New York Activists to Join in National Tax Day Protests, to Call on Lawmakers to Protect Health Care and Social Safety Net

The new tax cut law enacted by Congress and President Trump at the end of last year poses a direct threat to many existing federal health care and social safety net programs.  Beyond skewing our national tax system EVEN MORE to benefit large corporations and the super-rich, it also blew a huge $1.5B hole in the federal budget over the next decade.  Many expect Congress to soon move to try to slash funding for, and make radical changes to, the full range of social and health care programs in order to make up for the shortfall.  Many believe they intentionally created this deficit as an excuse to then attack domestic social programs.  The Trump administration’s new budget proposals for 2019 clearly lays out their plans.

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The national organizations involved in producing last year’s Tax Marches across the US are again joining forces this year to undertake public activities on or around Tax Day.  The national “Not One Penny” campaign (which led last fall’s grassroots opposition to the tax cut bill as it was debated in Congress) recently launched a national bus tour through strategic states and congressional districts.  Its focus is to inform the public about the various destructive impacts of the new law, and its $1.5 trillion drain on the federal treasury in particular.  The tour will culminate in days of action from April 14 to 17 in communities and cities across the country.  These events will call attention to the importance of educating and mobilizing the public in advance of this fall’s midterm elections, with a focus to stop any proposed funding cuts to social safety net programs because of the tax law, and to restore fairness to our tax system.

Here in NYC on Tax Day (April 17), a variety of local groups are organizing a “People’s Tax Day Action Festival”, to take place from 5 to 7 pm in Foley Square in lower Manhattan, in front of the major state and federal court houses.

Components of this festival will include:

  • Selfie soap box with personal story sharing – what various social programs, which will be at risk in future budget proposals in order to pay for the tax scam, mean for me, my family, my community
  • Street theater demonstrating what’s really going down with the new tax cut law
  • “Tax and Social Justice Sing-Along” featuring popular/well-known songs with humorous rewritten lyrics
  • Life-sized “Runaway Equality Monopoly”
  • Tabling offering literature on the new tax law and related issues
  • Tabling for civic engagement and organizing opportunities in this year’s election season
  • Voter registration on the spot

Lead groups for the festival are the Upper West Side MoveOn-Indivisible Action Group, and Tax March.  Partner groups include Center for Popular Democracy, Communications Workers of America Local 1102, Get Organized Brooklyn Safety Net Defenders, Health Care for America Now-NYC, Indivisible Brooklyn, Metro NY Health Care for All, Progressive Doctors, Rise and Resist, Strong Economy for All, Upper East Side Indivisible, Working Families Party-NY.

Full details are at:  https://actionnetwork.org/events/nyc-peoples-tax-day-action-festival

 

It’s Time to Declare that “Gun Violence is a Public Health Crisis!”

In recent decades, the political fight over how to combat growing gun violence has become an endless back-and-forth between “gun rights” vs. “gun control”. Meanwhile, gun violence incidents in schools and colleges, movie theaters, outdoor plazas, churches, and other public settings continue unabated. Hundreds have died or been wounded, and families torn apart.

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Many in the health field have long argued that a much better approach to resolve this crisis is to understand and respond to it as a public health matter, wherein research is conducted to identify causative and correlative factors, risk is assessed, broader social and community factors are addressed, and targeted services provided.

In the wake of last month’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida, student groups are organizing and leading “March for Our Lives” this Saturday, March 24. While the flagship march is in Washington, DC, there will be “solidarity marches” in New York City and many other cities and towns.

Here in New York City, plans mirror the Women’s March scenario from last January: The march will form-up along Central Park West in Manhattan, just north of Columbus Circle. People and groups can arrive starting at 10 a.m., entering from 72nd Street. A brief rally will be held at 11, and the march will step-off around noon, heading down into Midtown where it will disperse at 42nd Street and 6th Avenue.

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We are proud to be joining with a variety of doctor, nurse, and other health professional organizations and unions to lead a “health contingent” for the NYC march. Our message will call for reframing gun violence as a public health matter and dealing with it as such.

