HEALTH CARE JUSTICE NOW: U2K UPDATE

The Newsletter of the Universal Health Care 2000 Campaign (U2K)

March 15th, 2000 (Issue no. 6)

Health Care Justice NOW is a bi-monthly fax/email service to U2K endorsers. It aims to keep endorsers of U2K informed and engaged.  It is also an outreach tool, so distribute it widely, and encourage other groups to subscribe through contacting us.  There are over 250 individuals that subscribe to Health Care Justice NOW.  (To unsubscribe, email us at uhcan@uhcan.org.)

Table of Contents:
-
New Endorsements
- Steering Committee Grows as U2K Catches On
- National U2K Day of Action Planned for October 15th
- National Organizations Urge Local Affiliates to Endorse
- Education Handbook Winging Its Way to You Soon
- U2K Website Up To Date
- U2K Flash Updates
     * Don't be a Fool for Managed Care
     * Vermont Health Care for All Joins the U2K Steering Committee
     * Health Action New Mexico Begins Organizing Efforts Around U2K
     * Michigan Universal Health Care Action Network Builds Broadly
     * Gray Panthers of Seattle Join U2K
- Update: Faith Communities and U2K
- Contact Us

NEW ENDORSEMENTS (since 3/1)

National Groups

National Coalition of Mental Health Professionals and Consumers (Organizers
of Rescue Health Care Day on April 1st)

State Groups

North Carolina Committee to Defend Health Care (NC), Labor Party of Rhode Island (RI), Reform Party of Rhode Island (RI), Green Party of Rhode Island (RI), Ad Hoc Committee to Defend Health Care (RI)

Local Groups

Gray Panthers of Seattle (WA), United Auto Workers Local 158 Retirees Chapter (MI), Stop Targeting Ohio's Poor (OH), Health Care for All - Los Angeles (CA), Health Care for All - Tuldie/King's Counties (CA), Friends of Oakland County Coalition of Welfare Rights (MI), North Oakland County N.A.A.C.P. (MI), League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area (MI), Childhood Lead Action Project (RI), Center for Hispanic Policy and Advocacy (RI), Providence Family Learning Center (RI), West Elmwood Housing (RI), Northern Rhode Island Mental Health Association (RI), Rhode Island Parents for Progress (RI), George A. Wiley Center (RI)

For a complete list of U2K endorsements, visit our web site at
www.u2kcampaign.org/membership/endorserscomplete.htm

STEERING COMMITTEE GROWS AS U2K CATCHES ON

This Monday's Steering Committee Conference Call will feature several new organizations that have signed on to U2K at the "Coordinator" level.  This means that they agree to work with other endorsers in their state to coordinate U2K activities - educating members, reaching out to organizations and approaching candidates in the 2000 elections.  In the case of national organizations, they agree to mobilize their state and local affiliates to endorse U2K, and put them in touch with the Steering Committee contact. 

New Steering Committee members include:

PA - Harold Cohen, Ad Hoc Committee to Defend Health Care, Philadelphia
NI - Rev. Chuck Rawlings, faith communities coordinator for U2K in NJ
NV- Ruth Mills, Coordinator, Nevada Health Care Reform Project
CT - Dr. John Battista, Coordinator, CT Coalition for Universal Health Care
VT - Deborah Richter, Vermont Health Care for All
MN - Paula Fynboh, Minnesota COACT
NATIONAL - Simon Ahtoridis, Legislative Affairs Director, American Medical
Student Association

The agenda for 3/20 includes setting goals for U2K organizing this Spring, needed tools for organizing and education, a possible Spring face-to-face Meeting in Washington, DC or Chicago, and a National Day of Action on October 15th.

NATIONAL U2K DAY OF ACTION PLANNED FOR OCTOBER 15TH

A National U2K Day of Action is being planned for October 15th, with  simultaneous actions being planned in major cities across the country. Organized by UHCAN Ohio's Associate Director, Athena Godet-Calageras in coordination with national Jobs with Justice, this U2K Day of Action will bring the need for universal health care squarely into the 2000 election season.  UHCAN Ohio and Cleveland Jobs with Justice are planning events in places of worship on Sunday morning, Oct. 15th, followed by a U2K Rally in downtown Cleveland that afternoon.  What are you and your organization doing on Oct. 15th?  For more information, or to get involved in planning the National U2K Day of Action in your state or city, contact Lee Chilcote, U2K Campaign Field Organizer, at 216/902-5577 or uhcan@uhcan.org.

NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS URGE LOCAL AFFILIATES TO ENDORSE

Over 20 national organizations have endorsed the U2K Campaign, and many are working hard to education their local affiliates about the need for universal health care, and urging them to endorse the U2K Campaign.  The NATIONAL COUNCIL OF CHURCHES is sending a mailing to state Councils of Churches across the country.  NATIONAL HEALTH CARE FOR THE HOMELESS COUNCIL are urging their local projects and network of affiliates to endorse at an upcoming board meeting in March.  And the AMERICAN MEDICAL STUDENT ASSOCIATION is planning to include information about joining the U2K Campaign on their email list serves, which reach medical students and local AMSA chapters across the country.

The pressure to join the U2K Campaign works from the bottom up, too.  Groups working at the state and local level can develop new relationships with groups they haven't worked with before by contacting local affiliates of national endorsers.  If you would like to link up with a local affiliate of a national group that has endorsed U2K, contact Lee Chilcote, Field Organizer at 2167/902-5577 or uhcan@uhcan.org.  Lee has lists for the following organizations: Americans for Democratic Action, Gray Panthers, Migrant Clinicians Network, National Coalition for the Homeless, National Council of Churches, National Health Care for the Homeless Council,  Universal Health Care Action Network and the Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring. 

EDUCATION HANDBOOK WINGING ITS WAY TO YOU SOON

The revised U2K Education Handbook - complete with a new layout, user-friendly, updated information, talking points for major health care issues and illustrative graphs - will be placed in the mail to you soon. The Education Handbook will prove a useful tool for education and outreach to your members and new organizations, we hope.  Look for it in the mail, and provide us with your feedback and comments.  We want to hear from you! 

U2K WEB SITE UP TO DATE

U2K Staff apologize for the delays in posting new material to our web site.  Now that we are working with a permanent web master, our web site should be updated much more frequently.  Please visit it to download the latest organizing materials or view our endorsement list at www.u2kcampaign.org 

U2K FLASH UPDATES

**Don't Be a Fool For Managed Care - NATIONAL COALITION OF MENTAL HEALTH
PROFESSIONALS AND CONSUMERS Plan Rescue Health Care Day on April 1st

The National Coalition of Mental Health Professionals and Consumers, a 1,000 plus member alliance of mental health providers and patients, are planning Rescue Health Care Day, a coordinated national day of action that seeks to raise awareness of the crisis in managed care, and promote a pro-patient health care system.  America's current for-profit managed care system is especially unjust to those seeking mental health treatment, since many health insurance plans don't offer coverage for such treatment.  Mental health providers must advocate for their patients in a system that frequently denies their ability to provide needed care.  Mental health providers and patients are important allies in the struggle for universal health care.  Many U2K activists are linking up with Rescue Health Care Day events across the country, and spreading the message that for-profit managed care isn't working, and that universal health care is the solution.  Rescue Health Care Day events across the nation offer an opportunity for U2K activists to build new and closer relationships with the mental health provider and patient community in the struggle towards universal health care.  For more information: www.rescuehealthcareday.org, email Dr. Karen Shore at NCMHPC@aol.com or call 1-888-SAY-NO-MC.  AS A SEPARATE EMAIL, YOU WILL FIND A LIST OF NATIONAL RESCUE HEALTH CARE DAY EVENTS TO ENGAGE IN. Join a Rescue Health Care Day event near you! 

**VERMONT Health Care for All Joins the U2K Steering Committee

Vermont Health Care for All, a fledgling breakaway from the Vermont Consumers Campaign for Health, is building a grassroots base across Vermont to take on the U2K Campaign as one of its major issues.  The Vermont Consumers Campaign for Health has grabbed a hold of the prescription drugs issue and run with it - making Vermont potentially the first state to pass a bill regulating the runaway prices of prescription medications.  Vermont Health Care for All is working closely with these advocates to raise the issue of fundamental health care reform, too.  "The U2K Campaign might help us to hone our focus, and to grow our organization," says Ethan Parke of Vermont Health Care for All.  Current Physicians for a National Health Program President Dr. Deborah Richter is also a member of VT Health Care for All, and plans to represent the organization on the U2K Campaign Steering Committee.  For more information contact Ethan Parke at eparke@vhcb.state.vt.us or 802/828-5066.

