Ady Barkan to Testify at House Rules Committee Hearing on Medicare for All
April 26, 2019
WASHINGTON — Dying healthcare activist Ady Barkan will travel from his home in California to testify at a Tuesday hearing of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Rules regarding Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s bill to establish a Medicare for All single-payer health care system in the United States. Barkan, a husband and father to a young son, is a longtime progressive activist who captured hearts and minds when he went public with his diagnosis of terminal ALS and confronted Sen. Jeff Flake on a plane during the political battle over the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. At the hearing, Barkan will speak to his own experience with the American health care system in the wake of his ALS diagnosis, underline the importance of including long term care coverage as part of Medicare for All, and address the need to ensure high quality health care to every American as a right. Owing to the advanced progression of ALS, Barkan will deliver his testimony using a computer system that tracks his eye movements and subsequently converts text into speech.
“For 100 years, visionary patients, nurses, doctors and organizers have fought to ensure that everyone in America gets the health care they need,” said Ady Barkan. “But time and again, our movement has been stymied by the corporations and people who make money off of our illnesses. On Tuesday, for the first time ever, Medicare For All will get a hearing in the United States Congress. I congratulate and thank Rep. Jayapal, Rep. Dingell, former Rep. Conyers and Sen. Sanders for their decades of leadership on this historic day.
“I am grateful to Chairman McGovern and Speaker Pelosi for making this hearing possible and inviting me to testify. Tuesday will be just the latest example of why I worked so hard to help Democrats win back the House in November. The American people have heard the message loud and clear: Republicans are bad for your health. Progressives have a plan to fix the American healthcare system once and for all. It will take immense effort and teamwork for me to attend this hearing, but that is what is required — from me and thousands of other healthcare heroes — to deliver us the change that the American people deserve.”
Barkan now requires full-time home care that costs his family $9,000 per month on top of what his insurance company will cover. Traveling from California will require Barkan, who is unable to move or feed himself independently, to board a plane with two full-time caregivers and will expose him to the risk of serious illness. Barkan founded Be A Hero PAC, a political organization aimed at harnessing people power to press for a more just society.
WHEN: Tuesday, April 30 at 10 a.m.
WHERE: United States Capitol Building, H-313
WHO: Ady Barkan, Progressive Activist
Rep. James McGovern, Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Rules