Aug 2009 KTA: Healthcare – Turn UP the heat in August

“The foundation of a great country is not, as we’ve seen, based on great wealth.  Its wealth, at its core, is the health, education, and well-being of its people; those who keep the wheels of industry moving – eventually contributing to the growth and development of the national spirit.  To further the goal of reforming our health care system, we believe that there should be an important paradigm shift that recognizes that good health is a right, and not a privilege.”

Florence Coalition for Change (Coastal Lane County, Oregon)



August’s Kitchen Table Activism is about using this hot month to turn up the heat on our elected officials to support REAL healthcare reform. Building a People’s Economy means creating economic and social systems that meet our community’s needs, that protect our communities’ wealth — and health.

Many of ROP’s members are already doing fantastic work on healthcare overhaul. It’s time to focus our collective attention on Healthcare this August while our Senators and Representatives are back in town. Let’s make sure there is no confusion: the public wants universal, quality, affordable, and accessible healthcare for EVERY person – young, old, rich, poor, documented or undocumented!

ROP wants to support the great work already happening and help you organize around Congressional Town Halls. Contact to connect!

It’s also worth a mention — There are many important issues being undertaken in Washington DC this season that directly impact our communities. Immigration reform is a priority for our President and Congress this year. The town halls are an important opportunity to demand Just and Humane Immigration Reform. While immigration and healthcare might seem different, these two issues are intimately connected in our pursuit of human dignity. Please take your broad vision of justice to these Town Halls – let’s be a united front! Look for a ROPnet next week about the ways to connect these issues & bring them both to the table.

August 2009 Kitchen Table Activism

What is this month’s KTA?

Attend an August recess Town Hall (calendar) and show our elected folks that the majority of us support using our collective resources to focus on what really matters: healthy families and a just, sustainable economy.  It’s called bird-dogging and if we do it well then our Congress people will feel the firm & unyielding (yet respectful) pressure as they go around the state.

In the struggle to dig out of the economic crisis and build a just economy there are two elephants in the room: healthcare and war. Both are draining our country of resources and energy. In a just economy, our health, not corporate profit, is the priority when treating sick people and researching cures. 

In a just economy, we don’t sink over $500 billion taxpayer dollars a year into our military budget while many at home lack survival basics. When we look at our government’s budget it becomes striking that it is time for our elected officials to make better decisions about where to put our collective resources – towards a healthy society, not an endless war.


Why this activity?

There are Healthcare Reform bills in the House and Senate right now – and our Congress people will be at home wanting to hear from us. Whether the bills pass or not, they are only a first step down the road to a better system than we have now. Within our elected officials there is still debate about the role of insurance companies, public plans, & employer participation.

So now is the time to speak up with our collective voice, and ROP member groups have been hard at work already.  A few of the many great things ROP-ers are doing:

  • ROP Board member from La Grande Bill Whittaker is in Washington DC advocating single-payer health care and delivering pro-universal healthcare resolutions from Wallowa, Baker & Union County Democratic Committees. He will be participating in the Medicare: Made in America single-payer rally and lobby day on July 30.
  • The Tillamook County Citizens for Human Dignity have kicked off a summer series of Health Care films, discussions and forums. There is an event each Monday from June 13 to Aug 17 presenting various perspectives on our current system & potential reform.
  • Many ROP activists helped organize stops in rural OR of the Sing Out for Single Payer. The first Oregon show in Jackson County brought over 70 faces into the room for universal healthcare.
  • Florence friends have been transformed their weekly vigil into a weekly demand for single-payer healthcare.

This month’s KTA is a way to bring all these efforts into the spotlight! At your town hall highlight the organizing you are doing in your community to bring more and more people on to the side of universal healthcare. These solitary activities become a powerful movement when we show our unity.


Steps to complete this months KTA:

  1. Get your crew together.
    • If you are working with a Human Dignity Group gather them around your favorite table. If you don’t have a pre-existing group, ask you 3-5 favorite friends or family members to be a part of changing a broken system that is a burden on us all. Think about people you know who’ve been affected by the healthcare system that might be interested in telling their story.
  2. Do your homework and make a plan.
    • Start by finding out who’s coming to your town, when and where they are coming. Calendar.
    • Find out if they’ve taken a position on healthcare reform. Often the easiest way is to call their office and ask!
    • Think about who else you want to invite to the Town Hall. Have an attendance list and roles for each person. Who has good personal stories? Who are the medical professionals that can speak from experience? Who are small business owners that can talk about their burdens?
    • Get talking points ready. Go over these with everyone.
  1. Do some visible messaging outside the Town Hall.
    • Don’t be aggressive or confrontational but a few fliers and some placards can go a long way. Check out the signs from Florence to get ideas!
  2. In the Town Hall, ask questions!
    • Get a crowd to attend & spread out around the room.
    • Ask questions! Some good ones might be:
      • Do you think healthcare is a right?
      • Do you think it is fair that in the last 10 yrs health insurance premiums have increased over 120% while insurance companies profits rose 105% from 2003 – 2007?
      • Will you vote for HR676? Will you vote for the current healthcare reform bills in the House/Senate?
    • If they don’t answer, ask again (consider using different words!)
  3. Follow-up with your Congress person/ Senator.
    • Write them a letter telling them you were at the Town Hall, let them know how you feel about their position/or lack of one on healthcare.


Other opportunities to be involved and actions that need your support:

  •  Host a stop of the Physicians for National Healthcare Program Caravan from Oregon to Washington DC. The Caravan across America starts right here in Oregon on September 8th so get signed up NOW! Contact if you are interested.
  • Call your Representative. (202) 225-3121 Tell them three things:
    • Pass this first step of Healthcare Reform before August recess, HR 3200.
    • Let them know you support universal healthcare that gets insurance companies out from in between you and your doctor. Ask them to support HR676 for our healthcare overhaul.
    • Pass the Kucinich Amendment that allows states to enact single payer healthcare, the House Committee on Education & Labor has passed it already, make sure your Rep is ready to do the same.
  • Sign the Healthcare NOT Warfare petition.
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