These are some of the highlights from UHCAN’s Sept. 17, 2019 national call for health care justice leaders:
- We need bigger answers on health care! That’s the message Ady Barkan is taking to politicians and major media everywhere as he has turned his personal struggle with ALS into a powerful organizing springboard. He has put the issue of health care, especially Medicare for All, in front of more people than anyone thought possible. Liz Jaff from Ady’s “Be A Hero” organization told us that Ady is collecting and lifting up millions of stories and taking this demand to every single Democratic candidate for President right now via personal interviews he is publishing online. [
- The political power balance at this moment in history often means that to get something worthwhile passed, we have to give up something really important. How can health care activists make sure we don’t give up too much to get something useful passed on high cost drugs in this next session of Congress? That’s the question activists are wrestling with right now and one that UHCAN posed to Peter Maybarduk from Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines Program. Peter ran through a list of short-, medium- and longer term strategies. He told us we can and need to both fight for the short-term compromise measures that ease people’s pain and suffering right now AND pave the way for larger change we want in the future.
- There is a huge explosion of public support for Medicare for All, but this has also triggered a massive mobilization of the medical industrial complex to stop it. Mark Dudzic from the Labor Campaign for Single Payer described the upcoming Single Payer Strategy Conference as a movement-building event/opportunity, rather than a policy-oriented conference, to prepare for organizing up to and beyond the 2020 elections.
- Since 2016, the country has suffered an alarmingly high number of closures of independent clinics that provide abortion and other health care services. These clinics provide the majority of abortion care in the U.S. Jay Thibodeau from the Abortion Care Network described how anti-abortion legislation, financial pressures and the growth of anti-abortion extremism are all contributing to this public health crisis.
- Both Jesse Cross-Call from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and Debbie Weinstein of the Coalition on Human Needs described how Trump administration sabotage of the ACA and Medicaid has directly increased the number of Americans without insurance. In new annual Census Bureau data for 2018, the uninsured population rose by 2 million, reversing the downward trend that had prevailed since 2011.