1,000,000 Petitions Delivered to Congress for Single Payer
On February 15th, 2018, more than 1 million petition signatures in support of Medicare for All were delivered to our members of Congress! Specifically, the drop targeted 10 progressive Democratic Senators who have yet to join their 16 colleagues who have already cosponsored S. 1804, Bernie Sanders’s Medicare for All bill: Ron Wyden (OR), Chris Van Hollen (MD), Amy Klobuchar (MN), Catherine Cortez Masto (NV), Sherrod Brown (OH), Ben Cardin (MD), Michael Bennet (CO), Dianne Feinstein (CA), Bill Nelson (FL), and Richard Durbin (IL).
Signatures were collected by the joint efforts of Healthcare-NOW, CREDO Action, Our Revolution, Progressive Democrats of America, Daily Kos, Justice Democrats, and Public Citizen (who played a major role in pulling all these groups together).
As remarkable as the D.C. drop was, the follow-up by the grassroots has been even more powerful. Healthcare-NOW called for these petitions to be delivered not only in D.C. but also locally, in-person, by those best positioned to request cosponsorship: constituents. Throughout the month of February, many of these Senators (and even some Republican ones) received district visits from organized groups and individuals, who showed up with thousands of statewide signatures in hand. State single payer groups, along with NNU, PDA, and other progressive groups, deserve credit for this local organizing.
30,000+ signatures delivered to Sen. Jeff Flake & Sen. John McCain
Healthcare-NOW and Progressive Democrats of America activists deliver 30,000+ signatures from Arizonans to their Senators asking them to sponsor single payer legislation.
120,000+ Signatures to Sen. Diane Feinstein
Over 100,000 Californians asked Sen. Diane Feinstein to join her colleague Sen. Kamala Harris in cosponsoring Bernie Sanders' Medicare for All bill. Activist Judy Hess delivered the petitions to her office on a pen drive because there were too many to print out!
38,000+ Signatures Delivered to Sen. Bennet & Sen. Gardner
Sen. Gardner's Office
Presenting the signatures
Sitting down to talk about S. 1804 with Sen. Bennet's staff
50,000+ Signatures Delivered to Sen. Bill Nelson & Sen. Marco Rubio
NNU, DSA, Alachua County Labor Coalition, and other grassroots community groups came together to collect thousands of petitions across the state and make this massive delivery to both Senators on Feb. 14. Over the weekend, Florida Rep. Lois Frankel became the first 2018 cosponsor of H.R. 676, the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act.
Activists rally outside the offices of Nelson and Rubio
18,000+ Signatures Delivered to Sen. Cardin & Sen. Van Hollen
Four of us donned our t-shirts for Heath Care is a Human Right Maryland and visited the Baltimore offices of our two MD senators. Jeannette and I are from the Frederick County chapter and Rodney Ryon and Jackie MacMillan are from the Baltimore chapter of Healthcare NOW. We felt good to be representing two counties.
Both senators' staff people gave us a sit down session of about an hour. Both encouraged us to continue to promote single payer at a grass roots level as the way to move it forward. They seemed impressed that we had more than 18,000 signatures.
Carleton Atkinson, Cardin's State Director, was very sympathetic. He said he wished it was available for the garage employees at their office. We talked about cost efficiencies and momentum building. Since he said Cardin favored single payer, we pushed repeatedly that we wanted Cardin's to co-sponsor Bernie's bill and we wanted to hear back. He finally said "I hear you loud and clear," and promised to talk to the senator and present out petitions.
Van Hollen's office
At Van Hollen's office, we sat down with Queen Nwafor, "Constituent Services and Outreach." She hooked us up by conference call with Van Hollen's health staff person in his DC office and we had about 10 min. on the phone. We were told that Van Hollen believes everyone should have affordable healthcare but that there were many roadblocks to single payer. We responded to objections that were raised.
In general we felt good about our visits.
40,000+ signatures delivered to Sen. Wyden
Working with Healthcare-NOW, Health Care for All Oregon and Physicians for a National Health plan advocates turned over to Sen. Wyden's staff the signatures of 40,000 Oregonians who are asking him to co-sponsor S 1804, the Medicare for All Act. Postcards from constituents urging him to do the same and physical petitions were also turned over.
Holding a Rally Outside Wyden's office
Handing over the petitions to Wyden's staff
39,000+ signatures delivered to Sen. Cruz & Sen. Cornyn
NNU, PDA, DSA, Texas Our Revolution delivered the petitions to Sen. Cornyn's office in Austin. Staffer said that they hear from our side in Austin all the time.
Prior to end of meeting we asked if they thought the Senator or a health care staffer would be willing to participate in a Community health Care forum. Cornyn's office said they would look into it
Both offices listened and stated they would pass our thoughts on the DC Health Care staff assigned.
NNU delivered the petitions to Sen. Cruz's office. Both offices listened and stated they would pass our thoughts on the DC Health Care staff assigned.
Senator Cruz staff stated they liked Bernie's pharmaceutical bill and have signed on as a co-sponsor but his district Director said the Senator would likely not support a Medicare for all bill, as the senator's goal is to limit government involvement. Our nurse representatives answered his statements very well.
Prior to end of meeting we asked if they thought the Senator or a health care staffer would be willing to participate in a Community health Care forum. Cruz's office said they thought that was something they would be willing to work on in San Antonio.
50,000 Signatures Delivered to Sen. Murray & Sen. Cantwell
This picture is from Healthcare for All Washington's Rally Day on January 16th.
The signatures were put on a CD and delivered to Murray's office (Cantwell's aide refused the CD and asked that we email the documents to her). We had an appointment with Murray's aide, but couldn't get one with Cantwell. Murray's aide was very much into improving ACA; we pointed out that ACA had helped a lot of people, but that there were still too many people left out.
Eastern Panhandle Single-Payer Action Network (EPSPAN.org) members delivered petitions to the offices of Senators Manchin and Capito. They call on the senators to cosponsor Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All bill. Pictured are (left to right) Keith McIntosh and Mike Garcia of Senator Manchin’s office, Rie Wilson, Stephanie Nicodemus, and Lynn Moses Yellott of EPSPAN.
EPSPAN pointed out that if we had improved Medicare for all, PEIA would not be an issue for teachers. Everyone in our country would have healthcare financed by a fair tax rather than by premiums, deductibles, and copays, which would be eliminated. For 95% of us, that tax would be less than we now pay for out-of-pocket expenses.