Pressley, Omar Speak at Virtual Town Hall; Tenet Funnels $630K to Undermine Medicare for All; Why a Public Option Won’t Work

Welcome to this week’s edition of “We’ve Got You Covered,” a weekly tipsheet designed to highlight key news about Medicare for All and call out the biggest industry lies and falsehoods about universal health care. Please send tips, feedback and questions to Mike Stankiewicz at mstankiewicz@citizen.org or (202) 588-7779.

VIRTUAL TOWN HALL TONIGHT WITH U.S. REPS. OMAR, PRESSLEY

Heavy hitters in the Medicare for All arena will help launch a week of action tonight with a virtual town hall.

Advocates from across the country will tune in to hear lawmakers and others discuss how to translate the growing momentum for Medicare for All into congressional action. Speakers include U.S. Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.,) co-sponsors on Medicare for All legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives; Mayor Pro Tem Jillian Johnson of Durham, N.C.; as well as national leaders, physicians and grassroot activists.

The speakers will emphasize that Medicare for All legislation would provide comprehensive medical coverage for everyone in the U.S., eliminate out-of-pocket health care costs, vastly increase physician and hospital choice, and save money on health care for families and for the system as a whole. RSVP for the town hall here.

During the week of action, activists from across the country will be calling on their local officials to pass resolutions in support of Medicare for All. Active local resolution efforts are underway in more than 200 localities, with resolutions already passed in 20 localities, including Philadelphia; Tampa, Fla.; Tucson, Ariz.; Detroit, Mich.; and Cook County, Ill. For a map and more information, visit here.

RALLIES IN PHILADELPHIA AND SAN FRANCISCO

During the week of action, rallies will be held in Philadelphia and San Francisco. As part of the Physicians for a National Health Program’s (PNHP) annual meeting, on Friday afternoon, Nov. 1, single-payer activists plan to hold a rally and march beginning in Philadelphia at Thomas Paine Plaza to call on U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans (D-Pa.), who represents part of the city and sits on the influential House Ways and Means committee, to co-sponsor Medicare for All legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Philadelphia City Council passed a resolution in support of Medicare for All in March 2018, and Councilmember Helen Gym, who introduced the legislation, will speak at the rally.

“Philadelphians have already made it clear they demand a health care system that guarantees that everyone can receive the care they need.” said Melinda St. Louis, director of Public Citizen’s Medicare for All campaign, who will also be speaking at the event. “It’s time that Evans joins them in that fight by co-sponsoring H.R. 1384, The Medicare for All Act of 2019.”

On Saturday, Nov. 2, the California Nurses Association / National Nurses United and allies will hold a statewide rally and march in San Francisco to call on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to move forward H.R. 1384. Activists will gather at the UN Plaza in San Francisco and will march to Yerba Buena Gardens.

TENET POURS MORE THAN HALF A MILLION INTO BLOCKING MEDICARE FOR ALL

Instead of using its money to treat sick patients, one of the largest for-profit hospital operators is funneling money to try to stop Medicare for All from becoming a reality.

The Intercept reported earlier this month that Tenet Healthcare, the third-largest for-profit hospital operator, has given $630,000 to the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, an industry coalition that aims to undermine Medicare for All.

“This is further proof that the Medicare for All movement is gaining traction,” said Eagan Kemp, Public Citizen’s health care advocate. “These corporations, which profit from people’s sickness, are scared of change to the status quo – and they should be.”

While Tenet is pouring money into lobbying to undermine guaranteed health care for all, more than 6,500 National Nurses United members at Tenet hospitals went on strike last month to demand better pay and working conditions.

REMINDER: As discussion of the need for an overhaul of the health care system continues to grow, it’s important to know why a public option won’t solve our health care crisis. A new Public Citizen fact sheet explains that a public option would:

  • Leave millions uninsured or underinsured and subject to unnecessary out-of-pocket costs, including copays and deductibles;
  • Leave more than 100 million Americansat the whim of private for-profit insurance corporations, so they would be under constant fear of disruption when their employer changes plans or they lose or change jobs; and
  • Enable for-profit insurers to cherry-pick healthier Americans, threatening the financial solvency of the public programs.

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.