The Newsletter of the Universal Health Care 2000 Campaign (U2K)
May 1st, 2000 (Issue no. 9)
Health Care Justice NOW is a bi-monthly fax/email service to U2K endorsers. It aims to keep U2K endorsers informed and engaged. It is also an outreach tool, so please distribute it widely, and encourage other groups to subscribe by contacting us. There are over 250 individuals that subscribe to Health Care Justice NOW. (To unsubscribe, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
PLEASE NOTE: This is a special issue of Health Care Justice NOW, including an article about the state of the campaign, and a commentary on how to build a broad and diverse movement for universal health care. This issue will also be sent to you as a print newsletter. This email copy is being sent so that you may forward it on to interested parties, and so that those only on the email list may receive the newsletter. If you wish to receive our print newsletter and are not on our mailing list, please send us your address.
State of U2K:
A Growing Movement for Universal Health Care
After kicking off the U2K Campaign in November 1999, the founding members - Gray Panthers, National Council of Churches (NCC) and Universal Health Care Action Network (UHCAN!) - launched an effort to encourage national, state and local organizations to endorse U2K. To date, nearly 300 endorsing organizations have joined the campaign - over 20 national organizations and nearly 100 statewide organizations, from over 30 states across the country, thanks to the hard work of grassroots activists. These organizations represent a broad spectrum of activists - labor, faith communities, organizations for people with disabilities, health care providers, minority groups, senior organizations and others. The faith communities are playing a vital role in the campaign, as several national and statewide faith groups (including councils of churches) have endorsed.
We know what we're up against - the deep pockets of the health care industry, that will stop at no thing to mislead the public and to buy off our politicians; elected officials who can't or won't provide the leadership necessary to enact health care for all; a public that knows we¹ve got a crisis but does not yet understand what's wrong with our corporate health care system or what can be done to bring about REAL health care reform.
We¹ve got a lot going for us, too: a broad spectrum of grassroots organizations willing to join with others to work towards universal health care; a chance to impact the pivotal 2000 elections; and a strategy - doing the politics now and getting ready for substantive policy debate next year - that can work.
Over 30 organizations have endorsed the campaign at the "Coordinator" level, meaning they agree to educate members, reach out to new organizations to join the campaign and work with others to engage candidates. Many are participating on the U2K Steering Committee, a strategic planning body that holds a monthly conference call and works to build the campaign in their states (or network of affiliates). (See page 2, "You Oughta Know," for more info.)
To help groups engage in the organizing
work of the campaign, U2K has published the Organizing
and Education Handbooks. The Organizing Handbook offers "How To's"
for outreach, coordinating and networking as well as tools for engaging
candidates. The Education Handbook provides information to help advocates
talk intelligently and forcefully about the issues.
**Contact a U2K Coordinator in your
state or a national Coordinator to connect with U2K endorsers in your state.
U2K Coordinators are responsible for educating members, reaching out to new
groups and coordinating U2K activities in their state. National groups
energize their network of local affiliates.
CT - The Connecticut Coalition for
Universal Health Care are urging organizations they work with to endorse the U2K
Campaign. Contact Dr. John Battista at 860/354-1822 or email@example.com.
IN - Citizens Action Coalition of
Indiana recently joined the Steering Committee, and are working to re-energize
the Indiana Health Care Campaign, a single-payer coalition inactive since the
mid-1990s. They hope to have at least 25 endorsing organizations by
June. Contact Julia Vaughn at 317/205-3535 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
MI - The Michigan Universal Health Care Action Network (MichUHCAN) recently held a forum on universal health care. Dr. Claudia Fegan, former President of Physicians for a National Health Plan (PNHP) and Lee Chilcote, U2K Field Organizer, spoke. MichUHCAN has developed a list of about 70 organizations that they consider "slam dunk" U2K endorsers. Twenty-six organizations and prominent individuals have joined so far, and MichUHCAN hopes to have 100 endorsers by June. Contact Marge Mitchell at 248/477-7911 or MJMitchell@ameritech.net.
MN - Minnesota COACT is using U2K to re-invigorate the Minnesota Health Care Campaign. They are planning to ask member organizations to join U2K. Contact Paula Fynboh at 612/645-3733 or email@example.com.
MO - Missourians for Single-Payer Health Care (MOSP) are building support for a single-payer bill in MO and the U2K Campaign simultaneously. They will create a committee of individuals to secure endorsements from groups in MO. There are currently 29 endorsers in Missouri. Contact Anne Steele at 314/427-7627 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
NJ - Health Care for All New Jersey are planning a large public forum on universal health care on May 6. U2K Administrative Committee members Robb Burlage (National Council of Churches) and Nick Unger (UNITE) will speak, as well as Jeanne Oterson of Hospital Professionals & Allied Employees and Anthony Mazzochi, National Organizer for the Labor Party. The organization istargeting groups for endorsement from many constituencies. Contact O¹Brien Boldt at 201/569-5721 or email@example.com.
