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Ady Barkan and the Fight for Medicare for All

One of the most grievous problems facing people in this country is inadequate healthcare and skyrocketing costs. In the United States today, 30 million people are uninsured while another 40 million are underinsured. CPD Network affiliates and allies have been on the frontlines of the fight for affordable healthcare – first to pass the Affordable Care Act and now to champion Medicare for All Act. Medicare for All, the only truly single-payer, universal healthcare system, guarantees that healthcare is a right and enables every person living in the United States to receive the healthcare they need to survive and thrive.

Ady Barkan, a Senior Organizer at CPD, has spent the last three years advocating for Medicare for All after he was diagnosed with ALS, a disease that slowly takes away nearly every physical function while keeping the mind intact. Since his diagnosis, Ady has become arguably the most influential activist in America. Many first heard about him after he confronted then Senator Jeff Flake on an airplane in December 2017. Barkan has now been arrested at the Capitol in Washington more than half a dozen times, showing by example how to fight injustice, and most recently spoke with a number of presidential nominees about supporting Medicare for All. Ady’s work has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, TIME, The Nation and many other major media outlets. 

Ady just released Eyes to the Wind: A Memoir of Love and Death, Hope and Resistance, where he shares how living with ALS reaffirmed his commitment to activism and looks back at his early days working in social justice. Ady also speaks about the highs and lows of starting a family while dealing with terminal illness. 

The moral clarity of Ady’s message—and the power of his example, a dying man standing up for millions of others—has had a lasting impact on this country. Even as his illness has progressed and he has become unable to speak, his voice has boomed loudly in the struggle to protect immigrants under siege, to try to stop Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, and now to make sure that in our country, healthcare is a human right.

There is only one form of universal health care that covers everybody, without exception, and lowers overall health care expenditures. It is time for Medicare for All. Interested in joining the fight for Medicare for All? Share your healthcare story here and one of our organizers will reach out!