Medicare-for-All Conspicuously Absent From the 2020 DNC Platform (Video)

Next week will be the long-awaited Democratic National Convention.

The digital format due to the COVID-19 pandemic notwithstanding, the convocation in Milwaukee is expected to be a historic event.

Former Vice President and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden has the potential to be, as Sen. Bernie Sanders stated, “the most progressive president since FDR”?

Biden’s recently named running mate, Calif. Sen. Kamala Harris, is the first vice presidential candidate of color.

Last month, Biden surprised and pleased many when he released the most progressive climate policy of any Democratic nominee in history.

Apparently, though, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) still hasn’t woken up to the necessity and popularity of a Medicare-for-All-type single-payer national healthcare system, expanding Medicare to children, ending police officers’ qualified immunity, placing aid conditions on Israel, a federal jobs guarantee, reducing the Medicare eligibility age,  legalizing marijuana, or developing and implementing a Green New Deal.

On the heels of Biden’s historic climate plan, the DNC Platform Committee last month voted down Medicare-for-All from the party’s draft platform despite polls indicating overwhelming voter support.

This is causing some prominent Democratic lawmakers and operatives to withhold their support for the platform.

One of them is Calif. Rep. Ro Khanna, co-chair of the California DNC delegation.

In an op-ed published in Common Dreams on Thursday, Rep. Khanna, explained:

“To be clear: I respect and appreciate the people who worked to put this platform together. I know those who worked on it did so with a strong sense of purpose, wanting to make this a better party. And I recognize that the platform includes many positive planks. Among its breakthroughs is a call for a federal minimum wage of $15 an hour. There’s much progress embodied in the platform.

“I will be voting ‘No’ on the platform because when we say that healthcare is a human right, we must truly mean it—and fight for it.

“Yet history teaches us that the Democratic Party has sometimes faced an issue so great that it alone should be the yardstick for measuring the wisdom of voting for or against the platform. This is one of those times.”

Former senior adviser to Sen. Sanders’ presidential campaign, Winnie Wong, tweeted:

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, former Detroit health director and 2018 Michigan gubernatorial candidate, stated:

“We have a for-profit healthcare system that’s left 27 million more people without healthcare because we attached healthcare to jobs.”

The Nation writer John Nichols pushed back against committee co-chair Denis McDonough’s assertion the draft is the “boldest Democratic platform in American history,” arguing:

“It’s not—unless your definition of ‘bold’ includes a tepid health care stance that rejects the single-payer Medicare for All agenda that enjoys overwhelming support from Americans in this Covid-19 moment.”

Nichols adds:

“From the 1940s through 1980, on health care issues, Democratic platforms took bolder stands than does the party’s 2020 draft platform.”

Rep. Khanna said:

“Progressive ideas are nothing new. There’s no reason we can’t finish enacting those policies today.”

If there is anything the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic fiasco has exposed, it’s our societal inequities.

When it comes to public health, the most obvious inequity lies in the reality that we spend the most money on healthcare–20% of our national income–of any Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) country on the planet, yet we are not the healthiest country.

Most countries offer healthcare as a human right to all its citizens.

80% of Democratic voters and a majority of House Democrats support this position.

But of the 25 wealthiest nations, the United States is the only one that fails to do this.

It’s just a matter of priorities.

The neo-liberal shift over the past forty years has prioritized Wall Street, the defense industry, and generally any individual or corporation ideologically committed enough to capitalize on the “money=free speech” argument the Supreme Court agreed is constitutional.

That includes health insurance companies.

More Americans favor a single-payer national healthcare system now than ever before, and they are sick (no pun intended) of sacrificing their sovereignty and security so another obscenely rich CEO can bilk from them another billion dollars in tax-deferred compensation.

It’s time for the Democratic party to embrace public sentiment instead still trying to have it both ways.

There is no better time to pursue a winning strategy–go bold.

If not, we risk another four years of Trump and a Mitch McConnell-controlled Senate.

In their wake, there may not be much of a republic left to salvage for the American people.

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Ted Millar is writer and teacher. His work has been featured in myriad literary journals, including Better Than Starbucks, The Broke Bohemian, Straight Forward Poetry, Caesura, Circle Show, Cactus Heart, Third Wednesday, and The Voices Project. He is also a contributor to The Left Place blog on Substack, and Medium.