Rebecca: Why I'm Voting in 2020 as a Medicare for All Advocate

"I truly believe with everything in me that if Joe Biden and Cal Cunningham, if they ran on issues that would fundamentally change and improve the lives of regular people, like Medicare for All, like a Green New Deal, like legalization of marijuana and expungement of records, that they would motivate people to come out and vote - because those are policies that will fundamentally improve people's lives. I think we can also be honest...I'm not going to pretend that Joe Biden is the best candidate, like his record isn't super problematic. But, he's not a fascist. And we do not want to go down the neo-fascist road because it's too dangerous and I think the consequences will be the likes of which we have no desire to actually experience." - Rebecca, #HealthCareVoter

We aren't going back to brunch after the election! We plan to hold a Biden administration's feet to the fire.

Join us in the fight to win Improved Medicare for All!

NC VOTING INFO:

If you voted absentee, use the online Ballot Tracker to confirm it was received and accepted. https://northcarolina.ballottrax.net/voter/

Vote early in person! One-stop early voting ends this Saturday, October 31 at 3:00pm. You can register to vote, update your name and address, drop off your absentee ballot, and, if eligible, vote curbside. Find your One-Stop early voting sites at https://vt.ncsbe.gov/ossite/

Vote in person on Election Day! Polling sites are open from 6:30am to 7:30pm on Tuesday, November 3, 2020.

Print your sample ballot: https://vt.ncsbe.gov/RegLkup/

Research your US House and Senate candidates: https://ballotpedia.org/Sample_Ballot_Lookup

Vote Safely and Minimize your Risk. Polling sites are usually busiest early in the morning and late afternoon hours. If possible, vote during non-peak hours. Adhere to social distancing guidelines and wear a face covering. Masks, hand sanitizers, and pens will be provided.


2020-10-13 M4A Moment Don't Rush to Kill ACA; Save Lives Pass HCEGA

Katrina -

The U.S. is heading toward 8 million COVID-19 cases, and over 218,000 deaths, while more than 100 million Americans are either uninsured or underinsured, a number that’s potentially growing.  Yet, instead of advancing a fiscally responsible and live-saving plan to expand health coverage universally to protect all our people during this pandemic and beyond, the Senate has chosen to ram through a Supreme Court Justice who would likely dismantle the Affordable Care Act without an alternative in place. This is unacceptable. 

One solution introduced, the Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act (HR 6906/S 3790), would expand and improve our popular Medicare program to cover all people who are uninsured, and also cover all out-of-pocket costs for people with private insurance. This bill would erase all cost barriers to care, which is essential in containing this public health crisis. Yet, this essential piece of legislation to protect public health, lift the burden of medical debt, and save lives has not had a hearing or been brought up for a vote, even in the House of Representatives. 

A second bill, the Make Billionaires Pay Act, seeks to tax the obscene gains of billionaires during the pandemic and redistribute that to expand Medicare to All for one year. 

Take 2 minutes to call or email your Senators (and Representative) to urge them to vote to expand healthcare to all by passing the Healthcare Emergency Guarantee Act (or Make Billionaires Pay Act), instead of shoving through an extremist Supreme Court Justice who may dismantle existing healthcare access...in the middle of a pandemic? See script below - or dive into our toolkit here.

Sample Script:

Hello, my name is ______, and I’m a constituent living in (City/Town). I am calling to ask (name of politician) to vote NO on confirming Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, and instead prioritize expanding healthcare for his/her constituents by supporting the Healthcare Emergency Guarantee Act (Make Billionaires Pay Act), bill(s) which would empower Medicare to cover all uninsured people, and remove all cost barriers to care for those with insurance.

Leaving so many people uninsured or underinsured during this pandemic is one of the reasons people are avoiding testing and care, contributing to more than 8 million COVID cases and the high fatality rate of more than 218,000. The Healthcare Emergency Guarantee Act is the most fiscally responsible way to expand healthcare to protect all people in America, regardless of income, during this pandemic.  

