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Calls for Medicare for All Grow Louder Thanks to Boost from Health Justice Activist Ady Barkan

“Ady is making history, sitting down with Democratic presidential candidates for an open, honest deep dive on health care. He’s done his part, now it’s time for us to do ours."

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, more than 100 activists stormed the Hill in a day-long series of actions to push Congress forward on healthcare justice. 

After a moment of silence to commemorate the 9/11 anniversary, the group took over the offices of Senator Sanders (D-VT) and Warren (D-MA) for drop-in book club gatherings. Activists thanked the members’ offices for their work on Medicare for All. The group also visited Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), who hasn’t yet signed on to Medicare for All and read heartfelt excerpts from Eyes to the Wind, the memoir of healthcare activist Ady Barkan who is dying of ALS.

Barkan has also been interviewing Democratic presidential candidates in his Santa Barbara home in a new health care-centered video series titled “Uncovered,” co-sponsored by NowThis News and Crooked Media. 

“Ady is making history, sitting down with Democratic presidential candidates for an open, honest deep dive on health care. He’s done his part, now it’s time for us to do ours. That’s why we’re making sure people pay attention to these interviews,” said Jennifer Epps-Addison, Co-Executive Director and Network President of CPD Action. “When we finally have universal healthcare, we’ll look back at these videos as the turning point in the national dialogue that got us there.” 

Activists also had a presence at the Senate Subcommittee on Intellectual Property Hearing on patents. They demanded Senators take action on prescription drug pricing and denounced the STRONGER Patents Act introduced by Senators Coons (D-Del), which would allow pharmaceutical companies to continue monopolizing drug patents and keep prices astronomically high. 

"There’s a false narrative that patents help fuel innovation. In reality, they only fuel monopolies! Our current healthcare system allows pharmaceutical companies to patent drugs and raise prices unchecked, enriching their CEOs and shareholders while impoverishing patients," said Jennifer Flynn Walker, Senior Director of Mobilization and Advocacy at CPD Action. “These drugs are a public good! So why do Americans pay more per drug than the fifteen other richest countries in the world?”

The group then moved to engage members - both Democrats and Republicans - on the opioid crisis. Led by mothers who have lost their children to overdose, the group will press members to sign on in support of the Comprehensive Addiction Resources Emergency (CARE) Act

“As parents who lost our children from substance use disorder, we are honored to be here in DC today with CPD speaking to our legislators in support of the CARE Act,” said Cheryl Juaire from Team Sharing, a national organization of parents who have lost a child to substance use disorder. 

Congress has dedicated some funds to fight the [opioid] epidemic but there is a looming question about what will happen next year when money runs out. And the $1.8 billion that the Trump administration and Azar are touting that they’re sending to states and local communities is nothing compared to the $100 billion over ten years that the CARE Act will give to help the hardest-hit communities. 

The actions were a part of a week-long national mobilization happening through Friday, September 13. People from across the country -- including communities of color, immigrants, those with critical healthcare needs, and criminal justice defenders -- are in Washington D.C. to welcome Members of Congress back from August recess and encourage them to legislate a progressive agenda this Fall. The actions, organized by the Center for Popular Democracy, will address a broad range of issues, from immigration justice to workers’ rights, universal healthcare to affordable housing, climate justice to justice transformation. It launches CPD Action’s first federal agenda, outlining the network of community organization’s policy priorities going into 2020.



For more information, contact Trisa Taro, ttaro@populardemocracy.org