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.”
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.
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.
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!