The Single Payer Shout Out
Updated: Aug 3, 2018
The August Primaries Endorsement Issue
Volume 1, Issue 2 (August 2018)
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To win single payer healthcare, we must support politicians who support the movement for Single Payer Healthcare delivery.
To that end, M4SPH has vetted candidates interested in our endorsement, and has chosen to endorse those candidates meeting very specific criteria.
Among the several requirements for endorsement, candidates were asked to:
1) publicly commit to their support of single payer by making a short video explaining the reasoning for their support (see these videos on our front page) and
2) sign a pledge promising to support and champion single payer once elected. They agreed to allow these materials to be shared with the public.
We are proud to share information about M4SPH-endorsed candidates who openly, vociferously, and unabashedly support Single Payer in this August Primaries Endorsement Issue!
FOR GOVERNOR (Democratic Nomination)
Abdul El-Sayed, MD
FOR US CONGRESS (Democratic Nomination)
MI-6 (SW Michigan): David Benac, PhD
MI-7 (Jackson-Dexter-Monroe): Steve Friday, MSW
MI-8 (Ingham-Livingston-Oakland Counties): Chris Smith, PhD
FOR MICHIGAN STATE SENATE (Democratic Nomination)
18th State Senate District (Washtenaw County): Michelle Deatrick
FOR MICHIGAN STATE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES (Democratic Nomination)
19th District (Livonia): LAURIE POHUTSKY lauriepohutskyformichigan.com
53rd District (Ann Arbor): YOUSEF RABHI voterabhi.com
55th District (North Ann Arbor, Pittsfield, Milan): SHAUNA MCNALLY, votemcnally.com
And Rebekah Warren, Current State Senator (MI-18) www.rebekahwarren.com
65th District (East Jackson, Grass Lake): TERRI MCKINNON voteterrimckinnon.com
68th District (Lansing): KELLY COLLISON votecollison.com
77th District (East Grand Rapids): ROBERT VAN KIRK vankirkformi.com
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO CONTRIBUTE
TO THE MOVEMENT FOR SINGLE-PAYER NOW
First and foremost, support the above-listed M4SPH-endorsed candidates in any way you can! Do any (or all) of the following things to help them win at primaries:
Donate to a campaign or two, even if only a few dollars
Write a Letter to the Editor of your local paper sharing why you support your candidate (could be for many reasons, but don't forget to stress their support of Single Payer)
Volunteer at campaign headquarters - to phone bank, stuff envelopes, answer phones
Volunteer to canvass door to door or at events
Volunteer to do data entry
Volunteer to deliver lawn signs
Show up at a rally with signs of support
Pick up some lawn signs for your family and friends
Buy a bumper sticker
Wear their buttons, t-shirts, or other gear
Talk with friends and family about voting for politicians who support Single Payer, and especially about voting for M4SPH-endorsed candidates who have met rigorous criteria for endorsement
Secondly, GET OUT TO VOTE and GET OUT THE VOTE!! These primaries and this upcoming midterm election could very well be the most important elections of our lives! Encourage everyone you know (and everyone you meet) during the time leading up to the primaries (and then, again, at mid-terms) to do their civic duty and VOTE!!
Thirdly, CONTACT YOUR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES at both State and National levels to voice your support for Single Payer.
National Bills for Single Payer
1) Contact your US Congressperson and ask him or her to support bill HR 676*
2) Contact your two US Senators and ask each of them to support bill S 1804
Michigan Bill for Single Payer
1) Contact your state Representative to urge them to support the MiCare Bill written by State Rep. Yousef Rabhi. This bill should be introduced to the House on or around Aug. 15th.
For help in finding contact information for your elected representatives in the US Congress, click here
You can also find contact information for your US Senators here and your Congressperson here.
For help in finding contact information for your elected State Representatives, click here.
* If your US Congressperson is a Democrat, you can probably thank them for supporting HR 676. If they are Republican, it is especially important that you ask them to support HR 676.
General Membership and Informational Meeting (All are Welcome!)
Saturday August 11th. 12 - 2 p.m.
Journey of Faith Christian Church
1900 Manchester Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Learn more, as we answer these questions:
What is Single Payer aka “Medicare for All”?
How Will SIngle Payer Benefit Me and Others?
How Can I Help Contribute to the Movement for Single Payer?
General Membership Meeting Kalamazoo (All Are Welcome!)
Tentatively scheduled for August 22 or 23 - date to be announced;
stay tuned and check back here
Read this lovely short essay, and think about applying the attitudes and approaches espoused here as you take the message about Single Payer out into a sometimes hostile world! Essay: Curiosity and What Equality Really Means by Atul Gawande.