We invite you to join us with your group banners, and signs and posters reflecting our focus. Health professionals are also welcome to wear their professional attire (white coats, scrubs, etc.) We will gather at Lincoln Center at the center plaza fountain starting at 9:30 a.m. We will depart at 10 a.m. to join in the march, so don’t be late! (…and dress warmly/in layers – it’s still March!)

NOW is the time to “Stand in Solidarity” for workers’ rights!

Organized labor has LONG been one of the key forces in the fight for health care and social justice in the U.S. We would not have ANY of the gains we have made over the past half century in the fight for health care for all without the leadership and support of our allies in the trade union movement. In addition, successful trade unionism has guaranteed the right to health care for millions of working people and their families through collective bargaining, and has set the broad national standard for employer-based health benefits for workers, regardless of whether one belongs to a union or not.

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Like everything else in our new political era, workers’ fundamental rights are under attack, especially the right to organize unions altogether. We must join together and fight back!

A case coming before the U.S. Supreme Court, Janus v. AFSCME Council 31, threatens that right for public sector workers, and by extension, to those in the private sector. Oral arguments on the case will be heard by the Court on Mon., Feb. 26. While the Court makes its rulings based on its interpretation of law and precedence, it also does pay some attention to public sentiment about the fundamental justice principles at stake in any particular case.

On Sat., Feb. 24, trade union members and their allies and supporters will be gathering in public spaces across the country for a national “Working People’s Day of Action ”. Together, we will give loud voice to our shared belief in workers’ basic right to organize and collectively bargain.

Here in NYC, our sisters and brothers at the NYC Central Labor Council are organizing a major rally to take place in Foley Square in lower Manhattan, appropriately in front of the state and federal court houses, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

We invite you to join us in a special “Health Care Activists Solidarity Contingent”! District Council 1707 AFSCME, where our office is located, has invited us to be part of their group. Feel free to bring any appropriate signs and banners, and please invite your friends, family, and colleagues to come along. When you get there, just look for the signs and banners for DC 1707 and find us amidst that crowd – look for the Metro banner and signs with our logo.

See you there. Solidarity forever!

Health Care and Social Justice Advocates and Activists Mobilize to Stop New “Tax Giveaway” Plan in Congress

RIGHT NOW, Congress is on the verge of passing a massive tax giveaway bill that will severely threaten health care in different ways, and the entire spectrum of domestic social programs.  Millions of everyday New Yorkers and our families will be seriously adversely affected.

This week, our Senators and Representatives are home for their Thanksgiving Week recess, so now is an ideal time to let them know what YOU think.  Drop by their local office, make a phone call, post to their social media.  Public opinion research shows that the vast majority of the public does not support it.

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Overall, the Majority party’s tax plan aims to give away nearly $6 trillion dollars in taxes over the next decade. Most of them go to large corporations and the super-wealthy.  Here’s a good summary by the Coalition for Human Needs (www.chn.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/tax-article-11-3-17.pdf.)  You will see that there’s a $1.5 trillion shortfall that will increase the federal budget deficit. (See also the “coincidental” Medicare and Medicaid cuts below.)

How the new tax giveaway bill affects health care:
• Repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) “personal responsibility requirement” (aka individual mandate.)  This provision would blow-up the new ACA marketplaces for otherwise-uninsured individuals and families. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that 13 million people would drop their coverage because of the market collapse, and premiums would rise by 20% more than already predicted for those who’d remain in it. The amount of savings would be about $330 billion resulting from the government not having to provide premium subsidies anymore to those who’d lose coverage.
• Repeal of the current tax deduction for high medical expenses.  This provision would particularly affect families with a member who has a serious illness or disability.
• The $1.5 trillion increase in the budget deficit will trigger an automatic $25 billion cut to Medicare per provisions of the Budget Control Act of 2011 that created an across-the-board budget sequester process to lower the federal budget deficit.
• $1 trillion in cuts to Medicaid, per the Joint Budget Resolution adopted last month.
• $500 billion in cuts to Medicare, per the Joint Budget Resolution adopted last month.

