By Donna Smith, American SiCKO
SEATTLE – Though hurricane force winds and torrential rains blasted the Seattle area throughout most of the day on Monday, students, local activists and interested community members took the weather in stride as they gathered to watch ‘SiCKO’ and to talk health reform with me – since I am one of the subjects of the film, they had sponsored my trip to the area and I am deeply involved in the health care reform movement.
The Seattle Central Community College classroom was the perfect venue for viewing ‘SiCKO’ and those present could hear sirens blaring and storm weather continuing as the afternoon showing began and later on as an even larger group turned out for the evening event. More than 280 people attended the viewings and the Q&A sessions afterwards.
Some of the students who attended made hasty farewells as they set off to deal with flooded basements and the meeting with landlords to begin drying out from the rains.
While a few of those present wondered about the Cuba trip Michael Moore took when filming ‘SiCKO,’ most wanted more information about how to help assure that real change will occur in health care reform on the national front, and many wanted to learn more about HR676, the National Health Insurance Act currently gathering more Congressional co-sponsors to add to the 86 representatives already on board supporting the single-payer plan.
HR676 would set up publicly-financed, privately delivered health care for every American resident. The bill was originally co-sponsored by Rep. John Conyers, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. A national road show promoting HR676 is currently touring the southeastern states and will wrap up in Pittsburgh on Dec. 14. The road show is co-sponsored by Healthcare-Now, Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), the California Nurses Association (CNA) and the National Nurse Organizing Committee.
The Seattle single-payer, universal health care group that sponsored ‘SiCKO’ showings and Q&A sessions with me is called “Right to Health Care Now!”, and it began after several community members saw ‘SiCKO’ during its original release and began holding forums to discuss the issue and actions to be taken in support of reform. The group holds its organizing meetings at 7 p.m. each Monday evening in Room 4183 at Seattle Central Community College . Phi Theta Kappa, the college honor society, and OWL, the voice of midlife and older women, also co-sponsored the events on campus, along with several other campus organizations and clubs.