Welcome to Demand Universal Healthcare!
Does America need a new healthcare system? DUH!
As 2019 brings harder struggles to all but the wealthy, polls show that healthcare is the number one issue on the minds of American voters, that over 70% of Americans favor Medicare for All, including at least 52% of Republicans. With the 116th Congress now controlled by Democrats in the House, including a freshman class NOT bought by corporate money, we have a realistic chance to move a bill forward.
Whatever the next year brings, we must welcome ALL those who are committed to seeing the U.S. provide healthcare - as defined in H.R. 1364 - to everyone residing here. We welcome gratefully the Republicans, members of the FB page Republicans for Single Payer and others. We must be united and relentless in our demand for it, no matter our political affiliation, our physical ability, or the methods we employ to amplify our DEMAND for UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE!
This is our time - JOIN US in making it an historic one!
It was at the SPAN Ohio Annual Conference that this "campaign" was born. I went, as usual, with the joyful anticipation of seeing a room full of the amazing SPAN Ohio activists, as well as good friends Lou Klein, Bill Davis, Barb Walden, ex-DUHster Donna Ellington (who spoke about using social media to further the cause), and SPAN Ohio State Director (and ally of DUH since its inception) Debbie Silverstein. As always, I was not disappointed.
What I couldn't have anticipated was the conversation I had with keynote speaker Michael Lighty. I have heard Michael speak at several past single-payer conferences, but our exchange before Ohio had consisted of a mumbled greeting in Oakland in 2014, his position on the single-payer movement totem pole being leagues above mine and DUH's. While he has always been a good speaker, his new work with the Sanders Institute has infused him with a renewed, enthusiastic, authentically positive energy that was both inspiring and challenging. It was his challenge of what "we" were going to do (yes, the man is a natural politician and knew how to play me, which I admit I thoroughly enjoyed) that inspired the series that I hope will contribute to putting an end to the DCCC's plan to sabotage new Progressive primary challengers of incumbent establishment Dems by blacklisting vendors who work with them. The first installment - a sort of timeline of media coverage (Internet and mainstream) - is below. The next will be published here and on Facebook (the PEP page) next week or whenever research is finished.
You can credit Michael Lighty for this - or blame him. I simply thank him.
Cheri Bustos & the DCCC Backfire
Perhaps she never thought of the possibility that more voters are energized, enthused, and in favor of the Progressive freshman class of the 116th Congress than they are by another rigged election. Maybe she was just ignorant of the power of social media to influence voter (and donor) behavior. Or it could’ve been that she was just drunk with the “power” of being given the DCCC Chairmanship and a ticket to Pelosi’s inner circle. Whatever it was, I doubt that Cheri Bustos was at all prepared for the onslaught of negative reaction to her clear adherence to the fabled – and abundantly proven – “Democrats eat their young” definition of the party.
When the story was first reported by The Intercept on March 22, it seemed like it could be “fake news,” though The Intercept is a trusted source. After all, how could this UNdemocratic dictate come from the Democratic Party, the “Party of the People?”
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY14) helped the story spread on March 30 with her famous tweet encouraging followers to donate directly to candidates, “pausing” DCCC contributions. Even Business Insider reported it on March 31.
It survived into April when Truthout covered the money angle. An untold number of Internet news sources, including Politico, Think Progress, Real News, Vox, and others followed throughout April. And on May 6, The Atlantic published an article about 68 chapters of College Democrats protesting the policy.
It must be noted that all of the aforementioned coverage was negative toward Bustos and her policy. OOPS! I forgot – on April 10, greatamericanpolitics.com, which urges you to sign a “WE DEMAND THE WALL” petition, published a piece(?) ridiculing AOC and Democratic leadership.
Bustos’ response? Speaking to reporters after addressing the City Club of Chicago on May 6, she said the 3rd Congressional District Blue Dog Dem Dan Lipinski represents is "an entirely Democratic district. Democrats are going to hang onto that district. It would be nice if we didn't have to expend any resources on a district we already have." And yet, the DCCC refuses to support DEMOCRATIC challenger Marie Newman, now a victim of the blacklisting policy, though a number of them have joined Rebecca Katz, the founder of New Deal Strategies, in announcing that they will not let the DCCC intimidate them.
According to The Nation, “As a loyal Democrat and proud progressive, I believe that we don’t just need more Democrats in Congress—we also need better Democrats in Congress,” says Katz. “I won’t hesitate to work with progressive candidates challenging incumbent Democrats who are out of touch with their constituents. If that means getting blacklisted by the DCCC, then so be it.”
Newman tried to unseat Lipinski in the March 2018 Democratic primary but lost by 2.2 percentage points, or 2,145 votes out of 95,205 votes cast. She announced her bid for a rematch against Lipinski, who opposes abortion rights, on April 16.
On May 8, according to John Nichols’ excellent report in The Nation, Bustos told Politico, “We’ve got a policy that the caucus supports, the leadership supports, and it plays the long game.” She must’ve forgotten what she told those Chicago reporters.
Since Bustos spoke in Chicago, Marie Newman has received the backing of six major progressive groups including NARAL Pro-Choice America, Planned Parenthood Action Fund and the Democratic women's organization EMILY's List. She is also backed by MoveOn, Democracy for America and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.
We encourage you to donate directly to the candidate of your choice (yes, Act Blue is “safe”) rather than to the DCCC. If you don’t trust the online donation platforms, order some lovely scenic checks (or maybe some that say “I vote for small d democracy”) and send a big one to the candidate’s campaign headquarters.
DUH/PEP will be continuing our fact-finding mission of exploring Rep. Bustos, including her voting record, her websites, videos, and, yes, campaign financing.
Chances are Marie Newman will receive the endorsement of DUH, though we admittedly missed endorsing her in 2018. By no means will Cheri Bustos receive our endorsement.
AND NOW, BACK TO THOSE NEW KIDS...
This is like a "Greatest Hits" album - it starts out with Rashida Tlaib's impassioned speech, continues with AOC (unfortunately out of sequence), and then this part ends with Elijah "Yoda" (as I think of him, wise old warrior) Cummings. This is a hearing about Truvada.
For those who don't know much about HIV/AIDS, Truvada is a drug developed originally to treat HIV and it was then discovered to be effective as a pre-exposure prophylactic or PrEP for people who aren't HIV-positive but are at risk of contracting it. As you can imagine, PrEP has prevented hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of potential infections even though, unlike condoms, it requires quite a commitment from the user (it only works if you take it every day whether or not you plan to have sex) and carries with it the risk of adverse side effects, as well as the development of resistance to it if you go off and then try to start taking it again. In other words, it's no bed of roses. Add to that the astronomical cost and many people who could benefit from it have no desire to commit or any way to access it.
Here, Gilead Pharmaceuticals CEO Daniel O'Day is grilled about the billions Gilead has made charging almost $1800 per month while in other countries, prices can be under $200.
Obviously, these are clips - in order to see the whole 4-hour hearing, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCzrlZDpnxY