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St. Louisans lead Medicare For All discussions in Congress

"People are having to choose between their life or a lifetime of medical debt, and that's not OK," Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) said.

WASHINGTON — When Congress took up the issue of Medicare for All for the first time since 2019, St. Louis Democrat Cori Bush co-led the discussion with a North County panelist as the first speaker.

"One client I work with was particularly ill-served," She had to borrow money from her brother in order to get her medication while she waited for Medicaid to establish her coverage," Christopher Willcox said.

Willcox works on policy with the north St. Louis County group A Red Circle. The group's website said it "exists to promote community betterment in North St. Louis County, through a racial equity lens."   

The Tuesday morning Oversight Committee meeting was the first hearing Congress has held regarding Medicare for All since 2019, with Democrats hoping to capitalize on the way the pandemic brought healthcare and health disparities to the forefront for all Americans.

"People are having to choose between their life or a lifetime of medical debt," said Rep. Bush, "and that's not OK."

Talking with 5 On Your Side after the nearly five-hour hearing wrapped up, Bush said he wasn't surprised by the experience Willcox described.

"As a nurse, I saw it quite a bit," Rep. Bush said. "You know, [there are] people borrowing money from family members, taking out loans, people moving in with family members so they would not have to pay rent."

Republicans expressed concerns over the way Medicare For All would expand government and also said they believe it could lead to longer wait times for treatment.

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