by Betty Johnson, MidValley Health Care Advocates
At the June 6th meeting in Portland, Vermont Workers Center Executive Director, James Haslam told Health Care for ALL-Oregon advocates that supporting workers rights is a lifelong commitment. He encouraged advocates to be very strategic over the long term and reminded them that Martin Luther King urged activists to "move from civil rights to human rights."
Haslam reported that Vermont is now challenged by its biggest legislative struggle: determining the scope of benefits and specifically how their health care plan will be financed. The intent is to present these components to the Vermont legislature in 2015.
Haslam urged advocates to look at the health care system through the lens of the six principles: universality, equity, accountability, transparency, participation, public good .
And then to INDICT the health care system for its failures to measure up to these principles.
Oregon's health care champion, Senator Michael Dembrow, joined Haslam in answering numerous questions from participants. He agreed with Haslam that the most important aspect of our efforts is grassroots organizing.
Sen. Dembrow said grassroots organizing is simple...just like Amway. If we have 10 supporters and each goes and talks to 10 more people, and each of them recruits `10 more supporters , and on and on....soon we will have the one million voters it takes to pass our universal, publicly funded health care legislation !!
Sen. Dembrow summarized that we need a strong grassroots movement to show the Oregon legislature that HCAO is strong enough to succeed when the legislation is referred to the voters in 2016.