July 2020

Petition to Vote Against a Democratic National Platform That Does Not Include Medicare for All

Bernie Sanders delegates from the Nevada delegation to the Democratic National Convention call on all delegates to sign on to this petition and pledge to vote against any platform that does not include a plank supporting universal, single-payer Medicare for All.

Whereas, this Country is currently in the throes of a catastrophic public health crisis; and

Whereas, this emergency has led to massive job losses due to the Country’s response to that crisis; and

Whereas, millions of Americans have lost their healthcare insurance because of those job losses at a time when healthcare is needed most; and

Whereas, this crisis has highlighted the need to separate healthcare from employment; and

Whereas, we believe that healthcare is a basic human right, not a luxury; and

Whereas, our current, for-profit health care system is inherently racist and discriminatory; and

Whereas, the majority of Americans now believe that a universal, single-payer, Medicare-For-All system is the best way to achieve equitable, affordable and accessible healthcare for all Americans; and

Whereas, the Democratic Party and their Platform Committee process has failed, to date, to incorporate a clear and progressive platform plank for Medicare-For-All for adoption by the 2020 National Convention; therefore

Be it resolved that we, the undersigned delegates to the Democratic National Convention, pledge to vote against any 2020 Platform that does not include a universal, single-payer, Medicare-For-All, platform plank.
July 28, 2020

More Than 700 Delegates Have Now Signed Pledge Committing to Vote Against Democratic Platform Lacking Medicare for All

Coordinators of a pledge by Democratic National Convention delegates not to vote for the party platform if it lacks a commitment to Medicare for All announced on Tuesday afternoon that more than 700 delegates have signed the pledge.

“The Democratic Party has affirmed that healthcare is a human right. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the government to uphold and protect our right to healthcare by untying it from employment and profit margins and administering a universal, single-payer system with guaranteed healthcare for all,” Judith Whitmer, chair of the Nevada delegation to the convention, said this afternoon.

Whitmer added: “This is not a divisive issue. The majority of the delegates to the 2020 Democratic National Convention and the majority of the American people, Democrats and Republicans, support a Medicare For All single-payer healthcare system. We are united in removing Trump from the White House. We are united in electing Vice President Joe Biden as our next president. It’s time for the Democratic Party, the party of the people, to unite around Medicare For All as the winning message in November.”

And Whitmer said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the failure of a private insurance system to meet the needs of the American people. During this public health crisis, millions of people lost their jobs and their healthcare at the same time. Unemployed workers can’t afford Cobra payments at two-to-three times the normal premium or the high premiums and deductibles on the ACA exchange -- so they’re going without healthcare. . . . We’re heading into a medical debt crisis. Families have to choose between paying rent or buying health insurance.”

Two national activist organizations, and Progressive Democrats of America, immediately endorsed the pledge campaign.

“As made clear by many polls, it’s beyond dispute that Medicare for All enjoys strong majority support from all registered voters nationwide,” said Norman Solomon, national director of and a Bernie Sanders delegate from California. “Even before the pandemic struck, tying health insurance to employment left tens of millions of Americans with shoddy coverage or no coverage at all. Now, millions of newly unemployed people are losing whatever coverage they had. As delegates, we’re insisting that the Democratic Party should stand up for healthcare as a human right in reality as well as in rhetoric.”

Alan Minsky, executive director of Progressive Democrats of America, released a statement from the organization today, declaring: “PDA supports the convention delegates who are planning to vote against the proposed 2020 Democratic Party platform because it does not include a universal single-payer Medicare for All program. There are two very simple reasons for this. 1) America's private health insurance system is a national disgrace that prioritizes profits over people, delivering very subpar results at excessive cost compared to similar countries -- a point tragically driven home by the ongoing pandemic. 2) Medicare for All fixes these failures by allowing America's world class doctors and healthcare professionals to practice medicine for all Americans, free at the point of service.”

The PDA statement added: “The failing U.S. healthcare system, and what to do about it, was the most discussed topic during this past year's presidential debates. At the end of these, the exit polling was unequivocal. Democratic voters overwhelmingly want Medicare for All. That certainly sounds like something that should be in the party platform.

“Not surprisingly, public support for Medicare for All rose even higher after COVID-19 struck. A Harris X/Hill poll from the spring  showed 69 percent of all Americans support the universal single-payer healthcare plan. A staggering 88 percent of Democrats were in favor. Given these results, and the suffering of the American people during the pandemic, Medicare for All would not only be a winning issue in November -- it would be a landslide winning issue.

“Indeed, PDA is opposing the current party platform in the spirit of helping Democrats triumph this fall. To be crystal clear, so there can be no misunderstanding, PDA will be doing everything we can to help Joe Biden defeat Donald Trump. As such, we believe that a spirited show of support for Medicare for All by the party's vibrant progressive wing will draw a sharp distinction with Republicans. It will signal to both progressives, and to the tens of millions of Americans who oppose the current for-profit system, that the Democratic Party is a big tent organization where there is passionate debate over policies to improve the lives of Americans.”

See also:
Holly Otterbein.  "Sanders delegates mount convention rebellion over 'Medicare for All.'"  Politico, July 27, 2020.

Morgan Phillips.  "Sanders delegates signing petition to vote against Dem platform that doesn't include 'Medicare-for-all'"  FOX News, July 28, 2020.