Updated: Sep 18, 2018
The "Educate" Issue
Volume 1, Issue 3 (September 2018)
Visit us online at: https://www.michigan4singlepayer.org/
Visit us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/M4SPH/
Visit us on Twitter at: @Medicare4AllMI
Contact Us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact Editor at: email@example.com
To win universal Single Payer healthcare, we must actively engage in
Educating, Advocating, and Agitating!
This Month, we Educate!
There is a role for each one of us in this effort, and it will take all of us acting together to abolish and replace an unfairly rigged healthcare delivery system dominated by the profit-driven motives of insurance companies.
A single payer healthcare delivery system in Michigan - or the U.S. - won’t be possible unless conscientious citizens get involved and participate in advocating for it. So please, visit our website, our Facebook and social media pages, share our links, blogs, and newsletters, download or print the information meant for learning and sharing, and talk with family, friends, and neighbors about your enthusiasm for achieving single payer healthcare in Michigan and across the U.S.!
We need YOUR participation (and donations count as participation!), suggestions, input, and enthusiasm! We need to build a large, effective grassroots movement across the state to achieve the dream of universal single payer healthcare.
EVENTS, ANNOUNCEMENTS, MEETINGS IN SEPTEMBER
We have MANY upcoming meetings, canvasses, and other events in September!
See blog post, here
THINGS WE’VE DONE/HOW WE’VE WON
August was a big month for the M4SPH movement! Our last big event in August was a fundraiser following tabling and canvassing at the Michigan Democratic Party Convention. You can read about the past month’s activities here and watch a video from our fundraiser here:
In this month of September (the traditional back-to-school month), let’s concentrate on EDUCATING ourselves and others about the multiplicity of complicated issues surrounding healthcare delivery in the U.S. - keeping the focus on pushing for and winning universal single payer healthcare!
What makes learning and educating about universal single payer so complicated? It’s a highly complex subject, for one. Secondly, we have been "vaccinated" against thinking about the possibility of healthcare delivery as anything but a profit-driven endeavor. We need to unlearn the arguments health insurance companies and politicians have used to lull us into a sense of complacency and acceptance. And we need to learn to think through their propaganda and research their hidden interests. Finally, we need to solidly frame our arguments about single payer based on the moral truth that health and healthcare are human rights - not commodities. We need to believe, and convince others that neither our healthcare nor our health outcomes are meant to be manipulated and traded on for profit or gain. Finally, we need to learn arguments that help the nay-saying citizens among us see the benefits of a single payer system. To start on this journey of learning and educating, read the M4SPH FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) and hard-hitting answers about Single Payer here:
(printable Frequently Asked Questions About Medicare for All)
For Talking Points, Flyers, a Power Point about Single Payer, a Letter of Support sample and a number of other good Resources, go here
What is Medicare for All? Short read here
Benefits of Medicare for All (general). Short read here
Benefits of Bernie Sanders’ Plan here
Read about S 1802, straight from Sen. Sanders
Read about HR 676 Bill here
Learn about the Michigan Mi Care Bill (HB 6285) in a summary here:
Learn talking points to share with conservatives about the benefits of Single Payer!
Learn about the seven very logical reasons why profit-driven insurance companies will always fail to meet our health care needs
Learn from a Simple Guide for Responding to “Single Payer is a Job Killer” and “Millions of Displaced (Insurance) Workers Won’t Find Employment.” Use points from this "Legislative Pushback Guide" when lawmakers use "Jobs Killer" excuse!
LEARN MORE about How to Educate and Fight for Single Payer in these Excellent Courses:
Healthcare-Now Single Payer School (Courses)
Health Over Profit Tools for Education (Short Reads, by Topic)
Although the initial 5 pages refer to events that took place this past June, the rest of the toolkit is filled with great information and ideas!
for excellent course offerings in how to develop “Practical Skills to Reclaim, Rebuild, and Re-imagine America”
For a course in Canvassing from Resistance School:
Learn about Framing and Messaging in Messaging This Moment Handbook from Resistance School Berkeley
Popular Resistance School: How Social Transformation Occurs Course.
Outstanding Class on Social Transformation and Movements. Class Three (Stages of Social Movements) in the How Social Transformation Occurs program provides theory and insights that we can apply to where we are at (and what we can do to move forward) in the movement for Single Payer or any other movement.
Educate Other Voters and Our Elected Officials
• This month, make a point of sharing with at least 4 other people the following three things about the movement for Single Payer: 1) Michigan for Single Payer Healthcare (michigan4singlepayer.org) represents the grassroots movement in Michigan 2) we are pushing for the universal single payer healthcare bill known as Mi Care or HB 6285 in the Michigan Legislature 3) Michigan citizens should contact their state representatives to ask them to support the Mi Care Bill.
