The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) is committed to engaging in (1) defensive struggles to protect those who are most vulnerable, (2) social democratic struggles to redistribute wealth and power to the working-class, and (3) ideological struggles to reframe the political narrative in our country. This three-prong strategy informs our work surrounding healthcare. Hence, we join National Nurses United, which stands at the forefront of the “Medicare for All” movement that seeks to de-commodify healthcare by instituting a single-payer system that will ensure equal access to high-quality care for everyone. As we pursue this long-term social democratic struggle, we must today engage in the defensive struggle to protect the Affordable Care Act (ACA) from attacks by conservatives. Millions of our nations most vulnerable people will suffer if the ACA is repealed without being replaced by Medicare for All.
DSA has consistently held that the ACA is inefficient and inadequate. It did not go far enough and it did not pursue the goal of universal coverage appropriately. Rather, it perpetuated the commodification of healthcare by offering massive subsidies to for-profit insurance corporations. It did nothing to redistribute wealth or power, instead largely expanding coverage on the backs of working-class people. But it did place important limitations on insurance companies and it expanded coverage to millions and millions of people. In particular, DSA supports the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid coverage to nearly 13 million working people and their children. Conservatives’ attempts to repeal the ACA would undo the progress that has been made to date. Their success would constitute yet a further win for the owning-class, and it would result in millions of Americans dropping from the insurance rolls.
As democratic socialists, we defend the ACA today for the same reason we seek to replace it with Medicare for All tomorrow: namely, because healthcare is a human right, and we have a moral responsibility to protect and expand access until we have reached the goal of truly universal and equal access.
Chair, Dubuque Democratic Socialists