 

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Where things stand now in the legislative process:

• Last week, the House passed its version along party lines. 11 members of the Majority voted against it, including Rep. Dan Donovan, the only member of the Majority from NYC.  In sum, 12 of our city’s 12 House members voted against the bill.
• Over on the Senate side, a similar bill passed out of the Finance Committee along party lines last week, and the Majority leadership has scheduled a floor vote for late next week.  Both our U.S. Senators are opposed to the bill.
• Majority party Congressional leaders have intentionally set-up the process to be partisan, and are precluding any meaningful participation by members of the House and Senate Minority.

How forces are mobilizing, and what YOU can do:
• Most immediately, the Mayor’s office is organizing a large opposition rally for Tues. Nov. 21 at 2 p.m. outside Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan (57th St. and 5th Ave.)  The focus in on the impacts of the tax giveaway bill on senior citizens.
• Plans are in the works for next week (after Thanksgiving) for a variety of events across the city and region. Keep checking our Events Calendar here for new listings and details as they become finalized.

What’s really needed: Bipartisan collaboration and solutions.  Our nation faces serious national issues that need addressing now, health care chief among them.  Pursuit of hyper-partisan and ideological goals on taxes, health care, and domestic social programs does nothing but engender political fights that, at best, lead to stalemates, leaving nothing solved.  Instead, Majority party Congressional leaders need to work across the aisle with mutual respect to “get the job done.”

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Still hanging out there is important “unfinished business” on the health care:
• Renewed funding for the State Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP) that expired back on Oct. 1st. Coverage for 9 million kids nationwide, and 350,000 here in New York, hangs in the balance, and cutbacks will start after the first of the year if nothing is done soon.
• Renewed funding for community health centers that also expired back on Oct. 1st. Over 2 million New Yorkers rely on these clinics for their health care. Many have nowhere else to turn.
• Restoring full-funding to the Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) program that provides critical funding to hospitals that serve large numbers of uninsured and indigent patients. DSH funding was cut back on October 1st. This is a critical issue for New York’s public hospitals.
• Restoring “cost-sharing reduction payments” that lower health insurance deductibles and co-payments for low-income people not eligible for Medicaid.  Here in New York, this funding pays for our new, very successful “Essential Plan” that provides low-cost insurance to over 700,000 New Yorkers.

Please be sure to mention these issues when you speak to lawmakers about the tax giveaway bill.

NY Universal Health Care Advocates and Activist to Gather for 2017 Annual Health Care Justice Leadership Gala

Each fall, our members, supporters, friends, and allies come together at our Annual Gala to reflect on and applaud our shared accomplishments, and recommit to the work ahead.  We enjoy some food, drink, and fellowship with each other, hear some words of inspiration, and salute some very worthy individuals, unions, and community groups who’ve provided leadership in the fight for health care justice over the past year.  This year, our Annual Gala will be held on Monday evening, December 4th at District Council 1707 AFSCME, 420 West 45th Street in Manhattan.

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It’s an understatement to say that 2017 has proven to be a crucial year in the fight for health care justice here in the U.S.  We’ve all been very busy in various ways with the fight to protect the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Medicaid, and family planning.  We’ve now all turned our attention to the new “tax giveaway” fight in Congress which, among other things, absolutely threatens funding for all federal health care programs, and the whole spectrum of social and domestic programs that millions of New Yorkers and our families rely on.

Because of all our hard work together over this year, we have much to celebrate!  The ACA still stands as the law of the land, Medicaid is still an entitlement, and Planned Parenthood is still in full operation.  None of this was expected when the new Congress and Trump administration took office in January, but we joined forces to fight back and have prevailed (so far.)

We’re delighted to announce our Gala honorees for their leadership for health care justice in 2017:

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• Rep. Nydia Velazquez (NY-7), for her long-time political leadership in fighting against federal budget and tax bills that threaten health care, defending immigrant rights, and advocating for the needs of Puerto Rico.

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• 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, for their trade union leadership in deploying organizers in strategic congressional districts across our state to defend the ACA and Medicaid, and in fostering local coalitions in those regions.

