HEALTH CARE JUSTICE NOW: U2K UPDATE
Newsletter of the Universal Health Care 2000 Campaign (U2K)
July 15, 2000 (Issue no. 12)
IN THIS ISSUE:
1. U2K Builds Strength to Ask Candidates: Do
You Support Universal Health Care?
2. U2K Activists Meeting with Universal
Health Care Task Force on Capitol Hill
3. Updates: U2K State and National Endorsers
4. Faith Groups Called to Help Educate for Health Care
5. How to Work with Providers and Public
Health Groups in Your Community
6. Contact Us
The U2K Campaign was founded in October 1999 by the Universal Health Care Action
Network (UHCAN!), the Gray Panthers and the National Council of Churches (NCC).
Since then, the U2K Campaign has grown to include over 350 endorsing
organizations, and thousands of individuals. The goal of the U2K Campaign
is to achieve, through a democratic process, a national guarantee of
comprehensive, affordable, accessible, quality and publicly accountable health
care for all. In its first year, the U2K Campaign seeks to build a strong,
broad base of support for the issue of universal health care, and to raise this
as a major issue in the upcoming 2000 elections. If you are receiving this
newsletter for the first time and your organization has not yet endorsed the
campaign, we hope you will join us in building a nationwide, grassroots movement
for universal health care.
Health Care Justice NOW is a bi-monthly fax/email newsletter. It aims to keep
endorsers and supporters of the Universal Health Care 2000 Campaign
informed and engaged. Health Care Justice NOW is also an outreach tool, so
please distribute it widely, and encourage other groups to subscribe through
contacting us. There are over 1200 individuals and organizations that
subscribe to Health Care Justice NOW. (To unsubscribe, email us at email@example.com.)
Past issues of the newsletter (as well as basic U2K Campaign materials) are
available at www.u2kcampaign.org.
1. U2K BUILDS STRENGTH TO ASK CANDIDATES: DO
YOU SUPPORT UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE?
U2K Campaign leaders and activists held a successful strategy meeting in
Washington DC on June 13. Representatives from 12 states and over a dozen
national organizations, including the National Council of Churches, the Gray
Panthers, the Universal Health Care Action Network, Families USA, USAction,
Summit Health Coalition, the National Coalition of Mental Health Professionals
and Consumers, Public Campaign, the National Medical Association, the United
Church of Christ and the Catholic Health Association were present.
The meeting helped to build consensus around the strategy that the campaign
should spend now until Labor Day developing a strong and broad base of
organizations committed to universal health care. A goal was also set of
helping U2K State Coordinators link up with affiliates of national endorsers
(see article below) and linking U2K to other health care justice struggles, such
as prescription drug coverage and patients¹ rights.
From Labor Day until Election Day, the U2K Campaign will encourage groups across
the country to plan activities to engage candidates for Congressional and state
offices on the issue of universal health care. In Illinois, for example,
the Campaign for Better Health Care has launched the Illinois Universal Health
Care Campaign, or IU2K, and will hold candidate forums in every state and
The U2K Campaign will develop materials to assist activists in candidate
engagement, including candidate questions, a candidate pledge, information about
participation in the Universal Health Care Week (see below), on how to
information for candidate engagement, materials for a postcard campaign and
religious community study materials. The U2K Campaign Elections Handbook
will be available by Labor Day 2000.
2. U2K Activists Meet With Universal Health
Care Task Force on Capitol Hill
On June 14, a dozen U2K leaders attended a meeting with aides from the offices
of 16 Congresspeople participating in the new Congressional Universal Health
Care Task Force. Congressional aides were present from the offices of
Representatives John Conyers (D, MI), Sheila Jackson Lee (D, TX), Bernie Sanders
(I, VT), Janice Shakowsky (D, IL), Patrick Kennedy (D, RI), Maxine Waters (D,
CA), Jesse Jackson (D, IL), Henry Waxman (D, CA), John Tierney (D, MA), Robert
Wexler (D, FL), Michael Forbes (D, NY), Jerry Kleczka (D, WI), Gregory Meeks (D,
NY), Eva Clayton (D, NC), Barbara Lee (D, CA), Bobby Scott (D, VA), Carolyn
McCarthy (D, NY) and Earl Hilliard (D, AL). U2K Campaign Coordinators will
set up a liaison group with the task force to distribute legislative alerts on
health care issues in Congress, communicate with constituents and raise the
issue of universal health care with the public and elected officials. For
info about the liaison group, contact Mark Hannay, Metro NY Health Care for All
Campaign (212/964-3534, <firstname.lastname@example.org>).
