I was one of the Baucus 8 in Tuesday’s demonstration at the Senate Finance Committee Round Table on health care. It was a meaningful and empowering action to be a part of, and I am awed and humbled by the response from single-payer supporters around the country.
Hundreds of people have written and donated to Healthcare-NOW! to thank the group for standing up for the single-payer supporters in this nation. We were proud to represent you in a direct confrontation with the Senate and Chairman Max Baucus about their exclusion of the only health reform that is truly universal and guaranteed to contain costs.
I said, “We want a seat for single-payer at the table.”
Baucus responded, “We want more police.”
All 8 were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct/disrupting a congressional hearing. We will meet again for our arraignment on May 26th.
We have had coverage in main stream media outlets. I was interviewed for NPR’s Morning Edition this morning. We were featured in the Wall Street Journal online and MSNBC News.
As one of the “Baucus 8,” Dr. Margaret Flowers, PNHP Maryland, will be on the Ed Show tonight at 6pm EST on MSNBC. She will be the leading story! Ed Shultz reported on his radio show earlier today that it is because of all of the emails from people urging him to cover the story. Thank you!!
While waiting to be handcuffed in the halls of Congress, a Senate Finance Committee staffer thanked us for our demonstration. He told us he thought we did the right thing.
We must keep this momentum going.
My roommate teaches 7th grade social studies. I spoke to her class several months ago about Healthcare-NOW! and a single-payer national health care system. They were amazingly receptive to the message. Yesterday, when they were told that the Health Care Crisis Lady (the nick name they have since given me) was arrested for standing up for health care as a human right, they cheered. They are 13 and 14 years old. They get it. And so does a majority of the people in this country.
We can’t leave this mess to another generation. The injustice must end. And we need to make sure that the rest of our communities and our nation understand the power of our message. With your work and advocacy for single-payer national health care, we can. We must grow our coalitions and think of new ways to reach people with our message and communicate that to our elected officials.
One immediate action you can take now is to call the Senate Finance Committee and ask them to include Marcia Angell, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, in Boston, Massachusetts and former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine. Physicians for a National Health Program recommends her as a wonderful advocate to be included in the third and final Roundtable discussion in the Senate Finance Committee on May 12th. (202) 224-4515
We need everyone to get involved with making our voices heard for the health care this country desperately needs. The first step towards implementing civil disobedience was taken this week. Many people think we need to continue this tradition in smart, organized and nonviolent ways.
Now is the time to amp up the education, advocacy and agitation of our mission. Now is so important. Thank you for everything you do. Thank you for your amazing support. And deepest thanks to the 7 other courageous activists who put themselves on the line for health care justice.
The next steps for the Baucus 8 is arraignment on May 26th in Washington DC. We hope to pack the room with single-payer supporters. Stay tuned for details.
Much admiration for all you do for the single-payer movement,
Assistant National Coordinator