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• NY-11 for Health Care, for their community leadership in mobilizing residents of Staten Island and southwest Brooklyn to speak out in favor of the ACA, Medicaid, family planning, Medicare, and Social Security.

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• Housing Works, for their community leadership in training scores of activists to undertake sit-ins and engage in civil disobedience at Capitol Hill offices in support of the ACA and Medicaid, and then supporting those who were arrested as they were put through the criminal justice system.

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Our Keynote Speaker will be Tim Foley, Director of SEIU’s Connecticut State Council, and former Political Director for the Committee of Interns and Residents, a national union of doctors and medical students in training based here in NYC.

We want everyone “in the house” to celebrate all we’ve done together this year.  You can make an RSVP here:  https://actionnetwork.org/events/2017-annual-health-care-justice-leadership-gala.  Simply bring your check to hand in at the door.  Our requested donation for individuals is $75 (more if you can, less if you can’t.)

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Please be as generous as you can.  Given all that we’ve done this year, our coffers have been significantly depleted, and we need to replenish them for the year ahead, which will be another epic one given our new political landscape.

You can also support our Annual Gala by using the donate button on the right-hand side here on this webpage.

Please also be sure to approach your own organization or union about their support for our gala.  We offer them the following opportunities:

• Host Committee membership
• Announcement in our Commemorative Journal/Program Book
• Group ticket discount
• Package deal for two or more of the above options

Please contact us directly for further information on any of the above support options: 646-527-6612; metrohealth@igc.org.

New York Health Care Activists Regroup After Successful (so far) 9-Month Campaign to “Save Our Health Care!”

It’s been a whirlwind of activities since the beginning of January as many groups and unions joined forces to stop moves in Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), decimate Medicaid as we have known it for over a half a century, and cut-off funding for family planning services provided by Planned Parenthood. Nationally, Health Care for America Now (HCAN), the national umbrella campaign that pushed the ACA through Congress back in 2009-10, was revived to form a field operation out in the states, and the new “Protect Our Care” collaboration among national groups based in Washington, DC worked Capitol Hill and undertook messaging research.

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Here in New York, we helped to lead HCAN’s New York City Organizing Committee, and participated in HCAN’s New York State Network. Across the state, local coalitions were formed in strategic congressional districts to engage their local congressmember, inform their constituents about what was happening and mobilize them to take action, and help local media understand what was at stake for local communities.

Here in New York City, our focus was on the 11th District comprised of Staten Island and the southwest Brooklyn communities of Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights, Ft. Hamilton, and Gravesend. Local grassroots groups came together as “NY-11 for Health Care”, building on collaboration they’ve been doing since 2009. On a citywide level, we organized events to respond to developments in Congress, and contribute to various National Days of Action. We also helped to resource a coalition of local physician groups (#nydocs) that formed to project the voices of medical professionals into the debate.

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Here’s the list of 2017 Organization and Union Partners in HCAN-NYC’s “Campaign to Save Our Health Care”:
• 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East*
• ACT UP New York
• Caring for US Indivisible
• Center for Independence of the Disabled-New York
• Center for Popular Democracy
• Children’s Defense Fund of New York
• Citizen Action of New York City
• Committee of Interns and Residents, SEIU Healthcare**
• Communications Workers of America, District One, Local 1102*, Local 1109*, and Local 1180
• Community Service Society of New York
• District Council 37, AFSCME
• Doctors Council, SEIU Healthcare**
• Doctors for America, New York Chapter**
• El Centro del Inmigrante*
• Empire State Medical Association, Manhattan Central Medical Society**
• Fight Back Bay Ridge*
• Get Organized Brooklyn
• Greater NYC for Change
• Healthcare Education Project, 1199SEIU and Greater New York Hospital Association*
• Housing Works
• Make the Road New York*
• Medicare Rights Center
• Metro New York Health Care for All* **
• Move Forward Staten Island*
• National Physicians Alliance, New York Chapter**
• New York Immigration Coalition
• New York State Nurses Association*
• New York Statewide Senior Action Council
• Physicians for a National Health Program, New York Metro Chapter**
• Progressive Doctors**
• Project Hospitality*
• Radical Aging
• Raising Women’s Voices-New York
• Rise and Resist
• South Brooklyn Progressive Resistance*
• Staten Island Family Health Coalition*
• Staten Island for Change/OFA*
• Staten Island Peace Action*
• Staten Island Women Who March*
• Strong Economy for All
• Upper East Side for Change/OFA
• Upper West Side MoveOn-Indivisible Group
• West Side Federation for Senior and Supportive Housing

