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Ellison Talks About How to Hold Officials Accountable on Health Care

Talked about recruiting new leaders

Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., led a town hall with activists on how to push back against Republican efforts to repeal the 2010 health care law. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., led a town hall with activists on how to push back against Republican efforts to repeal the 2010 health care law. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison told Democratic activists on Tuesday that they can prevent a rollback of the 2010 health care law and push for single-payer health care.

Ellison, vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee, took part in a town hall hosted by People’s Action as part of the advocacy group’s founding convention at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation on Capitol Hill.

LeeAnn Hall, the group’s co-director, touted activism from partner groups nationwide, saying during Congress’ February recess that the group launched 89 events, 75 percent of which were in Republican districts.

“It was because of you and your sharp organizing that we lit a wildfire of resistance,” she said. “We spoke up in districts where no one expected people to fight for health care for all.”

Answering a question from an activist from Iowa, Ellison said it was important to reach out to people who might disagree with them.

“You can’t say, ‘I don’t think that person’s on our side so I’m not even going to talk to them,’” Ellison said. “If you build a relationship with somebody, it’s amazing how much good can come out of that.”

Ellison said it was also important to push beyond simply defending the health care law.

“You’ve got to tell folks., ‘Yes, it’s about saving the ACA, but what about Medicare for all?’” Ellison asked.

Other members of Congress participating in the convention were Sens. Bernie Sanders and Jeff Merkley and Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal.

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