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Sanders writes: "In 2009, I introduced my single-payer health care bill and couldn't get a single Senate colleague to co-sponsor the legislation."

Bernie Sanders. (photo: Antonella Crescimbeni)
Bernie Sanders. (photo: Antonella Crescimbeni)

Now Is Not the Time for Compromise on Medicare for All

By Bernie Sanders, Reader Supported News

02 February 19


n 2009, I introduced my single-payer health care bill and couldn’t get a single Senate colleague to co-sponsor the legislation.

I remember it well.

Most in the political establishment and the corporate media ignored the idea. Those who didn’t dismissed it as “radical” or “fringe.” One McClatchy poll found only 22 percent of Americans supported the bill.

Times have changed…

In the last Congress, our Medicare for All bill had 16 co-sponsors in the Senate. It is a mainstream Democratic position supported by more than 70 percent of Americans, including a majority of Republicans.

The dramatic transformation in public opinion on this issue did not happen by accident.

It happened because of the doors knocked and phone calls made by supporters of our political revolution. It happened because doctors and nurses and ordinary citizens stood up and demanded an end to our current dysfunctional health care system. It happened because of the donations made and people sharing our message on social media as we educated the public.

It happened because the American people understand that the function of a rational health care system in this country must be to provide quality care for everyone in a cost-effective way, not to make health industry CEOs richer or drive up stock prices on Wall Street.

So, as support for Medicare for All grows, it should not surprise you that the medical-industrial complex, the corporate media, the financial elite, and the political establishment are fighting back. With hundreds of billions in profits at stake, the insurance companies, drug companies and others have already announced that they will spend huge amounts of money to protect their interests as they try to defeat our efforts.

In the last week alone, we’ve had a pair of billionaire politicians who benefited mightily from the Trump tax cuts talking about how we can’t afford health care as a right for everyone else in this country.

And what I am here to tell you today is that their reaction is the clearest sign yet that our ideas are winning. And what is important is that we cannot let the billionaire class use its money, its media, and its influence to divide us on the issue.

Now is not the time to think small about health care. Now is not the time to compromise and suggest support for half-measures.

No. Now is the time to say - louder and more clearly than ever - that Medicare for ALL is an idea whose time has come. That health care is a human right, not a privilege. That we will not continue to be the only major country on earth that does not guarantee health care to every man, woman and child, while spending far more per capita than any other nation. That we will not pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs.

This is a struggle not just about health care, but about the heart and soul of our country — about what we stand for as a people.

And it is a struggle that we are winning.

So today, with this issue in the news — with people trying to tear us down and divide us up — I want to ask you to do something important.

Sign my petition and tell Congress that you support health care as a right for every man, woman and child in the United States — and that you are more committed than ever to fight for, and to win, Medicare for All.

When people tell us the only thing that we can get is incremental health care change, we will tell them “no thanks.” We’re thinking big and demanding fundamental change on this issue.

Let me be very clear about one important fact. Despite the disaster of the Trump presidency, on issue after issue our progressive ideas are winning. And that is happening because we are standing up and fighting back.

Now is not the time to let up. It is time to increase the pressure.

Let us expand the political revolution. Let us transform our country.

In solidarity,

Bernie Sanders

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