"Soul-utions" for Positive Change
What you can do to help resolve America's health-care problem
SPEAK OUT: Share your health-care experiences with others by submitting your story to us and Michael Moore or send your thoughts in a letter to our editor
STAND ACCOUNTABLE: Just because you have health insurance doesn't mean you shouldn't care or do anything. Moore urges us to move from "ME" to "WE." So get out of your comfort zone and join in the dialogue.
GET INVOLVED: Contact your representatives with calls and letters urging them to support health care for all Americans. Write letters and guest editorials to newspapers. Find out what local community groups in your area are doing. Better yet, start one of your own.
TAKE ACTION: Need ideas how to get started? We've made it easy for you by providing a list of resources below. Or do your own research and get creative.
LISTEN: We all have something to learn from everyone else's perspectives, even if they're not in agreement with ours. Only by constructive conversation will we resolve our societal problems.
LET'S ALL DO SOMETHING TO RESUSCITATE OUR NATION'S CONSCIENCE AND COLLECTIVE HEART!
Resources for Positive Change
HEALTH CARE FOR AMERICA NOW!
Health Care for America Now is a national grass-roots campaign organizing millions of Americans to win a guarantee of quality, affordable health care for all. It is grounded in organizations that can mobilize people at work, at home, in their neighborhoods and online.
The campaign is bringing together community organizers, nurses, doctors, small-business owners, seniors, faith-based groups and organizations of people of color who believe it's time America had a solution that provides quality, affordable health care for everyone.
The organization's Web site offers practical tools and valuable information for taking immediate action. Sign up to receive updates, share your health care story, post a comment on the blog and become a partner today!
Health Care for All - Advocacy Trainings
The Protecting Arizona's Family Coalition (PAFCO) is a diverse, non-partisan alliance of social services, health, community service agencies, advocacy groups, citizen advocacy and faith-based associations. The coalition agency and association members include an estimated 20,000 staff, board members and volunteers serving more than 1.5 million people.
PAFCO was formed to stop budget cuts to health and human services, promote the needs of vulnerable populations for health and human services, as well as to support tax reform.
PAFCO, in collaboration with St. Luke’s Health Initiative, Arizona Ecumenical Council and other partners, wants to involve citizens and community leaders in creating solutions to the health-care crisis through effective public policy civic engagement.
Therefore, it will be offering FREE health-care advocacy trainings for all citizens in Phoenix that are also available for your group or community.
The training has three useful parts: an overview about the scope and nature of the current health-care situation, practical knowledge for general advocacy with skills for power analysis and having real impact, and special skills related to health-care advocacy. The knowledge and skills learned are applicable to all legislative issues.
Training Information – Choose one of two dates in Phoenix:
Southwest Human Development Offices
2850 N. 24th Street, Phoenix, AZ 85008
If you are interested, please register as soon as possible since space is limited. Please send the following information to Michele White at the contact options below: Your organization name; the name of each participant; the contact person’s name, phone and e-mail; any special arrangements participants may need; and the date(s) you would like to attend.
For more information, contact Michele White at
(602) 373-6989 or e-mail: Michele@pafcoalition.org
ACTION FOR NURSES
California Nurse's Association and
the National Nurses Organizing Committee
Unsafe Patient Care Hotline. Report unsafe conditions at:
Join this national professional organization for Registered Nurses, Advance Practice Nurses and RN organizations throughout the country who want to pursue a more powerful agenda of patient advocacy that promotes the interests of patients, direct care nurses and RN professional practice.
Visit The Sedona Observer's Workplace page for updates on the group's current campaigns in Arizona and California.
The Arizona Patient Protection Act will allow nurses to have real protection for their profession and their patients. It will also include comprehensive legislation that will provide nurses' with a voice for patient care.
Features of the bill include:
- Nurse-to-patient staffing ratios in all units of the hospital as a minimum
- Real whistle-blower protections for health-care workers to report unsafe patient care and medical cost gouging
- Staffing by patient acuity, not by numbers
- And much more
What can nurses do to introduce and pass this bill? Sign up and attend the Arizona Patient Protection Act Classes :
To register, contact David Glenn: Phoenix 602-722-0060, Tucson 520-326-4690 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Northern Arizona, contact Jennifer Lemmon at
928-255-3181 or e-mail email@example.com.
Visit http://www.calnurses.org/nnoc/arizona for more information.
Need we say more? Check out Michael's latest efforts to wake up America and advocate health care for all people.
Designed as a "national call to action," it
offers people an opportunity to learn what is really going on in health care and also where our candidates stand on the issues.
As Sick as It Gets
This site picks up where the book As Sick as It Gets – The Reality of Health Care in America by Rudolph Mueller, M.D., left off five years ago when it was first published. Author and health-care activist Mueller tells it like it is, with advice for what we can do about it.