(* Participants in “NY-11 for Health Care”) (** Participants in “#nydocs”)

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…And here’s a list of ALL that we did together (in various configurations):

• Dec. 22 – “Protect Our Care” speak-out outside Staten Is. office of Rep. Dan Donovan, hosted by Staten is. for Change
• Jan. 5 – “Protect Our Patients” press conference featuring leaders of NYC physician groups and NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett, at the Catherine Abate Health Center on Manhattan’s Lower East Side
• Jan. 13 – “Health Care is a Human Right” rally outside Trump Tower, in conjunction with NYC single-payer advocacy groups
• Jan. 13 – Solidarity March to a rally for striking Momentive workers, in conjunction with CWA District One
• Jan. 15 – “Medicare for All” rally at the Wall St. Bull at Bowling Green, in conjunction with National Nurses United and NYS Nurses Assoc.
• Jan 18 – NYC kick-off of “Save Our Care” national bus tour, at City Hall with Deputy Mayor Herminia Palacio
• Jan. 19 – “Candlelight Vigil for Health Care” outside the Staten Island office of Rep. Dan Donovan, led by NY-11 for Health Care
• Jan. 21 – “Women’s March NYC” health care contingent, from the UN to Trump Tower, led by PNHP NY Metro

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• Feb. 3 – Meeting of Health Care for America Now’s NYS Network, at 1199 SEIU in Albany
• Feb. 21 – “Save Our Health Care” rally outside the Bay Ridge office of Rep. Dan Donovan, led by NY-11 for Health Care
• Feb. 23 – Health Care Town Hall in Stapleton, Staten Island, in conjunction with the Healthcare Education Project
• Feb. 25 – “Protect Our Patients” speak-out at the Bay Ridge office of Rep. Dan Donovan, in conjunction with NYC physician and nursing groups

• Mar. 12 – Health care forum hosted by United Through Action, at the Church of the Village in Greenwich Village
• Mar. 17 – Press conference at the Bay Ridge Senior Center, led by the Healthcare Education Project and AARP/NY
• Mar. 21 – “Medicaid Block Grants Kill” protest outside 26 Federal Plaza, led by Rise and Resist
• Mar. 30 – ACT UP/New York 30th Anniversary March and Action, from NYC AIDS Memorial to Union Square

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• Apr. 1 – “March for Health”, from Trump Tower to Columbus Circle, led by a variety of physician groups including #nydocs
• Apr. 19 – Health Care Town Hall in Bay Ridge, hosted by Fight Back Bay Ridge, South Brooklyn Progressive Resistance, and allies
• Apr. 25 – Meetings with Capitol Hill offices of NY Members of Congress, as part of People’s Action convention

• May 7 – Press conference with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand at her NYC office
• May 9 – “Protect Our Public Schools and Health Care” protest outside Success Academy in Harlem, during a visit by House Speaker Paul Ryan, led by the Alliance for Quality Education and allies

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• June 3-4 – Workshop Sessions at the 2017 Justice Works conference, in Albany
• June 21-22 – “24-Hour Vigil to Save Our Health Care” in Columbus Circle, opposite Trump International Hotel; led by Rise and Resist
• June 22 – “Statewide Health Care Advocates Strategic Planning Meeting”, jointly hosted by Health Care for All New York, Medicaid Matters New York, and Health Care for America Now, at 1199 SEIU in Albany
• June 23 – Press Conference with Sen. Charles Schumer, at Bellevue Hospital
• June 27 – Multi-Stakeholder Day of Capitol Hill Visits with members of the New York Congressional delegation
• June 28 – “Emergency Vigil to Save Our Health Care” solidarity action in Foley Square, across from Federal Plaza