For info about the task force, contact Joel Segal, health aide with Rep. John
Conyers (D, MI) (email@example.com,
3. U2K UPDATE: STATE AND NATIONAL ENDORSERS, AND
MO * Missourians for Single Payer Health Care (MoSP) and other groups recently
joined with Public Citizen in fighting for affordable prescription drug
coverage. Activists demanded to know whether Senator Ashcroft (R, MO), who
has balked at lowering drug prices, supports affordable prescription drug
coverage for seniors. "We presented Ashcroft¹s chief of staff with a
big pink styrofoam pill," says Anne Steele, MoSP Chair, "and told him
he was offering us a placebo, instead of the real thing. We were promised
a meeting." So far, Ashcroft has not followed through, so Missouri
activists are turning up the heat. MoSP are also planning two candidate
forums on health issues in the fall.
MS * The Mississippi Human Services Coalition has been hard at work. The
Coalition is developing better outreach to enroll kids in the Children¹s Health
Insurance Program, and advocating that Mississippi¹s share of the tobacco
settlement money be used to expand Medicaid coverage for working families.
They are also working to enable seniors to stay out of nursing homes through
providing more home and community-based services.
PA * The Ad Hoc Committee to Defend Health Care of Philadelphia is planning a
rally and march for universal health care on July 29 at the Republican
Convention. U2K activists are urged to attend. Visit the web site,
<www.phillyhealth.org> or <www.r2kphilly.org>
TN * The Tennessee Health Care Campaign has been defending and strengthening the
TennCare program, TN¹s Medicaid and Children¹s Health Insurance Program.
TennCare for Children, a project of the Campaign, is working to ensure that all
eligible children are enrolled in TennCare. Director Tony Garr says health care
advocates should fight for safeguarding and expansion of CHIP. "CHIP allows
a great deal of flexibility to the states, and there are lots of variation in
coverage," admits Garr, citing weaknesses of the program. "In
Tennessee, we are working for universal access to affordable health insurance
for all children. States have the ability to expand coverage to working
parents, and some have. The radical right wants to dismantle CHIP. Health
care advocates have the chance to work to solidify it and make it a landmark
federal program Congress won¹t touch." Contact Tony, <firstname.lastname@example.org>
TX * The Gray Panthers of Austin are planning a forum on September 9 linking the
need for campaign finance reform to the struggle for universal health care.
"You¹ll never change health care unless you change our system of campaign
finance," says Charlotte Flynn, citing the large amounts of campaign cash
that flow from the health care industry and handcuff Congresspeople to special
interests. The Gray Panthers of Austin are also working to expose the "astroturf"
scare tactics of the pharmaceutical companies, who often send out direct mail
appeals for small donations to seniors. The Gray Panthers of Austin sent out a
letter to their grassroots membership exposing these tactics and asking for
small donations not to the pharmaceutical companies but to support universal
health care. Charlotte and the group plan to approach both political
parties on the issue in the fall: "The disease afflicting our health care
system isn¹t Democrat or Republican."
WI * "We don¹t do rocking chairs or bake sales," says Marjorie Colson
of the Coalition for Wisconsin Health. ONuff said. The Coalition is
introducing a bill into their legislature that would create a cabinet to write a
plan that would provide health care for all in Wisconsin.
NATIONAL U2K ENDORSERS
* Families USA is working on several issues in the elections, including ensuring
a strong Patients¹ Bill of Rights, safeguarding and strengthening Medicare and
enacting a strong and affordable prescription drugs benefit. The Families USA
web site is an excellent source of information for health care advocates, where
recent reports are posted. Jeff Kirsch, 202/628-3030, <email@example.com>,
* Justice for All (JFA), a national disabilities advocacy organization, recently
joined the U2K Campaign. JFA distributes an informative email newsletter.
U2K encourages you to work with disabilities advocacy groups in your state.