NM - The Gray Panthers of Greater Albuquerque recently joined as Coordinators and are seeking endorsements in their state. Contact Tom Lockwood at 505/856-1835 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
NV - The Nevada Health Care Reform Project, which fought for a Patients¹ Bill of Rights in NV, is now working towards universal health care. They are urging the 52 member organizations that are a part of the Project to join U2K. Contact Ruth Mills at 702/648-8124 or MillsR007@aol.com.
NY - Metro New York Health Care for All is organizing task forces to reach out to a broad array of constituencies - faith communities, labor, health care providers, seniors and others - to join U2K. They will organize community forums on universal health care and possibly a "Register and Vote for Health Care" campaign in the fall. Thirty-four organizations have joined, and they hope to have 50 groups by June. Contact Mark Hannay at 212/964-3534 or email@example.com.
OH - The Universal Health Care Action Network of Ohio (UHCAN Ohio) is organizing a Day of Action on October 15th to demonstrate broad public support for universal health care and engage candidates for state and national races. The group is targeting key and contested races across the state. There are currently 29 U2K endorsers from Ohio, including several large labor unions. Contact Larry Bresler at 216/241-8422 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
PA - The Ad Hoc Committee to Defend Health Care of Philadelphia is organizing a rally and march for universal health care at the Republican Convention in Philadelphia on July 29th. They are working to gain U2K endorsements this spring. U2K endorsers will converge on Philadelphia to make a big splash at the event. Contact Harold Cohen at 215/242-5385 or email@example.com.
RI - The Coalition for Consumer Justice is integrating their campaign for a single-payer bill in Rhode Island with the U2K Campaign. An extraordinary example of building broadly, the Coalition has brought on constituencies such as small businesses that haven¹t traditionally been involved in health care justice movements. They have developed fact sheets about how the health care crisis affects each constituency, and match individuals and groups that "speak the same language" when planning outreach. With 28 endorsers so far, the group plans to have many more on board by June. Contact Arline Bolvin at 401/521-1534 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
TX - The Gray Panthers of Austin recently caught the attention of TV cameras at Rescue Health Care Day. They are now reaching out to organizations in their network to join the U2K Campaign. Contact Charlotte Flynn at 512/345-1869 or email@example.com.
VT - A fledgling group advocating for universal health care in Vermont and nationwide that is chaired by current Physicians for a National Health Plan President Deborah Richter, Vermont Health Care for All is holding town hall meetings and building support for U2K. For information contact Dr. Deborah Richter at 802/224-9037 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
WV - The West Virginia Citizens Health Reform Coalition is re-energizing to tackle U2K, and approaching member groups to join. Contact Gary Zuckett at 304/659-3193 or email@example.com.
National Coalition of Mental Health Professionals and Consumers - After sponsoring Rescue Health Care Day, an April 1st event to call for a national dialogue on alternatives to corporate managed care, NCMHPC has urged its network of providers and associations to join U2K. For more information contact Dr. Pat Dowds at 631/361-3662 or Pat-Dave@ix.netcom.com. Workmen¹s Circle/Arbeter Ring - After urging local WC/AR chapters to endorse U2K, Workmen¹s Circle is planning an event in June to urge national Jewish organizations to join U2K, to create a truly interfaith movement for universal health care. Contact Sandy Weinreb at 212/889-6800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
So what does this have to do with the
U2K Campaign? Lots. By building a multi-constituency, multi-class
movement, we can make possible a national dialogue about the need for universal
healt care, and ways to achieve it. Across the country, endorsers of the
U2K Campaign are building bridges between constituencies, and organizing more
broadly than ever before. Recognizing small businesses face the burden of
insurance companies¹ cost-shifting in the health care marketplace, the Rhode
Island Coalition for Consumer Justice is successfully campaigning to bring small
businesses on board. One church asked to join by the Michigan Universal
Health Care Action Network (MichUHCAN) was so eager that they sent money
collected during an adult Sunday School forum. The National Health Care
for the Homeless Council has launched the People Like Me campaign.
Homeless people and their advocates will send postcards to candidates in the
2000 elections that state, "People like me need health care," urging
candidates to take a stand on the issue of universal health care.
So in the national dialogue over the need for universal health care and ways to achieve it, let¹s make sure that the broadest spectrum of people are at the table. The U2K Campaign offers one way to build a broad movement for universal health care. Join us.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
NJ - New Jersey Faith Coordinator Chuck
Rawlings is working with New Jersey Health Care for All to gain congregational
endorsements across the state. Rev. Chuck Rawlings, T: 973/378-3037; email@example.com.
WV - The West Virginia Council of
Churches recently endorsed at the Coordinator level, and are working with the
West Virginia Citizens Health Reform Coalition to urge their member
congregations to join U2K. Rev. Nathan Wilson, T: 304/344-3141; firstname.lastname@example.org.
If an organization you work with has not yet endorsed the U2K Campaign, ask them
to do so today - send the endorsement (form enclosed) to U2K: 2800
Euclid,#520 o Cleveland OH 44115 FAX: 216/241-8423 or EMAIL: email@example.com