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HEALTH CARE JUSTICE NOW: U2K UPDATE

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 uhcan@uhcan.org.)

Table of Contents
-State of U2K
-U2K Steering Committee Grows
-National Organizations
-Commentary
-Faith Communities Update
-Contact Us

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
Y2K is over, but U2K has just begun.  While the world's financial markets may have survived the year 2000 glitch, making universal health care a national priority will take some doing.  Fortunately, the Universal Health Care 2000 Campaign, or U2K is doing something about it.  

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.

To help fuel vital and new coalitions at the local and state level, U2K has launched an effort to encourage national groups to endorse - labor, faith communities, groups for people with disabilities, minority organizations, senior groups, health care providers - and to encourage their local affiliates to get involved.  Is there a group you think should join the campaign?  Let us know, and we¹ll help you to recruit them!

The U2K Campaign is part of a growing national movement for universal health care.  In 2000, we have an opportunity to raise the issue of health care for all in the elections.  Health care reform is already a big issue for candidates, yet many are offering up piecemeal solutions that don¹t address the issue of fundamental health care reform.  You can do something about it. Our market-based health care "system" is hemorrhaging badly.  So let¹s demand more than band-aid solutions.  Let¹s talk about universal health care.

U2K STEERING COMMITTEE GROWS, PLANS FOR FUTURE

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

**Contact the U2K Campaign Coordinator in your state (listed below) for information about U2K activities, or a national organization to link up with a local or state affiliate.  

**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.

**U2K is seeking Coordinators in several states across the country.  To get involved, contact the campaign office. 

**Call or email the campaign office and we¹ll send you copies of the U2K literature.  Use these materials to educate members, organizations and candidates.

CA - Health Care for All California is urging 400 organizations in their network - including those that signed on to the recently passed State Bill 480, which will study ways to finance universal health care in California - to endorse the U2K Campaign, and 30 have joined so far.  They hope to have 100 by June.  Contact Don Bechler at 415/695-7891 or dbechler@value.net.

CO - The Colorado Gray Panthers recently joined as Coordinators and are seeking endorsements in their state.  Contact Robert Danknich at 303/343-7701 or rdanknich@aol.com.  

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  riverbnd@javanet.com.

FL - Florida Health Care for All recently secured endorsements from  the Florida Council of Senior Citizens, the Florida Council of Churches and the Green Party of Florida.  They hope to have 35 endorsers by June.  Contact Eileen Jacobs at 727/446-2897 or eileenoneal@webtv.net.

IL - The Illinois Campaign for Better Health Care has kicked off the Illinois Universal Health Care 2000 Campaign, or IU2K, to raise the issue of universal health care in statewide and national races.  They are training individuals for a speaker¹s bureau and planning candidate forums in every state and Congressional district.  Additionally, they are sending out a candidate questionnaire, and planning constituent visits based on candidate responses.  Forty organizations have already endorsed IU2K.  Contact Michelle Mascaro at 312/913-9449 or cbhc@enteract.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 jvaughn@citact.org.

MD - The Maryland Citizens Health Initiative are urging the over 500 organizations that have endorsed their statewide campaign for universal health care to endorse U2K.  The statewide campaign is a model for how to organize towards health care for all.   Contact Vinnie DeMarco at 410/235-9000 or demarco@mdinitiative.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 paula@coact.org

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 abs4k@aol.com.  

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 obboldt@carroll.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 juto@att.net

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 metrohealth@igc.org.  

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 lbresler@uhcan.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 kbatt@ccp.cc.pa.us.  

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 consumerj@surfree.com.  

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 wbillflynn@aol.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 drich70380@aol.com.  

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 gzuckett@wvwise.org.  

NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS 

National Health Care for the Homeless Council - NHCHC has launched "People Like Me," a postcard campaign in which homeless people and their advocates will urge candidates in the 2000 elections to work for universal health care.  The Policy Symposium in late April, which over 600  will attend, will feature U2K in several workshops.  Nick Unger (UNITE), a member of the U2K Administrative Committee, is the keynote speaker.  Contact Kevin Lindamood at 410/837-5533 or klindamood@hchmd.org.

American Medical Student Association - AMSA kicked off its fiftieth year anniversary by refocusing its mission on universal health care.  After bringing together 1,000 activists for a rally on the Capitol steps at their recent national conference, AMSA plans to reach out to national provider and student groups to join U2K, as well as local AMSA chapters.  Contact Simon  Ahtoridis, Legislative Affairs Director at 703/620-6600 or lad@www.amsa.org

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 member@circle.org.  

COMMENTARY

White Coats, Blue Collars: Building a Broad Movement for Universal Health Care   by Lee Chilcote, Field Organizer  "Universal health care is the Civil Rights Movement of the 21st Century," U.S. Representative John Lewis (D­GA) has said.  The metaphor is an apt one ­ for in the long struggle for health care justice for all Americans, we must unite the broadest spectrum of advocate  to build a strong and broad movement that cannot be ignored.  Theda Skocpol might as well be talking about the movement for health care justice when she defines the problem in American politics: " Big money influence; a shrinking, class-tilted electorate; and public debates dominated by professionally run advocacy groups" (The Missing Middle: Working Families and the Future of American Social Policy).  The result, she says, is that vital public programs are vulnerable to attack because, without a multi-class constituency, they lack public support.  Welfare is a good example ­ Medicaid, a means-tested, safety net program, was slashed by conservatives who pitted the poor against middle-class taxpayers.