People with disabilities face many barriers to health care, including lack of
access to comprehensive care for people with pre-existing conditions and lack of
community and home-based services for people with physical disabilities.
To join the JFA network, email <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Visit the web site at <www.jfanow.org>.
* The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the nation¹s largest health
care union (675,000 members), has been working with Senator Paul Wellstone (D,
MN) to introduce the American Health Security Plan. If enacted, the bill
would assure access to secure, affordable health care for all Americans by the
year 2005. U2K will provide more info on this bill when introduced into
Congress later this summer. Want to link up with SEIU district councils in
your state? Contact Carol Regan, Health Policy Analyst, 202/898-3200, <email@example.com>.
Or visit SEIU¹s web site at <www.seiu.org>.
* The National Coalition of Mental Health Professionals and Consumers (NCMHPC),
a coalition of over 1,000 members, is working for mental health parity, patient
protection legislation including provisions to ensure medical privacy, and
universal health care. NCMHPC is developing a tool kit to raise mental health
parity issues in the elections. For info, to receive a tool kit or link up
with mental health advocates in your state, contact 888/SAY-NO-MC, <NCMHPC@aol.com>
or visit the web site, <www.nomanagedcare.org>.
PARALLEL CAMPAIGNS & GROUPS
* The Labor Party, a national political party for working people, has chapters
in over 20 states. The Labor Party initiated the "Just Health Care
Campaign" for a single payer, Canadian-style health care system in the U.S.
Labor Party chapters are collecting signatures for a Committee of a Million, to
demonstrate that Americans support single-payer. For contacts, visit the
web site, <www.igc.apc.org/lpa>
or call the office, 202/234-5190.
* Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) provides resources on our
health care system and what¹s wrong with it. The PNHP slide show
(available as text) is a great advocacy tool. For info or to link up with
PNHP activists, 312/554-0382 or <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Or visit the web site at <www.pnhp.com>.
4. FAITH GROUPS CALLED TO EDUCATE FOR HEALTH CARE
Recognizing that understanding the crisis and its possible solutions is a key
component to the success of social reform, faith groups can take the lead in
educating for health care justice. Adult education classes, seminars,
forum events and lecture series are among the activities which could quite
naturally fall within the programmatic life of most communities of faith.
As the fall season approaches, religious groups are encouraged to plan such
events for both their own membership and for the wider community. If not able to
sponsor such events themselves, faith groups might consider making their
facilities available for such efforts led by health care justice groups.
The U2K Campaign can help provide resources for this purpose. Materials
are available to assist faith communities in their efforts to understand the
struggle for health care justice within the context of their scriptures.
Workshop outlines which deal more specifically with the current health care
crisis also are available. In addition, clergy, medical professionals, health
care justice activists and political leaders all over the country are eager to
widely spread the message about the reform that is needed.
Take the first step! Contact the leadership in your faith group today to make
plans for fall!
Faith Communities Organizing Packet Now Available
A packet of study, worship and organizing resources for faith communities is
available. Materials include Bible study and workshop outlines, tips for
working with religious leaders, recent health policy statements from religious
groups and more. Contact the office for your copy.
Worship Services to Help Highlight Universal Health Care Week
Beginning with Sabbath services on Friday, Oct. 13, and continuing through
services on Sunday, Oct. 22, communities of faith are invited to include a focus
on health care for all in their liturgies. Through acts of prayer and
proclamation, people of faith will be joined in their witness to the
immorality of our current health care system and calls to compassion and justice
found in the teachings of every faith group. To assist with this effort,
resources are available from the office.
Visit the faith communities portion of the U2K web site
or contact Faith Communities Coordinator Linda Walling for assistance in
planning your educational effort or worship service. Contact Linda at
216/751-2440 or <email@example.com>.
5. HOW TO WORK WITH PROVIDERS AND
PUBLIC HEALTH GROUPS IN YOUR COMMUNITY
You may have heard of the American Medical Student Association (AMSA), the
American Public Health Association (APHA), National Health Care for the Homeless
Council (NHCHC) and the National Coalition of Mental Health Professionals and
Consumers (NCMHPC). What do these four health care provider groups have in
common? This year, these organizations have chosen to work for universal
"Universal health care is one of the top three priorities of AMSA,"
says Josh Rising, Legislative Affairs Director with AMSA, whose 30,000 members
participate in chapters at medical schools across the country. AMSA is
also working on advocacy efforts to eliminate racial disparities in health care
and to improve medical students¹ well-being (such as reducing resident work
hours). "We¹d like to help medical students to link up with health
care justice and community groups who are involved in working for universal
health care at the grassroots level."
