Monday, July 11, 2011

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From: Illinois Single Payer Coalition News <>
Sent: July 11, 2011 5:02 PM
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Subject: [News IL Single Payer] Fwd: sue saltmarsh has sent you a message from

ISPC E-News July 2011
By sue saltmarsh
Created 07/11/2011 - 16:53
Sunday, July 24 – 11:00 AM
 Single-Payer Literature Table
             Health Fair
             Nazarene All Nations Church
             6508 S. Ashland Ave.
Wednesday, July 27 – 12:00 – 2:00 PM
Hands Off My Medicare!
            Thompson Center
            100 W. Randolph
Thursday, July 28 – 5:30 – 8:00 PM
Dr. David Ansell Book Signing and Discussion:
            Public Health Care in Crisis 19602 to Present
            Grace Place
            637 S. Dearborn,
Sunday, July 31 – 4:00 – 7:00 PM
Health Care for All Illinois Summer Social
            Near NW side
            For reservations and details, call Anne Scheetz, 773-486-6276
Illinois News
ISPC – Onward and Upward
Three years ago, a handful of single-payer activists founded the Illinois Single-Payer Coalition to help spread the word that health care is a human right! We began by distributing literature at community events, speaking to organizations large and small, training new speakers, and holding our own events, from panel discussions and fundraisers (bowling anyone?) to hearings and lobbying in Springfield for HB 311, the Illinois Universal Health Care Act.
Today we have 730 people in our database, and an impressive roster of organizational members: Access Living, American Medical Student Association, Champaign County Health Care Consumers, Chicago Single-Payer Action Network, Gray Panthers, Health Care for All Illinois, Illinois Green Party, Illinois Media Progressives, National Nurses United, Physicians for a National Health Program, Progressive Democrats of America-Illinois, and Southern Illinois People for Progress.
Over the past year our membership has grown rapidly, and our vision has expanded to match. We're quickly becoming a source of unity for statewide single-payer organizations and advocates, and we've come to recognize the need for more structure, professionalism, and, yes, fundraising as we build a strong and diverse organization. 
In December of 2010, the Steering Committee of the Illinois Single-Payer Coalition met to discuss strategy for strengthening the organization. During that meeting, it was decided that the ISPC should pursue incorporation as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization (good news—your contribution will be tax-deductible!). To that end, several committees were formed and worked through the winter researching the incorporation process, writing and re-writing by-laws, and coming up with ideas for creating the first Board for Directors.
We are now pleased to welcome our first Directors, all long-time activists for the single-payer cause: Bill Bianchi, chair of Progressive Democrats of America of Illinois; Phil Crivellone, law clerk and member of the Chicago Single-Payer Action Network (ChiSPAN); Pam Gronemeyer, MD, ISPC Co-Chair, on the board of Missourians for Single-Payer and leader of Downstate Democrats for Change; Dawn McMillan, CPA, business accountant, and board member of BEDS Plus, an organization serving the homeless in the western suburbs; Sonja Rotenberg, MSW, ISPC Co-Chair; Steve Serikaku, retired Chicago public high school teacher; and Rich Whitney, attorney and founding member of the Illinois Green Party. Our Board members are based in the Chicago area, Collinsville, LaGrange, and Carbondale, and we hope soon to add directors from Champaign County and Springfield.
On June 15, ISPC's incorporation papers were filed with the Secretary of State and on June 28, we appeared on the Secretary of State's website as a corporation. Thanks to Phil Crivellone for doing the paperwork and making sure things were filed correctly.
As ISPC continues to grow, communication will be increasingly important. This newsletter (with its cool logo) is one major step. We've had some technical difficulties getting it to everyone, but hopefully, they've been resolved and it will now be able to arrive monthly.
Thanks to Lorin Klugman for creating our original website and maintaining it for three years on a volunteer basis—it has served us well, but a spruced-up and more functional website is currently on our agenda.
Thanks to Giudi Weiss, we will soon have a shorter domain name – We also have a web designer, Kyle Hannah, and a new webmaster, Kyla Klein as well. The Website Committee met with these two cyber-wizards at the end of June and we're all excited to see the new website become a reality. Next up: Facebook, Twitter, and some serious fundraising to build the organization into a real force for single-payer health care. Stay tuned for news of further progress!
