People For the American Way

Medicare For All Introduced in the Senate

People For in Action

On April 10, People For the American Way joined a coalition of activists for a press conference supporting the introduction of S. 1129, a bill that would guarantee Medicare for every American. After President Trump’s repeated attacks on the ACA, there has been public outcry to pass true health care reform and overhaul the marketplace to break up major insurance and pharmaceutical companies’ control of the market. This Medicare For All bill would seek to lower the cost of health care and reform the medical field to focus on patient care over profit.

The press conference to support the introduction of Medicare For All in the Senate began with the chief sponsor Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who explained some of the specifics of the bill and why constituents are demanding these changes. He stressed that our system is fundamentally flawed, resulting in Americans paying more for health care than any other country while receiving less access to quality care. He stated that the insurance system that provides coverage to most Americans and was built to support a few major companies who profit off of the lack of coverage.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., spoke about it being “unconscionable” that people in America can be diagnosed with a disease and not know if they will survive because they are uninsured. She stated that she supports Medicare For All because she has seen her constituents struggle and finds it unacceptable how much the issue of health care burdens average American families. Finally, she argued that it is time to address the root of the issue—politicians who stake their loyalties in big pharmaceutical companies instead of their constituents. She encouraged everyone to judge their elected officials based on their support for expanded access to health care, and stated that it was time to vote out anyone who failed to stand up for these values.

Next, Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., said that it is unacceptable that Americans pay more for health care than any other country of its nature but receive a lower level of patient care. He also stressed that the first step in fixing the system would be to pass the For the People Act, a bill recently introduced in the Senate that would strengthen voting rights, get big money out of politics, and create a system that holds elected officials accountable to their constituents as opposed to large donors. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., discussed how Americans were fed up with the current system and ready for a major change. He believes the future of America is Medicare For All, and encouraged all of his colleagues in the Senate to get on board.

Finally, several activists gave speeches about their experiences with the health care system and why they feel it needs to be reformed. One activist from National Nurses United shared some of her personal experiences as a nurse and what it’s like when insurance companies have a greater say than medical providers in what procedures patients can receive. Another activist from the American Medical Student Association discussed what it’s like learning to practice medicine in a system that prioritizes corporations over people, stating that “[f]or everything we learn on our way to becoming physicians, we learn one more thing that will prevent us from providing care.”