The fight over healthcare in the United States, a life or death issue for many Americans, has been heating up this year, with the repeated (failed) attempts by the Republican Party to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Recently, Sen. Bernie Sanders unveiled his Medicare for All bill, a proposal for single-payer healthcare backed by high-profile Democratic co-sponsors including Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). This milestone marks a major shift in the national discourse around universal healthcare, which was shunned as a fringe position of left-wing candidates like Bernie as recently as a year ago.
The new political support for Medicare for All didn’t just come out of the goodness of politicians’ hearts. In this recent article from ThinkProgress, you can learn more about the grassroots organizers from movement organizations like the National Economic & Social Rights Initiative (NESRI), Put People First – PA and the Vermont Workers’ Center who made this moment possible, through their sustained advocacy of healthcare as a human right and their campaigns for universal healthcare on the state and national levels:
Many activists on the state level have been pushing for a universal health care system for decades.
NESRI works closely with the Vermont Workers’ Center, a group that was founded in the late 1990s and has been advocating for a single-payer system in the state for years. The group fights for the rights of workers but found health care to be a “sticking point,” said Keith Brunner, the campaign co-director at Vermont Workers’ Center.
In 2008, the group kicked off the Health Care is a Human Right campaign.
“We are essentially trying to remove insurers from the game,” Brunner said. “Health care should not be a market commodity… it’s something that should be provided as a public good. It’s expanding the idea of democracy into the economic sphere.”
Read the rest of the article on ThinkProgress here.