You can also:
• Inform Senators Stabenow and Peters that you will stand for nothing less than Universal Single Payer Healthcare, and let them know that S 1804 (Medicare for All) is something you hope they will endorse.
• Talk with those local candidates you support about the importance of Single Payer - especially if they do not have a position statement on Single Payer. Ask them to make a statement supporting Single Payer if they have not yet done so.
When you are asked if you could give money, phone bank, or canvass for a candidate, ask if the candidate supports MI Care/HB 6285, HR 676, or S 1804. Even if you intend to provide assistance to their electoral campaign, ASK them to support Single Payer, and make an assertive statement that you are a supporter of Single Payer and belong to the growing grass roots movement called Michigan for Single Payer Healthcare.
Medicare for All Article Series, Fighting for Our Lives: The Movement for Medicare for All
Learn how to think about, frame, and message our morals, values, and vision for universal Single Payer when confronted by opposition, with assistance from these books:
Thinking Points: Communicating Our American Values and Vision.
George Lakoff. 2006.
The Little Blue Book: The Essential Guide to Thinking and Talking Democratic. George Lakoff and Elizabeth Wehling. 2012.
with Margaret Flowers, MD and Kevin Zeese, JD (Co-directors of Popular Resistance)
and Dr. Carol Paris, outgoing president of Physicians for a National Healthcare Plan.
This is an excellent, very informative podcast that starts with informational updates about other social movements. You can join the discussion about Medicare for All, specifically, at about the 13 minute mark.
Dr. Flowers states that opponents organize to weaken growing movements in the final stages before victory (this is described in the sixth class of the online course How Social Transformation Occurs), and we have seen how this has been happening over the past couple of months (see blog posts here and here). The podcasters feel that “National Improved Medicare for All is at very advanced stage” given trends they are seeing. Dr. Paris notes near the end of the podcast “We’re in the phase of making national consensus. We’re making great progress toward it.” She also advises those interested in advancing Single Payer to tell the legislators they contact: “I’m organizing in your district and I’m not going away.”
THINGS THAT ARE GOOD
Single Payer is Actually A Huge Bargain. Steffie Woolhander, David U. Himmelstein, and Adam Gaffney
Good News about Upcoming Midterms:
From an email newsletter received from Ben and Stephanie, Healthcare-Now.org staffers on September 4, 2018:
“According to pollsters at FiveThirtyEight, Democrats have a 70% chance of taking back the House this November. If they do, the implications for the single payer movement are potentially huge.” They note that 65% of House Dems are currently co-sponsoring HR 676, and according to the email, we need get the last 74 Dem Reps onboard. They continue: “We're expecting to pick up a number of new H.R. 676 cosponsors just with the elections - and if the House flips, the number of cosponsoring Democrats could reach over 70%. The last few holdouts will find it harder and harder to justify their opposition....”
THINGS THAT ARE NOT GOOD
Conservatives on Facebook are Spreading A False “Quote” About Medicare for All
Tales of Americans “bootstrapping” and “crowd-funding” themselves "out of" severe illness and poverty are being milked by corporate media to “inspire” the rest of us. "Bootstrapping" as an ideal appeals to the conservative mindset, and examples of "bootstrapping" are often used as lessons in pursuing what is seen as the moral good of isolated individual effort - effort, which, if pure and right enough, always results in just economic rewards.
In a double whammy of conservative thought, the archetype of a bootstrapping "Every wo/man as Hero" is used to help conservative thinkers feel good about both individual perseverance AND individual charitable efforts on behalf of others. It's easy to buy into that, even for a liberal thinker, when everyone understands and admires the stories of perseverance leading to the "return" in triumph at the end of the typical "hero's tale." With stories like those shared in Parker Molloy's article, it's almost easy to forget about the fact that we already have a social contract which provides support from the collective for those in need. According to that social contract, we pay the government taxes, and the government addresses collective needs and the common good. Support comes in the form of social services paid for by our tax dollars and is administered (or should be) through the auspices of good government, i.e. a government that understands and honors the nature of the social contract and does not attempt to "re-purpose" our tax dollars for the benefit of private individuals or for-profit corporations. While the efforts by individuals to offer succor and assistance to those in need appeal to our innermost aspirations to believe in the goodness in human nature, we must ask ourselves: who really benefits from this type of story?
