'This is our moment. This is our time.': Medicare-for-all activist

ABC News Correspondent David Wright examines the Democratic debate over transitioning to Medicare-for-all.
4:50 | 06/23/19

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Transcript for 'This is our moment. This is our time.': Medicare-for-all activist
In a new Kaiser poll out this week, 87% of democratic-leaning voters say it's very important to them to hear the candidates talk about health care. And so it's no wonder so many presidential candidates are making it a central part of their campaigns. In the first installment of our new critical care series, ABC news' David Wright looks at medicare for all. Who's for it, who's against it, and what it would mean for you. Reporter: It's an issue on which many of the 2020 Democrats broadly agree. The American people want and we are going to deliver a medicare for all -- Medicare for all. Medicare for all. That's why I am for medicare for all. Reporter: Medicare for all, promising to solve America's health care crisis in one fell swoop. The idea really came of age during Bernie Sanders' 2016 run for president. We are being ripped off by the drug companies. Reporter: He started with the premise that access to affordable health care is a right, not a privilege. We have got to do better. Reporter: He proposes replacing most private health insurance with a popular national health care plan that already exists. Medicare is currently limited to seniors and the disabled, but under his plan all Americans would have access to affordable government-issued health insurance. Despite all their whining, Americans actually don't want to get rid of their employer sponsored insurance. They're uncertain about getting rid of it. Second of all, clearly the insurers would not like to be put out of business. Reporter: Health insurance is now a thl dollar a year interest, a powerful vested interest with big money to spend and bigger money to lose. It ought to be called medicare for none. Reporter: Republicans focus on expanding private insurance options. Senate leader Mitch Mcconnell says no large medicare legislation will move on his watch. If you want to turn America into a socialist country, this is the first step. Reporter: He says plans like senator Sanders' could cost the federal government $32 trillion over ten years, which would inevitably mean higher taxes for Americans. Still, there's a growing people power on the democratic side. We out here canvassing for medicare for all. Do you have insurance? Reporter: Including the largest nurses' union in the country. Martese Chisolm, a registered nurse from Chicago, has been fighting for this at the grassroots. We first caught up with her in South Carolina talking to voters there. I'm the great-granddaughter of a civil rights activist. Who marched with Dr. Martin Luther king. Who marched with Dr. Martin Luther king. Reporter: Back in Chicago she canvass with other nurses after work. She notes that disparities in the health care system are especially bleak for racial and ethnic minorities. You come at this from a civil rights background. Yes. Do you see the fight for universal health care to be a civil rights issue? Yeah. It is. The United States is one of the largest, the greatest country in the world and for us not to insure everyone, that is inhumane. Reporter: For some Democrats it's still a bridge too far. Joe Biden offers a sort of expanded Obamacare. Whether you're covered through your employer, on your own or not, you all should have a choice to be able to buy into a public option plan for medicare. Reporter: In theory, if consumers had that so-called public option of medicare, it would force private insurance companies to up their game or lose out. That idea appeals to senator Michael Bennett too. If we want universal health care, I think we're a lot better off saying to the American people you have an option. If we tell the American people we have to take it away from you before you can have universal health care, it's never going to work. Reporter: But is it enough to win over Progressives? Would that be a good compromise? Our movement is medicare for all. No watered down. We are not accepting anything less than medicare for all. Making medicare for all the litmus test on the democratic side is a very bad idea. We should be open to lots of ways of getting to universal coverage in the United States, but I also think it's a big political hill. Reporter: Maybe so, but to activists like martese Chisholm, it's a mountain worth climbing. How important is this election in terms of moving this issue forward? This is our moment, this is our time and we are rising. We rising. Our thanks to David Wright. Surely a big topic on the debate stages this week.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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