Proudly signed by the following organizations


2020-09-29 Vote and Build Power

If we don’t seize this pandemic moment, vote in unprecedented numbers, AND do everything we can to push for universal healthcare during this election cycle, we can’t expect much to change after the election. So let’s get to work! Have you made your plan to vote yet? If yes, what about your family and friends? Here’s a quick overview of how to have your say in who represents you. Remember that ID is not required to vote in 2020.

 

Vote Absentee!

OR 

Vote early in person!

  • One-stop early voting begins Thursday, October 15 and ends Saturday, October 31.
  • You can register to vote, update your name and address, drop off your absentee ballot, and, if eligible, vote curbside.
  • Find your One-Stop early voting sites at https://vt.ncsbe.gov/ossite/

OR

Vote in person on Election Day!

  • Polling sites are open from 6:30am to 7:30pm on Tuesday, November 3, 2020.
  • Vote Safely and Minimize your Risk. Polling sites are usually busiest early in the morning and late afternoon hours. If possible, vote during non-peak hours. Adhere to social distancing guidelines and wear a face covering. Masks, hand sanitizers, and pens will be provided.

Plan ahead - and urge your candidates to support universal healthcare!

Proudly signed by the following organizations


2020-09-22 Support Partner March for Healthcare for ALL, Worker Safety and Justice for the Incarcerated

This week, check out what our NCM4A coalition partner NC Poor People's Campaign is helping to organize on the health justice front.

On Saturday, October 3 in Fayetteville, multiple NC grassroots organizations and impacted people are leading an intersectional march for justice, which demands universal healthcare for ALL, worker health and safety, and justice for the incarcerated. Here's how you can help support it:

1. Read the NC Poor People's Campaign healthcare committee's 1st monthly newsletter below, share the newsletter with this link, and fill out the form here to sign up to receive the NC PPC newsletter directly.

2. Click to view and share the Facebook event.

We're proud to stand with the North Carolina Poor People's Campaign and other partners in demanding health and racial justice!


2020-09-15 Can you get 10 NC signatures?

1. Several experts in the NC Medicare for All Coalition worked together, crafting an appeal to the NC Congressional Delegation to support the Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act. Can you help ensure Congress will notice it?

We, in NC, are hurting and Congress must acknowledge us. That's why we have worked so hard to create this brief letter, which we will hand deliver to every office. BUT, we need the signatures on the letter to reflect the urgency of this moment. We need hundreds of thousands to come together and say that enough of people dying at home from COVID because they are afraid of bankrupting their families. 

Please sign this letter and help to get as many signers from across the state as possible. This is our moment to be seen, and heard!

2. Check out the new "Stories" section of the website and reply to this email if you would like to submit your own story.


2020-09-08 What good is health insurance when you can't use it?

What can you do right now to help bring us closer to Improved Medicare for All? (continue below for this week’s news)

  1. We’re getting closer, but need your help to reach 1,000 NC signers on this letter to our Congressional Delegation before we send it off. You can help by asking everyone you know -  your organization, family and friends -  to sign on! 
  2. We need more elected officials who are advocates for M4A in Congress!!!  Make a plan to vote.  You can do it in person or by mail.  Check out how to register and vote here.

Do you have insurance with a high deductible, or unaffordable co-payments? Are you worried about being able to afford a doctor’s bill, even though you have insurance? If yes, then you are probably underinsured. 

Listen to organizer and city employee Nichel speak of her own experience with expensive premiums and still not being covered on necessary care (<2 mins). 

Underinsurance is one of the biggest (and least discussed) problems with our current healthcare system. Although we pay 2x more per person than other developed countries, 43.4% of adults in America, nearly half of us, are not adequately insured. These staggering numbers have real life consequences, especially during a public health crisis.

