imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Health activists urge ‘Health care for all’

by Tim Wheeler, Washington correspondent Saturday, Dec. 04, 2004 at 11:43 AM

WASHINGTON — During its annual conference here Nov. 12-14, the Universal Health Care Action Network (UHCAN) issued a clarion call to defend Medicaid and Medicare.

WASHINGTON — During its annual conference here Nov. 12-14, the Universal Health Care Action Network (UHCAN) issued a clarion call to defend Medicaid and Medicare against the privatization threats of George W. Bush and step up the battle to provide health care for 45 million uninsured.

The conference titled “Affordable Health Care for All: Breaking the Political Deadlock” was remarkable for the fightback tone despite the Nov. 2 elections with Bush gaining a second term and stronger Republican majorities in the House and Senate. While every speaker urged defense of existing health care programs, many advocated a stronger fight for pending health care legislation such as HR 676, the “Medicare for All Act,” introduced by Reps. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.).

Challenging privatization

Shoshanna Sofaer, professor of health care policy at Baruch College in New York and the director of the Institute of Medicine, told the crowd the challenge is to win the people ideologically to reject Bush’s privatization and “medical savings account” scams. She scorned the “blue state–red state” divide, charging, “Wedge issues were used to benefit the Republicans even though many in the ‘red states’ are locked in tragic situations.”

The movement for universal health care, she said, must reach across this divide, winning people to the idea that health security lies in a system that protects everyone. “Do you do better going it alone or being a member of a big risk pool?” she asked. The privatizers “want to cover who they want to cover,” she added. “All of us in this room share a common assumption that the larger the risk pool, the better it is for everyone. Social insurance! There is something called shared destiny. We all suffer when people are uninsured.”

She urged the crowd to stop bemoaning the election results. “Look at Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and think about what went right.” She quipped, “We can beat ourselves up over Ohio. But as Garrison Keillor said, ‘Republicans are citizens of heaven and should not be permitted to vote on earth.’”

Bush can be stopped

Roger Hickey, co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future (CAF), told the crowd they should take pride in helping turn out 56 million voters against Bush. “It was an incredible organizing effort by the kind of people now in this room.” He added, “I have never seen that kind of grassroots organizing.”

Hickey said a CAF exit poll asked voters which issue they view as most important. “Folks said jobs, health care mattered more than terrorism and security. … Neither Kerry nor Bush addressed these issues clearly. Yet Bush claims a mandate for issues like privatizing Social Security.”

Hickey charged that the war in Iraq “was instigated as the key element in securing a second term for Bush” by diverting people’s attention from their vital interests. “People are still very skeptical. People know that George W. Bush is working for a set of corporate interests, whether it is No Child Left Behind and the lack of funding for that or medical savings accounts for the very wealthy. He stands for the corporate agenda against the interests of the vast majority of Americans. … We believe he can be stopped dead in his tracks.”

Unite against cost-shifting

Sally Tyler, a specialist in health care for the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees, said 1.3 million workers lost their job-based health insurance in 2003 as premiums skyrocketed 13.9 percent. “Cost-shifting is occurring across the board,” she said. “There were 20 major contracts negotiated last year and in every one health care was a major issue.”

She cited the militant strikes by grocery workers in California where health care was the issue. “People tend to see these battles as union battles,” she said. “I would encourage you to see these battles as part of the general struggle for health care. If union health care plans take a hit, there will be a domino effect with attacks on health care in general. Cuts in these safety net programs lead to increased premium costs for all the rest of us.”

Wal-Mart “refuses to provide health benefits as a matter of course,” Tyler said, while encouraging employees to enroll in Medicaid, or other low-income programs provided by the federal and state governments.

In California, she said, it costs taxpayers million annually to provide health care for 10,000 Wal-Mart employees. “This is not a criticism of Medicaid or those state programs, but a criticism of these employers who deny benefits for their workers. Wal-Mart is feeding at the public trough through huge tax cuts and abatements but also from shifting their costs to the public safety net.”

Struggle to save Medicaid

Bill Vaughn, director of government relations for Families USA, charged that the Bush administration’s tax cuts for the rich “have created an economic disaster for us and it is going to cost trillions to fix it.” He held up a Bible. “I’ve been reading the Bible a lot since Nov. 2,” he said to laughter from the audience. “None of those Bush officials have gotten through the Book of Genesis. … Our pharaohs have eaten all the corn.”

He scoffed at Bush claims of a mandate to make his cut taxes permanent and fund the war in Iraq. “You cannot do that without deep cuts in social programs,” he said. “They are going to block- grant Medicaid. They are going to cut Medicaid half a trillion from the 2003 plan. We’re facing a blitzkrieg. … We’ve got to convince six or seven Republican senators by January to say: ‘We’re not going to do this.’ This is the fight of the year.”

Rand Wilson, national organizer of Jobs with Justice, said his grassroots organization “wants to be in the middle of the fight, not standing on the side preaching of health care as a universal right.”

