To the Barricades, Feb newsletter

To The Barricades!

President's Report:
Join new volunteers rushing to the barricades!

by Lee Mercer, HCAO president

As Health Care for All-Oregon chapters and advocates around the state join thousands of other activists at rallies, town halls and events defending Medicare and Medicaid, immigrants, LGBTQ and workers’ rights, the environment and economic justice, clipboards are being filled with new HCAO supporters, and volunteers are rushing to the barricades in the campaign for universal publicly funded health care, with some results.

Congressman Blumenauer joins colleagues in introducing
Legislation to Establish a Single-Payer Health Care System

Press Release: January 24, 2017

Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Blumenauer (OR-03) joined Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13) to introduce H.R. 676, the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, legislation to establish a single-payer health care system.

HCAO activists to meet with Blumenauer staff

Jim Robison, President of HCAO-Action, has arranged a meeting with Rep. Blumenauer's staff on Feb. 22 to update them on HCAO legislative work in Oregon. Robison will be accompanied by  a small group of HCAO activists, including Charlie Swanson, Chair of the Legislative Committee, and a few of Blumenauer's constituents who are active in HCAO, like Debby Schwartz, Benjamin Gerritz and possibly a few others.

Protecting Medicaid/Medicare from attacks

by Lisa Stiller, HCAO Medicaid/Medicare Advocacy Committee chair

The new Medicaid/Medicare advocacy group that was recently formed as a subcommittee of the Mobilization committee met in January for the first time. The committee came together out of deep concerns about cuts in Medicaid and Medicare that may be implemented by the Trump administration. Block grants for Medicaid have been suggested (meaning a sharp cut-back in available funds), as well as health care savings accounts (great if you have the money to put into such a savings account), and privatization of Medicare (again, a cut back in available funding; privatization costs money). 

HCAO selects Larry Symonds as Fundraising Manager

by Sandra Bean, HCAO Communication Committee Chair

Health Care for All-Oregon is happy to announce the hiring of Lawrence Symonds as our first Fundraising Manager. Larry is a dynamic, results-oriented business development and relationship management professional with a sterling record. He is a graduate of the University of Washington and the University of Washington School of Law. After more than 25 years building and managing successful businesses, he embarked on a career in nonprofit fundraising and returned to his home state of Oregon to bring his knowledge, skills, and experience to help steward the success of important community organizations. Capitalizing on his years of estate, financial, and wealth management experience, coupled with decades of nonprofit experience, Larry created a successful consulting business focused on the fundraising needs of small and mid-sized community nonprofit organizations. Most recently, he helped lead a successful capital campaign for the Boys and Girls Club of Corvallis, exceeding their goal four months ahead of the April target date.

Now is the Time film tour proposes a timely replacement for Obamacare

by Sandra Bean, HCAO Communications chair

When former Oregon-resident filmmakers Laurie Simons and Terry Sterrenberg began shooting Now is the Time- Healthcare for Everybody, they had no idea the U.S. health care system was about to be thrown into disarray by the new administration’s effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, potentially causing millions of Americans to lose their health care access. But the threat of impending major changes to the health care system makes their film even more timely.

Playing in a premiere Oregon tour February 18-23, Now is the Time- Healthcare for Everybody captures the drama of the growing nationwide movement to achieve the type of universal, publicly funded health care enjoyed by all the other advanced industrialized nations in the world.

Norman Sylvester Band - Healing The Healthcare Blues

Watch this video of an early Blues Fest (we're now up to the "6th Annual Healing the Healthcare Blues"). The Norman Sylvester Band featured LaRhonda Steele, who was fighting breast cancer at the time of this performance. Janice Scroggins, also featured, has since died of a heart attack while working--two compelling health care stories. They had both lent their time and talent over and over again, helping deal with many costly health tragedies of fellow musicians. Then, sadly, we needed to give benefits for LaRhonda and for Janice's family, due to their health events.

The 2017 Blues Festival will take place on Saturday, April 22, at the Eagles Lodge, 7611 N. Exeter Ave (at Lombard) in Portland. All-Star musicians and dancers will again throw their party as a benefit for the Health Care for All-Oregon (HCAO) campaign.

HCAO priority bills and issues in the Legislative Session

Here are some bills HCAO is tracking or supporting in the current session:
A single-payer task force bill, which we hope Sen. Dembrow will introduce soon. This will likely be our highest priority. We don't know if it will be a house bill, a senate bill, or both.

Though not a bill, a presentation of the RAND report * is an HCAO priority. It is not yet clear how that may play out. The report is logically connected to our single-payer task force bill, and we hope it will result in a hearing.


Campaign for Guaranteed Health Care:
Notes From National Single Payer Movement-

by Lee Mercer

Announced at the national single payer conference in New York City in January, a new nationwide Campaign for Guaranteed Healthcare is rolling out now. HCAO has joined the campaign and we participated in a conference call on February 14 with the leadership of HealthcareNOW!, Labor Campaign for Single Payer, National Nurses United, Progressive Democrats of America and representatives from a number of states, discussing refinement of the campaign and expanding the steering committee.

News from Around the State


Stand Together! Another Day of Action workshops

Hyung Nam, HCAO Education Committee Chair, is leading a second workshop with this coalition of local issue advocacy groups, with a focus on health care for strategic advocacy. HCAO is a sponsor again and has an opportunity to table. We need volunteers to table, as there will be many people eager to learn about ways they can plug into organizations to bring about change.

Join us on Saturday, February 25, for a day of workshops for people new to social and political action and for those who want to upgrade their skills. Experienced activists will present a full day of sessions in Non-Violent Direct Action, Legal Basics/Know Your Rights, Digital Security, Peacekeeping, Non-Violent Communication, Positive Energy for Resistance, Photography for Actions, Strategic Planning, and more.

Health Care Stories:
Alan Grayson's $69,240 hospital bill

I broke my leg a few months ago, playing basketball with my kids. (Note to self:

stop lunging for every loose ball I see.) I actually sat cross-legged on the court for a few minutes, thinking that the pain would go away. It certainly did not. My wife took me to the hospital, where X-rays showed that the part of the bone inside my hip looked like someone had hit it with a sledgehammer. My surgeon expressed extreme skepticism that he could put it back together again. He recommended a hip replacement, which puts a metal head and a plastic shell in place of the ball and socket inside your hip. I said fine.