Here are a few troubling findings from the recently released Commonwealth Fund Biennial Health Insurance Survey that was taken from January 14 - June 5, 2020. “Underinsured” here means out-of-pocket costs total 10%+ of household income excluding premiums, (5% for households under 200% of the federal poverty line) OR deductible is 5%+ of household income

  • 28% of people with employer-based plans are underinsured, and make up the fastest growing population of under-insured. Yet we are constantly told that people love these plans.
  • 42% of people who get their insurance through the ACA Marketplace are underinsured.  In order to improve their bottom line, the insurance companies continue to find more ways to shift out of pocket costs to the “consumer” (how they see us). Continuing this profit-driven system will perpetuate and grow the underinsured numbers in our country. 
  • The share of the adult population in private health plans with deductibles of $1,000 or more doubled between 2010 and 2020. Some individual plans have deductibles higher than $7000 or more!! 
  • Deductibles have grown faster than income, taking up larger shares of household budgets and leaving more people underinsured.
  • People with inadequate insurance coverage have more problems paying medical bills and leave people with lingering financial issues.
  • Uninsured or underinsured people often avoid or delay getting needed health care and medications, leading to worsening of their condition and potentially larger medical bills down the line.

So what happens when the richest country in the world has a massive number of people with inadequate insurance during a public health crisis?

As of 9/3, we have 6.17 MILLION Coronavirus cases, and 187,000 people have died with no end in sight. 

These tragic numbers should be unacceptable to everyone, especially those who consider themselves patriots. The for-profit system that has contributed to these numbers must be overhauled. 

We must establish a not-for-profit, single-payer system that offers universal coverage and covers all medically necessary care, with no out of pocket costs. Improved Medicare For All is the right policy -- economically, morally, and from a racial justice and public health perspective. 

Please help others learn more by sharing, liking or commenting on this post on one of our social media platforms (links below).

Proudly signed by the following organizations


2020-09-02 Medicare for All Means Job Freedom!

What can you do right now to help bring us closer to Improved Medicare for All? (continue below for this week’s news)

  1. Help us reach our goal of 1,000 NC signers on this petition to our NC Congressional Delegation before we send it off. Ask everyone you know -  your community organization, faith group, family and friends -  to sign this NC petition demanding healthcare for all now as an ethical response to the pandemic! 
  2. We must encourage more elected officials to be advocates for Improved Medicare for All in Congress!!! Make a plan to vote.  You can do it in person or by mail.  Check out how to register in NC and access more voting info here. Then, use this toolkit to lobby your representatives and candidates through various contact methods.

 

It’s true, jobs may change 

With the introduction of a universal single-payer health care program, some jobs will be replaced - but not without help for affected workers! The current legislation (HR 1384) has substantial funding to assist current employees with transitions: everything from financial support for training and education, to income replacement.  No worries! 

Think about this: why didn’t we stop the production of motor vehicles out of concern for the workers making horse drawn carriages?  

Two thirds of insurance company revenues come from public dollars.  Why should we pay for the excess cost to administer private insurance when those dollars could be used to improve our care and health outcomes?  

Jobs have already changed

Every year fewer and fewer workers have the benefits that used to come with being an employee. We have more temps, contract workers, freelancers and self-employed hairdressers, barbers and service workers. Also, we have witnessed a 50 percent drop in the number of unionized workers since 1980 (from 20% to 10% of total workforce).  No surprise that the percent of workers covered by employer sponsored health insurance (ESI) also has fallen steadily in recent years.    

What else is there to know?

EPI (Economic Policy Institute) released a report at the beginning of March assessing the impact of a shift from our current system to a system of publicly funded insurance.  They found that despite claims of large-scale job losses, a national program that would guarantee health insurance for every American would not profoundly affect the total number of jobs in the U.S. economy. In fact, such reform could boost wages and jobs and lead to more efficient labor markets that better match jobs and workers.

Other findings - supplemented and adapted from the EPI Report

Expanded and Improved Medicare for All will: 

  • Protect workers from worrying about capricious and harmful decisions insurance companies insert into healthcare. Even the ACA Marketplace hasn’t fixed the confusing language, limited options and other barriers that still live in our current system.  As long as private insurance companies have a role, even those that are “non-profit”, they will insert their profit motives into decisions about care that should be up to the patient and provider.  
  • Boost worker’s wages and salaries: employers will be able to redirect the dollars they now use for employee health coverage to the employee's paycheck. 
  • Improve the health of families: When women have real access to care, their whole family benefits.  
  • Lessen the stress and economic shock of losing a job or moving between jobs: if insurance is provided in a program separate and not tied to employment, coverage stays even when the job disappears:  In other words, workers who lost their jobs in this pandemic would not have lost the insurance they need more now than ever to stay healthy and return to the workforce. 
  • Increase job performance:  workers will not have to stay with a job not suited to their skills just because they need to keep their insurance. When jobs and workers are well matched, turnover and associated costs decrease. 
  • Support self-employment and small business development: if insurance is a public program offered to everyone outside of their job, start-ups don’t have to worry about the cost of insurance, which can reduce initial profits and much-needed reinvestment dollars.