• July 6 – “Koch Addiction Kills Our Health Care!” symbolic funeral march, led by Rise and Resist
• July 10 – “Faso Fat Cats Make Us Sick!” protest outside an NYC fundraiser for Rep. John Faso, joint with NYS Nurses Assoc., 1199 SEIU, and Rise and Resist
• July 15 – Press conference with Rep. Carolyn Maloney, at Bellevue Hospital
• July 24 – Medicare for All rally, in Union Square
• July 26 – Health care unions press conference at City Hall, led by 1199 SEIU and NYS Nurses Assoc.
• July 29 – “Our Lives Are Still on the Line” Victory and Recommitment Rally

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• Aug. 4 – Anniversary Celebration of Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP, hosted by the NYS Nurses Association
• Aug. 13 – Solidary Rally Against White Supremacy in the U.S, in conjunction with Rise and Resist

• Sept. 22 – Press conference about the “Graham-Cassidy” bill outside the Staten Island office of Rep. Dan Donovan, led by NY-11 for Health Care
• Sept. 23 – “Funeral March to Bury TrumpCare” in Times Square, in conjunction with Rise and Resist
• Sept. 25 – Press conference with members of the NYC congressional delegation, NYC Councilmembers, and HCAN members

In the end, grassroots activism proved essential to stopping Congress from its attacks on the ACA, Medicaid, and Planned Parenthood …for the 2017 federal fiscal year. However, debate is now starting in Congress over various proposals for tax cut and spending bills for the new 2018 fiscal year that started on October 1st. Health care and a wide range of related social programs will be squarely in the bullseye again in the process, so our work to protect and improve health care programs continues. Medicare, Medicaid, family planning, and the ACA are all at risk. No rest for the weary!

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On the positive side, Sen. Bernie Sanders recently introduced his long-awaited “Medicare-for-All” universal health care bill. While not likely to be taken up in the current Congress, this bill provides a goal we can all point to as where the U.S. needs to go once the current doings in Congress are squashed once and for all.

Congress Begins to Attack Health Care Programs, and New Yorkers Mobilize to Fight Back

If you’ve been following the news out of Washington, DC lately, you know that health care is under attack.  Congress is rushing to repeal the Affordable Care Act and end funding for family planning services.  However, these moves are only the first wave, with more to come later this spring that will affect Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and employer coverage.

It’s a wild ride so far and will only intensify.  Everyone’s health care coverage is at risk, no matter what kind you have.  Just looking at the ACA repeal (with NO replacement, so far) alone, 2.7 million New Yorkers will lose their coverage, including 1.6 million here in New York City.

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It’s all-hands-on-deck, big time!

Fortunately, lots of groups of forces are starting to mobilize and fight back, and we here at Metro are at the center of many of these efforts and events.  The national Health Care for America Now (HCAN) campaign that functioned during the 2009-10 health care reform fight is back, and will be focusing on all the current and upcoming fights.  HCAN action coalitions are forming across New York State, and we are leading the effort here in NYC.  Staten Island and southwest Brooklyn is a particular focus, among others.

How to keep on top of it all?  

We urge you to keep checking our website calendar, action alert page, and blog.  There’s new events and developments happening almost every day.  Additionally, as you hear of activities or plan some yourself, please let us know of them so that we can list them to inform others.

You can also follow us on Facebook.  We post things many things there (particularly timely news stories), and you can easily share out items from there to your own social media networks.

Why is the health care fight back is SO important?

Of course, health care is not the only issue that New Yorkers and those who care about social justice are worried about.  Many really bad ideas are in the works coming out of the new Congress and incoming Trump administration, so we all have to have each others’ backs if we’re going to succeed.  We cannot just stay in our own silos and have parochial perspectives.  We will all lose if that happens.

That said, health care just happens to be the first thing out of the gate.  If we can successfully beat back what Congress wants to do on that front, or at the very least throw sand in the gears of the legislative process, that will slow or stop EVERYTHING ELSE that’s lined up right behind it.  By focusing NOW on the ACA and women’s health care fights, we pushback on what’s coming next on a whole variety of health care, social, and economic issues.

What to do?  “Think global, act local.”  

