WASHINGTON – People’s Action grassroots leaders from around the country joined Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA-07) today as she introduced the long-awaited Medicare for All Act of 2019, a bill to establish a national, universal single-payer health program.
People’s Action, one of the largest organizing networks in the country, with more than a million people and 48 member organizations in 30 states, pledged to work nonstop in coming months to make sure the legislation becomes law.
“This bill has over 100 original co-sponsors because people in communities throughout the U.S. are boldly demanding universal, single-payer health care,” said Connie Huynh, director of the Health Care for All campaign at People’s Action. “Something that would have seemed impossible just a few years ago is becoming reality as more people are stepping up and claiming their right to quality health care.”
Jayapal, the bill’s lead sponsor, worked closely with a coalition of grassroots organizations, including People’s Action, for months to improve and build support for the proposed legislation. Jayapal was the founding director of OneAmerica, a People’s Action member organization.
“When we say we fight for ‘health care for all,’ we mean all,” said Lori Clark, director of Jane Addams Senior Caucus in Chicago. “And that’s really what this bill does. It’s the first version of the bill to include coverage for long-term and home care services, which are vitally important for our elders.”
People’s Action, its member organizations and allies, have led successful campaigns for years to save Medicare, Medicaid, and SNAP, as well as to pass and then vigorously defend the Affordable Care Act.
Recently, People’s Action and its member organizations led mass organizing efforts in 12 states to advocate for the Medicare for All Act of 2019, including:
- Town hall meetings to educate community members about Improved Medicare for All
- Meetings with members of Congress
- Thousands of conversations between constituents
- Thousands of messages from constituents to their representatives urging them to co-sponsor the bill
If passed, the current patchwork of private insurance, out-of-pocket payments, and public programs that subsidize healthcare would be replaced with an expanded and improved Medicare program that everyone will be eligible for two years after the bill goes into effect.
Under Medicare for All, the government pays medical providers and facilities directly for the services they provide patients, which saves billions of dollars by eliminating the administrative overhead of private insurance. The legislation also allows the government to negotiate lower prescription drug prices, just as many other countries already do.
“Big corporate insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry are bankrupting our rural communities by exploiting our broken health care system to put profits before patients,” said Barb Kalbach, a registered nurse and member of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, who attended the event in D.C. “We have an impending rural health care crisis — Medicare for All is the prescription.”
People’s Action will continue to work in local communities and on Capitol Hill to support the legislation as it moves through committee hearings and votes.
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People’s Action is a progressive, multiracial, working-class coalition of more than a million people and 48 member organizations in 30 states. We fight for racial, gender, climate and economic justice.