 

Weekly update proudly signed by the following NC organizations:

 

 


2020-08-26 Healthcare and Voting

Please listen to and share Amelia's story of why she is a healthcare voter! 

This week’s 5-minute action to support Improved Medicare for All (continue below for this week’s news)

  1. Make a plan to vote in November- we’ll never get healthcare justice by failing to go to the polls! Register to Vote
  2. Find out what healthcare advocacy groups like NCM4A are doing to hold your representative accountable (click for an archive of weekly actions).
  3. Get involved! Email us to become one of our partner organizations, or connect as an individual with a coalition working group!

Not only did COVID19 cause over 238,000 North Carolinians to lose their employment, but without employment in North Carolina, there’s a fat chance you will have health insurance in the middle of … the global pandemic! Did you know that at least 350 people die every year in North Carolina from lack of healthcare, and that people of color are disproportionately impacted by lack of health care, making up 54% of North Carolina’s uninsured population?

We must do more to protect our people and demand what we deserve! Sign our pandemic demands for healthcare relief for all now: www.ncm4a.org/campaign!

In the meantime, many people need employment now to get access to healthcare. If you, like many of your fellow Carolinians, have lost your job or are concerned about losing your job, know your right to unemployment insurance, and how to apply for unemployment insurance. Also, if you need some job prospects, here is an extensive list of employers that are actively recruiting. 

A few more tips to make sure you - as a healthcare advocate - get the chance to weigh in on the important upcoming election November 3.

Do you know how to vote by mail? 

  • NC Voter Registration deadlines: Oct 9
  • Absentee voter deadlines: Application by mail - Oct 27; Submission by mail - Nov 3; Submission in person - Nov 3
  • Early voting: Begins - Oct 15; Ends - Oct 31
  • Election date: General election - Nov 3
  • Healthy Voting tips: https://www.healthyvoting.org/north-carolina/

Official election website: https://www.ncsbe.gov/index.html - as of now, NO VOTER ID is required to cast your ballot if you are already registered. Check here for all updates regarding voting ID requirements and absentee ballots.

Please help others learn more by boosting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn (below) or from https://www.ncm4a.org/weekly_actions

Proudly signed by the following organizations.

  • NC Medicare for All Coalition
  • Healthcare for All Y'all
  • Health Care for All NC
  • Coalition for Health Care of NC
  • Asheville DSA

NCM4A FacebookInstagram, TwitterYouTube, LinkedIn

HFAY FacebookInstagramTwitter, YouTube

HCfANC Website

CHCNC Website , Facebook, Twitter

Asheville DSA Facebook, Instagram, Twitter


2020-08-18 Medicare for All 101

Would you like to feel more confident explaining the truth Medicare for All?

Register for Medicare for All 101 ncm4a.org/medicare_101 - learn to confidently respond to common objections such as:

  • A public option can get us universal healthcare
  • I don’t want my taxes to go up
  • I don’t want rationing
  • M4A is a government takeover
  • And much more 

The presentation is full of eye-popping facts about the current “system” and what is truly possible for us to have right now!

Did you know that the US has some of the best medical professionals in the world, but the way care is rationed leads to:

  • having some of the worst outcomes of high income countries
  • spending  a greater share of the economy to healthcare, yet 30 cents per healthcare dollar doesn’t actually go to care
  • Americans not free to choose their providers or hospitals
  • Our seniors choosing food OR medicine

This presentation will help you Educate and Activate other constituents, so we can Understand It and Demand It from Congress!

It is not easy to counteract corporate propaganda about the current system and solutions, but the data are on our side. We can save money and improve health outcomes for our families, friends, and neighbors, while covering everyone with truly universal Expanded and Improved Medicare For All.

