Nearly 500 delegates to the Democratic National Convention have signed a pledge to vote against any Democratic Party platform that doesn't include Medicare for All, according to Left Caucus, a group organizing the pledge.
“As of this morning nearly 470 delegates have signed the petition,” the caucus told The Epoch Times in a Twitter message.
The pledge says that the country’s “catastrophic public health crisis” and the job losses related to the government’s attempts to slow the spread of COVID-19 have “highlighted the need to separate healthcare from employment.”
“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,” the petition reads.
“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."
While the delegate count is currently insufficient to force a platform change, it is significant enough to draw attention to the issue, especially given the recent campaign to project unity between Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden, who opposes Medicare for All.
“We're talking about peoples' lives and their right to be healthy and to not die in debt. None of these things should be negotiable,” Chris Roberts, Sanders delegate from Nevada to the Democratic National Convention and incoming chair of Left Caucus, said in a statement to The Epoch Times.
“The Nevada State Democratic Party platform calls for healthcare that isn't tied to employment. As delegates to the national convention, it's up to us to demand that and nothing less.”
Progressive groups including RootsAction, Bernie Delegates Network, and People for Bernie have all promoted news of the pledge. More than 100 votes were added to the tally since Politico first reported the pledge early on July 27.
“JoeBiden must do the right thing and endorse Medicare for All,” a message on the Twitter account of People for Bernie states.
Despite adopting a wide range of far-left policies during the early stages of a crowded primary race, Biden has been firmly opposed to Medicare for All, arguing that it's better to improve and build upon Obamacare, the signature achievement of the Obama administration during Biden’s time as vice president.
As written, the Medicare for All bill would eliminate employer-based health care in favor of a government funded and regulated monopoly.
About 153 million Americans had employer-based health care coverage in 2019, according to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation. In a separate survey, the foundation found that people with employer-based coverage are generally satisfied, with large portions saying they are “grateful” and “content.” Increases in employer-based health care premiums continue to outpace inflation and growth in worker pay.
The cost of the proposal weighs in at a stratospheric $34 trillion over the course of the first decade, more than the combined projected budgets for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, according to a study by the Urban Institute and estimates by the Congressional Budget Office. Proponents of the bill point to nearly two dozen studies that suggest that the socialized medicine approach would result in net savings over the long run.
The Biden campaign didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.