**Health Action NEW MEXICO Begins Organizing Efforts Around U2K

The U2K Campaign has taken root in New Mexico.  Health Action New Mexico are beginning to think of ways to tie the U2K Campaign into the work they're already doing around specific policy issues and incremental reform.  "We feel we have a lot of work to do just to educate our membership about the need for universal health care," writes Pat Bartels of Health Action New Mexico.  At present, the group has been working on managed care accountability (creating an ombudsman's office and holding public forums for consumer input on Medicaid managed care), non-profit hospital conversions and a Mental Health Parity Bill passed in 1998.  "We will continue to work on regulatory issues but wish to broaden our role in educating about universal health care and health care as a right," says Bartels.  For more information, contact Pat Bartels, Director at pbartels@flash.net or 505/342-8081.

**Michigan Universal Health Care Action Network Builds Broadly - and Plans
Forum on Universal Health Care on April 8

The statewide Michigan Universal Health Care Action Network (MichUHCAN) is planning a forum, "Universal Health Care: If Not Now, When?" on Saturday, April 8th.  They are inviting health care justice activists from across the state to attend, and Dr. Claudia Fagan, an well-known expert on the Canadian health system, will speak.  Lee Chilcote, the U2K Field Organizer, will give a presentation offering hands-on tools for engagement, as well as a perspective on organizing work taking place across the country.  MichUHCAN is among the leaders of the U2K Campaign, having brought on a diverse array of endorsers in their state.  Recent Michigan endorsers include a the Oakland County NAACP and the Friends of Oakland County Welfare Rights League, organizations that work to significantly broaden the base of U2K endorsers in Michigan.  For more information contact Marge Mitchell at 248/477-7911 or mjmitchell@ameritech.net 

**Gray Panthers of SEATTLE Join U2K, Bring New State on Board

The Gray Panthers of Seattle recently endorsed U2K, bringing the number of states where the U2K Campaign is active up to a total of 27. For information contact Hans Bodleander, Convener, at hansbod@aol.com or 206/328-1674. 

**AMSA Holds Rally for Universal Health Care at National Conference  The American Medical Student Association held a rally on the capitol steps on March 16th, called "Speak Up, America! Health Care is our Right!" The rally shows the national medical student community taking a leading role in advocating for a just and equitable health care system.  Anticipating that over 1,000 medical students, activists, physicians, community leaders and members of Congress would participate, the focus will be on lobbying representatives in Congress to promote universal health care.  Specifically, AMSA is supporting a bill that will be introduced by Rep. John Tierney (D - MA).  For more information, contact Simon Ahtoridis, Legislative Affairs Director, at 703/620-6600 ext. 211, or visit their web site at www.amsa.org 

UPDATE:  FAITH COMMUNITIES AND U2K

The first edition of the Faith Communities section of the U2K web site is on its way to the webmaster for posting.  Campaign participants are asked to help build the site by sending additional information on to Faith Communities Coordinator, Linda Walling, at U2Kwalling@aol.com or 216/902-5577.  The types of materials Linda wants to include on the web site include:

* Health care related theological statements from the various faith traditions 

* Public policy statements, board resolutions, etc. from faith groups about  health care reform

* Study materials used to educate members of faith communities about healthcare issues

* Worship materials which help place health care concerns within the faith perspective

* Any miscellaneous materials found to be useful by faith groups in their health care reform efforts
 
CONTACT US (Let us know what you are doing in your state or region.)

Rachel Rosen DeGolia, Campaign Coordinator
Lee Chilcote, Field Organizer
U2K Campaign
2800 Euclid Ave., Suite 520, Cleveland OH 44115
Phone: 216/902-5577 * Fax: 216/241-8423
Email: <uhcan@uhcan.org>
Web Site: http://www.u2kcampaign.org

Linda Walling, Faith Outreach Coordinator
U2K Campaign
15905 Fernway Rd.
Shaker Hts. OH 44120
Phone: 216/751-2440
U2kwalling@aol.com

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