Check out some of the most common lies here.

For the Spanish speakers in your lives, Medicare Mejorada Para Todos Asamblea Popular will take place next week on August 27th. Register here https://www.ncm4a.org/medicareparatodos.

Proudly signed by the following organizations.

  • NC Medicare for All Coalition
  • Healthcare for All Y'all
  • Health Care for All NC
  • Coalition for Health Care of NC
  • Asheville DSA

2020-08-12 Mission Nurses Unionizing + Medicare for All 101

This week’s 5-minute action to support Improved Medicare for All (continue below for this week’s news about nurses voting to unionize at Mission Hospital in Asheville):

1. Register for the virtual Medicare for All 101 Town Hall August 20, 7PM learn to confidently respond to common objections like:

- Can't a public option get us universal healthcare?

- I don’t want my taxes to go up.

- I don’t want rationing.

- M4A is a "government takeover."              

... And much more 

2. NNU has updated their chat bot to help you have conversations about Medicare for All, bringing COVID into the conversation. Check it out and practice here! https://fightcovidwithmfa.com/

North Carolina nurses stand on the brink of a historic labor victory! We stand in solidarity with them!

On August 18, nurses at Mission Health hospital in Asheville will determine whether they want to form a union with National Nurses United (NNU), the nation’s largest RN union. Votes will be counted on September 16 by the National Labor Relations Board, which is conducting the secret ballot election. 

Mission RNs, who petitioned the NLRB in March for the vote, have said they are seeking to strengthen their collective voice, with a union contract, to address critical patient safety concerns at the hospital. 

At a press conference on August 5, nurses gathered outside of Mission hospital to celebrate the upcoming election and to discuss growing concerns about inadequate staffing that have resulted in an increased risk of COVID-19 exposures, incidents of workplace violence, and multiple other concerns.

“These outrageous conditions are a disgrace. There is no excuse for HCA (Hospital Corporation of America, the corporate owner of Mission) or the Mission administration to be subjecting its frontline caregivers or patients to jeopardy,” said Malinda Markowitz, RN, an National Nurses Organizing Committee President.

Hear about the unsafe situation created by HCA and why the nurses are fighting to organize a union in this short clip from the NCM4A digital rally earlier this year (scroll down for embedded video). View the full digital launch rally at www.ncm4a.org/digital_rally. 

In addition to the life and death implications that the union campaign has for nurses and their patients, the labor struggle could also play a large role in expanding the Medicare for All movement in the South as NNU is arguably the most visible supporter of the popular health care reform proposal.

Although single payer is not a focus of the Mission nurses’ union campaign, the nurses often talk about how their jobs have been made impossible because of the profit motive of healthcare corporations like HCA Healthcare, which owns Mission Health hospital.

“Our campaign is an enormous thing for North Carolina and the South,” emergency room nurse Trish Stevenson told The Intercept’s Jonathan Michels and Matthew Cunningham-Cook.

“This would set an enormous precedent for change, and it could happen nationwide for nurses. Health care is in dire need of a shift away from profit-driven corporations.”

Among its many benefits, Medicare for All would provide a lifeline to struggling hospitals in rural and other underserved areas that serve an increasing number of uninsured patients. It would fund hospitals through annual global budgets that are based on community health needs, not corporate profits.

According to NNU, HCA is the wealthiest hospital system in the U.S. It made $1.1 billion in profits in the 2nd Quarter of 2020, and it received $1.4 billion from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, as well as an additional $300 million since June 30.

HCA is a member of the “Partnership for America’s Health Care Future,” a dark money group mainly funded by health insurance and pharmaceutical companies, the two industries whose profits are most threatened by a single-payer Medicare for All system. It spends millions of dollars each year running ads against Medicare for All and other reforms, such as a public option plan. 

Two of the founding members of the Partnership are the American Medical Association (AMA), which claims to represent physicians, and the American Hospital Association, which is the largest organization representing hospitals. In 2019, the AMA left the Partnership after pressure from physicians and other health advocates. Other medical professional groups, including the American College of Radiology, have also recently quit their membership in the Partnership. 

As long as hospitals have a for-profit model, patient care will always be secondary to profits!



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