Sunday, November 29, 2009

Get Ready for the Big Push! December is the Peoples' Month

by Phil E. Benjamin

Take a Deep Breath: We are in the Last Home Stretch
A Nations' Health is at Stake

This will be a brief Blog. The purpose is a simple one. We've been through months of struggle. Pre-national election; immediate post national election; Congressional preparations. Strong and broad agitation activity was the hallmark of that period.

Then the focus was on the 3 House Committees and their deliberations; and the 2 Senate Committees. Massive amounts of electronic mails was transmitted; Position papers written proving over and over again that on a national health system that is as strong as Medicare can both protect people and be economically sound; rallies and communities meetings were held….the focus was to win a Single Payer law that would finance a system of health care that would yield a universal system.

But, the Democratic Party kept its unfortunate pre and post election position, i.e., they would NOT support a Single Payer system. They said it would be too "disruptive" to the insurance system.

At the same time, the human cost of the capitalist economic and financial crisis kept mounting. The public/media toll has been mostly in terms of the number of uninsured, moving quickly toward 50 million people. What is not documented enough is the human suffering that not having insurance has meant; and, the same human suffering for those WITH insurance, but with insurance that is very bad and doesn't cover the full cost of cancer, respiratory, kidney and other problems.

House Bill; Senate Bill

Now, as we watch and suffer the continuing human crisis, the House has settled on its proposal and the Senate will do so within the next couple of weeks.

Then we move into the most isolate, insolated phase: the House and Senate Conference Committee where the White House has the most influence.

Many of us are exhausted or just plain disappointed in the outcome of the Congressional debates. And, we have every reason to be exhausted, disappointed and also angry.

Corporate America, while complaining about the outcome so far, behind the scenes in their corporate board rooms, are extremely happy about the millions of dollars they've paid to lobbyist and politicians. They are in the drivers seat, at this point. In fact, they stand to gain the most with people without health insurance being forced to buy their insurance almost entirely from them, at their rates. This will constitute a huge bailout for the for-profit insurance carriers.

But, that seat is not a stable one. Corporate America knows full well that they don't have the numbers of people. They know that all of the media and pay-off monies will mean nothing if the peoples' movement is galvanized. And, be sure, their fear an aroused population.

December, Holiday Month

December is the month is the perfect time for this "humanity issue" to be publicly debated Peoples' generosity and great national feelings for caring about everyone, especially those who have nothing is rampant. Corporate America and Wall Street want to make sure the feelings are NOT linked to the actions of the Senate in the first instance; and then in the crucial final step.

They want to make sure the religious organizations do not take up the theme of:

"Health Care for All"
"No Profits in Health Care"

We need to strongly make that link.

Mass Actions

So, now is the time to regroup with your friends; your community organizations and your local and national union. Link these ALL TOGETHER.

The issues are simple:


This would keep "Medicare For All" in the Mix even after the passage of the law.


If this does not take place, than union households will have been lied to. They were told that they would not suffer, at all, from the legislation. But, in fact, if their union benefit is taxed, employers will be paying more; that means, that employers will either cut back on benefits or charge more at negotiations time.

Keep it simple; but keep it strong.

Winning this level of the fight can set the stage for the larger struggle in health care such as greater access to primary care physicians and nurses; more public hospitals funding so that hospitals like Grady in Atlanta, Georgia and Charity in New Orleans get and stay open. And, that discrimination in health care services will end.

BTW It will also set stage for further struggles for "Card Check" legislation and the other key issues of JOBS; JOBS; JOBS.