Wednesday, September 26, 2007 3:15 PM
Join together for
HEALTH CARE JUSTICEWhen:
TRACY PIERCE Memorial Candlelight Vigil
Remember the fallen – Fight for the living
Friday, September 28, 2007, Sunset (6:45)Where:
Oklahoma Capital - On the front steps of Capital (The Google
Tracy Pierce lost his life on January 18, 2006, at the age of 37 after a courageous 16-month battle with kidney cancer. Tracy had health insurance through his wife’s employer who continually denied the lifesaving treatments ordered by his physician. He was a journeyman carpenter with Local #61 in Kansas City, MO. Tracy was the proud father of a 15 year old boy, a brother, a son, a friend to many and the husband of Julie Pierce. Tracy’s story is featured in Michael Moore’s movie “SICKO.” Join us in remembering Tracy.In Oklahoma City, a solidarity vigil is planned for 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 28, at the capital’s front steps on Lincoln. Speaking to the Oklahoma City crowd is Reggie Cervantes, a Ground Zero hero who is sick from the exposure to toxins during the rescue efforts. Oklahoma City attendees from SiCKO include:
Reggie, Aidan & Lia CervantesWashington DC Vigil attendees from SiCKO include:
Adrian Campbell, 9/11 first responder John Graham, Dawnelle Keys, Larry and Donna SmithThe vigil is sponsored by: American Patients for Universal Health Care
, Physicians for a National Health Program
, Progressive Democrats of America
, California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Comittee
[CLiCK here to download a PDF flyer
Wednesday, September 19, 2007 5:25 PM
Standing together for health care justice
At sunset on Friday, September 28, health care reform advocates will gather at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, to commemorate those who have lost their lives because they lacked access to adequate and affordable health care. Similar vigils will be held nationwide--in Chicago, in Denver, and in Louisville. Please join us.
Friday, September 28, 2007
7– 8 pm
2240 Frankfort Avenue
(Clifton area, between Rastetter and Jane Streets)
Louisville, Kentucky (The Google
Light a candle in memory of the 18,000 adults who die each year in the US due to a lack of health insurance.
Join us as we to mourn the loss of Clay Morgan and other Kentuckians whose deaths were caused, directly or indirectly, by the inhumanity of our current health care system.Eileen Morgan shares her husband’s story
: Just a few months after the family had declared bankruptcy due to medical debt, Clay was diagnosed with cancer. He faced expensive treatment. With no health insurance and no ability to pay, he knew his family would endure long-term impoverishment. In despair, with no solution in sight, Clay took his own life.
An estimated 564,000 Kentuckians lack health care coverage, including more than 80,000 children. We must fix our broken system.
"Of all forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane." -- Martin Luther King, Jr.
This event is sponsored by Kentuckians for Single Payer Health Care and the Kentucky chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program. Join us in our work in support of HR 676, the single payer health care bill now before the US Congress. Our meetings are held at 5:30 pm, on the third Thursday of each month at the Louisville Public Library, downtown, 301 York St.www.kyhealthcare.org www.pnhp.org
Tel: (502) 899-3861
Tuesday, September 18, 2007 10:27 AM
American Patients for Universal Health Care hosts first national action
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Around the country on Sept. 28, advocates for universal single-payer health care will be attending vigils to show support for the families who have lost loved ones because they lacked health insurance.
American SiCKO Donna Smith, also Colorado Progressive Democrats of America (PDA
) Congressional District Point Person and PDA Health care for All/Single-Payer Issue Organizing Team member has established American Patients for Universal Health Care (APUHC
Smith and her husband Larry will join Julie Pierce in Washington D.C. for the Tracy Pierce Memorial Candlelight Vigil on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Friday, Sept. 28 at sunset. Julie is Tracy's widow, and also tells her story in 'SiCKO.' "Tracy died of kidney cancer at age 37 after repeated denials for life-saving treatment by our insurance carrier." Tracy, Sr., also left behind his 15 year old son, Tracy, Jr., and Julie promised "the fight would not end with his death."
Also on hand will be Dawnelle Keys, who appears in 'SiCKO' and who lost her beautiful little girl Mychelle when an 'out of network' hospital denied the toddler life-saving emergency care.
