Everybody in! Nobody Out!

A letter from the Rural Organizing Project to its Human Dignity groups across the state
By Rosalie Pedroza and Bill Whitaker, board members

The Rural Organizing Project is a proud member and leader in Health Care for All—Oregon, a statewide coalition of 60 (and growing!) member organizations. The ROP board is encouraging all ROP Human Dignity Groups to consider how you will become involved in this exciting campaign.

ROP, in cooperation with other HCAO members, is working to build a massive, powerful social movement focused on Health Care as a Human Right that will amend Oregon’s Constitution to ensure health care coverage for everyone in Oregon without exception—Everybody in, Nobody out!

Today fifty million Americans and 600,000 Oregon residents have no health insurance. Each year an estimated 44,000 Americans and 558 Oregonians die needlessly because they lack that insurance. Helping prevent these unnecessary deaths is key to ROP commitment to social justice. We hope your human dignity group will make health care for all Oregon a priority in your work

In May 2011, following three years of human rights-based grassroots organizing, Vermont became the first state in the nation on course to achieve a universal health care system.

We have the passion and expertise here in Oregon to be the next state on the road to universal health care.

In January of this year, a new coalition of thirty organizations —Health Care for All--Oregon—was formed to campaign for a comprehensive, publicly funded, high quality system of health care serving everyone in Oregon and the United States. HCAO has now grown to 60 member organizations with new organizations joining every month.

We are organizing a multi-year campaign to build a movement that will be strong enough to succeed in spite of the millions of dollars that insurance and pharmaceutical companies will spend against us to defend their enormous profits.

Our initial goal is to convince the Oregon legislature that health care is a human right that should be available to everyone. Our statewide campaign is using house parties, petitions, photo petitions, presentations to the public, surveys and stories to build the health care for all movement throughout Oregon.

On February 4, opening day of the 2013 legislative session, the Oregon campaign for Health Care as A Human Right will be formally launched with a massive rally in Salem on the Capitol steps. We hope to have hundreds of people there wearing red “Health Care is a Human Right” t-shirts to put our legislators on notice to get aboard.

Just think, if each of the 60 HCAO member organizations brings only 83 supporters to the rally, we will have thousands of people there. If each of the 50 ROP Human Dignity Groups brings 20 supporters, ROP alone will bring 1,000 supporters to the rally. Some will bring more and some will bring less but the main goal is that each Oregon community is represented so the legislature knows this issue reaches statewide.

We are looking forward to working with you. Everybody in, Nobody out!