Tuesday, June 30, 2009

What Do We Want? Health Care Now!

Health care activists from around the country gathered near the U.S. Capitol for a June 25 rally.

Our local campaign to win affordable, quality health care for all is still going strong. Last week, dozens of New Hampshire activists -- including many familiar faces from the Greater Seacoast area -- traveled to Washington DC for a national day of advocacy and action for real health care reform.

On Thursday, June 25, members of the NH delegation kicked off the big day with a breakfast meeting with Senator Jeanne Shaheen and senior policy staff from the offices of Carol Shea-Porter and Paul Hodes. We learned that New Hampshire's Congressional Democrats are firm in their support for a public plan option as a key component of legislation to reduce skyrocketing health care costs and guarantee that every American has access to affordable, quality care when they need it.

After the morning meeting, we joined a Capitol Hill rally with thousands of fired-up health care voters from across the U.S., followed by a high-spirited march to the nearby offices of Republican National Senatorial Committee. In the afternoon, a small contingent of NH activists visited the DC office of Judd Gregg to deliver a message urging the Senator to listen to his constituents instead of well-paid lobbyists from big pharmaceutical companies and the private health insurance industry. In short, it was a fantastic, purposeful day, and Granite Staters who made the long bus ride were glad they came.

This summer, watch for a series of Seacoast region events and actions to support President Obama's priorities for health care reform. Seacoast for Change will be partnering with the NH for Health Care/Change That Works campaign and Organizing for America on a number of local actions in the coming weeks. Yes, we can make a difference -- and there are many ways to get involved:
  • Join us for a health care house meeting or volunteer to help with a Change That Works/Seacoast for Change/Organizing for America event or action. Email seacoastforchange@gmail.com for more information.
  • Have you sent a handwritten card or note to thank Jeanne Shaheen for supporting the public plan option? If not, please do it today -- it only takes five minutes. (Send USPS mail to any one of Senator Shaheen's NH offices for timely reading -- you can find the addresses here.)
  • Write a Letter to the Editor on why NH businesses and families can't wait for real health care reform that includes the public health insurance option.
  • Reach out to your friends and neighbors. If you're able to make calls to invite other health care supporters to upcoming events, we can provide call lists and scripts for you if you'd like to organize a phone bank or make calls from home.
Political pundits on the left and right are already speculating that the outcome of this year's battle for health care reform will make or break the legacy of the Obama presidency as a transformative era -- and that a failure to push through a meaningful fix for our broken health care system will signal the powerlessness and futility of the organized progressive movement in the United States.

We worked hard last year to get Barack Obama elected. We need to work just as hard this year to make the change we believe in a reality. We can't wait -- and we cannot afford to sit this one out and expect the right thing to happen. Please pick one health care action you can take today, tomorrow, or this week, and follow through.

Follow up on Hampton Democrats Health Care Forum:

On Thursday, June 18, Hampton Democrats sponsored a non-partisan community forum on health care reform featuring a panel of experts on health care administration, community health needs, and health care policy. From all accounts, it was an extremely well organized and informative event. Segments of the panel presentations and discussion can be viewed on YouTube; a report on the forum was also featured in a June 25 cover story for the Portsmouth Wire newspaper. The Health Care Forum was the second in an ongoing series of public policy forums organized by the Hampton Democratic Town Committee.