By Katie Robbins, Organizer, New York Metro chapter

On July 30th, the 48th Anniversary of Medicare, PNHP and Healthcare-NOW! NYC members hit the streets in Brooklyn to bring the message to Congress that it’s time to improve and expand our most beloved social insurance program to all.

PNHP-NY Metro Board member, Dr. Sandy Turner, SNaHP (Students for a National Health Program) member Abbey Masonbrink, MD, MPH Candidate, Beth Oram, NP, joined by constituents and activists dropped in on the offices of Members of Congress who had not yet endorsed HR 676 in this Congressional session.

Staffers greeted them with smiles as they arrived unannounced with a cake decorated with the words “Happy Birthday, Medicare!”

In addition to the home-district visits to Representatives Jeffries, Lowey, Maloney, and Velazquez, allies were calling and meeting Members of Congress in their offices in Washington D.C. in preparation for the Congressional Briefing on HR 676. Representatives Rangel and Clarke were thanked for their endorsement of HR 676, and asked to show more leadership to protect and expand Medicare.

As a result of this activity, two new Congressional cosponsors from New York City signed on July 30th, Representatives Maloney and Serrano, bringing the number of Congressional cosponsors of HR 676 to 48.

In conversations with the staff in the Brooklyn offices, a wide range of issues were discussed including the huge number of uninsured people expected even after the ACA is fully implemented, the Brooklyn hospital crisis, and the recovery from Hurricane Sandy, all of which point to the need for improved Medicare for All.

The economic impact study presented on July 31st detailing the significant cost savings of Medicare for All, combined with the urgent health care needs in New York, shows that we cannot wait.

We must build on what works to solve the health and fiscal crisis: Medicare.