at a time."
On the campaign trail in 2020, Biden said the idea of putting conditions on aid to Israel was "absolutely outrageous." But the administration's seemingly unconditional support for Israel as it carried out its siege, bombardment, and invasion of Gaza has led to backlash among progressives, who have marched for a cease-fire and carried out direct actions in several major cities. A Reuters/Ipsos poll released on November 15 found that 68% of the U.S. public backed a cease-fire.
In an appearance on NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan did not rule out the idea that Biden would sign legislation putting conditions on military aid to Israel, though he said currently what was proving effective was behind-doors diplomacy with Israel and Arab nations.
"He is going to continue to focus on what is going to generate results," Sullivan said.
Keep ReadingShow Less