An online petition is gaining influence as several additional Congressional Democrats have signed on as co-sponsors to support the Expanded & Improved Medicare For All Act, increasing the number of co-sponsors from 72 to 115, as of July, 24.
But organizers are saying it’s not enough and are leaning on the remaining 100 not signed on as co-sponsors to the bill proposed by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), to take a stand for Medicare for all and support the concerns of their constituents over corporate lobbyists.
“What policymakers should do now is learn the lesson that most of the rest of the world has discovered, implement a system based on care, not profits, not corporate insurance,” said RoseAnn DeMoro, executive director of National Nurses United in a statement. “As the town halls and massive protests have made clear, the people are ready for real reform and a change in national priorities that puts our health first, not last.”
NNU joined with political groups Brand New Congress and Justice Democrats in calling for members of Congress to support legislation before the House and Senate to expand Medicare coverage to all Americans. The petition garnered more than 80,000 signatures in the first two-weeks and above its goal of 100,000. In recent months, Rep. Conyers, has called for more Democrats to send a message their constituents by supporting HB 676 and thanked organizers of the Medicare for all petition for their support in a Tweet in April.
DeMoro called out Democrats specifically in her statement earlier this week, arguing that big money interests influenced the left as well as the right in forming Obamacare.
“Where the Democrats too fell short was their failure in drafting the ACA to refute the underlying source of the health care crisis in the first place,” she said. “The contradiction between a health care system that should be based on patient need and the public health and well being, and the insatiable demand of health care corporations for profits first.”
While proponents are calling the petition a purity test, claiming the Medicare for all stance pushes the Democratic party too far left of center, organizers say they are simply asking representatives to look beyond the political chess game and recognize the overwhelming support of the public for this legislation.
“We don’t see Medicare for all as a partisan issue, considering research shows it’s what most Americans want,” said BNC co-founder Corbin Trent. “We see it as keeping the promises the majority of these representatives made to their constitutions when they signed on to represent them.”
Ocasio cited PEW institute poll which showing the majority of Americans view healthcare as a right. The survey, released January of this year, showed 85 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents and 60 percent of all Americans polled support health care coverage for all.
“To say this is a purity test for Democrats is ignoring the real problem here. The public outcry against the GOP’s recent health care proposal should send a clear message to our representatives that people are ready for a change,” Trent said. “It’s time for our representatives to start backing their constituents and not big corporate lobbyist. Letting the public know they care about something as human and basic as someone’s health, is a good place to start.”