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To Galvanize Local Organizing for Medicare for All, Nurses Union to Kick Off Nationwide 'Barnstorms' This Weekend


To Galvanize Local Organizing for Medicare for All, Nurses Union to Kick Off Nationwide 'Barnstorms' This Weekend

Jessica Corbett, staff writer

Building on rising public support for scrapping the nation's for-profit healthcare system and replacing it with Medicare for All, the nation's largest nurses union—along with progressive allies—on Saturday will kick off a week of barnstorms in cities and communities across the United States.


I actually heard back from the NNU which surprised me–they would not post our events for Feb. 11, here was their explanation, " As you noted we unfortunately have very explicit instructions for this particular week of action that we can only expend resources promoting events that are the barnstorm format – and thus fit into the national strategy around canvassing, building local power, and pressuring House members. Luckily Rep Welch is signed on to the new bill!

We’re looking forward to the bill being introduced soon and are confident that most folks will be very pleased, but totally understand where the uneasiness comes from."

My reply to his response: Thank you for responding. I am, however, still in the dark as to why then have the barn storming before the release of Congresswoman Jayapal’s bill. How can we actually rally around something we have yet to see? You don’t think this might cause some confusion? What are we to say to our neighbors as we knock on their doors? They will want specifics. What are we supposed to actually present to them?

Some of the unease is coming from the rumors circulating about leaving in place investor-owned providers and the fact that the proposal is not a truly single payer system—why can’t the VA and the Indian Health Services actually be a part of ONE system? There is fear among some of us, at any rate, that leaving for profit investor-owned providers who market up their costs and where we have seen a growing consolidation in the healthcare industry will mean the government will essentially subsidize monopolies. Finally, for example, a recent Rand study did show that most of the care at VA facilities has been better for veterans than in private facilities."

Much of this is thanks to clear headed Joan Robinson.

These are are first two events for the year:

Conversation on Medicare for All

Marvin Malek , MD, MPH, from Berlin, VT, and Betty Keller, MD, from St. Johnsbury, VT, will lead a discussion on " What would EXPANDED, IMPROVED MEDICARE FOR ALL look like? And how can we get there? " at the Richmond Free Librar y, 201 Bridge Street, Richmond VT, on Monday, February 11, at 3 PM and repeated at 6:30 PM.

“Participants don’t have to be ‘true believers’ of Medicare for All, so they may not all want to stay for the workshops that follow each discussion,” Keller noted. “But often we find that people are asking, ‘What can I do to help?’ So we wanted to offer some training, and enable people to walk out with a concrete product they already made, or a new skill that they feel ready to start using.”

When they choose groups after the discussion, Malek will be available to answer questions and lead further conversation.

Those who wish to learn advocacy skills may wish to bring a laptop or tablet, if they have one, for some of the workshops. Depending on participants’ interests, workshops may include helping people increase their skills in writing letters to the editor and to legislators; finding legislators, bills, and resources online; initiating conversations on health care for all; and making public service announcements.

Among those leading the advocacy skills training along with Keller will be Tanya Vyhovsky, an activist with Rights and Democracy Vermont. Vyhovsky said, “As a social worker, I see the impacts of lack of access to adequate care in my office daily. I am also a person who has personally been affected by lack of access, so I understand this struggle from many viewpoints.”

Katheryn Van Haste, Senator Sanders’ Health Policy staffer , plans to attend the afternoon session, and at least two state legislators expect to attend a session, to hear their constituents’ concerns.

Portions of the event will be televised by MMCTV , which will also assist in editing PSAs, if any are recorded during the training.

This event is co-sponsored by Vermont Physicians for a National Health Program (pnhp.org), and Rights and Democracy Vermont (radvt.org) and is planned in coordination with national events across the country as part of National Nurses United week of actions, February 9-13. Richmond Free Library is at 201 Bridge St., Richmond .


The one where I live is hours away. Too bad they declined to post our events but HOPE gave a full page to them.

In my post above might be a clue for you–they are confident that most will support what they reveal after the fact. Sounds Nixonian to me.


Until I see the actual bill, I’ll be sitting on the sidelines.

I’ve seen the d-party in action – there’s no level of bait and switch they won’t resort to…


Pelosi killed the bill and used the HR 647 number on her NATO For Ever Warmongering Bill. Pelosi and Co. used the bill as sucker bait against the repubs. It was never intended for public consumption.