What’s so uplifting about having to rely on Go-Fund-Me to be able to afford cancer treatments (and how many of the 1.7 million of us diagnosed iwth cancer each year will be able to count on that?)?!? Follow the money trail to discover who benefits from "pre-existing condition" clauses and denial of benefits! What’s so inspiring about underpaid teachers having to donate sick days to a seriously ill colleague so the person needing sick leave doesn’t lose their job?!? I know someone who, along with other teachers in his district donated sick leave time - in other words, a portion of his pay/benefits - to three different fellow teachers on three separate occasions since 2011. Maybe the fact that the Michigan legislature very effectively limited collective bargaining for teachers around that time had something to do with this becoming a "necessary" trend? That same Michigan legislature has pursued using public funding for private, for-profit schools [including poorly-performing, for-profit online charter schools] and has also converted teacher pensions from a defined benefit to a defined contributions format per legislation written by the American Legislative Exchange Council! Who benefits from creating ever-worsening work and economic conditions for teachers in public schools? Follow the money trail to legislation promoting private, for-profit schools to find out who benefits!
Continual engagement with the facts - using critical thinking - is a requirement for deep learning and educating, and for making any kind of deep, difficult, and necessary change. Strident honesty about and repetition of our cherished American moral values is also a requirement as we go about doing this work of educating for Single Payer.
It wouldn't hurt at all to internalize the following idea (from the first commentator in the comments section following the article by Parker Molloy), and use it whenever needed in efforts to educate about universal Single Payer:
"In a civilized society we wouldn't need to depend on the charity of strangers and friends for basic healthcare needs."
FIELD NOTES with Michigan for Single Payer Activists (a monthly feature)
This Month’s Featured Activists: Sarah Rosenthal and Eric Krawczak
by Laurie Williams, Editor of the M4SPH Single Payer Shout Out
Author’s Note: Sarah Rosenthal and Eric Krawczak are a dedicated couple living in SE Michigan. Both are in their mid-thirties. They are hard-working organizers and activists for Michigan for Single Payer Healthcare (and other causes). I have admired - and been privileged to work with - Sarah and Eric for over a year now.
When asked about how they became activists, Eric said that he introduced Sarah to Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now, and that was the starting point for them. He firmly believed that they needed to learn about what is happening before committing to activism. With a degree in Linguistics, Eric is very thoughtful and articulate, and likes to go deep into subjects. “We used to get into daily arguments about what to do after watching Democracy Now,” Eric said. After watching a police shooting and the Black Lives Matter response on Facebook, however, they felt really motivated to go to a demonstration. And they did. “We couldn’t be silent with innocent people being shot.” Eric explained. That was a couple of years ago, and that was their entry into activism.
The couple began taking strong stands against police violence and other injustices many months before the first Women’s March. They have worked on a number of issues, such as Line 5, Paid Sick Leave, and Immigrants’ Rights. Sarah canvassed zealously for Paid Sick Leave as a ballot issue beginning in the summer and through the winter of 2017, and Eric spent a night at ICE headquarters with other members of the Poor People’s Campaign this past spring. Their activism is reflective of their panoramic view on issues, their compassion for others, and their belief in justice, diversity, and equality.
Eric and Sarah first met Eli Rubin (now Board President of M4SPH) at a protest against the repeal of the ACA in Jackson in the winter of 2016. In a Michigan United Washtenaw County Training led by Laura DePalma later that winter, Eric was pushed toward Environmental Justice issues, but went to a Single Payer meeting instead. He found himself alone in the room until Sue Hadden (an RN who later became a founding co-organizer of M4SPH with Eli and Sarah) arrived. Eric decided after the training that Single Payer was THE issue to concentrate on because of its intersectionality with so many other issues. He was also very excited when Yousef Rahbi announced his intentions to write a Single Payer bill at a Michigan United Washtenaw meeting. Sarah loved the Michigan United trainings on social justice and intersectionality.
They later joined Eli Rubin and a coalition of others in the late spring of 2017 as the group tried to influence Senator Stabenow to make a public statement against the American “Health” “Care” Act (“Trumpcare”) and support Single Payer. I attended that rally, and remember the calm, but unflagging energy with which Eric wielded the bullhorn, leading us in chanting as we marched on the sidewalk outside of Senator Stabenow’s office on Griswold Street in downtown Detroit.
Later that spring, Sarah worked with a large coalition planning for the Millions Marching for Medicare for All rally that occurred last summer at the Capitol in Lansing, where over 300 people attended to show support for Single Payer. Her assignment was to arrange for and manage the schedule of speakers at the Rally. She gathered over a dozen speakers; some speaking outdoors, and some in the Capitol Rotunda. Sarah herself spoke to the crowd - giving a moving account of the financial burdens and other issues her father faced while fighting cancer and a profit-driven insurance system in charge of his healthcare delivery.
