Nurses’ Campaign to Win Medicare for All — Fall Organizing Plan

As the delta variant spreads across the United States, hospitals are once again faced with a rising number of Covid-19 patients. Total daily cases are back on the rise. Only 0.3 percent of all Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered in low income countries. The pandemic, sadly, is far from over.

As we’ve known since the beginning, much of the devastation of the pandemic could have been mitigated under a Medicare for All system in the US. A core objective for us continues to be: organize and make the case for Medicare for All now more than ever.

Our plans for this fall are meant to help our movement build more power than ever before, and we’re going to need your help alongside us in that fight.

We want to recap for you what’s happened so far this year, and then talk about what’s coming next and what you can do to plug in.

First, to recap: in March of this year, Medicare for All was reintroduced into the House as H.R. 1976. The bill was introduced with a record 112 original cosponsors. And, as of today, because of our collective organizing, we’ve ticked that up even higher to 118 total cosponsors. That’s well over half the Democrats in the House — which is significant. But it’s not enough to pass the bill in the House, and so we need to keep organizing.

Organizing locally, district by district, is a core part of our organizing strategy. It allows us to pressure more members of Congress — particularly the Democrats who still don’t support Medicare for All, and, most importantly, the ones who sit on key committees. So to that end, shortly after the March reintroduction of the bill, we published two lists of key members of Congress to guide our organizing for the rest of the year.

The first was a list of 19 Democrats to focus our organizing efforts on, to increase our cosponsor list. The second was a list of 21 Democrats who are some of the highest recipients of corporate health care donations in Congress. We’ve been working to pressure these representatives to reject their corporate donations and sign our Patients Over Profits pledge. ​​

We’re proud to inform you that since then, volunteer leaders have stepped up in nearly every single one of those Congressional districts to lead the local campaign efforts in their area. Those leaders, and other volunteers who have joined them, have helped contact hundreds of thousands of voters and have been steadily organizing despite challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. And that work has paid off — we’ve already crossed two members of Congress off our list of priority cosponsor districts, Rep. Kwesi Mfume (MD-07) and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), because activists in their districts successfully pressured them to sign on. Activists in the districts of Rep. Betty McCollum (MN-04) and Rep. Mike Quigley (IL-05) have also succeeded in moving their members of Congress to cosponsor during this same time.

We know that this work must continue. That’s why we’re committed to continuing to organize in all 40 of these districts this year. But we also knew it was time to bring the power of the national Medicare for All movement to bear in a handful of these districts.

Between now and the first week of November, we plan to focus some of our collective efforts even further on four districts around the country, and we’re going to need your help no matter where you live. The members of Congress in those four districts are:

  • Congressman John Garamendi, CA-03 (Sacramento)
  • Congresswoman Joyce Beatty, OH-03 (Columbus)
  • Congressman Vicente Gonzalez, TX-15 (San Antonio)
  • Congressman Albio Sires, NJ-08 (Newark)

If just one of these members of Congress signs on to the bill, we’ll pass an important symbolic milestone: more cosponsors on Medicare for All than we had in the last session of Congress when the Democratic majority was much larger. We think we can leverage the power of the national grassroots movement to make this happen, but we can’t do it without you.

So how can you help? First up, we’ll be hosting three mass national text bank parties, which will take place Sunday August 29th, Tuesday August 31st, and Thursday September 2nd (click each link to RSVP for a text bank party). We’ll gather on Zoom, go through a quick training, and then use our special texting website to text hundreds of thousands of voters in these four districts to identify and mobilize supporters of Medicare for All. This will be the first time we’ve done text banks this large, so it should be a lot of fun. Training will be provided, so no prior experience is needed. You can join one or you can join all three of these parties — the more the merrier!

Then, in the first week of October, we’ll host three national Medicare for All Postcard Parties. If you plan on joining one of these parties, you’ll need to sign up here well in advance so that we have time to ship you a batch of blank Medicare for All postcards. Then on each of the dates, we’ll gather on Zoom and spend the time together writing postcards to thousands of Medicare for All supporters that we identified through our texting in the four key districts. This is a tactic that we’ve used with great success turning out voters to the polls in past electoral campaigns, and we’re excited to put it to use in the Medicare for All movement.

Nurses make calls to supporters during a Medicare for All day of action in 2019.

Finally, we’re hosting two national Medicare for All Phone Bank Parties to reach out to supporters in our four priority districts. Each phone bank will be 2 hours long and will take place on Saturday October 30th and Monday November 1st (click each link to RSVP for a phone bank party!). Same as the text bank parties and postcard parties, we’ll gather on Zoom, go through a quick training, and then spend the rest of the time making calls to previously identified supporters of Medicare for All. In these phone banks we’ll be asking supporters to join in-district Day of Action events and make a call to their member of Congress.

And then finally, all of these actions will lead up to a national Day of Action in early November. During the Day of Action, Medicare for All supporters in each of the four districts will be organizing massive car caravans that include starting or ending at the office of each member of Congress.

Through these tactics this fall, we will be able to supplement the organizing being done on the ground in these four districts. We’ll be able to identify thousands of supporters locally, drive thousands of calls into the four offices between August and November, and then on the day-of-action, we’ll help add some serious muscle to the car caravan events. But we can only do it with your help — so sign up to take action with us above!

And that’s not all. We know that if we’re going to win, we need to directly take on the health care corporations that are spending millions of dollars trying to stop us. The insurance, pharmaceutical, and hospital industries have billions to lose under Medicare for All, which is why they’re bankrolling the campaign to stop Medicare for All from happening.

Earlier this year, it was uncovered by The Intercept that none other than CVS Health had become the largest single donor to the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, which is the largest anti-Medicare for All lobby group made up of the country’s biggest insurance, pharmaceutical, and hospital corporations. The Partnership has spent hundreds of millions on anti-Medicare for All propaganda in the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries. CVS donated at least $5 million in 2020 alone. You might not know it, but CVS Health is the largest health care corporation in the world, especially after they acquired the huge health insurance company Aetna in 2019.

So we’re launching a campaign this fall to confront CVS Health for its role in bankrolling the Partnership, and we’re going to need your help. That starts with a mass public education panel titled, “CVS Health, The Future of Health Care, and the Fight for Medicare for All” that we’re organizing on Thursday, September 9th, and we need you there. RSVP here to join us for that event.

That’s a lot happening this fall, and we need you to sign up and take part however you can. Medicare for All will be won by growing numbers of people coming together and acting in solidarity with one another. As the country’s largest nurses’ union, we know this is true. The same hospital corporations who fund anti-Medicare for All ads and fund politicians are the same ones that we stand up to in our unionized facilities each and every day. Solidarity is a muscle, and we grow and strengthen it by taking action together.

We look forward to continuing to fight alongside you and thousands of people across the country to drastically improve our dysfunctional profit-driven health care system with one that finally guarantees health care as a right to all people. Onward!