Notes from Post Midterm Elections National Strategy Call to Win Medicare For All

by local activists

11/13/2018

You can listen to the recording here: https://medicare4all.org/event/nov13call/

“It is not going to be an easy fight as the drug companies and insurance companies buy politicians and sell out their constituents every single day.” – Bernie Sanders

Post Midterm National Strategy Call to Win Medicare for All / HR 676

Tuesday, Nov. 13th, 2018, 5PM

National Nurses United with Rep. Pramila Jayapal, Nina Turner (Our Revolution), Sen. Bernie Sanders, Bonnie Castillo (National Nurses United)

Jasmine Ruddy, moderator, National Nurses United — Moderator

We’ll hear from special guests and then talk about next steps in the movement to fight for Medicare For All: Rep. Pramila Jayapal, Nina Turner, Bonnie Castillo, Bernie Sanders and leaders of organizations for healthcare justice from across the country

Overview

We want to work together to help the Democrats pass HR 676/Medicare for All in the U.S. House. We need a massive grassroots movement to lobby members to sign-on. We’ll talk about why HR 676 is strategic, how get there, the role that the activists are playing, exactly what all of you on the call can do. We now have over a thousand people on this call.

Where we’re going and how get there. Healthcare justice is growing, can’t rely on electoral process to get there. We have to go deep into our communities, doing the groundwork to make it happen will be a deciding factor for victory.

Nurses care about their patients, many of whom suffer and die without care. Our solidarity is eliminating the inequalities. Roll up our sleeves and get to work for victory.

Nina Turner: Thanks to the National Nurses United who have been on the front lines with a vision for having Medicare For All. It is popular across the political spectrum now. In words of Nelson Mandela, “it always seems impossible until we are done.” All Democrats must support Medicare for All so we can have the best healthcare that our tax dollars can buy. We are going to make sure the Democrats will lead on this, stand up for the people, the grass tops — going to push the Democrats to do this, no excuse for any elected Representative to not support this issue.

We can’t have any other great thing in this country if people don’t have their healthcare. People shouldn’t have to make a choice between their medical bills and paying the rent. People are too afraid to go to the doctor if they can’t afford it.

Pramila Jayapal: Thank you for your vision, this is an idea whose time has come. Medicare for All is not a radical idea. Healthcare is not just for the rich and for the wealthy. Bernie used his campaign to lift up Medicare for All. We know that HR 676, John Conyers’ bill, now has a record of 123 co-sponsors. We are ready to stand up for what we believe in, we have the ground power. We will be introducing this bill, HR 676 in the U.S. House. There will be an inside-outside strategy– get your member to sign on.

Senator Bernie Sanders: Physicians see patients walking into their offices with terminal situations. Thousands of Americans die every single year because they are under insured.

Last year drug companies made $50B in profits and the American people are catching on to that reality. We are being attacked daily by Trump and his minions as they read the same polls as we do. Latest polls show that about 70% of American and a majority of Republicans want to expand Medicare for all. That’s why so many Republicans and pharmaceutical companies are getting very nervous.

When Trump attacks us it should not shock you, he is lying once again. Medicare for All does not weaken Medicare, it will strengthen it. We will expand benefits to include dental care, hearing aids, vision care, all the very important services.

Medicare For All will also be a program that will help small and medium businesses at a cost they can afford. Medicare for All is important for working people who are often trapped in jobs they do not like. The passage of Medicare for All would allow them to think about the economic opportunities they haven’t been able to consider because their families would have healthcare as a right. It is not going to be an easy fight. The drug companies and insurance companies have almost unlimited funds to buy politicians and sell out their constituents every single day. We are not going to succeed unless we tell politicians they have to do what the people want and that’s when we’ll finally get guaranteed healthcare. We need grassroots activity to make it happen, we will then transform America in a way that is a very big deal — lets stand up, lets fight back. This is an historical struggle and will transform America. Thank you all.

Strategy:

Lobbying Congress

For those new to the movement, there are two bills in congress: the Senate bill– S1804 has 16 cosponsors; the House bill– HR 676 has 123 co-sponsors. We now have a real opportunity to move HR 676 in the U.S. House in January. We want two committees to hold hearings and then move HR 676 forward to floor of the house. There are two crucial committees in the House— Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce. We really need the chairs and members of both committees to support HR 676.

We must prioritize our activism on this work. We must move both of these bills forward in these two committees, then members of Congress cannot ignore Medicare for All.

Working with a member of Congress (example: Joe Kennedy of MA)

-build a coalition: nurses, doctors, students, labor, etc.

-sign on letter from over 30 organizations from members in your district and from their national organizations

-social media day of action: Facebook, Twitter

-stand outside supermarkets and got over 250 calls, that’s when we finally heard back from our Congressional member

-he told us he does support HR 676 but has a few issues with the text of the bill

Building Coalitions

We worked on the Affordable Care Act but what people really wanted was Medicare for All. Our goal is to meet at least twice with every Congressional member and create a national network.

Democratic Socialists of America

We have chapters in all 50 states; grown by over 600% in last two years; canvassing on a daily basis. By doing this we find either people are not home or they want Medicare for All! Now is the time to strike while the iron is hot!

National Nurses United

We organized in two states– in Florida and Texas. We contacted non-union nurses work and worked with a core. Now have active groups throughout each of these states. The calling card is Medicare for All as a public policy. Our recent urgency was working on two campaigns — gubernatorial race in Florida and U.S. Senate race in Texas. Needed to have the proper technology so we used RN lists then sent texts via a computerized system to about 200,000 non-union nurses. From this effort we now have 3,000 nurses as the committed core. We set up meetings and talked about what a campaign might look like. Over 2,000 came to these classes.

California Medicare Campaign

Knock on every door, largely led by the nurses. We had over 350 all volunteer canvassers and knocked on 24,000 doors. This was not just about talking to likely voters but having as many conversations as we can. When legislators tell us that they have received over 100 calls on this issue then we know we will win because of people power.

Organizing to Win Medicare for All

What Improved Medicare means is everyone will now have vision, dental, get rid of out of pocket costs. It does not hurt anyone’s Medicare — makes it even better. Trump knows how powerful our campaign is and he will come after us. Seniors love their Medicare and they will be our best fighters for Medicare for All.

Physicians for a National Health Program

It’s an exciting time but also a dangerous moment on two fronts: insurance companies are forming a resistance. They are going to pour money into Washington DC as well as put forward half measures to dilute Medicare for All such as public options and under-insurance. We are so pleased there is so much energy on this call. Nationwide there is now a 70% support for Medicare for All. In our experiences as nurses and doctors the only solution is single payer/Medicare for All healthcare.

National Nurses United, Organizing for HR 676

1) We want all the members of the Ways and Means Committee and the Energy and Commerce Committees to co-sponsor HR 676 then we will have a real shot at passing this bill in the House.

2) We must pressure them by building support in their districts, develop key committees, talk to people across the country, ask for their support, and call into these districts. The ask will be to call members of Congress to support our Medicare for All bill — HR 676. We need mass numbers of people to call into these offices to pressure Reps to co-sponsor this legislation.

3) From Feb. 9th-13th we will do as many mass barnstorms as possible: organizing meetings, hear from a variety of speakers, canvass, and phone bank. National Nurses United is committed to barnstorm in CA (Pelosi, Cardenas, Ruiz, Peters) MA (Joe Kennedy) TX (San Antonio). Organize barnstorms where you live– focus on Suzan DelBene in WA on the House Ways and Means Committee.

4) With mass collective action together we will win Medicare for All, so deeply grateful to you and for all of your work.

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Here is a discussion by the Young Turks about the fight for Medicare for All:

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