First and foremost, keep contacting your member of Congress about your views on whatever is happening, including our two Senators:  Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.  Put them on your speed dial.  Many of them are very supportive of health care, and are fighting hard against the coming onslaught.  It is very important that we support them, and that any damage coming out of any setbacks is minimal.  For those lawmakers who don’t support health care programs, we must hold them accountable for their positions and votes, and inform their constituents of what they are doing.

While all these fights right now are defensive ones, we all know that what we truly need is a universal health care program here in the U.S. and New York.  By fighting to preserve and improve the health care gains that we have made over the last 50 years, we will gain the political momentum to push forward toward that broader, ultimate goal.  If we lose on these current fights, we will be badly set back.

Thanks, as always, for all you do to fight for health care for all and health care justice.  We look forward to partnering with your community organization, trade union, professional association, and faith congregation in the days, weeks, and months ahead.  Onward!

A Post-Election Open Letter: The New Fight for Health Care Justice

It’s been a very busy time for health care justice advocates and activists since Election Day.  The results present us with a very different and much more challenging political and policymaking landscape than we had anticipated.  Meetings and conference calls have been numerous in recent days as we try to assess our new environment and brainstorm contingencies and options.  At the same time, many of us are very fearful for the future of a humane society and our fundamental democracy.  Nevertheless, we’re lifted up and inspired by the tried-and-true adage, “Don’t mourn, organize.”

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What we now know for sure is that we really are “all in this together” across the broad social justice spectrum, both in terms of what’s at stake, and how we must respond.  To both protect our current health care and coverage system (imperfect as it is) and advance toward a more just one we’ve long sought, we cannot function solely in our own silos.  We must link up with others and support them as we also rely on support from them.  We must become much more strategic, and utilize a broad range of tactics that complement each other, not necessarily in lock-step but in respectful solidarity.

It is still early days, and we have a lot to share with and learn from each other as we forge our plans.  Yet given the urgency of the coming mere weeks ahead, we will likely have to build our plane while we are flying it.  It won’t be easy, but we dare say we’ve done it before, and we can do it again.  It will require putting our shoulders to our wheel while linking arms with each other.

With all that in mind, in the days ahead we will be reaching out to you, our partners here in Metro, to share what we know, and to hear from you.  We welcome opportunities to meet with you, so please reach out to us about that …and we’ll also be contacting you.  We also seek to join with others who are jointly mobilizing for the new era, to particularly be a resource on health care issues, so please feel free to call on us.

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We are expecting a broad and aggressive attack on health care programs fairly soon in the coming new year.  Everything will be in the bullseye:  Affordable Care Act, women’s health care, children’s health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, and various aspects of employer-sponsored coverage.

We will be calling on and supporting our champions to stand strong.  We will confront those who move to rollback these programs.  We will be reaching out to help the media understand what’s at stake.  We will be creating our own media (traditional and new.)  We’ll be helping the public and various constituencies understand the options and consequences of various decisions, and how they can assert their needs.  We’ll be building and leading coalition efforts to bring various forces together synergistically.  We will be planning convenings to share information and strategize collectively about what can be done here in New York to protect and improve health care.

We’ve got our work cut out of us.  Our upcoming annual gala on Thursday evening December 8th is an opportunity to gather up some needed financial resources for the fight ahead, and we hope you will attend and support it generously.  However, it will take more than money for us to succeed in the coming days, weeks, months, and years.  It will also take active participation and engagement with each other, each playing our own role and making our unique contributions.  Our whole WILL be greater than the sum of its parts.

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We look forward to continuing to work with each and every one of you in the fight for health care justice here in New York and across the U.S.  Here we go — let’s do it!

2016 Election Results Threaten Health Care for Millions of New Yorkers

Our next President and Congress are coming after our health care …BIG TIME.

Whether you and/or your kids get your coverage through Medicare, Medicaid, Child Health Plus, or an Affordable Care Act plan, they’re ALL in the cross-hairs now.  Employer coverage may also be further dumbed down so that you end up in a high-deductible plan with a measly health savings account. (And that’s not even mentioning what they’ve got in mind for Social Security.)

