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If we want Health Care Justice, look to the grassroots, not elected officials

February 11, 2019

On Friday, MLive reported that Gov. Whitmer was looking at changes around the work requirements for those receiving Medicaid.

Michigan expanded its Medicaid program under the federal Affordable Care Act. A new Michigan law requires able-bodied Healthy Michigan Medicaid recipients to work an average of 20 hours of work per week, or 80 hours per month. Recipients need to comply with this for at least nine months per year, starting in 2020, with some exemptions.”

Governor Gretchen Whitmer wants to convince the Michigan legislature that requiring people on Medicaid may not be necessary and that most states don’t require it under the Affordable Care Act.

This decision on the part of Governor Whitmer comes just days before the kickoff to the national campaign known as Medicare for All. There are grassroots groups all over the country that will be hosting “barnstorms” this week, an effort that is being coordinated by National Nurses United (NNU). You may recall that National Nurses United was pushing for a Single Payer Health Care System when Obama ran in the 2008 election. Obama the candidate had voiced support for a Single Payer System, but once he became president, his advisors thought that pushing for a Single Payer System would be too much.

However, the reality is that based on most polling, at least two-thirds of Americans favor a Single Payer System or Medicare for All. According to a recent article on Common Dreams, over 30 million Americans are uninsured and two-thirds of personal bankruptcies are caused by medical bills. Millions of people across the country are having to chose between heating their homes, buying groceries or paying for health care.

In Grand Rapids, there will be a meeting on Medicare for All, on Wednesday, February 13, from 6:30pm – 8pm at CWA Union Hall, located at 3281 Kentland Court SE in Grand Rapids. The Facebook event states in the description:

Over 70% of Americans want #MedicareForAll, but politicians won’t pass this bill without public pressure. Find out how you can mobilize your community to win #MedicareForAll. Put #PeopleOverProfit, and cover everyone regardless of income or health condition. EVERYBODY IN. NOBODY OUT.

This type of organizing is in sharp contrast to what elected officials like Gov. Whitmer are doing, which only protects the existing health care system. If people want to have just policies like Medicare for All, then they should rely on grassroots efforts and social movements, not on the empty promises of elected officials.

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