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Like many Kossacks, I received an email today from Organizing for America asking me to sign on to President Obama's health care reform principles, and giving me an opportunity to share my story.

Like several Kossacks, I took that opportunity to speak up for single-payer universal health care. Everybody in, nobody out. This is the lifesaving prescription for our sick and broken health care system!

OFA, in addition to sending me the email from Obama, is putting together another grassroots effort to drum up support for Obama's ideas about health care reform. I took the opportunity to use that tool to organize locally for single-payer health care, and I hope you'll do so as well.

OFA doesn't seem to pay too much attention to the gatherings that are organized through their web tool as part of a day or weekend of events. That the Obama people continue to use this tool to drive his agenda is pretty cool, and very smart, but they're not the only ones who can use it to organize and drive an agenda. My personal agenda is single-payer universal health care, health care for all with everybody in and nobody out.

I went to the organizing kickoff page, where I saw the following:

Thousands of people just like you are organizing for health care reform by taking the first step of hosting a Health Care Organizing Kickoff on June 6th.

Please join them -- get started by entering your zip code to the right.

At your organizing kickoff you will:

   * Learn more about President Obama’s core principles for health care reform
   * Meet other local OFA supporters, and share personal stories related to health care issues
   * Plan a local day of service activity the weekend of June 27th
   * Make a first round of calls to tell your neighbors about the healthcare reform principles and invite them to the day of service activity. Then set aside time to make more calls at a later date

I entered my zip code and clicked the button to the right of the zip code field. It took me to the login page, where I logged in to my account and created my event. This is the description:

60% of the American people want it. Doctors and nurses and other health care professionals want it overwhelmingly. The support for single-payer universal health care is there. Single-payer means the government makes health care payments. It means you choose your own doctors, and it means everybody in and nobody out. It means doctors and providers choose how to practice medicine; bureaucrats will no longer make those choices for them.

Single-payer universal health care, cutting out the insurance companies entirely, is the only lifesaving prescription to heal our broken health care system. Let's organize and demand it! If the people lead, the leaders will follow. Join your fellow single-payer health care supporters at Moondogs Too to share stories and ideas, strategize, and organize the next steps (including a possible rally outside Norm Dicks' office around the end of June).

We are supposed to plan a day of service for the weekend of June 27. Serving our country can mean helping to make health care a reality for all her people. It's time to take action.

Obama has said repeatedly that if we want him to do something, we may have to make his do it. If we band together to demand universal single-payer health care, we can perhaps have a voice powerful enough to overcome the sound of insurance company campaign contributions in key Senators' pockets (and in this I include my own Senator Maria Cantwell, who had the opportunity to speak up when Baucus was having single-payer advocates arrested and did nothing). They may be able to arrest and/or throw out single-payer advocates from a Senate hearing, but they can't throw all of us out or arrest us all. It's going to take a mass movement to get this through.

If you believe that single-payer universal health care is the best option, or the only option, or should at least receive some consideration, then hold an organizing meeting around June 6-7 and set it up using the OFA tool. If we want our leaders to follow, we're going to have to lead en masse.

Originally posted to Kitsap River on Wed May 20, 2009 at 07:11 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips for organizing (24+ / 0-)

    Wasn't it Joe Hill who said "Don't mourn, organize". I am not mourning my loss of kidney function; I'm going to organize for universal single-payer health care so that it doesn't happen to anybody else the way for the reasons it happened to me.

    Want to be a living kidney donor? I need one from someone with a bloodtype of B or O. Drop a note at

    by Kitsap River on Wed May 20, 2009 at 07:12:58 PM PDT

  •  Bless you! (6+ / 0-)

    What's that phrase - the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing?  You're one of those who's doing something.  Thank you and good luck.

  •  Added my name (4+ / 0-)

    because it is already long past time for single payer.

    Live Free or Die-words to live by

    by ForFreedom on Wed May 20, 2009 at 07:23:39 PM PDT

  •  I'm a bit leery about this... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kitsap River, bthespoon, Pris from LA

    ... Will the effort really go toward true reform? Either single payer or a really strong public option? Or will it be used to dissipate and co opt support for reform? I'm wondering because Obama has shown scant leadership on this point up to now and might be quite happy to defuse any real pressure to do otherwise.  