Joining Julie, Dawnelle, Donna and Larry will be another American SiCKO Adrian Campbell of Detroit who, along with her beautiful little girl, Aurora, has been fighting for care and benefits for so long that they have resorted to slipping over the US-Canadian border for care when needed.
John Graham, 9/11 rescue worker and American SiCKO, will also travel to Washington, D.C., from his home in New Jersey to join in this call for national action. If universal, single-payer health care was in place, thousands of 9/11 heroes would be receiving medical care for a wide range of serious illnesses related to their heroic service at ground zero.
APUHC was established to draw attention to this national crisis that leaves over 18,000 Americans dead annually because they lack health insurance, or because the insurer refuses to approve treatment. Before the next presidential election, approximately 25,000 more Americans will die simply because they did not have adequate health care coverage. Countless others will suffer.
"By holding vigils in cities across the country, we hope to highlight the fact that more American have died in this country than have died on the battlefield in Iraq in the last four years," said Smith. "Americans should be just as outraged over these deaths as they are outraged over Iraq." It is hoped that the vigils will move the issue front and center in the minds of voters.
ACTIONS OUTSIDE WASHINGTON:In Denver
, the "Vigil for Health Care Justice" will take place on the west steps of the Capitol building, Sept. 28 at sunset. They will draw attention to Paul Hannum, who will not be present because he lost his life to appendicitis, and little Thomas Wilkes, a toddler, who will live as long as his parents have the financial resources to continue his life-saving treatments.In Chicago
, from 4 to 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 28, Thompson Center Plaza at Clark and Randolph, CSPAN (Chicago Single-Payer Action Network) will host another vigil and welcome Steve Skvara, the brave union man who asked the Democratic presidential candidates ho he was supposed to cover himself and his wife based on the current health care crisis. Also speaking to the Chicago crowd will be Illinois Rep. Mary Flowers,main sponsor of the Illinois State Bill HB311 "Medicare for All," which has close to 70 co-sponsors.In Kansas City
, a solidarity vigil is planned for 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 28, at the southeast corner of the Russell Majors Waddell Park, located on 83rd Street between Ward Parkway and State Line Rd. Near Coventry Insurance Company (the company that denied Tracy Pierce a bone marrow transplant). Tracy Pierce, Jr., will be attending as will other members of the Pierce family.
Plans are also being made in Detroit Michigan and Florida. APUHC is targeting these states: Ohio, California, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Washington, Hawaii, Texas and Georgia for vigils, and hopes that other states will join in the effort.
For more information or to get help planning a solidarity vigil, contact Donna at AUPHC.com
Labels: APUHC, Dawnelle Keys, Donna Smith, John Graham, Julie Pierce, SiCKO, Tracy Pierce
Thursday, September 13, 2007 9:38 AM
By Donna Smith, American SiCKO
DENVER -- What can I say? Hillary's long-awaited plan for health care reform is out, and it is just what I expected. It is not what I hoped for or what I prayed she had the courage to stand for, but it is in her best interests.
If she is to be elected our first woman president, she'll have to side with some of the big boys rather than stand up with we common folk. That's the political reality. And the Clintons have always been masters of the political reality.
So, we'll have universal, mandated coverage along with insurance reform, she says. Really? So let me get this straight. We all will have to buy an insurance policy, the insurance companies will have to take us even with pre-existing conditions and American business will get help with insurance costs. What's not to love for the big boys in the health industry?
Insurance companies will have a much larger customer base, revenue stream (oh, yeah, I mean risk pool) and much higher income. Hillary's plan does not say that every American will have access to the same care or coverage. The plan will still embrace and actually enhance the multi-tiered system which gives the best of care to those who can afford the best and the minimal care to those who cannot afford it.
The insurance companies will not be forced to provide the same coverage for all groups of risk. Prices will vary, plan-to-plan, and when you get sick, you will still be treated according to what your plan covers or doesn't. Providers (hospitals, doctors and clinics) are probably holding joint celebrations with their insurance and pharmaceutical friends. Hillary's plan enriches them tremendously.
Hillary seems to speak and write all the right types of messages about caring for every man, woman and child. But when the nuts and bolts of the plan are flushed out, the average American family with an average income will still not be protected from underinsurance and financial ruin in the event of serious illness.
