Posted: Jan 13th, 2011
Opening Day at the Races
Two major events for the single payer community brought out supporters in force this last weekend.
Saturday, we hosted our annual potluck in San Francisco. We had an amazing turn out with around 170 people from all over the state in attendance. Mark Leno was the featured speaker, as well as Jodi Reed from CARA, Hank Abrons with PNHP-California, and Unite Here Local 2.
Monday, we joined the California Allied Health Professional Student Alliance for their annual Kickoff Rally and Lobby Day at the Capitol. Despite the cold weather, our hearts were warmed and spirits moved by the enthusiasm, tenacity and passion put forth by the more than 300 students, who were cheered on by the lively crowd of supporters.
In attending both events, there are three messages I walked away with:
- Organize. If you think that Sacramento politicians are just going to sign this bill, you are dreaming. It is imperative for us to build this movement, not just in big cities, but in every corner of the state. We need scale in our movement so that our elected officials have no choice to put single payer on the table. With greater numbers behind us, it would be hard to vote against this legislation.
- Spread the word. As doctors inoculate their patients against measles, mumps and hepatitis c, we as activists have the job of inoculating the public what single payer is and almost more importantly, what it is not. The insurance industry spent over a million dollars a day on lobbyists in D.C. during the health care reform debate. To combat this truth, using all of our creativity, tenacity, and passion, we need to be constantly looking for ways to educate folks about what we advocate for: true universal, accessible, affordable and equitable health care for all. This is single payer health care.
- Collaborate. We need to work together. As a member of the state strategy group, I believe it is imperative that we proceed as a united front. There is so much talent and collective experience in this movement. We can be unstoppable. I am so excited for the year ahead. Senator Leno has vowed to re-introduce the bill; it’s likely to be called SB 810 again. We are committed, confident and ready to go.
On the bus to Sacramento, we passed the horse track. It felt like the rally and potluck were “opening day at the races,” full of energy and excitement for winning. We have to be strong, determined and disciplined. But we also have to be smart and strategic. If we are divided, big insurance is closer to winning. If we are united, the more we grow and become unstoppable.