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Congratulations Tim and PDA
|Michael Lighty and Tim Carpenter|
We've been in Nashville at the Healthcare-NOW national strategy conference where we joined with other single-payer health care activists to push onward to the goal PDA has had since its inception: improved and expanded Medicare for all for life. Tim Carpenter, our national director, was honored with the Marilyn Clement Award for Social Justice. The late Marilyn Clement was the founder of Healthcare-NOW, and we were especially proud to hear our fellow national advisory board member and national policy director for National Nurses United/California Nurses Association, Michael Lighty, introduce Tim to those assembled and give Tim his award. Tim was honored for his commitment to and steadfast work aimed at achieving single-payer reform. As Michael said, "To borrow some of the words of Dr. King, we're sure when we get to the mountaintop, Tim will be waiting there to greet us."
Seeing Tim so honored was surely the highlight for many of us who have know Tim through PDA. Throughout the weekend, PDA helped lead panels and discussions with other single-payer allies about next steps in both our national and state-based single-payer work. We were able to recount the beginnings of the "One Payer States" organization at a regional PDA meeting in Wayne, PA, and share in the continued discussions about how best to move forward during this unsettled period for the country and for health reform that must move beyond the Affordable Care Act to true universal access through single-payer. We will continue to pursue additional co-sponsors for Rep. John Conyers' HR676, the national Medicare for all bill, and we will also continue to support and grow the base for state -based single-payer reforms. Our Congressional letter-drops will keep the issue front and center, and we expect that effort to continue growing until we are reaching all 435 members of Congress. We look to Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont to introduce his single-payer bill and will support the introduction of state-enabling legislation so that there are no barriers at the federal level to moving single-payer in the states.
Though we were ensconced in the Healthcare-NOW conference, we remained aware of the potential damage to our social safety net programs that could be used as bargaining chips to end the dysfunctional government shutdown. PDA has long stood with our progressive allies to block cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid and we will continue to fight to protect those programs. It is not an appropriate way to end the federal budget impasse by cutting the programs that protect so many people from poverty and suffering. With an aggressive inside-outside strategy, PDA will bring street heat when and where it is necessary and pressure in Congressional offices both in Washington, D.C., and in the districts.
PDA remains committed to calling for making the kinds of budgetary and policy decisions with our military resources that help heal our national and world rather than create more unrest and war -- Pentagon spending needs to be managed to maintain peace not war and our troops need to come home from Afghanistan. For those who wonder why we continue to raise the banner of the Healthcare NOT Warfare campaign, we need only point to the continued attacks on the social safety net and health care programs even as military and war spending is protected. For those of us in PDA, the commitment to peace and social justice in unwavering and worth our continued passion and energy.
Join us. Everybody in, nobody out. These are more than just words to be chanted or typed in a message. It is our commitment to each other and a future for our children that is more peaceful, healthful and free. We will not rest, and we hope if you weren't able to come to Nashville, you know we need you helping push forward to single-payer and to peace. Healthcare NOT Warfare, now.
National Chair, Healthcare NOT Warfare campaign
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