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.


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Starting a Local Chapter from Scratch (9pm Eastern)

October 04, 2016 · 5 rsvps
Webinar, RSVP required for sign in information

So you are now a member of DSA, but there is no local chapter where you live. You are thinking of starting a local chapter, but you're not quite sure how to do it.

In Starting a Local Chapter from Scratch you will learn:

  • how other locals got started in recent years
  • how to find out who is already a member
  • the importance of a comrade
  • how to recruit new members
  • the importance of a mentor
  • how to become a recognized organizing committee
  • how to become a chartered local
  • what works best to bring new people in.

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 607-280-7649.
  5. If you have very technical questions, contact Tony Schmitt schmittaj@gmail.com 608-355-6568.
  6. You can participate in every webinar or just attend once in a while.
  7. Workshops will generally be on weekends or evenings.
  8. Participation requires that you register at least 45 hours in advance -- by midnight Sunday for Tuesday's webinar.

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

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DSA New Member Orientation Call

October 19, 2016 · 12 rsvps
DSA New Member Orientation

You've joined DSA - Great. Now register for this New Member Orientation call and find out more about our politics and our vision.  And, most importantly, how you can become involved.  8 PM ET; 7 PM CT; 6 PM MT; 5 PM PT.

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