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Public Citizen and Other Groups Deliver More Than a Million Signatures Supporting Medicare-for-All

Feb. 15, 2018

Public Citizen and Other Groups Deliver More Than a Million Signatures Supporting Medicare-for-All

Petition Delivery Highlights Overwhelming Support for Health Care Legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Petitions bearing more than a million signatures supporting U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) Medicare-for-All Act were delivered on Tuesday to key senators, highlighting the overwhelming support for health care reform and urging them to support the legislation, also known as S. 1804.

Public Citizen and a coalition of groups – CREDO, Daily Kos, Healthcare-NOW, National Health Care for the Homeless Council, Justice Democrats, Labor Campaign for Single-Payer, National Nurses United, Our Revolution, Progressive Democrats of America, Students for a National Health Program (SNaHP) and Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) – organized the petition delivery.

“In the wealthiest country in the world, it is outrageous that nearly 30 million Americans are without health insurance, leading tens of thousands to die each year because of unmet medical needs,” said Eagan Kemp, health care policy advocate at Public Citizen. “Tens of millions more have such high out-of-pocket costs that they can’t afford to use the insurance they have. We need Medicare-for-All to finally ensure that all Americans are able to access the care they need.”

Murshed Zaheed, political director at CREDO, said, “American health care costs so much and heals so little in part because predatory insurance companies and Big Pharma stand between people and their doctors and use monopoly power to rob us blind. It is long past time to take the profit motive out of our health care system and extend Medicare to all Americans.”

“In the richest country on earth, there are still people counting on winning the lottery to be able to go to the doctor. There are young parents dying of the flu because they can’t afford treatment. It’s long past time to change that. It’s time for Medicare for everyone,” said Joan McCarter, senior political writer at Daily Kos.

“The U.S. is the only country in the developed world that does not guarantee access to basic health care for residents. Many countries that guarantee health care as a human right do so through a single-payer system. We need Medicare-for-All so that we can finally replace the thousands of for-profit health insurance companies with a public, universal plan,” said Benjamin Day, executive director of Healthcare-NOW.

G. Robert Watts, CEO of the National Health Care for the Homeless Council, said, “As a network of providers, health centers and people with the lived experience of homelessness, we see firsthand the inequities in the current health care system and how these inequities are an underlying cause of homelessness. While insurance expansions in the Affordable Care Act are welcome, universal access is essential for preventing and ending homelessness. The National Health Care for the Homeless Council fully supports Medicare-for-All.”

“It’s clear that the heart and center of the Democratic Party and American politics right now is with grassroots energy demanding health care for all,” said Waleed Shahid, communications director of Justice Democrats. “We’re seeing a paradigm shift as record numbers of elected officials and candidates running for Congress stand with our movement and call for a Medicare-for-All, single-payer system.”

“A growing number of unions have come to the conclusion that bargaining for decent health care benefits for working Americans is becoming economically and politically unsustainable,” said Mark Dudzic, the national coordinator of the Labor Campaign for Single-Payer Health Care. “We believe that the time has come to take health care off the bargaining table by making it a right for all Americans. S. 1804 has been endorsed by 14 national unions and is consistent with the recent AFL-CIO Convention resolution that commits the Federation to work to ‘move expeditiously toward a single-payer system, like Medicare-for-All that provides universal coverage using a social insurance model.’”

Jean Ross, RN, co-president of National Nurses United, said, “Registered nurses across the country see the effects of our broken health insurance system every day. Insurance companies and hospital corporations routinely prioritize massive profits over the health of our patients. Tens of millions of people don’t have access to health care, and millions more cannot afford their health care when they do have insurance. This has to end. Our patients need a Medicare-for-All system where everybody has equal access to quality, therapeutic health care, without worrying about the costs of co-pays, deductibles or premiums. We urge every single U.S. senator to stand up for patients and co-sponsor S. 1804, the Medicare-for-All Act.”

Donna Smith, executive director of Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), said, “We at PDA are delivering petitions with our allies as a continuation of our fight for universal health care that started in 2004. Health care is a human right, and no one residing in America in 2018 ought to face financial disaster or death due to a lack of funds. We support Senator Bernie Sanders’ S. 1804, and securing more co-sponsors for this bill is vital.”

“Our physician and medical student members want nothing more than to treat patients,” said Kami Veltri, a second year medical student and SNaHP member. “Unfortunately, private health insurance companies have a different set of priorities. They are all too happy to override doctors’ orders in order to pad their bottom lines. That’s why we need fundamental reform: a single-payer national health program that will deliver quality, affordable coverage to all Americans.”

“We are joining partner organizations to deliver these petitions to send a message to Congress that their constituents want a Medicare-for-All System,” said Shannon Jackson, executive director of Sanders’ political action group Our Revolution. “There is no reason why the U.S. is the only developed country without a single-payer health care system. Heath care is a moral right, and we are sharing these petitions to make sure that members of Congress hear from the people and not just corporate campaign contributors.”

Video of the petition delivery is available here.