"When you talk about universal health care, many professionals want to know
how you would enact it," says Pat Dowds, psychologist and board member of
the National Coalition of Mental Health Professionals and Consumers.
"We¹re telling our members U2K is working to ensure that professionals
will be at the table when policy solutions are discussed." The
Coalition organized Rescue Health Care Day on April 1, a national day of action
that held events in over 30 cities calling for a nationwide debate over
alternatives to for-profit managed care. As Dowds noted, mental health
professionals often ask: Or do you support mental health parity?¹ One way to
involve health care professionals in the movement for universal health care is
to address their concerns such as the need for comprehensive mental health
care and medical privacy and point this out as an example of the need for
comprehensive universal health care.
Another way to involve professionals in the movement for universal health care
is to share their stories of struggling to provide comprehensive, affordable,
quality, accessible and publicly accountable care in a health care system in
crisis. "The need for comprehensive, affordable, quality, accessible and
publicly accountable health care for all is something I think about on a daily
basis," says Sherry Gauldin, a nurse practitioner at Project H.O.P.E. in
Camden, NJ. Sherry participated in a U2K workshop at the National Health
Care for the Homeless Council symposium in April. "As a health care
provider in Camden, one of the five poorest cities in the U.S., I am touched by
the challenges of providing health care to a largely uninsured or underinsured
community." To obtain Sherry¹s essay on providing care to people
experiencing homelessness in our unjust and piecemeal health care system,
contact the U2K office.
"The American Public Health Association has had a statement in support of
universal health care since 1966," says Phil Bongiorno, APHA¹s Director of
Grassroots Advocacy and State Affairs. APHA reiterated that support in
April 2000, when the organization voted to endorse the U2K Campaign, and
encouraged its network of public health associations across the nation to do so,
as well. To date, several state and local public health associations have
endorsed U2K. APHA is currently working to support legislation that would
provide more preventive services for individuals who lack health insurance, and
to eliminate racial and ethnic health care disparities. Additionally, a working
group is evaluating candidate proposals for universal health care according to
APHA¹s fourteen principles of universal health care, outlined on its web site
at <www.apha.org>. One way to
involve public health groups in this movement is to address their concerns
the need for greater investment in primary and preventive care, for instance
and include these in your organization¹s literature and events.
In the debate over the need for universal health care and ways to achieve it,
America¹s health care professionals must be at the table. Building a
healthy movement for universal health care depends on it.
How to Engage Health Care Professionals and Public Health Groups in Your
* Contact one of the organizations or web sites below (or the U2K office) to
link up with health care providers and public health groups in your community.
Encourage these organizations and individuals to endorse U2K.
- American Public Health Association, Phil Bongiorno, Director of
Grassroots Advocacy and State Affairs, 202/777-2515, firstname.lastname@example.org,
- American Medical Student Association, Josh Rising, Legislative Affairs
Director, 703/620-6600, email@example.com,
- National Coalition of Mental Health Professionals and Consumers,
- National Health Care for the Homeless Council, Kevin Lindamood,
Community Relations Coordinator, 410/837-5533, firstname.lastname@example.org,
- Physicians for a National Health Program, Ida Hellander, Director,
312/554-0382, email@example.com, <www.pnhp.org>
(Please note: PNHP has not endorsed the U2K Campaign.)
* Seek the involvement of health care professionals and public health groups in
your health care coalition.
* Include their concerns and issues in your organization¹s program,
publications and events.
* Co-sponsor events and initiatives.
CONTACT US (Let us know what you are doing in
your state or region.)
Rachel Rosen DeGolia, Campaign Coordinator
Lee Chilcote, Field Organizer
2800 Euclid Ave., Suite 520, Cleveland OH 44115
Phone: 216/902-5577 * Fax: 216/241-8423
Web Site: http://www.u2kcampaign.org
Linda Walling, Faith Communities Coordinator
15905 Fernway Rd.
Shaker Hts. OH 44120
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