Activists met in Indianapolis July 23 to plan their fight to win Medicare for All. | Photo courtesy of Eric Brooks
INDIANAPOLIS—Health care within the U.S. is usually unavailable, or if it is obtainable, then it’s unaffordable. A coalition that features the Indiana District of the Communist Party USA met on July 23 at Monument Circle in Indianapolis to demand passage of Medicare for All as a step toward addressing that problem. Over 75 people attended from all across the state.
Eric Brooks, chair of the CPUSA in Indiana, said “As a father, I would like my daughter to give you the chance to receive the health care she needs when she needs it. I would like myself and all working, Black and Latina/o, women and kids, LGBTQ and disabled, undocumented and imprisoned—all people—to have what the wealthy get effortlessly: quality inexpensive universal health care without insurance firms second-guessing the doctor.”
Adam Stant (SEIU Local 1), Paul Kaczocha (N.W. Indiana Medicare for All), Dr. Robert Stone (Hoosiers for a Common Sense Health Plan), Tracy Carson (March for M4A), Dr. Valerie McCray (State Senate candidate), and other speakers addressed the demonstration on why they support Medicare for All. AFSCME and SEIU Local 23 union members participated. James “Pick’em Up” Nelson MC’d the event.
The demand for M4A includes ensuring women have access to all obligatory health services, including abortion services. There are 30,000 incarcerated people in Indiana, and two million within the U.S., who must get the identical quality free health care as every other employee. Strikers, the undocumented, and the unemployed also will need to have healthcare. Medicare for All would address these needs.
It was 19 years ago, in 2003, that Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., introduced within the U.S. Congress HR 676, the primary Medicare for All bill. HR 676 has been reintroduced in various forms every yr since. Introduction of this bill inspired years of struggle for universal health care, a fight that blossomed from deeply democratic roots in working peoples’ needs and demands.
In 2003, Communist Party members joined labor and community organizations and individuals to fight for HR 676. For the CPUSA, Medicare for All has long been a component of the organization’s larger struggle for socialized health care and socialism. Henry Winston, past co-chair of the Communist Party, said “every democratic victory won by the masses” was “a method of gaining greater mass power for still greater struggles against the exploiters.”
The 2022 National Convention of the AFL-CIO ratified a call for “Winning Guaranteed Health Take care of All,” a results of a long time of rank-and-file organizing amongst union locals, including by such luminaries as Kay Tillow, a nurse and organizer in Louisville, Ky., coordinator of the All Unions Committee for Single Payer Health Care.
Repeatedly since 2005 the NAACP has expressed its support for universal quality health care. In 2009, the group endorsed Medicare for All. In 2019, it signed onto a letter stating “Communities of color need a healthcare system that rectifies these long-standing structural biases and challenges [racism and sexism]. Medicare for All is that system.”
The 2022 Poor People’s Campaign has 14 Policy Priorities, number two being: “Guarantee quality health look after all, no matter preexisting conditions.” The PPC says guaranteeing healthcare “begins with…securing Medicare, enacting single payer universal health care, and increase our public health infrastructure.”
Freeing the health care system from the stranglehold of racist, sexist insurance firms only enthusiastic about corporate profits is a democratic, people’s struggle, much like implementing community control of the police.
Medicare for All can only be won through united democratic struggle where the people’s voice is heard and prevails. Fighting to guard and expand democracy is integral to this struggle today. Strengthening U.S. democracy is a key a part of the fight to win Medicare for All. This implies fighting for full inclusion within the voting process, ending gerrymandering, and taking all obligatory steps to make sure the people’s voice is the determining voice within the U.S. on this query.
The people’s voices should be heard on the street at protests and within the ballot box voting for candidates that pledge to support Medicare for All. An anti-racist and anti-sexist health care voting block should be built to win Medicare for All.
Funds for healthcare will be reallocated from the bloated U.S. military budget. Peace, also a democratic struggle, is thus vital to universal health care.
On the July 23 event, Brooks said: “The Communist Party in Indiana is proud to hitch our voices with the demonstrators, united in democratic, people’s struggle, demanding Medicare for All. Let’s keep working together to construct this movement and produce people to the ballot box.”