ISPC Marches in July 4th Parades   
Anne Scheetz and Jim Rhodes joined the Fox Valley Citizens for Peace and Justice (FVC4P&J) in the July 4th parade in Elgin, carrying an eight-foot single-payer banner. Other people in the group passed out some 600 flyers (some including health care and ISPC information) to the crowd and carried signs related to ending the wars and other peace and justice issues.
Mary Shesgreen of FVC4P&J organized the group's participation.
In Anne's report to the ISPC, she said, "We were impressed with the reception the group received from the people lined up along the parade route. People along the route were cheerful, not tired, and hadn't been drinking." There was evidently only one heckler and negative comments or silence were countered with plenty of applause.
Guidi Weiss and Marcia Rothenberg also celebrated the 4th by passing out fliers and spreading the word about single-payer to many in the crowd at the Hyde Park parade.
Thanks to Anne, Jim, Giudi, and Macia for representing us well!
HB 311 Co-Sponsors
With the addition of 18th District State Representative Robyn Gabel, HB 311, the Illinois Universal Health Care Act now has seven co-sponsors. Representative Gabel joins her fellow Democrats sponsor Mary Flowers, Linda Chapa LaVia, La Shawn K. Ford, Greg Harris, Camille Lilly, and Rita Mayfield.
If your representative isn't on that list, call, write, or email and urge him or her to support the bill!
Schakowsky Signs On
On June 21, Jan Schakowsky signed on to HR 1200, the American Health Security Act. Representative Schakowsky was the sixth representative to become a co-sponsor. The Senate companion bill to HR 1200, S 915, still has no co-sponsors.
DUH Inches Forward
The idea of creating a mass demonstration in Washington in July of 2012 started with AIDS activists and ISPC-er Sue Saltmarsh got inspired and urged them to expand to include everyone who is living with a medical condition, medical debt, or is sick and tired of insurance companies caring about profit over people. Though it seems a mountainous concept, Saltmarsh and her cohorts have barreled forward.
As you can see, DUH has a logo and it also has a Facebook page – if you're on Facebook, read more about it in the Information section and "like" it!
Saltmarsh has roped in Rick Guasco, designer of the ISPC logo, as well as the DUH one; Keith Green, Director of National Affairs for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, who created the Facebook page; and Tobin Del Cuore, up and coming filmmaker, who will be shooting videos of people telling their horror stories, as well as filming the actual demonstration. The first video of Sue talking about the need for and benefits of single-payer, as well as her own experiences with insurance, has been shot and is being edited. It will be posted on YouTube and the DUH Facebook page when it's done. More will soon follow. A Chicago area planning committee is in the process of being formed with specific objectives in mind. If you're interested in starting a planning committee in your area, or have questions or comments, you can email Sue at 
Got a Scoop? Send It In!
Since this newsletter will hopefully soon be sweeping the state keeping single-payer advocates connected to the latest news, if there's something going on in your area that you'd like to share via the E-News, send it to Events, legislative news, and reports from your organization will be most welcome. Let your fellow advocates know what's happening in your neck of the woods!
National News
AFL-CIO Endorses McDermott/Sanders' American Health Security Act
AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker declared the Federation's support for companion single-payer bills (S. 915 and H.R. 1200), the American Health Security Act (AHSA). Speaking at a press conference called by sponsors Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Jim McDermott, Holt Baker declared that, "The single-payer approach is one that the AFL-CIO supports and that deserves dedicated congressional support." Holt Baker referred to the AFL-CIO 2009 Convention resolution and subsequent Executive Council actions in support of a social insurance model for healthcare reform and called on congressional leaders to unite behind such a plan. The full statement by Holt Baker is available here.
The American Health Security Act would provide universal coverage for comprehensive services including mental health and long-term care and incorporates Medicare, Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program, the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program and TRICARE (the Department of Defense health care program) but maintains health care programs under the Veterans Administration. It will emphasize primary and preventative care and free choice of providers.
Under the national Act, each state would be required to set up and administer a universal health care program. Contrary to bills that have been proposed in the past, both federally and at the state level, the AHSA comes complete with plans for how to finance it. Progressive financing through an employer payroll tax of 6.7%, a 2% tax on all incomes under $200,000 (less than the 3.3% associated with HR 676), a surcharge on high-income taxpayers, and a financial transactions tax is the plan being proposed. You can read the text of the legislation by going to To see financing information, click on TITLE VIII--FINANCING PROVISIONS; AMERICAN HEALTH SECURITY TRUST FUND.
