With Medicare for All actually heading for a vote in Congress, progressive groups prepare for a long fight.
With Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., and more than 100 other House Democrats standing behind sweeping new Medicare for All legislation, advocates on Wednesday immediately mobilized to pressure lawmakers to pass the bill.
On Capitol Hill, leaders of National Nurses United unveiled their plan to initiate more than 1,500 local canvassing operations across the country to continue building grassroots momentum — tapping into the growing demand for Medicare for All among the public.
“We will continue building our Medicare for All movement. Neighbor by neighbor. Conversation by conversation, as this bill moves forward,” said NNU executive director Bonnie Castillo. “And in honor of those who paid the price in an unfixable, immoral system we will win Medicare for All.”
The Medicare for All advocacy blitz will include canvassing and phone banking campaigns, and follow more than 150 barnstorms organized by NNU earlier this month. Organizing efforts are currently scheduled throughout throughout the month of March and into April.
“The launch of today’s bill is a monumental achievement in its own right,” wrote NNU in an email to supporters. “Just a few years ago, Medicare for All was viewed as little more than a far-away dream. Virtually zero legislators supported it, and even fewer had the courage to add their name to any bills publicly.
“But that didn’t deter us. We’ve rallied and fought tirelessly — fueled by the belief that healthcare is a right, not a privilege — and now Medicare for All is supported by the majority of voters, the majority of Congressional Democrats, and the majority of 2020 presidential candidates,” the group continued. “That’s proof that our work is paying off. And this bill is our next big test.”
Recent polls have shown that support for Medicare for All has grown rapidly in recent years. Seventy-one percent of Americans approved of the proposal, according to a survey by Reuters last year, compared with a 2009 CBS/New York Times poll which found that only 59 percent of the public backed the idea.
Support has climbed as reports on the effects of the for-profit insurance system on American families have become more and more prevalent. NPR reported Tuesday on a recent study that showed 42 percent of Americans who were diagnosed with cancer between 2000 and 2012 drained their life savings within two years, as astronomical bills for tests and treatments piled up.
Leaders of National Nurses United, which has been fighting for Medicare for All since the group’s inception more than a decade ago, gathered with the bill’s sponsors on Capitol Hill as they announced the proposal.