I feel the same way. At this point activists would probably best be served by taking some time off. Then when the bill is out (and at this point if it isn’t out in two weeks something is wrong), we can all carefully read it and each person will decide what to do next - organize against it, go door to door explaining how great it is, or something in between.

I feel this was explained adequately in the Day and Dudzic piece. You can disagree but they gave rational reasons for downsides to eliminating these organizations. I bought it though of course you don’t have to.

The issue of investor owned facilities is much thornier. I understood the authors points there too but without seeing what the bill says about cost control teeth it is hard to come to a conclusion.


So what’s a Barnstorm exactly … while Americans are dying from many more illnesses than just Diabetes? Who are these Groups, with not much of a game plan targeting? What they should be doing is surrounding the CEO’s of the largest Drug Companies and Health Insureres… Face to Face… but No!!! That’s to radical. Murdering people isn’t? Too many people can’t see a doctor or afford medication they need. I’d say this is a much bigger problem than a Govt lie about an Opioid Epidemic. In fact, medical bills are the number one cause for bankruptcy and then followed by Suicide. This is the real Epidemic that nobody wants to take on!


Tom, their explanation was that originally they were going to have the barn storms after the bill’s release but with the government shutdown things got delayed and they decided to go ahead with barnstorming so as not to slow the momentum. Too bad.

Yes, when you look at the map and see where the concentration of barnstorms are occurring you have to wonder. Maybe these are areas that just don’t have the population numbers and activists. I don’t know but where I live in Northern Vermont there are only a few activists and they have a different focus other than a national plan. Burlington is a college town and there are a number of them, but, understandably, our youth are in the fight for their future. I would have preferred working on their issues but for this dire need of our society for an equitable healthcare system.


Remember when HRC was first lady and sat down for a few years constructing (in secret) an epic volume on Healthcare that went nowhere. It was too long to read. And then there is the Affordable Care thing which is no improvement at all. Isn’t involvement of the citizens essential and welcome. The present exercise in new improved medicare for all is being crafted by ordinary people and nurses are keeping the momentum rolling.

NNU has power and has effective important changes in delivery of healthcare. It is good to see the dialogue begin because even though we need single payer now, it will be a long process.


Medicare for all changes the insurance payment for services from private insurance companies to a government insurance payer. There will be little change in delivery which will be done by private providers just like now. The cost savings of 20-30% will be enough to extend coverage to all people and still save money. Characterizing Medicare for All as “scrapping the nation’s for-profit heathcare system” is misleading. All that will be scrapped is the private insurance companies and their exorbitant overhead costs and profits. That those insurance parasites have managed to hang on to the host as long as they have is a testament to how we have been gullible to the idea that unregulated companies in a market system will provide necessities at a reasonable price. Publicly funded election campaigns might trim some of the lying.


Thank you, Tom. The way I see it is that organizing with others of different political persuasions in a system other than a socialist one, which, in my view, means a truly humanist one, will make all this very difficult to achieve. We must at least give it our best shot and it is worth noting that the best organizers in the 20th C were the communists. They certainly worked in the wider communities and were severely marginalized for their heroic efforts. The conservative efforts to repress/suppress all movement toward evolutionary–let alone revolutionary change–are based on fear of change and perhaps, loss of their power.


I worked like hell for Bernie last time around. I found this article at Truthdig

And this in the comments section of that article… and now I’m confused.


It would appear that Bernie’s proposal is not the best solution. Any thoughts?


Hi Smerl— the previous Expanded,Improved Medicare for All Act number was H.R. 676
You may find the article below of interest:


Inside the above article is a link to Kevin Zeese co-coordinator of HOPE:

Kevin Zeese of Popular Resistance didn’t miss the irony of losing HR 676 to NATO on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. It was King who said – “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.” '


If injuns have to die so we can exploit the beaver and buffalo, so be it.
After all, we are Americans.


No billl yet? The operative word here is “yet.”
I’m glad that such a powerful force as the nurses union is joining with progressives and other unions to lead the fight for Medicare for All.
I have, although, one question: What is their definition of medicare for all? Medicare, as it stands today, is filled with exclusions, large co-pays, age restrictions and the need for priviatly purchased, Medicare Supplimental insurance that covers only SOME of the things that Medicare doesn’t like pre-existing conditions. That isn’t cheap either.
If the goal is to eleminate all of that, then, why call it Medicare at all?
Call for single payer, universal health care and be honest about it.