PNHP California Achieves Significant Incremental Changes in Health Care

By Dr. Stephen F. Tarzynski

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Two years ago the board of Physicians for a National Health Program-California (PNHP-CA) decided to reposition itself and come out publicly in support for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), despite its flaws, while continuing our commitment to Medicare For All. This repositioning has opened important doors for us both in terms of constituencies and very modest foundation support. 

We also believe that the contours of the political terrain and alignment of forces in our state have shifted significantly to permit movement in the direction of single payer. Evidence for this can be found in the tectonic shifts in race and age in California that have made the state even bluer and permitted important electoral victories. Two notable examples are the passage of Proposition 30 in 2012, which raised taxes on the wealthy to prevent cuts in the education budget, and Proposition 47 in 2014, which significantly altered the state’s criminal justice system in a more progressive direction by recategorizing some nonviolent offenses as misdemeanors. In addition, California has gone farther than any other state under the ACA in providing more coverage and benefits in the state health exchange and in covering all undocumented children.

PNHP-CA has also been busy developing a track record as a small but highly effective organization with a reputation for getting things done on a shoestring budget and two staff people.

In 2015 PNHP-CA achieved some victories and advances:

  • Along with the Health4All Coalition, organized a big Lobby Day pre-conference (four hundred attendees) in Sacramento on the Lara bill that would cover all undocumented immigrants and on single payer.

  • Played a leading role in getting coverage for undocumented children.

  • Got the California Medical Association to pass a resolution that will study alternate financing models including single payer.

  • Got the Union of American Physicians and Dentists (UAPD-AFSCME) to endorse single payer.

  • Rolled out our Project White Coat, where bilingual CAHPSA students enroll individuals in underserved communities into Covered California (the state exchange) and talk about single payer. CAHPSA is our student affiliate, California Health Professional Student Alliance, with several thousand members across the state. The project is financed by a grant funded again for three years by Covered California.

  • Developed a five-year plan to win single payer in California (“Six Steps To Win”) and designed a fundraising plan to accomplish that goal.

Again, all on a shoestring budget with only two staff people. We’ve also built up an excellent and engaged board of directors and rebuilt a statewide single payer coalition, the Allcare Alliance, that has over 150 organizations so far, including the state public health associations. I would like to see 1,500 organizations, so we still have ways to go.

These are all baby steps on the road. We have reached a ceiling in our capacity and are hoping to significantly increase our funding base in 2016 in order to expand our capability and presence. Far more needs to be done before the single payer movement in California will become a force that can achieve its goal. PNHP-CA is a small but important part in that campaign.

A member since DSA’s founding, pediatrician Steve Tarzynski is on the board of directors of PNHP and serves as president of the California chapter.

Individually signed posts do not necessarily reflect the views of DSA as an organization or its leadership. Democratic Left blog post submission guidelines can be found here.

Grassroots Fundraising: Paying for the Revolution (9pm Eastern)

June 23, 2017
· 46 rsvps

Are you new to socialist organizing? Or after many years do you still struggle, raising money from members when you need it but without a steady flow of income or budget to plan ahead? Are you afraid to tackle fundraising because it seems so daunting or you are uncomfortable asking people for money?

In this webinar, you will learn why fundraising is organizing, and how to do it – face to face, through fundraising events, and other ideas.

Join us for our latest organizing training for democratic socialist activists: DSA’s (Virtual) Little Red Schoolhouse.

Instructor:

  • Steve Max, DSA Vice Chair and one of the founders of the legendary community organizing school, The Midwest Academy

Training Details:

  1. Workshops are free for any DSA member in good standing.
  2. You need a computer with good internet access.
  3. Your computer must have preferably headphones or else speakers; you can speak thru a mic or use chat to "speak".
  4. If you have questions, contact Theresa Alt talt@igc.org.
  5. If you have very technical questions, contact Tony Schmitt schmittaj@gmail.com 608-355-6568.
  6. Participation requires that you register at least 21 hours in advance -- by midnight Thursday for Friday's webinar.

NOTE: This training is scheduled for 9:00pm Eastern Time (8pm Central, 7pm Mountain, 6pm Pacific, 5 pm Alaska, 3 pm Hawaii).

Data Security for DSA Members

June 27, 2017

Ack! I googled myself and didn't like what I found!

WHAT: A DSA Webinar about "Doxing"
WHEN: 9PM EST, 6PM PST

We're proud of our organizing, and chapter work is transparent for both political and practical reasons. However, there are basic precautions you can take in this time of rapid DSA growth to protect your privacy.

Key Wiki is a website that meticulously documents DSA activity and posts it for the world to see. If you're an active DSA member, likely your name is on their website. This is an example of "doxing".

As DSA becomes larger, more visible, and more powerful, we might expect that more websites like this will pop up, and more of our members' information might be posted publicly on the web.

Join a live webinar on Tuesday, June 27 with data security expert Alison Macrina, to learn:

  1. what is doxing? with examples and ways to prevent it
  2. how to keep your passwords strong and your data secure
  3. where to find your personal info on the internet and how to get it removed
  4. social media best practices for DSA organizers
  5. what to do if you've already been doxed

Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/9173276528

Call-in Info: +1 408 638 0968
Meeting ID: 917 327 6528

Film Discussion: Pride

September 10, 2017
· 11 rsvps

Join DSA members Eric Brasure and Brendan Hamill to discuss the British film Pride (2014). It’s 1984, British coal miners are on strike, and a group of gays and lesbians in London bring the queer community together to support the miners in their fight. Based on the true story of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners. The film is available for rent on YouTube, Amazon, and iTunes. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT.

Film Discussion: Union Maids

September 24, 2017
· 8 rsvps

 

Join DSA member and labor historian Susan Hirsch in discussing Union Maids (1976). Nominated for an Academy Award, this documentary follows three Chicago labor organizers (Kate Hyndman, Stella Nowicki, and Sylvia Woods) active beginning in the 1930s. The filmmakers were members of the New American Movement (a precursor of DSA), and the late Vicki Starr (aka Stella Nowicki) was a longtime member of Chicago DSA and the Chicago Women's Liberation Union. It’s available free on YouTube, though sound quality is poor. 8ET/7CT/6MT/5PT.