Report Back from Healthcare NOW!’s Strategy Conference in Philadelphia on November 13 and 14, 2010
Healthcare-NOW! members renew support for national single-payer health care to make health care a right for all, start plans for divestiture campaign from private health insurance, and urge support for advanced state single-payer movements in Vermont and California.
(Philadelphia, PA) Last weekend, 130 single-payer activists representing 24 states, Canada, and Washington DC, gathered in Philadelphia for Healthcare NOW!’s annual strategy conference. Participants were tasked with identifying the way forward for the grassroots movement for single-payer health care through a democratic, bottom-up model of decision making.
Healthcare NOW! represents a broad constituency of people engaged in the struggle to win guaranteed health care for all people with no financial or other barriers. Participants at the conference included social workers, nurses, doctors, patients, the insured, uninsured, and underinsured, people of faith, and medical professionals –folks on the front lines of the healthcare crisis – who are working at both the state and national level to win single-payer payer health care.
Launched in 2004 by founder and visionary Marilyn Clement, Healthcare-NOW! has grown to 54,000 supporters nationwide. With the continued passion of the grassroots movement as on display in Philadelphia, we will continue to grow and win.
The conference was facilitated by Laurie Wen, Healthcare NOW! NYC, and Don Bechler, Single Payer NOW, California.
Activists renewed support for the movement for single-payer national health care, and legislation HR 676. Excitement about advanced state efforts inspired many in the room. Vermont and California are gearing up for serious campaigns to push for passage of single-payer legislation on the state level. Support for these advanced efforts was affirmed as a way to build the movement for a national single-payer health care system.
The agenda was packed with plenary panels focusing on the new health law and its failure to solve the health and economic crisis, the recent PASNAP strike in Philadelphia, organizing in communities of faith, the history of fighting for universal health care, as well as workshops on the Win-Win Campaign for Healthy Cities, Health Care is a Human Right, Outreach and Base Building, Speaker Trainings, Technical Support, and State Strategies.
Decision making was done in the break out groups. 6 fronts of the struggle were identified as themes for the break out groups:
1) Deficit Commission/National Legislation
2) State Strategies
3) Challenging Corporate Power
5) Outreach/Base Building
Facilitators were tasked with reaching consensus on recommendations from each break out group so that several refined recommendations were made to the larger group. It is a great achievement to capture the energy and ideas in the movement for the way forward to make health care a right for all. The recommendations from break-out groups are summarized here.
This past weekend represented a success for democracy, grassroots organizing, and the renewed commitment that winning the right to health care in this country is both necessary and possible.
Special thanks to all of the leaders of the workshops, panels, break out groups, and program sponsors featured in the conference program book.
Every attendee received a packet containing new resources including information on how to affiliate with Healthcare NOW! and receive tech support, the new OUTREACH GUIDE, and the NEW IMPROVED MEDICARE FOR ALL BOOKLET (coming soon).
Comments are welcome on the revised booklet as we work to develop useful resources for activists. We welcome you to download and distribute or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to order more.
Couldn’t make the conference? You can watch each of the plenaries and panels online.
Yours in the struggle,