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HEALTH CARE JUSTICE NOW: U2K UPDATE

Newsletter of the Universal Health Care 2000 Campaign (U2K)

September 5, 2000 (Issue no. 15)

IN THIS ISSUE:
Introduction
Health Care Justice Week and Candidate Engagement Calendar of Activities
U2K Campaign Elections Handbook in the mail - and on the web
Contact Us

INTRODUCTION

The U2K Campaign was founded in October 1999 by the Gray Panthers, the Universal Health Care Action Network (UHCAN!) and the National Council of Churches (NCC). U2K has grow  now includes over 400 endorsing organizations, and thousands of individuals.  The goal of U2K is to achieve, through a democratic process, a national guarantee of comprehensive, affordable, 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 for endorsers and supporters. Health Care Justice NOW is also an outreach tool, so please distribute it widely, and encourage other groups to subscribe.  There are over 1200 individuals and organizations that subscribe.  (To unsubscribe, email us at uhcan@uhcan.org.)  Past issues of the newsletter (as well as basic U2K Campaign materials) are available at www.u2kcampaign.org.

1. HEALTH CARE JUSTICE WEEK and CANDIDATE ENGAGEMENT ACTIVITIES planned across the nation join the movement!

REMINDER: Please send us info about your organization's activities to raise health care justice issues during the elections.  If you would like your state's or your organization's activities featured on the web site and included in our newsletter, contact the U2K office today.  To visit the list of activities, go to <www.u2kcampaign.org/calendar.htm>

>>>ALABAMA

* Postcard/letter writing campaign
* Delegations to candidates
* Questions to candidates at public appearances

10/11 - 6:30 PM; Meeting to engage in letter-writing to candidates and to plan delegation to candidates; Church of the Reconciler, 312 18th St. N, Birmingham  CONTACT: Jessie Tehranchi, AL Arise Health Care Caucus, 205/822-5615 or <jtehranchi@mindspring.com>

"We have a real health care crisis in Alabama," says Jessie.  "Although our hospitals are some of he  top research facilities in the country, we have one of the highest rates of uninsured people in the entire nation.  Alabama needs to have a face in the U2K Campaign, and to bring it to our candidates."

>>>CONNECTICUT

* Letter writing campaign
* Workshops in Jewish faith communities during Health Care Justice Week
* Candidate delegations

"We've gotten several verbal commitments from candidates that they'll join the Congressional Universal Health Care Task Force," says Naomi.  "Now we're going to follow up and get it in writing.  In Connecticut, we've got two competitive races."  CT Call to Action has garnered endorsements from nearly one hundred individuals and organizations.  The group also developed Public Service Announcements for community radio stations, which they're happy to share with interested groups.  Naomi requests that any groups or individuals with fundraising ideas share them with her.

CONTACT: Naomi Shaiken, CT Call to Action, 203/248-0053 or
<nshaiken@snet.net>

>>>FLORIDA

* Rally for universal health care during Health Care Justice Week
* Postcard/letter writing campaign
* Participation in marches for campaign finance reform (highlighting influence of health care industry)
* Workshops with Florida Council of Churches

Eileen Jacobs was horrified when she found that Cigna, a large insurance company, cut off herself and 1,000 other retired teachers when they withdrew from Medicare.  She asked for a statement over the Cigna CEO's signature regarding why this decision was made, but "they passed that hot potato from office to office," she told U2K.  Eileen hasn't given up!

Florida Health Care for All plans to participate in several marches for campaign finance reform across the state.  They hope their participation will help make links between the need for health care for all and public financing of political campaigns.  As many health care justice activists know, the health care industry spends millions to stymie real debate on health care reform.  

The Sarasota Chapter of Health Care for All Florida has developed an innovative postcard campaign that U2K decided to include as part of its Elections Handbook.  They also have developed a simple but effective display board that can be used at public presentations and events.  For more info, contact Becky Martin at <martappr@gte.net> or 941/747-7060.

CONTACT: Eileen Jacobs, FL Health Care for All, 727/446-2897 or <eileenoneal@webtv.net>

>>>ILLINOIS

* Convening fourteen candidate forums in cooperation with the IL Council of Churches on health care issues across the state

9/6 - 7 PM; St. Gregory's Episcopal Church, Deerfield
9/12 - 7 PM; Westminster Presbyterian Church, Rockford
9/19 - 3:30 PM; First Baptist Church, Rock Island
9/26 - 7 PM; First English Lutheran Church, Peoria
10/3 - 7 PM; First Christian Church, Bloomington
10/10 - 7 PM; St. Paul United Church of Christ, Belleville
10/17 - 7 PM; Faith Temple African Methodist Episcopal Church, Springfield
10/17 - 7 PM; St. Charles Borrameo Catholic Church, Charleston
10/24 - 7 PM; St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, Carbondale

* Candidate questionnaire, with responses posted on web site
* Follow-up with candidates during Health Care Justice Week

"We are approaching candidates across the state to pledge to make universal health care a top priority," says Michelle Mascaro.  "We decided to use the same approach with both state and federal candidates, and so we're asking the state candidates to join a new state-level Universal Health Care Task Force, which we're going to help create."  The IU2K Campaign has developed a close working relationship with the IL Council of Churches, who recently sent out a letter to 6,000 churches across the state soliciting their involvement in the IU2K Campaign.  The IU2K Campaign has also developed a questionnaire that includes questions for candidates about a wide array of health care reform issues.  For a copy of the questionnaire, contact Michelle.