The movement must recognize “flashpoints” of the struggle, he said, by “working together to stop the cost-shifting, standing with nurses and other caregivers in their fight for living wages and dignity, and joining with seniors and disabled people to improve and expand their care.” Referring to HR 676, he added, “Medicare for all is a simple way to build on what is already a single-payer health care system for seniors.”

Underserved communities

Ruth Perot, executive director of the Summit Health Institute for Research and Education, which focuses on the lack of health care for people of color, said the communities “underserved” by the private, for-profit health care system include “all of us.”

“The U.S. ranks well below England and Japan in delivery of health care, yet we spend three times as much,” she said.

But some people are “more underserved than others: low income, people of color,” she said. “Racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities do exist in the 44 million people who are uninsured. Twenty percent of African Americans and 34 percent of Hispanics lack health care coverage.”

Perot continued, “On Nov. 2, an overwhelming 89 percent of African Americans voted for the candidate, who wanted to address those issues. A majority of Hispanic Americans voted for that candidate too. There is a political constituency out there in favor of progressive change. The first goal is universal health care when we talk about reaching communities of color. … We are drawn into the fight when universal health care is part of the agenda. This is a life-and-death matter.”

She cited Census Bureau statistics on the widening gap in life expectancy, with African Americans and Native American Indians suffering, collectively, a 13,134-year deficit compared to 7,000 years for whites because of lack of health care. “A national commitment to universal health coverage is indispensable to eliminating that disparity. Some issues are non-negotiable. … You must involve African Americans, Native Americans, Latinos in this struggle.”

‘A long-term fight’

Rachel DeGolia, UHCAN organizing and operations director, told the World the turnout of several hundred for this conference was the largest in the history of the Cleveland-based group and has “energized” the fight to defend and expand health care.

“This is a long-term fight and advocates and their organizations need to make long-term plans to meet the challenge,” she said in a post-conference e-mail message. “A major attack on Medicaid is coming up very fast (the next few months) and this program, as well as Medicare, are critically important to future prospects for achieving affordable health care for all.”

Tim Wheeler, national political correspondent for the People’s Weekly World, can be reached at

**(See related story below)

For steelworkers, health crisis hits home

By Denise Winebrenner Edwards

PITTSBURGH — Members of the United Steelworkers of America union represent the largest single organized group in the country who know up-close and personal the impact of sliced-and-diced health care and pensions. The health care crisis is not political rhetoric for hundreds of thousands who spent their lifetimes in the mines, mills and factories. Health care is a daily struggle and a constant worry.

The USWA initiated “Steel Re-Union” in July 2004, with funding from the Stand Up for Steel campaign. The goals include organizing 1 million workers and their families to “fight like hell to get the high quality of accessible health care we are entitled to,” in the words of union President Leo Gerard. By the end of 2004, Re-Union hopes to establish 33 community-based outreach sites. At least 20 are already up and running with volunteer staffing.

The community-based centers, said Ike Gittlen, USWA public policy coordinator, are in the heartland where the union has high membership density.

“Our goal, in light of the elections, is to build a coalition to overcome the president of the United States,” said Gittlen, working on the day before Thanksgiving. “After almost six months, it is clear that we can organize the political power, strong political power.”

Gittlen continued: “There is one issue everybody agrees on, and that is everybody should be covered by health care. The question is who is going to pay for it. We are organizing enough people to fix this crisis. The first step, our biggest effort, is to get people caring about each other again.”

Contrasting the Canadian system of universal health care with the setup in the U.S., Gittlen said that even “owners of the corporations recognize that Canadian companies get an extra ,000 per worker per year because health care costs are off the bargaining table. In the U.S., companies might settle for cost containment, or at least predictable costs.”

Throughout the presidential election campaign, Steel Re-Union organized meet-ups that attracted hundreds of steelworkers on the issues of health care, pensions and Social Security. In White Oak, Pa., near Pittsburgh, steelworkers and their families jammed the VFW hall for a luncheon meeting in October. Unlike other Re-Union gatherings, most of the steelworkers used to work for U.S. Steel and still have their health care and pensions intact.

“Look what happened to the guys at LTV, Bethlehem, the miners — hey, we aren’t safe,” said retired Clairton coke oven worker Ed Friday. “We have to organize. We can’t put our head in the sand and act like it can’t happen to us. Taking those guys’ pensions, health care — It’s a crime, a crime. We have to stand together.”

Denise Winebrenner Edwards, a member of the PWW editorial board, can be reached at

Originally published by the People’s Weekly World

Report this post as:

Local News


lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Xyloglossie attitudinale A23 8:07AM

Shadowgun Legends Hack and Cheats A23 7:24AM

What does the Quran Say About Islamic Dress?? A21 4:15PM

Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée A20 11:22AM

The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion A20 7:14AM

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

Amy Goodman interview on cell phone safety A08 10:29PM

Mesa, Arizona police officer kills unarmed white man A08 9:50PM

Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes A08 9:48PM

Paraphysique de l'autorité A08 12:11AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy