HCAO Newsletter Jan 2017

Sharpening our Tools

HCAO January 2017 newsletter

We couldn't have said it better!

We must take care of our own. We must have universal health care. Just imagine the improved quality of life for our society as a whole. … With more than 40 million Americans living day to day in fear that an illness or injury will wipe out their savings or drag them into bankruptcy, how can we truly engage in the 'pursuit of happiness' as our founders intended?
--Donald Trump, in his 2000 book, The America We Deserve.

Tools for carrying out our Health Care Revolution

--by Lee Mercer, HCAO President and Mobilization Committee Chair
As we move into a playing defense as well as playing offense mode (see National Single Payer Conference article), we see the basic tools of our movement remain the same. Our defensive mode is reflected in statewide rallies Jan 15 to defend Medicaid and Medicare supported by HCAO in Portland, Corvallis, Eugene, La Grande, Medford and other cities. Our offensive mode is public education on the need for single payer with speakers, forums, film screenings, events and tabling throughout the state.

How to play offense while playing defense:
Report from the National Single-Payer Strategy Conference

--by Lee Mercer, HCAO President and Mobilization Chair
Stormy weather and U.S. political chaos couldn’t keep our Oregon delegation from joining over 500 nationwide single-payer advocates (biggest turnout ever) at the national Single-Payer Strategy Conference at the Wyndham New Yorker hotel and the AFSCME District 27 headquarters in New York City this last weekend (Jan 13-15). Organized by Labor Campaign for Single Payer Healthcare, Healthcare-NOW! and One Payer States, the timing of the energetic gathering could not have been better. Just a week before Trump’s inauguration, it gave the advocates a chance to kick off with a demonstration at the Trump Tower calling for protecting Medicare and Medicaid and demanding Improved Medicare For All. From there, the advocates joined striking chemical workers (IUE-CWA) on the picket line fighting proposed cuts to their health care by hedge fund-owned Momentive.

HCAO awarded MRG Foundation Grant

Health Care for All-Oregon was recently awarded a $15,000 general support grant from the MRG Foundation. MRG Foundation’s mission is to “inspire people to work together for justice and mobilize resources for Oregon communities as they build collective power to change the world.” We are very grateful for this generous support and look forward to carrying out some important project work in support of our mission.

Communications Committee request for volunteers

We need to build a network of social media users so that everyone is on the same page, working together to share other people's stories. If you have skills to share with Facebook, Twitter, or other social media that would be helpful to our cause, please contact Sandra Bean, HCAO Communications Chair.

Nominations and Elections Committee call for recommendations

Member organizations and local chapters will vote for HCAO officers, board and committee positions at the next annual meeting in May or June of 2017. The Nominations and Elections committee is seeking recommendations for the following positions:

Stand Together: A Day of Action Workshops

--Report by Hyung Nam, HCAO Education Chair
Hyung Nam participated in co-organizing a first of a series of workshops on organizing.  The organizers and sponsors included the many groups in the Climate Action Coalition, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, HCAO, Portland’s Resistance and many others. Even with the snow and ice, event organizers did not cancel knowing how crucial this kind of preparation will be to get people ready not only for mass mobilizations around the presidential inauguration, but for building and sustaining ongoing social movements for strategic change. The event had over 200 participants, despite the weather


Sat. Apr. 22, 2017

EAGLES LODGE, 7611 N. Exeter, in Portland.
Doors open at 5 p.m., show from 6 to midnight

“HEALING THE HEALTH CARE BLUES” with Norman Sylvester and a host of Northwest Blues Stars performing.
Food for sale, plus full-service bar, 21 and over

$20 in advance; $25 at the door (CBA members $1 discount)
Benefit for Health Care for All-Oregon

Health Care is a Human Right !

Co-sponsors—Cascade Blues Association and KBOO Community Radio
Tickets: Music Millennium, Musician’s Union, Geneva’s, Peninsula Station and ONLINE.

More information HERE or call Bob Gross, 503-235-9800

Blue States and Health Policy in a Trump Administration

by Sandra Bean, HCAO Communications Chair
Maryland’s former governor (also 2016 Democratic presidential candidate) Martin O’Malley joined Oregon’s former Governor John Kitzhaber in a discussion of how their two states’ experiences can inform efforts to provide better health care to more people for less money. The discussion took place on Friday, January 6, before an overflowing crowd at the Multnomah Athletic Club in Portland. Introduced by Dr. Sam Metz, the two governors applauded the movement in Oregon toward universal health care, for which Dr. Metz is a key advocate through his leadership in Physicians for a National Health Program-Oregon.

Save Our Health Care Rallies, Portland

Report by Chris Lowe:
A large rally in Portland on January 15 was headlined by Senators Wyden and Merkley and Representatives Blumenauer, Bonamici and Schrader, that filled a big gymnasium and overflowed outside into sub-freezing weather. The Oregonian and KPTV, the local Fox affiliate, both reported that “thousands” took part, even though the roads in Portland were treacherous with ice and compacted snow.

In an important development for HCAO, Representative Earl Blumenauer called for “looking again at single payer” in his speech.

More Save Our Health Care Rallies


Breaking news from the Oregon Health Authority
Federal officials renew health transformation in Oregon

January 13, 2017
Today the federal government approved Oregon’s federal Medicaid waiver application to continue the Oregon Health Plan—Oregon’s Medicaid program—for another five years. The Oregon Health Plan (OHP) covers over 1 million low-income Oregonians who are struggling to make ends meet. This is the largest health plan in the state and covers one in four Oregonians and almost 40 percent in some rural counties.

News from Around the State


Health Care is a Basic Human Right, not a political football

The PeaceWorker, January 15, 2017
--by Wim Laven
On May 4th 2013 I delivered the eulogy for my 33-year-old brother. I’m not sure that our political representatives understand what this feels like when they make decisions to take health care away from people.

When innocent civilians are killed for political reasons we usually consider it an act of terrorism or a crime against humanity, but, inexplicably, when political leaders make decisions that only happen to cause those deaths why is it so easy to look away? This week the process of killing countless Americans is beginning, and it is happening because humanity and political gain are not always in concert. Nothing is literally life and death more than health care.