According to Skocpol, successful public programs have at least three characteristics.  First, these programs "bring people together across lines of class, race and region."  Second, they have "been nurtured by partnerships between government and popularly rooted voluntary organizations."  Th rd, they "have had access to secure and growing sources of public funding."  Medicare is a good example.   Although it is threatened, so far, it has resisted the worst attacks because it enjoys broa  public support and ­ for now ­ stable funding.         

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.

It won¹t be easy.  Today¹s fragmented and market-driven health care system pits natural allies against one another.   Physicians wrestling with corporate health care are one example - the system forces them into competition with one another.  As reporter Hedrick Smith found in a recent episode of PBS newsmagazine Frontlines, "Instead of battling HMOs, physicians now battle each other over the issues of patient care vs. cost control.  With doctors in charge and with hospitals behaving more like corporate medicine, doctors are battling each other as never before ­ over the heart and soul of their profession."

While doctors¹ organizations such as the American Medical Association have made a strong Patients¹ Bill of Rights a priority in an election year, this offers nothing for the 44 million Americans who do not have health insurance.  Why isn¹t universal health care higher on their agenda? Fortunately, many physicians are working towards universal health care ­ and joining with a broad spectrum of activists to do it.  The American College of Physicians - American Society of Internal Medicine (ACP-ASIM) and the Catholic Health Association (CHA) have launched campaigns to make universal health care a priority in the 2000 Presidential elections.  Physicians for a National Health Plan support a single-payer system.  The American Medical Student Association (AMSA) recently held a  rally on the Capitol steps. America¹s future doctors called loudly for 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

**Build Broadly: ask an organization or constituency you¹ve never worked with before to join U2K.

**Know Your Allies: Use the U2K Education Handbook to talk about health care concerns of key U2K constituencies - labor, faith communities, disabilities groups, minority groups, seniors, health care providers. You Oughta Know is an effort to share organizing stories, and to link grassroots activists up with U2K activities in your state or part of the country.

FAITH COMMUNITIES UPDATE
by Linda Walling

It has been said that no major movement for social change has been successful in this country without the support of the faith communities. Committing themselves to sacred teachings that call fo  healing, justice and compassion, people of faith have provided the passion and the power to affect needed social change.

This time is right.  Now, the commitment is required for faith communities to mobilize in their concern for the welfare of all to work for universal health care.  The work of faith communities will be especially significant as they force elected officials to look beyond the market-driven and political influences which have tarnished the debate to date. While recognizing the diversity of religious traditions, faith groups will keep the debate focused on what is right, moral and just.  The faith community will provide leadership to help create an atmosphere of compassion and conciliation, where compromise can be achieved for the sake of the common good.
o  scriptures and worship resources related to universal health care
o  public policy resolutions adopted by various religious groups
o  the most current list of endorsements from the faith communities

Church Women United - A major player in the health care reform debate in the early 1990s, CWU  has committed to a renewed  faith role in the movement for universal health care. CWU is urging local and state chapters to join the campaign.  Tiffany Heath at 202/544-8747 or tlheath@churchwomen.org.

IL - The Illinois Conference of Churches is working closely with the Illinois Campaign for Better Health Care to gain congregational endorsements across the state.  Rev. Nancy Tegtmeier, T: 217/698-3440;  ILCOCH@juno.com.  

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; crawling@ix.netcom.com.

MO - Missouri Faith Coordinator Rev. Gloria Weber is working with Missourians for Single Payer Health Care to gain  further faith community support for U2K  in Missouri.  Rev. Weber has developed a congregational workshop about universal health care.  Rev. Gloria Weber,  T:314/892-1192 or U2K-MO@swbell.net.  

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; nathanwilson@wvcc.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: uhcan@uhcan.org

For more information: U2K Faith Communities Coordinator Linda Walling at 216/767-1586 or  u2kwalling@aol.com

To facilitate greater distribution of materials related to the U2K work of faith communities, a "print pak" of resources is available.  Hard copies of web site materials are available, as well as additional materials related to specific faith groups.

The Faith Communities Link on the U2K website <www.u2kcampaign.org/faith> has information on:
o  what people of faith are saying about universal health care
o scriptures and worship resources related to universal health care;
o public policy resolutions adopted by various religious groups;
o the most current list of endorsements from the faith communities

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Contact the faith community U2K Coordinators listed below as  resources, and to work with them in your community:

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

REQUEST TO INCLUDE NEWS about your organization's activities on behalf of U2K and health care justice to this newsletter: Send your message to <uhcan@uhcan.org>

"U2K Update" ARCHIVES: Direct your Web browser to:<http://www.u2kcampaign.org/News> to see past issues of this newsletter.

LIST PROBLEMS: Report all list concerns to uhcan@uhcan.org

 

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