Calling Ed Markey a ‘Benchmark’ Progressive, Dying Healthcare Activist Ady Barkan Endorses the Massachusetts Senator for Reelection

Ady Barkan, the healthcare activist dying of ALS who has spent years advocating for Medicare for All and other progressive policies, endorsed Sen. Ed Markey for reelection on Friday in his primary against Rep. Joe Kennedy.

“Progressives should look to Sen. Ed Markey as the benchmark for the kind of candidate we should strive to elect and re-elect,” said Barkan.

Markey has attracted the support of a number of progressive activists and advocacy groups as he faces a challenge from Kennedy in Massachusetts’ Democratic primary, scheduled for September 1. Supporters cite Markey’s longtime backing for environmental causes and his support for Medicare for All as reasons to keep the incumbent in office. 

“An original co-sponsor of Medicare for All, Ed has long been a progressive champion for universal health care as well as the environment, equity, and dozens of other issues,” Barkan said. “What makes Ed different, however, is that he actually delivers and passes laws. And he can empathize with the issues he champions.”

Watch the endorsement video:

Barkan’s struggles with ALS, said Markey, are an inspiration for progressives as the activists has “channeled a grim diagnosis into a remarkable movement for Medicare for All.”


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“He challenges each one of us to be a hero,” Markey said.

The cruelty of the American healthcare system, the senator continued, is apparent when you see stories like Barkan’s.

“Ady deserves as much time as possible with his two young children and loving partner, Rachael,” said Markey. “He shouldn’t have to struggle to get treatment approved by insurance. He shouldn’t have to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket for at-home care.”

The senator added that a Medicare for All system would lessen the impact of the disease on Barkan and others in similar straits.

“Medicare for All will ensure that Ady and every other American can receive high-quality, affordable, and comprehensive health care,” Markey said. “I’m grateful for Ady’s support and will continue to fight with him for policies that recognize health care as a human right.”


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