On May 24, 2017, eight current congresspersons participated in the Rep. John Conyers’ press conference to celebrate the 111 cosponsors and the growing public support for HR 676, improved Medicare for All. The 111th cosponsor is Rep. Joe Crowley, NY, Chair of the House Democratic Caucus. There are 193 Democrats in Congress, so the vast majority of them are now supporting this single payer legislation. Before the day was over, Texas Rep. Marc Veasey also signed on, bringing the total to 112.
Congressman Conyers spoke with renewed confidence as he told of the wild popularity of Medicare for All in town hall meetings across the country. “For years people have said, including people who support single payer,that it’s not time yet, that Medicare for All will have to wait,” said Conyers. “Well, Dr. Martin Luther King said that ‘wait’ has almost always meant ‘never.’ We’re here to say that we’re done waiting. It’s time now, Medicare for All,” Conyers stated.
“We will never get universal care building on the foundation of private for-profit insurance. The only way we will get there is the way every other advanced country on the planet has, through a universal system like expanded Medicare for All,” Conyers concluded.
Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland told of his very positive experience with the French health care system.
Congressman Ro Khanna of California said that he represents Silicon Valley and that those high tech start ups suffer great pressures to outsource jobs because of the high cost of health care.
Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey said that the 25 best paid hedge fund managers in the U. S. earn, as a collective, 11 billion dollars a year while at the same time over 20 million Americans do not have health care. “I refuse to believe that in this great nation we cannot provide health care for all,” she said.
After reporting massive cheering for Medicare for All in town halls across Wisconsin, Congressman Mark Pocan said, “I recently did a Town Hall in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in Paul Ryan’s district. If the Republicans aren’t going to do Town Halls, we’re going to do Town Halls. And again, in his district, the largest response of the Town Hall was when we get to the subject of Medicare for All. So let’s face it, the people are there, the people are leading.”
Congresspersons Steve Cohen of Tennessee, Peter Welch of Vermont, and Keith Ellison of Minnesota also spoke.
National Nurses United CoPresident Jeanne Ross, RN, said “Registered Nurses do not give up on our patients and we will not relent until we win Medicare for All.”
Phil Verhoef, MD, PhD, an ICU physician with Physicians for a National Health Program cited recent research that places the U. S. health system 80th out of 195 countries and by far the worst of the wealthy countries. He declared our system critically ill and said “But we have a solution, we have a therapy for this critically ill patient, our health care system, and that is HR 676, improved and expanded Medicare for All.”
All of the speakers had much more to say. They were passionate and upbeat, sometimes profound and on offense. There is a transcript of their remarks at this website.