CONTACT: Michelle Mascaro, IL Universal Health Care 2000 Campaign (IU2K), 312/913-944  or <cbhc@enteract.com>; Stephanie Lawrence, IL Conference of Churches, 217/698-3440 or <ILCOCH@juno.com>

>>>MICHIGAN

* Public rally and march
* Health Care Justice worship services
* Post card/letter writing campaign
* Candidate delegations

9/27; Legislative luncheon with candidates for state office, with focus on Michigan legislation for universal health care

Labor Day - Participating in Labor Day Parade, table at Labor Fest

9/15; Participation in march sponsored by Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness

MichUHCAN has organized several effective "Visitation Actions" to the Michigan State Legislature.  They adapted an early U2K Pledge for candidates for their own state candidates, and have succeeded in gaining nearly 30 pledges from candidates to work for universal health care.  Additionally, three Congress people from Michigan have signed the pledge.

Over Labor Day, MichUHCAN actively participated in the Detroit Labor Day Parade, engaging the crowd by asking them to fill out postcards to send to Congress people.  On Sept. 27, MichUHCAN plans a Legislative Luncheon to recognize the members of the State Legislature that have signed the pledge. During Health Care Justice Week, MichUHCAN plans to engage local congregations and chapters of Michigan Church Women United to host a "Health Care Justice Sunday" to highlight the health care crisis and to build faith involvement in the movement for universal health care.  

CONTACT: Margie Mitchell, Michigan Universal Health Care Action Network (MichUHCAN), 248/477-7911 or <mjmitchell@ameritech.net>

>>>MISSOURI

* Candidate forums
* Questions for candidates at public appearances
* Letter writing campaign

Missourians for Single-Payer Health Care (MoSP) are currently developing plans to engage candidates for Congress through mobilizing their own membership to approach candidates and ask, "Do you support a health care plan for all Americans that's as good as Congress has?"  They are planning to hold at least one candidate forum sometime this fall.

CONTACT: Anne Steele, Missourians for Single-Payer Health Care (MoSP), 314/427-7627 or <abs4k@aol.com>

>>>NEVADA

* Public forum
* Postcard/letter writing campaign

10/14 - 10 AM; Public forum, "Quality Health Care for All Nevadans," co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Nevada; University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Humanities Bldg., Rm. 101

"The uninsured in America is a national disgrace, in a country as wealthy as we are," Ruth Mills was recently quoted in the Las Vegas Business Press, citing statistics from the U2K Education Handbook.  The health care coalition that Ruth chairs is bringing the message of universal health care to Nevadans through a public forum that will be held during Health Care Justice Week.  "There's a lot of education that we have to do in Nevada, before we can get public support for universal health care," says Ruth.

CONTACT: Ruth Mills, NV Health Care Reform Project, 702/648-8124 or <MillsR007@aol.com>

>>>NEW JERSEY

* Candidate delegations

New Jersey Health Care for All recently assembled a delegation to meet with Rep. Steve Rothman, who represents the 9th Congressional District, and asked if he would make universal health care top priority in the next legislative session.  "Although he told us that he supports universal health care," health care activist O'Brien Boldt reported, "he was hesitant to pledge to make it a priority, unless there was a Democratic victory in the house and big push towards health care for all."  Rep. Rothman told the delegation that more pressing issues faced the House of Representatives: "The Republicans are about to burn the House down, and you want to add an extension!"

Rothman's response is not atypical in an election year in which health care issues such as prescription drugs and patients' rights are at the top of the reform agenda - not universal health care.  However, NJ Health Care for All activists are looking into how they can best follow up with Rothman, including making contact with aides in his office and encouraging attendance of Congressional Universal Health Care Task Force meetings.

NJ Health Care for All is sending a survey on health care issues to Congressional and state candidates.  For a copy, contact John Glasel.

