- Views & Opinions
As members of Congress return to their home districts for the spring recess, they will be greeted by a broad coalition of doctors, nurses, students and patients demanding “Improved Medicare For All,” a single-payer health plan that covers all Americans.
On April 8, participants in 43 cities — from New Hampshire to Hawaii and including Wisconsin — will hold marches, rallies, congressional office visits and “die-ins,” highlighting the urgent need for a national health program.
The Day of Action was sparked by a renewed interest across the political spectrum in a single-payer, universal health program.
Participants will ask their representatives to sign on to H.R. 676, the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act.
Researchers estimate that replacing the Affordable Care Act with a streamlined, publicly financed single-payer health system like H.R. 676 would yield about $500 billion annually in administrative savings, enough to provide immediate coverage to the 26 million Americans who are currently uninsured, saving nearly 21,000 lives in year one.
The savings would also be sufficient to eliminate all copays and deductibles for those already insured. H.R. 676 currently has 90 co-sponsors, 21 of which signed on in the last two weeks.
In addition, U.S. Sen Bernie Sanders of Vermont has announced plans to introduce a single-payer health bill in the U.S. Senate.
“Republican attempts to strip millions of Americans of their health insurance have backfired,” said Dr. Carol Paris, a retired psychiatrist based in Nashville, Tennessee, and president of Physicians for a National Health Program, one of the groups participating in the April 8 Day of Action. “With the swift defeat of the GOP bill, a grassroots movement toward a universal, single-payer health program is growing. Now is the time.”
National Nurses United, which is also participating in the Day of Action, feels the same sense of urgency. “Nurses will never stop fighting until health care is guaranteed as a human right, not just as a privilege,” said the group’s co-president Deborah Burger, RN. “Nurses will be out in several states on April 8, calling for Medicare for all, canvassing for the single-payer bill we sponsored in California, SB 562, and making sure our elected officials hear the collective voice of the people, saying we want health care, not health insurance.”
Participating labor groups are fully on board with this message.
“To put it simply, health care is a damn human right,” said Cory Aaron, a member of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division of the Teamsters union who was born in Jasper, Alabama, and now works for the BNSF Railroad near St. Louis. “Everyone should have the health care they need and we are only going to get it by standing together. That’s why my family and I are going to the action on Saturday.”
The Day of Action is coordinated by the Campaign for Guaranteed Healthcare, which includes Healthcare-NOW, Physicians for a National Health Program, Students for a National Health Program, National Nurses United, Progressive Democrats of America, Labor Campaign for Single Payer Healthcare, Our Revolution, the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees (Teamsters), American Student Medical Association (AMSA) and White Coats for Black Lives.
Detailed information and local contacts for each of the 43 participating cities can be found here here:
Orange County, CA
Los Angeles, CA
West Covina, CA
Fort Lauderdale, FL
St. Petersburg, FL
The Villages, FL (Central FL)
West Palm Beach, FL
St. Louis, MO
Kansas City, MO
Las Vegas, NV
New York, NY
Virginia Beach, VA
Fond du Lac, WI