    •  Leery of what? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tegrat, soms

      Of contributing?  Of trying to be heard?  I disagree that Barack has shown little leadership.  We have let the ruling class run rampant in this country since Saint Reagan told us it was for the best.  Barack is fighting not only them but the collaborator Dems tooth and nail.  I knew when I voted for him that the disappointments would be many, but he is taking positive steps, making mostly good appointments, and mostly making sense.  The fact is that as rational as single-payer seems to me, the propaganda machine has been very effective in demonizing it.  It won't be undone overnight, and Barack needs help.  I'm going to help.

      •  Leery of contributing (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kitsap River

        to those who would have us admire naked emperors.

        So far even the outline for a public option (if there is one at all) is a sham and a farce.  Helping Healthcare Now,, National or California Nurses' and/or PNHP is helping Obama (he just doesn't know it yet).  Helping build more smoke and mirrors is not.

        Who is in charge now anyway? Do you think Obama could have any power at all to offer a truth-based counter argument to the propaganda machine should he choose to do so?  He could ask surrogates to do it for him so he wouldn't have to take the heat.  He's doing neither.  He's sitting at the table with the health unsurance industry while excluding any real evidence from the hearing.  That's a sham.

  •  I shared my story (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kitsap River, wave of change, soms

    I followed the link, wrote my story, and gave some money.  I have feared and resented the for-profit medicine machine for my entire professional life.  The question I want to put to people who oppose universal care is this: are you going to be the one to bar the door at the hospital?  Are you volunteering to tell the mother of a sick child that she can't get help?  Because that's what has to be done if we accept the idea that we can't afford to give health care to all.  Some people have to be turned away.  Some people have to say no.  Not me.

    •  I followed the link but wouldn't give money (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kitsap River, tegrat

      Healthcare-Now & support a far worthier cause.

      I don't support Obama's plan.  His plan is to leave the problem in the middle of the solution while feeding it more of our tax dollars (making it even stronger, and it's a monster now).  He is supporting dishonest non-reform so we need to hold his feet to the fire on this one and force him to become the moral hero and fiscal genius that he could become if only he would stop selling us out to the moneyed interests.  (whoosh and sheesh)

      He sat at the table with the corporate interests committed to stopping honest reform and excluded people who wanted to provide evidence-based truth.  I believe history will judge him harshly if he does not seize this moment and the helm, and turn this ship around.

  •  good thinking! (5+ / 0-)

    The essence of a process like they have set up is that they can't control it from the top down - which might even be deliberate, in the most charitable estimation.  But we can take their process and use it for ends they don't necessarily intend.

  •  Fighting for single payer (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kitsap River, bthespoon, ludlow

    is a financial necessity...
    An unfathomable record has been reached.
    From CNBC

    Healthcare costs for Americans who get medical coverage through an employer hit a record $16,771 per family this year, and they are having to pay more themselves, a report released Monday showed.
    Employers trying to save money in the current recession have forced workers to take on greater portion of their healthcare costs

    And my buddy bthespoon did the math

    Fun with math (1+ / 0-)
    Our county median household income (gross not net) is $21,000/yr.  

    $16,771 is nearly 80% of $21,000.

    I tried to find out what our uninsured rate is but it seems nobody ever bothered to count.  In the year 2000 someone hired to find out guessed it was around 19%.

    by bthespoon on Wed May 20, 2009 at 01:36:08 PM CDT

    •  $16,771! No wonder there's a recession/depression (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kitsap River, bthespoon

      going on.

      Legitimate power seeks not to control others and things but to empower the  powerless Prof. Scott Bartchy, 1993

      by ludlow on Wed May 20, 2009 at 09:57:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My costs are nothing near that high but (0+ / 0-)
        still high enough so that I suspect that there are a lot more people like me who would not be helped by ANY "option", with an "equal palying field" because even if there were subsidies on the premiums (I would not be optimistic, as they go to the poorest first, Senators staff were telling me that- Also, I dont have any children and I'm still under 55)

        The equal playing field means expensive copays, just like the private insurers, to prevent overutilization, they say..

        THEN the copays would have to be just as unaffordable.

