This week saw the 53rd anniversary of Medicare, created, as Benjamin Day of Healthcare-NOW! points out, in the middle of the upheaval and social movement agitation of the 1960s. Today we are in the middle of similar (and also very different) upheaval, and organizers are using it to build support for expanding Medicare to the rest of the population. I spoke with Day about the building of a Medicare for All caucus in Congress, the upcoming elections, and why street protests are still going to be important to the struggle.
“I think that there is going to be a few phases of this movement. Right now, there is definitely a focus on the elections and trying to get…really pressuring all candidates to embrace Medicare for All. After this moment is over…and it looks like we will gain quite a few Medicare for All supporters in Congress just through the election process… but, after that, it is going to be sort of another social movement fight to get sitting reps to embrace it like happened last year.
I think what that looks like will really vary depending on whether Democrats retake the House or the Senate. We are kind of preparing the way for that. A lot of our work has been focused on these elections and pressuring candidates when they are most vulnerable and when they are most accountable, I think. But, Phase Two is really going to be doing very targeted organizing the districts of Democrats who should be on board with this bill and they are not yet.”