DSA COVID-19 Bulletin #11

DSA COVID19 Bulletin

The DSA COVID-19 Bulletin from the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) is designed to keep working-class people informed about the evolving COVID-19 crisis and its political implications. If you’d like to get the DSA COVID-19 Bulletin by email, sign up here, and share this link with your friends and comrades! Anyone can sign up. New bulletins come out at least once a week.

In This Issue

Continuing the Fight for Medicare for All

The COVID-19 crisis has underscored the inadequacy of our current healthcare system. As the pandemic unfolds, the number of people thrown off of their employer-sponsored health insurance could climb to as high as 35 million, more than doubling the number of uninsured. And with the cost of COVID-19 treatment running as high as $35,000, vast amounts of people are faced with a dilemma: avoid necessary care or take on crippling debt.

As a volcano of rage erupts in the United States, we must harness this energy and finish the fight for Medicare for All. Thanks in part to the groundwork laid by DSA and Bernie Sanders, Medicare for All is a ready answer that the majority of Americans are reaching for: 69% of all voters and 90% of Democrats.

But we need more than public support if we want politicians — many of whom are bankrolled by the healthcare industry — to respond to our demands. We need to mobilize this constituency through political struggle. That is why DSA is launching a campaign to win the Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act.

The Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act, proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Pramila Jayapal, would empower Medicare to cover all healthcare costs for every American — employed and unemployed, insured and uninsured. Our campaign is building pressure on our representatives to support this legislation. If you want to get involved in this work but aren’t sure how, reach out to your chapter leadership, or let us know by signing up here.

Our first nationwide virtual phone bank is this Thursday, featuring Bernie 2020 Healthcare Advisor Michael Lighty and a speaker from Doctors for Bernie. You can register here.

This bill adheres to many of our Medicare for All principles. It is comprehensive coverage for all medically necessary care (not just COVID-19 treatment), with no premiums, copays, or deductibles, and would cover all residents of the country. While it falls short of our call for the complete displacement of private insurance coverage, it would serve as immediate relief and a very practical basis for moving to what we really need: Medicare for All.

Labor for Single Payer notes that the bill has another important consequence for the economy: employers would be temporarily relieved of the obligation to pay for private insurance, creating an incentive to keep workers on the payroll rather than lay them off. And hard-pressed state and local governments would also be freed from the burden of employee and retiree healthcare costs.

Neoliberal Democrats are proposing a much less appealing plan: subsidize COBRA with hundreds of billions of dollars. COBRA is a program that allows those who have lost their jobs to continue, on a temporary basis, paying out of pocket for the health insurance coverage they received from their previous employer. Make no mistake: this is a gift to Big Pharma and Big Insurance.

As Bernie himself has argued, subsidizing COBRA would be both expensive and ineffective: “Not only would health insurance corporations make massive profits off the plan — profits that come at the cost of the American taxpayer — but it would still leave tens of millions uninsured or underinsured. And during this pandemic, a lack of insurance means more COVID-19 transmissions and more deaths.”

Cost is not a problem when it comes to Medicare for All. Yet another study has shown that a single-payer, universal healthcare system would lead to massive savings in the U.S. healthcare system — more than $450 billion annually. The logic of Medicare for All is overwhelming.

We can’t afford to wait. The coronavirus pandemic shows that health is a collective issue. If people can’t get the treatment they need to deal with the contagious virus, it will continue to spread. The Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act is the only health care plan that meets the scale of the emergency.

Further resources:

Socialist Forum Call for Submissions: Social Responses to the Coronavirus Crisis

DSA’s Socialist Forum is looking for submissions for its next issue, themed Social Responses to the Coronavirus Crisis. Editors will blind-review pitches and notify you about the status of your submission by Monday, May 11th. If your pitch is chosen, Socialist Forum will expect a full first draft by Monday, May 25th.

Submit here!

DSA Announcements

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Global health crisis, economic collapse, and a democracy in peril. It’s hard to imagine a better time to join the largest socialist organization in America.

During the pandemic, Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) is practicing social distancing for our members’ safety and to slow the spread of COVID-19.

As the largest socialist organization in the US, we believe it’s essential to share information about what is going on in the world during these unprecedented times — the nature of the pandemic, the looming depression, the responses (or lack thereof) of our government, the deadly negligence and abuses of for-profit corporations, as well as the heroic organizing, resistance, and mutual aid by workers fighting for a working-class solution to the coronavirus pandemic. We also want to share ways that you can get involved in this fight.

There has never been a more important time to be in DSA. Join, renew your dues, or switch to monthly here.