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Fourth House Hearing; GoFundMe Pushes Cancer Fundraising ‘Tips’; Americans Compelled to Take Fish Medication

Public Citizen Has You Covered


The year wrapped up with a fourth congressional hearing on Medicare for All and other legislation, highlighting how seriously lawmakers are taking the policy.

Last week, the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s health subcommittee held a hearing during which different health care reform efforts were discussed, including Medicare for All. The room – which was packed with Medicare of All supporters – erupted in applause when U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) spoke of H.R. 1384 – The Medicare for All Act of 2019.

“The American people want Medicare for All – not lesser alternatives that leave people out and continue to allow corporations to profit off our health care,” said Melinda St. Louis, director of Public Citizen’s Medicare for All campaign, who was present at the hearing.

As in past hearings, Republicans and Medicare for All opponents strayed from the facts to scare Americans away from this incredibly popular policy. In reality, a majority of Americans have consistently supported Medicare for All and are increasingly demanding action from their lawmakers through petitions, rallies and protests.

Unlike other health care “solutions,” such as a public option, only Medicare for All would cover every American while also reducing overall health care spending and eliminating all out-of-pocket medical costs.


Just in time for the holiday season, GoFundMe is out with new tips on how to help raise money for your loved ones’ cancer treatment.

These GoFundMe tips (which urge cancer patients to share their most personal and vulnerable details about their illness, to be transparent about their financial needs and to write a compelling fundraising story), highlight just how broken our fragmented, for-profit system has become.

The idea that each year more than 250,000 Americans rely on the charity and mercy of online donors for lifesaving treatment is the embodiment of today’s health care problems. And perversely, only around 10% of all GoFundMe efforts to raise money for medical expenses meet their goal, according to researchers from the University of Washington.


And if fundraising for cancer treatment isn’t enough, Americans are seeking out other ways to get affordable treatment under today’s corporate health care system, including taking medicine meant to be consumed by fish.

New research finds that some consumers who provided reviews for fish antibiotics that are available for purchase online reviewed them for human use. Dr Farzon Nahvi, an emergency room doctor in New York and a member of Physicians for a National Health Program, said he has had a patient overdose on fish antibiotics, according to The Guardian.

“One of my patients took fish antibiotics because she didn’t have health insurance,” said Nahvi. “She overdosed, ended up in the intensive care unit, and ended up far more ill and – having no insurance – with an even bigger bill. Plus, she missed a job interview, which could have been her ticket to health insurance, because of her hospital stay.”

Only under Medicare for All would every American be covered for pharmaceutical costs, and, it goes without saying, not have to rely on animal medication to survive.

REMINDER: In early November, the Los Angeles City Council passed a resolution in support of Medicare for All and joined a growing list of cities that passed such legislation, including Tampa, Detroit and Seattle.

“Almost half a million Los Angeles residents still lack health care. In 2019, that is unacceptable,” said Melinda St. Louis, director of Public Citizen’s Medicare for All campaign. “Cities are tired of watching as their residents face financial ruin or early death if they get sick.”

In California, 2.7 million people are uninsured and about 12 million are underinsured. Medicare for All is the only health care solution that would ensure no Californian, or American, goes without coverage.

To speak with a Medicare for All policy expert, or if you have questions about Public Citizen’s work, please contact Mike Stankiewicz at mstankiewicz@citizen.org or (202) 588-7779.