A Critical Response To Our Current Crisis
The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected America, particularly our country’s most vulnerable communities, notably the poor, working class, disabled, and Black and brown communities. Even before we found ourselves in a global health crisis, 87 million Americans found themselves without enough health insurance to cover their needs or entirely uninsured. The capitalist system has made health care a privilege accessible only to the wealthy, rather than a recognized necessity made available to all.
Because most individuals in the country have employer-based health insurance, the unemployment crisis that has resulted from the pandemic has left tens of millions more without insurance or the funds they need to obtain medical care. No one should have to delay diagnosis or treatment of any medical issue as the coronavirus continues to spread.
While we have long argued that access to medical care should always be enshrined as a human right, the coronavirus has made it clear to many that single-payer health care is a vital public health and safety concern. We could not have prevented this virus, but the lack of a universally-available health care system during this pandemic has cause incalculable but entirely avoidable harm.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal and Sen. Bernie Sanders have introduced the Health Care Emergency Guarantee (HCEG) Act, which seeks to mitigate the impact of this crisis by extending Medicare coverage to the uninsured and covering out-of-pocket health care costs for the duration of the pandemic. This will bridge the many gaps in our current health care system that have been so clearly highlighted by this crisis. While this is only a stepping stone on the path to Medicare For All, we believe that it takes necessary, immediate action to ensure every single person in the country, regardless of immigration status or income, has access to health care at a time when they need it most.
Join Our Campaign For The HCEG Act
The time has come for us to organize and demand that the members of our government take action. One of the easiest ways for the individual to help the movement is by contacting your senators and representatives and urging them to offer their support to the Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act. We encourage you to write, email, or call their offices and demand that they take the necessary action to mitigate this crisis. This issue simply cannot wait.
If you do not already know the names and contact information of your congresspeople, you can look them up here. Once you know where to reach them, you can:
- Write or email a version of this template letter to your congresspeople. Copy it word for word or personalize it to share more of your story and why the HCEG Act and Medicare For All are a priority to you. We know this pandemic and the lack of guaranteed health care affects us all in different ways.
- Call your senators and representatives at their office and let them know that you support the HCEG Act. Feel free to use this phone script or to advocate for health justice in your own words.
Remember, we are more powerful standing in solidarity together than any one of us can be alone. If we collectively raise our voices and put pressure on our elected representatives, we can compel them take the necessary steps to safeguard each and every person against the ravages of this pandemic.
We will also be hosting a virtual phone bank on Tuesday, August 25th from 5-8pm. We will be calling on our neighbors in Snohomish County to join us in calling and writing their representatives to demand that they take these critical actions and extend healthcare coverage to all for the duration of the crisis. You can sign up to take part in the phone bank here.
If you’re looking for other ways to get involved, consider:
- Reach out to your congresspeople on Twitter and share your thoughts on this proposed legislation.
- Write letters to the editor at local newspapers and national publications, further publicizing the issue.
- Educate your friends, family, coworkers, and other members of your community on the importance of single-payer health care and the necessity of taking immediate action to prevent further unnecessary harm during this crisis.
Further Reading and Resources On Health Care During The Pandemic And The Necessity of Medicare For All
- Here’s How to Cover Uninsured Americans During the Pandemic (Politico)
- Big Problems Demand Big Solutions: Congress Must Expand Medicare Coverage to Everyone in America for the Duration of the Crisis (Labor For Single Payer)
- As Poll Shows Nearly 90% Democratic Support, Biden Told Hostility to Medicare for All ‘No Longer Tenable Position for You’ (Common Dreams)
- Improving the prognosis of health care in the USA (The Lancet)
- Joe Biden is Wrong About Single-Payer and Coronavirus (Jacobin)
- Keep Calm and Fight for Medicare for All (Jacobin)
- Our Public Health Infrastructure Is Losing a Fight With Capitalism (Jacobin)