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We all have our work cut out for us for the next four years on many social justice issues, and health care will be one of the major ones and one of the first things out of the Washington chute in 2017.  It’s all hands on deck time!

….Which is why we need your support of our upcoming annual gala.  We’ve got to step-up our game to a whole new level – the status quo and same-old, same-old won’t cut it.  We’ll be working with our union and community partners to form a united and powerful fight back, and your generous contributions will make that possible.

Individuals can support our Gala by attending and making a contribution. The suggested donation is $75, but everyone is welcome, whatever you give.  If you can’t attend, we’ll miss you, but will still welcome your contribution!  You can make your contribution by using the donate button here or at the door.

Your organization or union can also support our 2016 Annual Gala by:
• Joining our Host Committee
• Placing an announcement in our Commemorative Journal
• Reserving a group of tickets (at discount)
Please contact us about these methods of support.

Our gala will be held on Thursday evening, December 8th, in the auditorium at District Council 1707 AFSCME, located at 420 West 45th Street in Manhattan.  We’re very excited that our honorees this year will be:
• New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, for political leadership.
• Communications Workers of America, Local 1102, for trade union leadership.
• New York Paid Leave Insurance Campaign, for community leadership.

Our keynote speaker will be Althea Maybank, MD, Deputy Commissioner for the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and Director of its Center for Health Equity.

Looking forward to meeting you then!

 

NYC Universal Health Care Advocates to Gather and Celebrate Health Care Justice Leaders

You’re invited!

At our Leaders for Health Care Justice Annual Gala, our members, supporters, and friends gather to look back over and celebrate our accomplishments of the year, and commit ourselves to the work of the year ahead …all over some good food and drink.

20th Anniversary Champagne Toast

We will also recognize some worthy groups and individuals who have advanced the cause of health care justice and universal health care.  We’re very excited that our honorees this year will be:

 

  • New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, for political leadership – Several major long-stalled health care proposals have moved forward under his leadership, including the New York Health Act, Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act, enhanced funding for safety net hospitals, and paid family leave.
heastie-pic

 

  • Communications Workers of America, Local 1102, for trade union leadership – For the past eight years, they have provided leadership on Staten Island to bring together local trade unions and community advocates to engage their local Congressmembers, media, and the public on issues related to health care reform, and protecting and improving federal vital health care and social safety net programs like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Child Health Insurance, SNAP/food stamps, etc.
cwa-1102-rally-pic

 

  • New York Paid Leave Insurance Campaign, for community leadership – For nearly two decades, they have brought together a variety of forces across the state to advocate for a state-based paid family leave program, so that family members can provide care to loved ones without fear of losing their job or a loss of income. Their goal was achieved earlier this year, and soon New York will become the fourth state to have one, and it will be the most robust in the nation.
paid-leave-poster-pic

 

Our keynote speaker will be Althea Maybank, MD, Deputy Commissioner for the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and Director of its Center for Health Equity.  She will inform us of her Center’s important work to address racial and ethnic disparities in health and health care and how we can support it, and connect the struggle for health equity to that of universal health care.

maybank-pic

 

Our gala will be held on Thursday evening, December 8th, in the auditorium at District Council 1707 AFSCME, located at 420 West 45th Street in Manhattan.

You can support our Gala by attending and making a contribution.  The suggested donation is $75, but everyone is welcome, whatever you can give (more if you can, less if you can’t.)  Just use the donate button here on our website to make your donation, and we’ll reserve you a ticket at the door.  (If you can’t make it, we’ll still welcome your contribution!)

 

Your organization or union can also support our 2015 Annual Gala by:

  • Joining our Host Committee.
  • Placing an announcement in our Commemorative Journal.
  • Reserving a group of tickets (at discount.)

 

Contact our office (646-527-6612) for information on these group contribution options.

 

2017 will present us all with new opportunities and challenges under a new President and Congress, as well as a possible new balance of power in Albany.  Your financial support of our gala will provide us the resources needed to continue our mission of fostering community and labor collaboration toward our shared goal of universal health care and health care justice.

 

See you then!