Good things are in the works! This week in good news: Democrats take another shot at passing universal healthcare, a Minnesota bill targets Amazon’s warehouse labor violations, electric bus factory workers vote to unionize thanks to new federal policies, Chicago acknowledges environmental racism, and climate activists hold Shell accountable.
Medicare For All Is In The House (Again)
Progressives introduced the Medicare for All Act of 2023 on Wednesday with more than 100 cosponsors,a record level of support.
Public healthcare is popular: 68 percent of Americans support a public option, and 55 percent support Medicare for All. But supporters of basic healthcare access have been unsuccessfully introducing some version of a Medicare for All bill since 1970. Sixth time’s the charm?
The legislation builds on existing Medicare programs to ensure universal health coverage for all U.S. residents, including for reproductive, mental health, and long-term care. The bill would also ensure substance abuse treatment and support for people with disabilities. What’s more, it would reduce prescription drug costs and get rid of copays, private insurance premiums, and deductibles.
Despite being the richest country in the world and spending more on health care than any other high-income country, the U.S. has the worst health outcomes among its peers, with a broken healthcare system to blame. A 2022 study found that 1 in 10 U.S. adults have significant medical debt, and one in 2019 found that over 500,000 medical bankruptcies are filed annually.
“It’s time for Americans to stop being treated like suckers,” said Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen, in the Act’s press release. “It’s time to make healthcare a right. It’s time for Medicare for All.”
Minnesota Gives Warehouse Workers Their Breaks
The bill, a product of five years of organizing and direct action, calls for investigation into high injury and illness rates at certain large companies that operate warehouses, including Amazon. The legislation also prevents disciplinary action against workers for taking authorized breaks.
In last week’s round-up, we highlighted the ongoing national fight against Amazon’s labor violations. Supporters say this bill will markedly improve quality of life for Amazon workers in Minnesota, providing a blueprint for other states to follow.