Co-Sponsors Added
There was a little good news in June and early July about co-sponsors for the single-payer bills in the House. H.R. 676, the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, gained Democrat Alcee Hastings of Florida and Washington Democrat Jim McDermott. H.R.1200, the American Health Security Act, gained Democrats Raul Grijalva (NM), Keith Ellison (MN), and Judy Chu (CA), John Conyers (MI), William Clay (MO), and Dennis Kucinich (OH) as well as Jan Schakowsky.
H.R. 676 is the original single-payer legislation, proposing a federal single-payer system. H.R. 1200 and its Senate companion bill S. 915, proposing that each state set up its own single-payer system. 
Single-Payer Bill Introduced in New York
New York Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, a Democrat from Manhattan and Chairman of the Health Committee, has introduced A07860, legislation creating a single-payer plan for all residents of the state. The bill has more than 60 Assembly and Senate co-sponsors.
The bill creates the State Health Plan, which would draw revenues from the State Health Trust Fund. The fund would get its money from federal and other funds already going to the state from Medicaid and other sources, plus new payroll taxes. Unlike Illinois' bill, a proposal for funding is included in this legislation. The payroll taxes would be 2% on employees, 8% on employers and 10% on the self-employed. Private health insurance premiums in New York are now about 22% to 25% of payroll.
"We can get better coverage, get all of us covered, and save billions by having New York provide publicly sponsored single-payer health coverage," Gottfried said.
He said this may be the closest New York could get to an economic silver bullet, making the state much more "job friendly" by eliminating the need for employers to pay for health insurance.
Gottfried's bill has "miles to go before becoming law," according to a report at, as Governor Andrew Cuomo has no known position on it. Cuomo was inconsistent with his attitude towards the insurance industry as attorney general. The bill at least has early strong support from some Democrats from across the state.
Medicare Turns 46
Medicare's 46th anniversary is on July 30th. As noted
by Healthcare-NOW, "this marks a great opportunity for us to show how Medicare-for-all is the answer to our country's health and fiscal crisis."
Events celebrating the anniversary and promoting Medicare-for-all will be going on across the country and Healthcare-NOW wants to help publicize the events.
For each event that is being organized, they will send "Medicare: The Solution, Not the Problem!" signs and postcards addressed to Congress members to urge them to support Medicare-for-all. To let them know about your event, e-mail
There is also help available for those who want to organize an event. Check out the Organizer's Toolkit and other resources at
NOW Endorses Medicare-for-all
The National Organization for Women wrapped up its 45th National Conference in Tampa, Florida. on June 26.
Topping NOW's policy agenda are improved Social Security benefits for women and a "Medicare for All" single-payer health care system as the solution to the health and fiscal crisis, including supporting the American Health Security Act of 2011 (S 915).
"Women need jobs, not cuts," said NOW President Terry O'Neill. "We oppose any cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and any health benefits derived from the Social Security Act. And candidates who want women's support need to stand with us in support of single-payer healthcare legislation on the state and federal levels."
Editor's Note
As noted above, July 30 will be the 46th anniversary of Medicare, the program enacted by President Johnson to ensure that senior citizens have access to the medical care they need. As we all know, Medicare and Medicaid have recently been under attack by Republicans who value profit over people.
We must seize this moment of political awakening in order to, first, educate our fellow Americans about just what the cost and benefits of a single-payer system would be, and then second, to encourage them to be active in demanding it. Medicare's anniversary gives us good opportunities to do those things.
A wealth of impressive facts exists about the benefits of single-payer, but the question of how to pay for it has yet to be definitively answered. I believe it's going to be necessary to have that answer if any progress is to be made.
Proposals are beginning to be included in legislation, like the one in New York's legislation and the one in S.915/H.R.1200, but there has yet to be solid consensus from the single-payer advocacy community. The theory has been that those details can be hammered out later, as they often are in legislative bodies, but I believe that's a mistake. No matter how well-written your legislation or how stirring your informational presentation is, the first thing politicians and taxpayers alike will probably ask is, "How is this going to be paid for?" If all we have is, "Well, that hasn't been settled yet, but…" they will be more likely to dismiss it as pie in the sky.
It would be great to celebrate Medicare's anniversary by trying to get these facts settled and in our arsenal. I don't know what it will take to get that done—obviously, productive conversation between the single-payer advocacy community and legislators, state and federal, will be necessary. Probably some sort of economic study will have to be done by those who, unlike myself, do not have an adversarial relationship with money. But let's not drag our feet. We must use whatever momentum is building to our advantage.
                                                                        —Sue Saltmarsh
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