November 6, 2023

Confrontational Activist Dead at 39

Ady Barkan, a well-known "Medicare-for-all" activist, has passed away.

Barkan is known for confronting legislators in Congress and has organized numerous protests in DC to push Medicare-for-all.

According to local reports, Barkan died from complications of the terminal neurodegenerative disease ALS. He was only 39 years old.

Gone But Not Forgotten

Barkan has more or less been an activist his entire adult life.

His first involvement in politics was campaigning for Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA).

Barkan eventually earned a law degree from Yale but did not go into practice, deciding to become a full-time activist instead, cutting his teeth during the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011.

When Barkan was diagnosed with ALS in 2016, his focus transitioned over to liberal healthcare reform, advocating for Medicare-for-all.

ALS, also called Lou Gehrig's Disease, has an average survival rate of two to five years, so Barkan managed to avoid the inevitable for a few extra years.

Barkan was also the co-founder of Be a Hero, which posted a tribute to him on X.

The organization stated, "Ady believed everyone deserves access to the health care they need to give them more days with the people they love, doing the things they love, and he devoted his final years to that work."

Barkan made national headlines when he was seen confronting then-Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) over tax cuts that would have impacted Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security payments in 2017.

At the time, Barkan stated, "He is the single most important swing vote in this tax bill, and I need to tell him my story to vote against it."

On hearing about his death, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) issued a statement that Barkan had rallied millions "to defend hard-won protections for persons with disabilities and for patients’ rights, and to expand access to quality health care for all."

Barkan's diagnosis came shortly after the birth of his first child, and he is survived by his wife and two children.

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