Monday, August 25, 2014

qotd: 2014 National Strategy Conference for Single Payer

August 25, 2014
2014 National Strategy Conference for Single Payer
By Don McCanne

This weekend numerous organizations dedicated to single payer reform
assembled in Oakland, California for the 2014 National Strategy
Conference. Participating organizations included Healthcare NOW!, Labor
Campaign for Single-Payer Healthcare, One Payer States, National Nurses
United, Physicians for a National Health Program, Progressive Democrats
of America, and many others. So what was accomplished?

Above all, just gathering dedicated single payer supporters together in
a single weekend meeting provided renewed energy and passion amongst the
attendees, confirming that the single payer movement is not only still
alive, it is thriving. We have a future.

Did we develop a national strategy that will culminate in enactment of
single payer reform with the installation of a new government after the
2016 elections? Well, not exactly, but nobody expected that. What we did
accomplish was the sharing of ideas on strategy, policy, politics,
single payer education, state and federal legislation, and innumerable
other components of a social movement that would lead to single payer.

In both the formal sessions and in informal conversations there was a
very broad spectrum of ideas discussed, though not all of the ideas mesh
well. And this is from a solid core of single payer activists. But all
views were expressed with the intent of advancing health care justice.

Others attending will certainly have different take-home points, but
mine was that we each should continue to do what we are doing while
helping to open new avenues in advancing the cause. Especially helpful
would be efforts to educate others, expand grassroots efforts, and work
to form coalitions with other social justice organizations.

There was a consensus that we should not waste time and squander energy
by becoming divided over process. We need to direct that energy to
making progress towards our goal of a single payer national health
program - an improved Medicare for all.

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