Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) called for his fellow Democrats to support universal healthcare. Ellison, the vice-chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), believes a unified approach to healthcare will also heal divisions in his party.
In an interview on SiriusXM “POTUS” radio channel, Ellison said that the “Medicare-for-all” movement was gaining approval with more and more people in the Democratic Party.
“Our movement is ascending, but the truth is that, for many years, people weren’t there,” Ellison said on air. “More and more people are coming on every day, but not everyone is on. We have to convince them, we have to talk to them, we need to engage in a respectful, fact-based debate about which systems are the best.”
Ellison is now in charge of leading a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives known as “The Expanded & Improved Medicare for All Act” (H.R. 676). This bill would provide universal healthcare coverage to all Americans.
The healthcare benefits provided in H.R. 676 would include:
- primary care and prevention,
- dietary and nutritional therapies,
- prescription drugs,
- emergency care,
- long-term care,
- mental health services,
- dental services, and
- vision care.
“Everybody would get a card, and you can get the care that you need, not unlike what they have in Canada right now. And truth be told, every major industrial country has a universal system; many of them have single-payer systems,” Ellison said on the podcast.
“I’ve never met a Canadian that wants to switch their system for ours,” he continued. “They like their system. Do they complain about it? Yes. Because, guess what? People complain about stuff no matter where they live. … But I can tell you that people who live in Canada and benefit from that health care system, they like it.”
Pogressive stalwart Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), tweeted his support for Ellison and his plan a few days ago. Sanders has sponsored his own “Medicare for All” bill in the U.S. Senate. Single-payer healthcare was a big part of Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign.
For Ellison and Sanders, the good news is that universal healthcare legislation is being supported now by a majority of the Democratic Caucus.
“With Keith Ellison’s leadership, I know we will be able to take on the greed of health insurance and pharmaceutical companies and finally guarantee health care to all,” Sanders tweeted.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.