Read White Working Class by Joan C. Williams. Recommended by Kalamazoo-area M4SPH member Jim Ferner. The book is available in audio or paper format, possibly from your local library. Jim reports that it's a fairly short read, and explained that it does a great job helping us understand why Trump appeals to the white working class. He writes: "It's a great starting point for listening or forming strategy in order to reach a large audience and how to 'hook' them on a common shared idea," noting that it's "one thing that the Democrats woefully missed in the last election, and something we can learn from."
Read this article about how a study designed to discredit Medicare for All actually proves it could save us trillions! “Health care costs, even for those who have health insurance, are endangering tens of millions of people every day in this country,” said National Nurses Union co-president Jean Ross, RN. “What even this corporate-funded study concedes is that we can actually guarantee health care for everyone in this country, without the devastating, rising costs of premiums, deductibles, and co-pays–at less than we spend as a nation today on health costs.”
View this short video explaining how much money can actually be saved by moving to Single Payer. This video is 2 years old, but the logic employed is still valid!
THINGS THAT ARE GOOD
Creation of The Medicare for All Congressional Caucus by Representatives Debbie DIngell, Pramila Jayapal, and Keith Ellison. This informative article notes: “The Medicare for All Caucus is by no means a substitute for grassroots organizing. In fact, it exists largely because of strong grassroots pressure.”
Michigan Congresswoman Debbie Dingell speaking at the press conference announcing The Medicare for All Congressional Caucus.
Gubernatorial candidate Dr. Abdul Sayed’s plan for Single Payer for Michigan can be found here. Through graphic comparisons, Dr. Sayed explains how his MichCare Plan will save thousands of dollars annually for individuals and businesses in Michigan. Most people will save between $1000 - $7000 in insurance costs!! To read the complete plan, click here. Please read all sections of this plan to learn more about how the only gubernatorial candidate who openly promotes Single Payer proposes to move us to a Single Payer system in Michigan!
State Representative Yousef Rabhi (Dist. 53) unveiled his MICare Plan for a single payer system for Michigan on Monday, July 2 at 11 a.m. on the Capitol Steps in Lansing! Read about it here. For reports from michiganradio.org, go here and here. Mlive.com coverage (with over 300 reader comments) may be found here. For the MiCare Explainer (a 2-page Pdf flyer) click here. For the complete bill, click here
Top Issue in the Elections is Healthcare. Read here.
T-shirts (white on blue) promoting ideas about the importance of Single Payer are available here. With several different reasons for Single Payer in lists on the back, these shirts display the M4SPH logo on the front. See examples here. The t-shirts were designed by M4SPH member Mary MacLeod of Muskegon, and are available for purchase ($15) by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Medicare turned 53 on July 30th. Read retired neurosurgeon (and active Physicians for a National Health Plan member) George Bohmfalk's thoughts on how to celebrate the birth day.
THINGS THAT ARE NOT GOOD
Congressional Budget Office (CBO) expects average increase of 10 percent in individual market premiums in 2019. Read more about that, and anticipated state by state premium increases here.
Recent attacks on Medicare and Medicaid from Trump administration. Some attacks are subtle and slimy, some just overtly demeaning of our intelligence. This month's proposed rule to reimburse providers the same amount for simple patient conditions (e.g. a head cold) and complex conditions (e.g. cancer) is a subtle attack on Medicare. The reform in Medicare's terms is made, purportedly, to do away with much of the paperwork that had been required, but it will likely have the effect of turning doctors and patients from traditional Medicare, making it easier to privatize Medicare services. Don McCanne, MD writes: "Not only is this another step towards privatization of Medicare, it also might place a damper on the enthusiasm for Medicare for all, by discrediting the traditional Medicare program." Read the article, here. For an all-out attack on Medicare for All, read this late-July tweet from Seema Verma (Donald Trump's Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services): "Medicare for All would become Medicare for None. By choosing a socialized system you are giving the government complete control over the decisions pertaining to your care, or whether you receive care at all. It would be the furthest thing from patient-centric care." If this were actually true, why would all other high-income countries continue to enjoy some form of Single Payer health care delivery? Republicans have a vested interested in slamming "the government" when the privatization of government (i.e. public) services yields such astounding profits for those "representatives" in power, and their cronies.
