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Public Citizen Pressures Insurers; Virtual Panel This Week; 41 Million Unemployed; More Polling

Public Citizen Has You Covered

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 health care 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.


Eagan Kemp, health care advocate for Public Citizen, will join U.S. Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) at 4 p.m. EDT on Thursday in a virtual panel discussion on how the corporate-controlled health care system has failed Americans during the pandemic.

“More than 100,000 people have died from the virus, hospitals are still running out of supplies and an incompetent White House isn’t doing anything to stem the pandemic,” said Kemp. “Our system is an utter failure.”

Kemp and others will detail the problems with private insurers’ COVID-19 offers of free care and how hospitals are collapsing under the weight of patient intake.

RSVP for the virtual panel here.


Following a Public Citizen report last week that found that seven health insurers’ offers of free care for coronavirus patients were ending by today, some insurers and their lobbyists announced they were extending these offers.

“It important to remember that these deadline extensions by some insurers are late, voluntary and likely would not have even happened without groups like ours shining a spotlight on the rapidly approaching end dates,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. “Additionally, the voluntary nature of these waivers means that insurers could renege on them at any time.”

To protect all Americans during a pandemic, they must be able to get treatment, testing and the preventive care they need. The Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act and the Medicare Crisis Program Act would fill in crucial gaps for the uninsured and for workers who are losing their  health insurance along with their jobs during the pandemic, but only Medicare for All would ensure that every American has guaranteed access to care, whether it’s during a pandemic or not.


Yet another 2.1 million people filed for unemployment last week, resulting in more Americans losing their employer-based health insurance at the worst time imaginable. That brings to 40 million the total number of people who have lost work since the pandemic started.

“The past 10 weeks have been hell for so many American workers,” said Melinda St. Louis, director of Public Citizen’s Medicare for All campaign. “The last thing they need on top of this is losing their health insurance benefits.”

A previous analysis found that 27 million people had lost their health insurance during the coronavirus pandemic, but that would swell to 43 million before the pandemic is over. Medicare for All is the only health care plan that would cover every American, regardless of their employment status.


While Medicare for All has always enjoyed high approval among the U.S. electorate, its popularity is continuing to climb as the coronavirus pandemic cruelly highlights the flaws of our profit-driven health care system.

A May 27 tracking poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation has found that a wide majority of Americans support Medicare for All, including 87% of Democrats and 62% of Independents.

Another recent poll by The Hill and HarrisX found voter support for the policy at 69%, including 88% of Democrats and 68% of Independents. Additionally, a Newsy/Ipsos poll found that about half of respondents said the pandemic made them more likely to support Medicare for All.

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