Medicare for All

Floor Speech

Date: April 26, 2018
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. KHANNA. Mr. Speaker, I thank the distinguished gentleman from Minnesota for his leadership on so many issues, particularly on healthcare and the fight for Medicare for all.

I rise today to share a heartbreaking story so we understand what is at stake in this fight.

Sarah Fay Broughton was a young woman in San Jose, California. Sarah was going to work with special needs kids. At the age of 20, she came down with a simple sinus infection. Such a condition is usually managed by a primary care physician and an ordinary specialist. However, Sarah did not receive treatment because she could not afford health insurance.

Six months before she fell ill, Sarah applied for Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid system, but her paperwork kept getting lost. The county was so overwhelmed that her family went through three different caseworkers trying to get medical coverage, but each time they were told to start over. Like more than 28 million Americans without any healthcare, for Sarah, getting sick meant facing crippling medical bills and harassment by debt collectors.

So she ignored the pain, only going to the emergency room when it became too much to bear. By that point, the simple sinus infection had grown powerful, spreading to her brain, swelling it, and causing irreversible damage. It was simply too late. On the day Sarah passed away, her family received a letter saying that her Medi-Cal coverage had been approved. She was doing everything right, but the system failed her. Her life was cut short because the wealthiest country in the world has not yet prioritized healthcare.

The question is: Should a young woman who is 20 years old die of a simple sinus infection in the United States of America? If we care about the lives of people like Sarah, if we believe that healthcare is a basic right, then it is long past time to have Medicare for All. Every American should be guaranteed decent, basic healthcare from the day they are born.

This is not a political issue. This is a moral issue. It is an issue of human decency. It is an issue to make sure we don't have people who have simple conditions like Sarah be denied the care they deserve.

That is why I am so proud of my colleague Keith Ellison for leading the call for Medicare for All. I am proud to serve on the task force and encourage my colleagues to join him, Peter Welch, and other voices in bringing to this country Medicare for All.


Mr. KHANNA. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the gentleman saying that. I had a conversation with her mother and with the community, and people just feel: what a tragic loss. So, if there are things we can do here under your leadership and as elected Representatives, I hope we will-- and we will--take seriously the consequence of the failure in our healthcare policy.