Since the Millions for Medicare for All March, both Eric and Sarah have done extensive deep canvassing on the issue of Single Payer outside the Ann Arbor Art Fair, the People’s Co-op, and the Farmer’s Market in Ypsilanti. They also led door to door canvassing around Normal Park in Ypsi several times. Sarah still sends out regular email invitations to 35 or more friends and supporters of Single Payer, asking them to canvass with her at various places around Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor. Observers state that Sarah is a tireless and phenomenal canvasser. While Sarah and Eric have done canvassing training, they are both compassionate, open, “people persons” - so it is easy to see how they take to canvassing like the proverbial "fish to water"!
Sarah and Eric helped Eli Rubin and Sue Hadden organize the Medicare for All Town Hall held last November. Sarah was the primary moderator at the Town Hall, which was a well attended event including featured speakers Margie Mitchell (MichuCan founder) and Michigan United’s Laura DePalma. Special guest speakers included political candidates Anuja Rajendra, Michelle Deatrick, Jeff Irwin, and Rep. Yousef Rahbi’s Legislative Aide Alexi Chapin-Smith (who explained the MiCare draft bill).
No strangers to legislative actions, Eric and Sarah have met with staffers of both Senators Stabenow and Peters about the issue of Single Payer. They believe that we MUST pressure the Dems to support Single Payer. According to Eric, “THIS is how the Dems can support the people!” At one of the meetings Sarah attended at Senator Stabenow’s office, the group was told that the Senator was reluctant to support single payer because she was concerned about not having the backing of labor unions. Sarah joined the Michigan Nurses Association after that, to help get unions onboard. Sarah has also participated in bird-dogging of both Senator Stabenow and Congressman Tim Walberg.
Sarah and Eric believe in doing outreach for other organizations whenever possible, knowing that the fight for Single Payer is connected to many other issues and causes. Last December, they both drove through a violent snowstorm to attend a Tax Scam protest in Jackson where we assembled to hear Eli Rubin and others talk about the social and economic consequences of the GOP tax bill, and to sing protest songs set to popular traditional folk tunes, civil rights songs, and holiday carols.
This past spring, Sarah and Eric led a series of community discussions about Single Payer on Sunday afternoons at Cultivate in Ypsilanti, doing the planning, outreach, and facilitating. They have been on the Organizing Committee of Michigan for Single Payer and regularly attend monthly meetings of that group. In July, Sarah planned and led the meeting with Rep. Ronnie Peterson. Eric also attended and addressed the group. You can read about the event here.
When asked what they would like to tell younger Millennials, Eric responded: “I would tell younger folk that they need to fight for everything they want. They need to practice speaking truth to power, and they need to know the issues. If you are going to have an impactful role in your civic life, you are going to have to know your community, and talk to your community. And you must know national and local issues. When I got started in my activism, I had a super-rapid civics education on the fly. And I would say to everyone: You have to seek out the important information and learn what’s important as you go along.” Eric recommended Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, when I asked him about the one book he would recommended for Millennials. Sarah recommended The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander.
In thinking about advice to give to younger activists, Sarah mused about the problems they face, including student debt and lack of decent job opportunities. As a nurse, she’s seen many people who are depressed and having a hard time figuring out what to do. She’s wrestling with how to best motivate young people to go out canvassing with her, and sometimes even finds it hard to break through to the point where people she talks with will feel motivated enough to go to large planned events like protests. She can understand the difficulty many Millennials face trying to find time to spend on activities that don’t lead to increased income. Sarah says she used to be under the impression that if you worked hard, then everything would be okay financially. But after graduating with two bachelors degrees and horrendous student loan debt, she no longer believes that hard work is necessarily going to be rewarded with financial security. And she’s worried about other young people facing the same unmanageable burden of student debt. “We need to teach young people that they’re not alone,” she said.
Eric jumped in here. He said that on the issue of feeling alone or not alone, a term he learned in a class made a huge difference for him. “Sociological mindfulness” is the term, and it’s something we all need to cultivate, he feels. With “sociological mindfulness,” we are better able to understand and act on the difficult issues facing us. He stated that the self-blame about student debt (or lack of financial security) serves to keep everyone disconnected and alone; and in reality, 3 million young people have student loan debt, and one half of the country has only $500 to call their own. He said that thinking about the root causes of financial insecurity with its burden of shame (and the self-blame attached to it) as a result of corporate greed and a cause of alienation is part of the work of getting to the roots of and fixing our social and cultural alienation.
At the heart of their activism is a drive to work for people, for health and integration, and against alienation. Sarah and Eric regularly strive to have difficult conversations with others about politically charged social issues, and they do the difficult work that others don’t want to do to change things. While sipping rose water and cardamom infused Turkish coffee in Ann Arbor’s vibrant El Harissa Café with them, I am embraced by this young couple’s enthusiasm, energy, and warmth. Any sense of hopelessness about our future, or loneliness I might otherwise feel about the battles we face in fighting for Single Payer suddenly, for the moment, slip away....