Sunday, November 9, 2008

surveying the health care activist landscape

If and when it becomes necessary to organize against the policies of Barack Obama's administration, who exactly will be organizing that movement? In fact, who is organizing the movement for single-payer/universal health care?

I intended to leave these questions open to our multitude of readers, but actually just did a little research to try to answer these questions myself. It's crucial to start familiarizing ourselves with the activist landscape so that we can all become more involved!

First off, Healthcare-NOW! looks like an organized, strong and serious group. They're a national coalition working for single-payer health insurance. Their board of directors includes a member of Physicians for a National Health Care Program and California Nurses' Association, two of the strongest and most active organizations for single-payer. Their website boasts a huge list of local governments who have endorsed HR-676. They've got extensive list of local contacts so that you can find out who's leading the fight for single-payer in your area. Here in Chicago, it looks like ChiSPAN is aligned somewhat with Healthcare-NOW! and meets regularly.

Interestingly, both of these groups have spoken out against a group called HCAN, Health Care for America Now, which advocates a more reformist approach. HCAN's principles are reminiscent of our President-Elect's health care plan, and they have in fact earned his endorsement. They also look like a well-organized, active group. They're partnering with SEIU, one of the most progressive labor unions we have, on some aspects of the campaign, and they have a resolution that's been signed by 145 members of Congress. Their blog reflects an awareness that we must put pressure on an Obama administration.

Healthcare-NOW! happens to be having a national strategy conference in Chicago next weekend (!), so perhaps we'll have a chance to share firsthand observations about what the organization is really about.


Arvilla said...

ln, you're a rockstar. You've done research I've been meaning to do but haven't.

Nate said...

hey there -
You may already know about these, but there's also Physicians for a National Health Program and the Campaign for Better Health Care, both have offices in Chicago.
take care,