Nurses' Medicare for All Rally and Lobby Day DC — April 2019
Hundreds of National Nurses United nurses from across the country gathered in Washington, D.C. on April 29 and 30 for their annual Lobby Day events and to champion their top priority: winning passage of H.R. 1384, the House Medicare for All bill cosponsored by Reps. Pramila Jayapal and Debbie Dingell that would guarantee health care in the United States as a human right. Through political demonstrations, direct actions, and sharing personal stories at visits to their elected officials, nurses pressured lawmakers to base policy on the needs of people and workers, not corporate profits. The nurses claimed a huge victory when Rep. Richard Neal announced on April 30 that he would schedule Medicare for All hearings in Ways and Means, a key committee for any health care legislation.

Day 1 kicked off with a massive demonstration by nurses and allied health care activists from a variety of labor, social justice, and progressive political groups in front of the headquarters of PhRMA, the pharmaceutical industry's national lobbying organization. Speakers shared stories and called out Big Pharma not only for its opposition to Medicare for All, but for its price gouging and $28 million spent on lobbying last year to influence lawmakers. Ady Barkan, a longtime health care activist dying from ALS, risked his health to travel to D.C. and give emotional testimony about why Medicare for All is needed NOW. Protestors capped the rally by using bandages to tape up copies of GoFundMe pages that people had set up to crowdsource medications and medical procedures. Later that day, nurses also heard from Reps. Jayapal and Dingell, as well as AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler.

Day 2 events included direct actions where nurses presented Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Ways and Means Committee Chair Rep. Richard Neal with giant pills of paper money to pressure them to hold hearings on H.R. 1384; nurses witnessing a historic House Rules Committee hearing on the bill; remarks from Sen. Bernie Sanders and Reps. Ro Khanna and Rashida Tlaib; and dozens of visits by nurses to Capitol Hill legislators to garner support not only for Medicare for All, but safe staffing ratios, a national standard to prevent workplace violence in health care settings, and full union rights for VA nurses.
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