Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

Majority of Americans Want Universal Healthcare

UPDATE:  CNN just released a brand new poll72% of the American public want the federal government to take a large role in providing healthcare coverage for all.  I hope Congress is listening!

The following chart is from The Drum Major Institute and represents a poll conducted 08 August ’08. I have seen similar polls from the New York Times and Public Policy Poling since the election.















Now, these numbers can change.  Similar numbers in favor of universal healthcare were around when Bill Clinton was elected president, but after the lobbyists for private insurance and Big Pharma ran their distorting “Harry and Louise” commercials, public support disappeared.  The commercials so misled older Americans that one retiree pleaded with then-Sen. Minority Leader Bob Dole (R-KS), “Please, Sen. Dole, don’t let the government run my Medicare!” Who did she think was ALREADY running Medicare???

The lobbyists will likewise attempt to derail current efforts at universal healthcare, too, even though it would help get us out of the recession. (The recession is global, but in no other industrial nation are people losing their healthcare, at a rate 0f 1,400 per month, along with their jobs.  That’s placing additional strains on state Medicaid programs and on hospital emergency rooms used for primary care–which is adding to state budget crises.) I mentioned back in December that if General Moters had been a CANADIAN company rather than a U. S. one, it would not have needed any government bailout money–even with all the bad management decisions over decades. Why? Because national healthcare in Canada would have saved GM’s biggest labor cost and given it an extra $22 billion per year.

Healthcare through jobs  or individual insurance plans means that U.S. manufacturers are not competing on even ground with European, Chinese, Japanese, Canadian, etc. manufacturers. It adds thousands of dollars to every American automobile, for instance.  It hurts small businesses (and leads many of our most creative entrepeneurs to forego starting their own small businesses) and to the death of family farms.

Think how much faster we can recover from this economic disaster if companies don’t need to factor in healthcare into their labor decisions?  National health insurance also saves hospitals in billing costs–which is why after start up costs, a single payer system is less expensive in the long run.

If you are a U.S. citizen, contact your member of Congress and Senators and urge them to pass universal healthcare THIS year.  Write letters to your local papers, too.  Make some noise: the lobbyists for Big Pharma and the HMOs sure will.

UPDATE: Originally, no supporters of single-payer plans were invited to the White House tomorrow for Obama’s Health Care Reform Summit.  Thanks to thousands of petitions, phone calls, emails, etc. by citizen activists, that has changed.  Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), a longtime proponent of single payer universal healthcare and author of the current House bill that promotes such, will be there.  This is how it’s done.


March 3, 2009 Posted by | economic justice, healthcare | 12 Comments

World Can’t Wait: Nationwide Peace Protests 19 March 2009

Protests of “Obama’s War,” against continuing occupation and war in Iraq, Afghanistan, & Pakistan will take place on 19 March–the 6th anniversary of the U.S.’ illegal invasion of Iraq under false pretenses.  It is sponsored by the World Can’t Wait coalition and other anti-war groups.  Although I disagree with the tone of the advertisement, I am all in favor of these protests.  Peace doesn’t come just by an election.  We need to keep up street pressure and other kinds of pressure from to counter the pressure of the hawks:  Politicians in this country tend to protect their right flank, and be more sensitive to attacks on their patriotism and “dovishness.” Without countervailing pressure from peace groups nothing happens.

FDR once said to workers pushing for Social Security, “I agree with you. Now MAKE me do it.”  At the signing of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. told Pres. Johnson that a voting rights act was needed next. LBJ replied that the votes were not there and wouldn’t be for another 10 years.  “I’ll get you those votes in the streets,” replied King and the Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965. 

I may be naive, but I think Pres. Obama wants to end the Iraq Occupation COMPLETELY on a faster time table than he has announced–if for no other reason than he needs the money for his domestic agenda.  I think he is realizing that there is no military solution to Afghanistan, but is afraid to leave safe havens for al Qaeda in the mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan. (Peace folks definitely need to propose alternatives here.)  The Beltway Consensus that we need to escalate in Afghanistan as we de-escalate in Iraq–which was nearly absolute as recently as last summer–is coming undone.  It is being challenged in the media and in Congress–and not just from peace or progressive circles.  Polls show the majority of Americans AT LEAST WORRIED about escalating in Afghanistan.

So, now is the time for street pressure.  19 March is a good place to begin. Look up local marches in your area.

UPDATE:  Thanks to citizen activism, the debate is widening in Congress and the press. Today, Rep. Russ Feingold (D-WI), a strong progressive who was a role model for Obama when he first ran for the U.S. Senate, urged Obama to speed up his Iraq withdrawal, deeply cut the “transitional forces” and to re-think Afghanistan entirely.  Keep it up, folks.  And drop Sen. Feingold an email thanking him for speaking out–then send a copy to your Rep. and Senators.

March 3, 2009 Posted by | Afghanistan, foreign policy, Iraq, peacemaking, terrorism prevention | 1 Comment