By Jake Johnson / Common Dreams
Adding to the rapidly growing wave of support for Medicare for All at the grassroots and on Capitol Hill, more than 60 House Democrats are forming an official Medicare for All Caucus with the goal of closely examining specific policy components of single-payer and seriously discussing the steps necessary to implement it in the United States.
“This is a sea change from just four or five years ago and people are more likely to see healthcare as a right,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) told ViceNews, which first reported on the formation of the caucus on Wednesday.
Jayapal joined Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), National Nurses United (NNU), and other progressive groups to officially launch the caucus with an announcement Thursday morning. While just over 60 Democrats will be part of the caucus on day one, that number is expected to grow quickly over the next several weeks.
“This is another sign that we are winning the fight for Medicare for All!” NNU executive director Bonnie Castillo declared in a tweet on Wednesday. “And it wouldn’t be possible without the hard work of grassroots activists that door-knock, phone-bank and table in their communities every day. This fight, like many others, will be won in our own neighborhoods.”
“Every day more Americans are rallying behind the need for fundamental reform of our flawed and fragmented healthcare system that denies care to millions of our neighbors and family members,” NNU co-president Deborah Burger, RN, added in a statement. “With polls showing increasing support for Medicare for all, and new signs every day of a system that is out of control, the formation of this congressional caucus could not be more timely.”
As Common Dreams reported, a Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that 51 percent of Americans—and 74 percent of Democrats—support a single-payer healthcare plan over the current for-profit system, which has left around 30 million Americans without any health insurance.
In addition to growing support among the American public, Medicare for All is also gaining steam among congressional candidates, who have discovered that a platform calling for healthcare for all as a right is a winning message.
Medicare for All has also received record levels of support among current members of Congress.
Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) Medicare for All Act currently has 15 Democratic co-sponsors, while the House Medicare for All bill—led by Ellison—has the support of nearly two-thirds of the Democratic caucus.
“The impetus for this caucus is to have a real discussion and work with our offices to see how a system would really work as we think about implementing it,” Jayapal concluded. “It’s about a growing movement to bring a Medicare for All system into being.”