While many celebrate the passage of the health bill, Healthcare-NOW! remains committed to building the movement for the health care we need in an expanded and improved Medicare-for-all system.
The new health bill closely resembles the legislation written by Liz Fowler, former Vice President of Public Policy for Well Point, one of the nation’s largest health insurance companies, as she served as Senator Max Baucus’ chief Health Aide in 2009. Unfortunately, this bill tweaks the same failing non-system of health care in the United States and further entrenches the for-profit private health insurance, drug, and hospital industries diverting to them the resources needed to achieve high quality, universal, comprehensive health care.
While some of the holes in the barrel have been plugged, many of the same problems that we currently face in the nation’s health care crisis will persist and grow: huge numbers of uninsured people, denials of needed care, deaths due to lack of care, bankruptcies by those who have insurance due to inadequate coverage, and the waste of a third of our health care dollars on things other than health care to prop up the private health insurance industry and the world’s most expensive health care system.
Our movement’s fate is fully in the hands of the activists on the ground to continue pushing for the health care we need. As advocates for improved Medicare for all, we must use the movement building tactics that will allow us to lead our elected officials to the solution, not expect it to work the other way around.
Let’s look to the social movements of our nation’s history to remember what we must do to keep fighting. We are building a movement for the health care we need based on equality and fairness. Fire doesn’t burn from the top down, but from the bottom up. We do not have to negotiate or compromise, but rather create a movement that is confident, educated, and action-oriented that is ready to do the hard work of advocating for the needs of our people to be met and getting others to join us.
Many folks who share the same principles of the national single-payer movement have identified the public option as a worthy goal to fight for in a path to universal health care, and we admire the courage and tenacity with which that campaign was led. We hope that those who supported the public option will join with us to build a renewed movement for truly universal, publicly funded health care. A movement that learns from the past and doesn’t start out by negotiating against itself or allowing our less than visionary politicians to define our agenda. The enemies of our ideas are the same, and they will fight us just the same. Let’s go to battle for what we truly want and need.
Moving forward, there will be many committed activists that continue to work on the state campaigns for single-payer health care, and we applaud their efforts. Healthcare-NOW! remains committed to seeing a high quality health care system for all people in this country that ends the disparities faced by communities of color and women, protects Medicare, allows providers to deliver care without the interference of private insurance companies from coast to coast, from womb to tomb, everybody in and nobody left out.
We also celebrate the work being done by people in the equality movement demanding equal rights in all matters of civil law for all people. Healthcare-NOW!’s principles are closely linked as we move forward for health care based on equality and justice. Passing an improved Medicare for all system would be the strongest response to the “tea party” whose leaders cynically use racism and fear to control a movement largely made up of people who are deeply affected by a healthcare system that fails them.
Let us be unified in our support for our goal, and remain uncompromised in our positions so that we will win an improved and expanded Medicare for all system sooner rather than later. Join us!
Healthcare-NOW!, a 501c4 national organization of 50,000 supporters for expanded and improved Medicare for All, has opposed the current model of health reform since its annual meeting in the fall of 2009 and remains committed to building the movement for the right to health in the United States. Join us at www.healthcare-now.org.