Congress

Rep. Donald McEachin hospitalized after developing a blood clot

His hospitalization comes as he faces pressure from voters to endorse a “Medicare for All” bill

Rep. Donald McEachin, D-Va., suffered a blood clot last week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. A. Donald McEachin is in the hospital recovering from a blood clot but is expected to fully recover soon.

The Virginia Democrat developed a blood clot that made it difficult to walk last week. McEachin, who represents the 4th District, was hospitalized last Monday, but he has been kept up-to-date on Congressional business by staff.

“The congressman is doing better every day,” a spokesperson said.

He will resume work in Washington, D.C., after the two-week recess.

WTVR in Richmond first reported the news.

McEachin’s latest health challenge follows complications that developed after successful 2014 treatment for rectal cancer. 

The second-term congressman lost more than 60 pounds after adopting a new exercise regimen and developing a fistula, “an abnormal connection between the bladder and colon,” his doctor told the Richmond Times-Dispatch

McEachin was appointed to the Energy and Commerce Committee when Democrats gained control of the House in January.

“Obviously facing your own health care issue makes you more energized to tackle the challenges in the U.S. health care system,” his spokesperson said.

The congressman’s hospital stay comes as he faces pressure from organizers in his district to endorse a “Medicare for All” bill introduced in the House by Rep. Pramila Jayapal in February. 

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“Success is far from guaranteed, but across the country and in Virginia’s 4th Congressional District, the work is being done to rally support and exert grassroots pressure on House members to cosponsor HR 1384, ” said Matthew Conover, a nurse aide and advocate with National Nurses United, wrote in a Virginia Mercury op-ed this week.

The union of registered nurses advocates for guaranteed healthcare for all Americans. 

McEachin signed onto legislation that would create a public option to compete with private insurance called “Medicare X” last year. 

But the idea of a national single-payer health care system has gained traction in the new Congress. A Medicare for All bill in the Senate introduced by independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders Wednesday has been cosponsored by the body’s other top-polling presidential candidates. But the push also faces fierce opposition from lobbies and interest groups for the hospital, insurance and pharmaceutical industries.

Democratic leaders of the Ways and Means and the Energy and Commerce committees suggest that they may hold hearings on the issue but have not given firm commitments. Hearings in the Budget and Rules committees on the issue are likely in the coming months. 

“The congressman looks forward to the committee hearings and considering all solutions and all policy proposals to reach universal coverage,” she said.

Mary Ellen McIntire contributed reporting.

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