WHAT: March and rally for Medicare for All
WHO: More than 100 doctors from Physicians for a National Health Program; Public Citizen; Philadelphia City Council Member Helen Gym
WHEN: Friday, Nov. 1 from 4:30-5:30 p.m.
WHERE: Thomas Paine Plaza, 1401 John F Kennedy Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19102 (near corner of Kennedy and Broad Street).
Wearing their scrubs and white coats, more than 100 doctors, medical students, and other health care advocates will rally in Philadelphia to demand that Congress pass a single-payer, Medicare for All national health program. Specifically, the group will call on U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans (D- Penn.) to co-sponsor H.R. 1384, the Medicare for All Act of 2019 (The rally will also be livestreamed on PNHP’s Facebook Page).
Activists note that in his last term, Rep. Evans endorsed H.R. 676, the previous House Medicare for All bill, but has refused to endorse single-payer legislation in the current session of Congress. This past election cycle, Rep. Evans also accepted campaign contributions from private health insurers such as Cigna, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, UnitedHealth Group, and Molina, which would become obsolete under a Medicare for All system. He also accepted contributions from the Federation of American Hospitals and other groups representing for-profit providers, which actively oppose Medicare for All.
Local health care advocates question whether Rep. Evans represents the needs and values of Philadelphia, which in 2018 passed a city resolution endorsing Medicare for All.
Dr. Walter Tsou, a Philadelphia physician and board adviser with Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), says the recent closing of Hahnemann Hospital was a result of today’s profit-based health care system. “To its investors, Hahnemann appears to be more valuable for its location than as a safety-net hospital for the city’s most vulnerable residents,” said Dr. Tsou. “Entrepreneurs have taken over health care, leaving Americans to fend for ourselves. Only single-payer Medicare for All — not incremental measures like a public option — will fix that.”
- Helen Gym: Philadelphia City Council member
- Dr. Adam Gaffney: President of Physicians for a National Health Program
- Marilyn Arwood: Chair of DSA Philadelphia and organizer for Health Care for All Pennsylvania
- Melinda St. Louis: Public Citizen’s Medicare for All campaign director
- Noah Levinson: Executive director of Health Care for All Pennsylvania
- Dr. Susan Rogers: Board member of Physicians for a National Health Program
- Jean Ross, R.N.: co-president, National Nurses United
Many of the doctors are in Philadelphia this weekend for the annual meeting of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), a nonprofit research and educational organization of more than 23,000 doctors and health professionals who support Medicare for All. The theme of this year’s conference is “Single Payer is for Every Body.”