Cover the Uninsured
What's in a name? This one says it all. Check out this comprehensive site at http://covertheuninsured.org.
This group's motto is: "We don't need insurance; we need health care." Check them out: http://www.guaranteedhealthcare.org
Health Care Blog
"Everything you always wanted to know about the health care system but were afraid to ask." That's the motto of this a full circle view of the crisis with a multitude of perspectives and resources. http://www.thehealthcareblog.com
A national campaign to promote a quality, guaranteed, nonprofit single-payer system.
"Medicare for All!"
Our friends at the People's Weekly World newspaper in Chicago are offering a "lively," 36-page pamphlet explaining universal health care written by B.S. Rosen, a health-care activist. The publication costs just $1 for shipping. Call (733) 446-9920 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. http://pww.org.
National Coalition on Health Care
Founded in 1990, NCHC
is the nation's largest alliance working to improve America's health ca. Comprised of more than 70 organizations representing about 150 million Americans, NCHC's members are "united in the belief that we need – and can achieve – better, more affordable health care for all Americans."
Physicians for a National Health Program
A nonprofit organization with more than 14,000 physicians, medical students and health professionals who support single-payer national health insurance. http://www.pnhp.org
Right 2 Health
A new Web site currently under construction the mission of Right 2 Health is to personally empower and enlighten individuals in the quest for their own health and well-being, whether on a physical, emotional, mental or spiritual level and to share access to information, people and products that will further their individual knowledge, as well as the knowledge of others and heighten overall awareness as to this internal power. E-mail email@example.com for more information.
Promotes single-payer national health care. Initiated to help promote SiCKO's message, it offers a wide variety of tools for bringing about change.
A Little Child Shall Lead Them
Health care reform must start with the cradle
More than a quarter of a million children in Arizona lack access to quality, affordable health care.
And, according to the National Coalition on Health Care,
the number of uninsured children in 2005 was 8.3 million – or 11.2 percent of all children in the U.S.
In addition, the number of uninsured children increased by nearly 400,000 in 2005, breaking a trend of steady declines over the last five years. In that time, nearly 9 million workers have lost their employer-sponsored health benefits, increasing the number of uninsured children to record highs.
Health care instead of warfare
The American Friends Service Committee reports that the money spent on one day of the Iraqi war could buy health care for 423,529 children (http://www.afsc.org/cost). In addition, the latest Gallup Poll indicates that 67 percent of Americans oppose the war and 91 percent of them approve expanded health-care coverage for children.
At the same time, a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that more than one-fifth of all Americans who have insurance still cannot afford medical and dental care or prescription drugs for themselves and their families.
Further compounding the issue are the proposed changes by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services' Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to alter states' use of specific services that could jeopardize health services for thousands of children, especially those in foster care.
Vulnerable and victimized
So it's the children who suffer in the battle to privatize medical insurance. It's the children who have no voice, vote or political clout, nor the ability to go out and find a job that provides health insurance benefits. It's the children who depend on us to defend their need for health care, not just health insurance.
If we sit back and wait for our "leaders" to create change, we all know it won't happen - at least not until a new administration steps into the Oval Office in 2009. Instead, we must take action and let our voices be heard.
After all, look at what President Bush just did to America's kids. Earlier this month, he decided to leave 4 million of them out in the cold.
Pro-life or anti-life?
On October 3, 2007, our "pro-life" president fulfilled his threat to veto the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), thereby denying coverage to 10 million of the nation's uninsured children. (Visit http://www.familiesusa.org/assets/pdfs/SCHIP-101.pdf to learn more about the bill).
Bush said the children's health-care bill was simply "too expensive" and that he "feared" it would move people toward the "federalization of health care." He added: "The policies of the government ought to be to help people find private insurance, not federal coverage."
The paradox of this veto is that, while Bush remains staunchly opposed to HR 676 and government-subsidized health care, he reaps all the benefits of such a system as a federal employee. Therefore, the president enjoys virtually free health care while denying it to millions of children in need.
Morals, not politics
Health care should not be a political issue, especially where our kids are concerned.
A host of "troubling" statistics appear In "Too Great a Burden: Arizona's Families at Risk," a soon-to-be-released report by Families USA, a
national organization working to promote high-quality,
affordable health care for all Americans.
Among them is the fact that nearly 3 out of 4 members (73.7 percent) in families spending more than 25 percent of their pre-tax income on health-care costs are insured.
Another alarming factor stems from the increase in annual expenditures for hospital services, which rose from $417 billion to $747.2 billion in just seven years, representing a staggering 80 percent increase. Meanwhile, health industry CEOs averaged $8.7 million in compensation last year.
The trickle-down effect of this financial burden on families takes its toll on children's health.