Read this abstract of an article published in March in JAMA (the Journal of the American Medical Association) to learn why health care costs in the US are so high relative to those in other high-income countries. While we spend twice as much on health care as other high-income countries, our utilization rates are similar. Sadly, our life expectancy rates are lowest of the 11 countries studied. The study concludes: "Prices of labor and goods, including pharmaceuticals, and administrative costs appeared to be the major drivers of the difference in overall cost between the United States and other high-income countries." A comprehensive New York Times article on administrative costs corroborates the findings in the JAMA research. Read it here.
THINGS WE’VE DONE/HOW WE’VE WON
July's accomplishments are described in the blog.
In future months, we'll use this space to share about member activities and accomplishments. But we need your contributions about those accomplishments!
Nominate reporters and photographers/videographers in your groups. Get in touch with us and tell us about your experiences, your teams and your teamwork,
your actions, and your successes! Notify us of news that is important, and events we can promote and celebrate! Send photos and videos. Together, WE make this grassroots MOVEMENT! Contact Newsletter Editor at: email@example.com with your stories, experiences, and adventures in paving the way for Single Payer.
FIELD NOTES with Michigan for Single Payer Activists (a monthly feature)
This Month’s Featured Activist: Bill Farmer
By Laurie Williams, Editor of the M4SPH Single Payer Shout Out
Having negotiated hundreds of collective bargaining agreements for thousands of union members as a Michigan AFSCME Professional Staff Representative and Negotiator over the course of 30 years, Bill Farmer is solidly on the side of workers in the battle for Single Payer Health Care. He’s seen how fighting against privatization and fighting for adequate health care coverage has been the core issue for public employees, observing that the past 15-17 years have been especially hard on workers because workers have lost more and more of their take-home pay in contracts that sent larger and larger portions of their wages towards health care costs. He explained that if a public sanitation worker gets paid $16/hour, roughly $2.50 of that hourly wage will be eaten up in the benefit package - with almost all of that going toward health insurance costs. Bill said he found the drive for profit exhibited by health insurance companies in negotiations “terribly oppressive,” and feels that "it is absolutely ridiculous that we have an employer-based health care system, and a for-profit one at that, because as healthcare costs keep going up, wages first stagnate then go down - while profits of health insurance companies skyrocket.”
Bill volunteered to help build Labor For Our Revolution (http://labor4ourrev.org/) while also participating in the founding conference of the Worker’s Solidarity Action Network in East Chicago after he served as a volunteer for the Sanders’ campaign in Michigan in 2016. This past year, he also participated in the formation of Michigan for Single Payer Health Care as a 501(c)(4) non-profit, and now serves on the Board of Directors. Along with others in Kalamazoo and western Michigan, Bill helped start an organizing committee on healthcare for the DSA. Beginning this past spring they canvassed at events, went door-to-door, and gathered roughly 1000 petition signatures which they plan on sending to Rep. John Hoadley (D-Dist. 60) with a request that he co-sponsor Rep. Rahbi’s MiCare bill. Those canvassing efforts will also help build a database for both M4SPH and the DSA to use to push for Single Payer.
Meeting with elected officials is another way Bill has worked to push for Single Payer. He met with Senator Stabenow’s staff in Grand Rapids with six other Single Payer activists. They presented their stories and built a case for Single Payer. Bill also attended an event held by Senator Gary Peters at the Ford Museum in Grand Rapids where he and other Single Payer activists bird dogged Senator Peters. Both senators withheld support for Single Payer.
Bill’s group is planning on having regular, open community meetings about Single Payer in Kalamazoo. They will be screening Fix It! At the public library later in August, and hope to get Wendell Potter, former Cigna executive and author of Deadly Spin: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR Is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans, as a speaker for the event.
Bill has attended training in canvassing, nonviolent resistance, and bird dogging, and his activism extends beyond Single Payer and labor organizing. He believes in the value of training and education for movement-based politics, and also teaches a class called “Reversing Runaway Inequality” based on a curriculum taken from Les Leopold’s work (read about Les Leopold, his book and his program here). To learn more about Bill’s class, which he has taught in Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana, contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Bill feels all this training is vitally important because “we have to build a movement that creates fundamental change and organizations that people can trust to work in their best interests.” He also believes that we need to continue to build a grassroots movement for Single Payer beyond the electoral political process, because "history has taught us that all fundamental change has come about through mass grassroots movements for social and economic justice." Believing that the central issue underlying the current chaos in our health care delivery system is the unbridled drive for profit at the expense of all else, Bill said he thinks that Single Payer is like a prism - one through which we can view all aspects of our current situation. He also believes it can be a vehicle to bring the divergent movements for positive change together.