CONTACT: John Glasel, NJ Health Care for All, 201/533-0435 or <j.glasel@worldnet.att.net>

>>>NEW YORK

* Voter registration drive
* Candidate delegations

Week of 9/18 - Town hall meeting/public hearing, organized with Council of Religious Leaders of New York

9/23 - Advocacy Training Workshop for religious congregations, including planning events during Health Care Justice Week

9/26 - Day of action sponsored by Jobs with Justice; protest of effects of globalization, with a focus on the privatization of health care

Mid-October - Release of mental health community survey regarding access to and parity of mental health services, organized with the help of Rescue Health Care Day supporters

Metro New York Health Care for All is planning an array of activities this election season, from registering new voters and encouraging them to "vote for their health," to getting local congregations involved, to building relationships with the mental health professional and patient community
begun at Rescue Health Care Day on April 1.  If you would like a copy of the Advocacy Training Workshop for religious congregations prepared by Interfaith IMPACT of New York State, contact Mark Hannay.

CONTACT: Mark Hannay, Metro New York Health Care for All, 212/964-3534 or <metrohealth@igc.org>

>>>OHIO

* Candidate forum
* Postcard/letter writing campaign to gain candidate pledges
* Public rally
* Health fair
* Letters to the editor

10/15; Congregational workshops in morning and afternoon "Day of Action for Universal Health Care" publicizing candidate pledges; Pilgrim Congregational Church, Cleveland

"UHCAN Ohio is sending a letter to all candidates for our state legislature and Congress asking them to pledge to make universal health care a top priority," says Larry Bresler, Director of UHCAN Ohio.  "Since we only have one race that's really competitive, we are holding a candidate forum there [John Kasich's former seat, south of Columbus].  We will follow up with candidates we think likely to support universal health care, and invite them to make a public commitment at the Day of Action on October 15th."  The group plans to build a "Health Care Wall of Shame" educating the public and media about the health care crisis, and highlight this on October 15th.  For more info about the Day of Action strategy, contact UHCAN Ohio.

CONTACT: Athena Godet-Calageras, Universal Health Care Action Network of Ohio (UHCAN Ohio), 216/241-8422 or <uhcanoh@apk.net>

>>>RHODE ISLAND

* Delegations to candidates
* Questions to candidates at public appearances
* Street theater
* Display at health fair
* Letter-writing campaign
* Phone call campaign

10/13 - 12 PM; Press Conference at Kennedy Plaza, kick-off for "RI U2K" and Health Care Justice Week

10/17 and 10/19 - Speaking engagements and letter-writing campaigns at senior centers in Providence

10/21 - Candlelight vigil highlighting needs of the uninsured, in cooperation with a homeless advocacy group in Providence

The Coalition for Consumer Justice, who recently dubbed their organizing work around the U2K Campaign "RI U2K," is organizing a kick-off to Health Care Justice Week at Kennedy Plaza, a high-traffic area in Providence. "We're going to hold up signs that say, 'Honk for Universal Health Care,'" says Director Arline Bolvin.  "And we're going to hold this action at noon every Monday through the elections."  The Coalition recently met with several Congressional candidates, and received verbal commitments from Rep. Patrick Kennedy and Sen. Reed.  The group plans to follow up to get a written commitment, and to hold their feet to the fire after November.

CONTACT: Arline Bolvin, Coalition for Consumer Justice, 401/521-1534 or <consumerj@surfree.com>

>>>WASHINGTON

10/3 - 7 PM; Health Care Justice Speak-Out to highlight, through testimony and commentary, the need for reform of the health care system

The Just Health Care Coalition of Washington recently released a chart book highlighting the need for universal, single-payer health care.  They are working to involve more unions in the movement for universal health care in Washington, and to show rank-and-file workers why achieving a universal health care system will help them at the bargaining table.  For a copy of the chart book, contact the Just Health Care Coalition.

CONTACT: Craig Salins, Just Health Care Coalition of Washington, 206/784-9695 or <craigsalins@compuserve.com>

>>>WISCONSIN

* Candidate delegations

9/28; Public forum co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters of WI; "Health Care for All: Fitting Together the Pieces of the Health Care Puzzle"  The Coalition for Wisconsin Health recently garnered an endorsement from Wisconsin Citizen Action, and they are working on others.  Although Marjorie Colson is frustrated that universal health care isn't higher on the national agenda this election year, she does see a changed climate around health care issues in the last few years: "Some people used to talk about single-payer advocates like others talk about tree-huggers," she says.  The Coalition is holding a public forum with the League of Women Voters, and plan to highlight how health care reform issues such as prescription drugs are "a microcosm of what's really wrong with our health care system."

CONTACT: Marjorie Colson, Coalition for Wisconsin Health, 608/251-0139 or <marjie@merr.com>

2. U2K Campaign ELECTIONS HANDBOOK in the mail - and on the web!

The U2K Campaign Elections Handbook is being sent out to all U2K Campaign supporters and endorsers, and will arrive after Labor Day.  The handbook contains tools for engaging the public and candidates on the issue of universal health care, including a sample letter to candidates, candidate pledge, worship service bulletin insert, faith leader sign-on letter, and more.  You can download a copy on the web, <www.u2kcampaign.org>.


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 Communities 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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