Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Health Care Action Memo

A Titanic Battle

The lines have been drawn in the sand in the battle for health care. At stake are the lives of 50 million uninsured and countless under insured. The Republican right-wing says they hope to bring the Obama administration down on this issue. Standing with the Republican right-wing are the AMA and the insurance and pharmaceutical companies which oppose any kind of expansion of Medicaid or other public health coverage. On the other side are a broad array of labor, peoples, faith based, small business and service organizations who have come together in historic coalition efforts most notably the Health Care for America Now.

The many-years fight for government-provided single-payer health care represents the most advanced demand. The proposal for a "public option" which health consumers could choose instead of a private insurance company plan has the support of the Obama administration. The Congressional Progressive Caucus has issued a guideline for a strong public option that would be government-run, cover everyone, and start right away. Republicans and many conservative Democrats in Congress refuse to consider single-payer. They are attempting to dilute any public option by stalling it for several years ("trigger") or taxing health care benefits.

If the battle for health care reform fails, it will be that much harder to win the Employee Free Choice Act which is being opposed by the corporations of every major industry because it would change the political balance of forces by making it more possible for workers to organize into unions and negotiate their first contracts.

Timeline and Action

Building up the broadest, largest coalition effort for public health care is the task of the moment. Bills are now being drafted by the Senate and the House. Each body is expected to vote on its bills by the end of July. Health care reform is on a fast track. Now is the time to make a difference in the outcome.

On Thursday June 25 while Congress is in session, Health Care for America Now is organizing a huge rally and lobby day for health care reform including for a strong public option. Buses are being organized by unions and local HCAN coalitions from the East coast and mid-west. To sign-up from your area and to help build the movement go to www.healthcareforamericanow.org. Pass the word to family, friends, co-workers and neighbors.

On Saturday June 27, Oragnizing for America has called for a national service day of action for health care. To sign-up from your area visit the health care action center at www.barackobama.org.

Many other actions are being organized including by Healthcare Not Warfare, Health Care Now and by local groups.

The door is wide open to get involved at the grass roots, join in with local union organizations, community organizations, student groups and health care coalitions. Congress and Obama need to hear from all of us.

Bring along the People's Weekly World to share, and pass along articles from the daily on-line. There is great coverage in every edition.

In the coming weeks, this fight is at the top of the agenda.

-- Communist Party USA

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