Bernie Sanders and Supporters Push Democratic Party to Adopt Medicare-for-All in Party Platform

Posted July 20, 2016

MP3 Interview with Pilar Schiavo, organizer with the National Nurses United union, conducted by Melinda Tuhus

health

During the Democratic presidential primary campaign, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders outlined many policy differences with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Under his call for a "political revolution" against the power of the 1 percent, some of the specific differences revolved around student debt, trade policy and health care. And while Clinton changed her position months ago on trade policy, stating that she now opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement, and has moved much closer to Sanders's call for free tuition at public colleges and universities, there has not yet been a meeting of the minds on health care. In debates, Sanders called for a universal, single-payer program – also known as Medicare-for-All – that would cover every American, while Clinton repeated her claim that establishing such a system would put Obamacare in jeopardy.

Some of Sanders's earliest and staunchest supporters were members of National Nurses United, the largest union of registered nurses in the U.S., which itself has long called for a Medicare-for-All-type health care plan. Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of National Nurses United was appointed by Sen. Sanders to the Democratic Party platform committee to represent his views on health care, but she was rejected by the Democratic National Committee. Subsequently, a plank to include support for Medicare-for-All was defeated by at 7 to 6 vote, with Hillary Clinton’s representatives on the committee opposing the measure.

Between The Lines’ Melinda Tuhus spoke with Pilar Schiavo, an organizer with National Nurses United. Here, she explains why her union supports Medicare-for-All, and the struggle to have the Democratic party adopt universal health care – not only as a right, but to spell out how the country can achieve that goal.

For more information, visit the National Nurses United website at nationalnursesunited.org.

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