New Online Tool Helps Us Talk About Medicare For All
Credit: JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images
November 30, 2019

Are you ready to have that Medicare for All conversation with the person you might love but also be dreading?

Just in time for the Holiday Season, National Nurses United—the largest labor union of nurses in the United States—has put out a new online tool in the form of a "chat bot" that allows people to perfect their Medicare for All and healthcare justice chops for those upcoming family dinners and social gatherings where not everyone is on the same page about the need to overhaul the nation's for-profit system and replace it with one that puts everybody in and leaves nobody out.

"Most people connect with politics on an emotional and personal basis," explains NNU on their website. "Sharing stories is typically more powerful than reciting facts and statistics."

The online tool—available here—allows users to "encounter a combative friend or family member and be given options to respond." Starting with a prompt and then a set of possible responses, it walks through a hypothetical conversation, offering helpful talking points and facts along the way. For example:


In their post, the NNU writes:

Turkey, mashed potatoes, and arguing politics with your family: the holidays are just around the corner!

But talking about politics doesn't have to get heated! The vast majority of people are unhappy with our hugely expensive, profit-driven health care system and are ready for a change.

In our Medicare for All campaign we use a tool when we knock on doors called the Response Cycle. We ask people about their experience with health care, we share ours, and then we use that shared, common experience of our broken health care system to let them know that Medicare for All is the solution.

In a Thanksgiving Day op-ed for Common Dreams in 2018, Dr. Sanjeev K. Sriram, host of podcast about public policy and health justice called "Dr. America," the holiday in the U.S. is the perfect time to talk about how the nation's healthcare systems works—and how it doesn't work.

"To make Medicare for All a reality we must keep growing the movement for health justice," Sriram wrote last year. "From our dining rooms to our break rooms, we need to have down-to-earth conversations that break the myths and gather support for our cause."

Like the nurses this year, Sriram offered a host of talking points designed to help people have meaningful answers for when "your grandmother asks, 'But won't giving Medicare to everybody mean less Medicare for seniors like me?'" or "When your socially-liberal-but-fiscally-conservative cousin asks, 'But don't people like their private health insurance?'"

As part of their Medicare for All push on Thanksgiving, NNU partnered with Be A Hero, the group founded by dying healthcare activist Ady Barkan, to share personal stories about those who struggled to have access or afford the medical care they need:

As Dr. Sriram wrote, "Realizing Medicare for All means reaffirming our values of justice, equity, and compassion. This movement grows in our communities and neighborhoods at backyard barbecues, nail salons, bus stops, barber shops, and kitchen tables where we have honest conversations about what it means to make health care a basic human right for all of us. This Thanksgiving, I'm grateful for everyone building Medicare for All."

Republished from Common Dreams under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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