Financial and spiritual bankruptcy
Regardless of age, race, ethnicity, income or health status, uninsured children were much less likely to have received a well-child checkup within the past year. One study shows that nearly 50 percent of uninsured children did not receive a checkup in 2003, almost twice the rate (26 percent) for insured children.
The report concludes: "When the burden of health care costs becomes too great, the consequences can be catastrophic. Faced with medical debt, families often have no choice but to consider drastic changes in lifestyle and, eventually, bankruptcy. With the economic stability of the state's hard-working families put at risk, something must be done to bring costs under control."
While the report doesn't examine what that "something" might be, it does note that the increasing financial debt also leads families to experience "significant stress, anxiety and feelings of hopeless" - a bitter legacy to pass on to their children.
One simple piece of legislation such as SCHIP could prevent this devastation from befalling working families.
According to the Associated Press, Bush executed his veto of SCHIP “behind closed doors without any fanfare or news coverage.” Yet a bipartisan majority in Congress already approved this health-care legislation on behalf of our nation's children. Now Congress will decide whether or not to override the Bush veto.
So what can you do?
Call 1-866-544-7573 and ask to speak with Rep. Rick Renzi. Then bend his ear to the plight of America's kids. Tell him that, as the father of nine himself, he should be looking out for other people's children too.
Next, you can sign our petition urging Congress to override the SCHIP veto. Or let your voice be heard by sending us a letter to the editor or even penning a guest editorial. Visit the Op Ed page for more information.
Knowledge is power, so educate yourself about what's going on. The Sedona Observer is providing readers with the following resources for more steps to inspire people to take action - because no one, especially America's children, should go without health care. And we will continue reporting on this matter until every child gains access to his and her birthright.
Links for Children's Health Advocacy
- Families USA - http://www.familiesusa.org
- Cover the Uninsured - http://covertheuninsured.org. Visit this excellent site's "Covering Kids & Families Communications Action Center" for plenty of resources and SCHIP updates http://covertheuninsured.org/actioncenter
- Voices for America's Children http://www.voices.org/policy/health
- Working Families E-Activist Network http://www.unionvoice.org/campaign/schip_petition
- AFL-CIO Report: Exploding Health Costs Are Devastating Working Families http://www.aflcio.org/issues/healthcare/facts.cfm
- Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System KidsCare http://www.azahcccs.gov
- See Protecting Arizona's Family Coalition below.
Single Payer Universal Health Care
The National Remedy?
HR 676 would establish a national health insurance program. The bill would create a publicly financed, privately delivered health-care program that uses the already existing Medicare system by expanding and improving it to all U.S. residents and all residents living in U.S. territories.
The goal of the legislation is to ensure that all Americans, guaranteed by law, will have access to the highest quality and cost-effective health-care services regardless of one's employment, income or health-care status.
Facts about HR 676
Here are some general facts about the proposed legislation:
Physicians For A National Health Program reports that HR676 could save more than $286 billion dollars a year in total health-care costs.
The law would offer forward motion from our present system in which annual family premiums spiraled to $9,068 in 2007.
Under HR 676, a family of three earning $40,000 per year would only spend approximately $1,600 per year for health-care coverage.
HR676 would allow the U. S. to reduce its $2 trillion health-care expenditure per year while covering all of the uninsured and everyone else for more than they are getting under their current health care plans.
In 2005, without reform, the average employer who offers coverage will contribute $2,600 to health care per employee (for much skimpier benefits).
Boon to employers?
Under HR 676, the average costs to employers for an employee making $30,000 per year would be reduced to $1,155 per year, or less than $100 per month.
One plan for all
All persons living in the U. S. and its territories would receive a United States National Health Insurance Card and identification number once they enroll at the appropriate location. Social Security numbers would not be used. No co-pays or deductibles would be permissible under this act.
HR 676 would mandate coverage for all medically necessary services, including primary care, inpatient care, outpatient care, emergency care, prescription drugs, durable medical equipment, long-term care, mental health services, dentistry, eye care, chiropractic and substance abuse treatment.
Patients would have their choice of physicians, providers, hospitals, clinics and practices. Medicare would be improved and everybody would be entitled to receive it.
Conversion to a nonprofit system
Private health insurers would be prohibited under this act from selling coverage that duplicates the benefits of the Medicare for All program.
For more details about HR 676, go to:
WHAT DO YOU THINK
ABOUT HR 676?
Let your representatives know what you think. Sign our health-care petition now urging Congress to vote in favor of the children's health bill as well as HR676.
Got a better solution?
Send your thoughts and ideas to
editor@SedonaObserver.com. We will gladly offer editorial space to present all views on this issue - including those opposed to HR676.
Did we miss something?
Send information about other groups and Web sites dedicated to helping Americans to take more action to editor@SedonaObserver.com. In addition, we will gladly publish commentaries from representatives of organizations dedicated to social and economic justice.