        To be able to afford healthcare, we need healthcare to be free

        Unaffordable Public Option is being crafted to please the insurance companies, and kill UHC, NOT help us.

        by Andiamo on Fri May 22, 2009 at 07:17:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I'm an outlier, but... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Charles CurtisStanley, Andiamo

      Health care costs for our family of two are pretty steep. We pay something on the order of $500 a month in prescription co-pays alone. Then there are the deductibles, co-insurance, premiums for my coverage via my partner's employer, Medicare premiums, dental care, etc., and it all adds up to many thousands of dollars. I make it to be something on the order of $14,880 without premiums paid to my partner's employer! I don't know what my premiums are but will guesstimate $300 a month, for an additional $3600 and a total of $18,480 without even including my dental care. Is it any wonder we are continually treading water?

      I don't know that we will end up paying all of that out. Chances are good that we will cut down on care, especially the out-of-network care by my amazing GP, and save most of $4500 that way.

      But as I said, I'm an outlier. The insurance company is paying $108,770 for my dialysis alone.

      Want to be a living kidney donor? I need one from someone with a bloodtype of B or O. Drop a note at

      by Kitsap River on Thu May 21, 2009 at 10:56:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Don't forget workers' compensation insurance (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kitsap River

        about half of that cost goes to health care, and then there are health care liability costs for automobile, home owner's and business insurance as well.  Also we should add a portion for what we're paying to cover others such as government employees, etc.

  •  Wonderful!!!.... (4+ / 0-)

    What a great way to let the internet start a grassroots movement.

    Please report back and let us know how it went.

    I am organizing a precinct walk in my neighborhood with a followup meeting to Q&A about single payer in CA and the national. We also have a local plan in San Francisco.

  •  Kitsap River (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kitsap River, tegrat, bthespoon

    I did as you said, but before I set up a house party I checked who was holding a house party in the area.  Needless to say, the parties for health care reform are all being run by regular DLC Democrats who are spouting the Party line - the Obama Plan - more private insurance company involvement.

    Could use please post the zipcode or State where you are holding your health care party?  I am curious how your "neighbors" have responded to your single payer universal health care meeting description.

    Yesterday, I addressed my union local's membership asking them to vote in favor of petitioning our Congress people to support HR 676 - the John Conyers Universal Healthcare Plan.  Of course, only 3 people out of a crowd of 50 even knew that there was a Universal Health Care Plan in Congress.  Unfortunately, 2 of the losers in the audience got the proposal tabled (because they need to study the issue) until the next union meeting.  I will distribute a lot more materials next meeting to  convince membership to vote in favor.

    Here's the Physicians for a National Health Program's Union endorsement webpage:

    •  Sure! (3+ / 0-)

      Washington state, zip code 98366. This is a very swing district, but of the Democrats, quite a few are really progressive. Our LD Democrats chair is an out and out socialist and will tell you so himself. I'm the Kitsap Vice-Chair for the 26th LD Democrats and a member of the executive board of the Kitsap County Democrats. America in Solidarity is headquartered in Tacoma and is very active in our district; its founder comes to our meetings all the time. They're organizing a big health care rally in Tacoma on May 30th. There's at least one, possibly two in Seattle scheduled for the same date. We single-payer advocates are not organized enough here in this state, but it looks like we are getting there.

      Want to be a living kidney donor? I need one from someone with a bloodtype of B or O. Drop a note at

      by Kitsap River on Thu May 21, 2009 at 11:01:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  went to the actual OFA event in my town (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kitsap River, bthespoon

    they separated us into "neighborhood" tables of about ten participants.  Everyone at my table, even the "captain" (or whatever they called them, I forget) was upset about the fact that single-payer was being excluded from the conversation.  Every table (of about 8) save one sounded off strongly in favor of single-payer (the one that didn't sounded off strongly about the "public option").  Our basic message back to OFA (which is funded through the DNC) was that this needs to be a grassroots-up organization, not top-down which was the general consensus of the room.  I give them kudos for organizing and leadership skills, however.  Our table will continue to participate with a kind of "wait and see" attitude, using the tools to promote single-payer as the diarist suggests.  The facilitator didn't seem to have a problem with that.

    •  Why did they vote for Obama then? (0+ / 0-)
      was it just because he was black?

      Unaffordable Public Option is being crafted to please the insurance companies, and kill UHC, NOT help us.

      by Andiamo on Fri May 22, 2009 at 07:19:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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