Make no mistake, Hillary's plan is not universal health care. Nor as was depicted on CNN last evening are "dancing socialists" lining up to support this plan -- it isn't even remotely socialized medicine. The plan allows a systematic and horrifying blend of entanglements that leaves the best care for the wealthy under the guise of concern. I really don't like that sort of mind-game.
As for me, I still cannot get over why all of these brilliant people who now sit in powerful Senate seats and could be working for change now are allowed by we the people to plan for the future health care reform effort when they aren't even committed enough to work hard on it now.
The simple answer is the one the rich and the powerful have always understood in this nation. You don't get re-elected if you upset the folks who fund your re-election efforts. And you certainly don't get elected president if you make enemies of the most powerful lobbyists in this nation. The people be damned. It's the money, stupid.
And who do I want to be president? I don't know yet -- and that's a long way off. I'd like Hillary and her presidential-hopeful friends to tell me what they plan to do about the 50 Americans who will die today for a lack of care. Or explain to me why they are willing to allow another 25,000 to die in the months prior to the election before they might even touch the health care reform plans they all speak of now. None of them ever answers that kind of question.
Labels: Donna Smith, Hillary Clinton, SiCKO
Friday, September 7, 2007 3:35 PM
As reported by Dawnelle Keys, Julie Pierce and Donna Smith
SACRAMENTO -- California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger had an aide tell three women featured in 'SiCKO' they were rude to request a moment of the governor’s time. Dawnelle Keyes, Julie Pierce and Donna Smith stood politely at the office door of California’s leader and waited for a response to their request for a meeting.
California state troopers guarded the door to the governor’s office and sternly protected Schwarzenegger from the three women as staffers passed in and out of the office, some glancing, some laughing but all ignoring the three private citizens the governor did not wish to see.
They filled out written requests two days in a row and were rebuffed two days in a row by Arnold’s staff members. They wanted to see the governor because California’s legislators passed a bill (AB8) which would wildly enrich private insurance companies, but called the measure “universal health care.”
But the governor just didn't have time to meet with them - he claimed to be too busy for 30 seconds to listen to any information from the 'SiCKO' trio, who know first hand the damage our profit-driven health care system can cause. He did, however, have time for some photo opportunities with children and business interests.
The three women did exactly as they were told by the governor’s guards. They called a phone number on a business card given to them by a trooper. After making their way through the menu options – including number three which would have told them the latest news on Maria Shriver – the women finally reached a staff aide who said, “Don’t you think it’s rude to request a meeting with the governor on such short notice?” The women did not feel they had been rude at all. The staffer asked for a cell phone number but then chastised the women for not speaking fast enough, “Look, I need the number quickly,” he said. The 'SiCKO' women are pretty sure he never wrote down that number.
Funny, the 'SiCKO' women thought they all worked for the people of the state of California. Look at the governor’s website. He calls himself “The People’s Governor.” He just doesn’t really want to be all the people’s governor.
All three of these women are victims of the brutal system the governor wants to expand and reward. All three were in Sacramento to be honored for their courage in telling their stories in Michael Moore's film and for continuing their fight for reform.
Call and write the governor of California. He has called a special legislative session to make sure legislators give him all that he wants and all that he has promised special interest groups on health care reform. But it’s a ruse. It’s a scam. And it’s not what Californians need or want.
The plan the governor will push through is one he has carefully crafted for the wealthiest few who do have an audience with him, including his friends in the insurance industry. And many California legislators are too weak and frightened to respond.
Let’s tell him that it’s not rude to ask for his time. Call 916-445-2841 or visit the website at http://gov.ca.gov/.
Labels: Dawnelle Keys, Donna Smith, Julie Pierce, SiCKO
As reported to Donna Smith, American SiCKO
By Elizabeth Lalasz, Chicago Single-Payer Action Network (CSPAN)
CHICAGO -- On Wednesday, August 29, Chicago Single-Payer Action Network's first action went off without a hitch in front of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois in Chicago.
"We estimate between 40 to 50 people attended. It was energetic, loud and serious," reports Elizabeth Lalasz of CSPAN. She said the group formed a circle in front of the building and chanted, "Hey Blue Cross, what do you say, how many claims did you deny today?" and "People over profits, single-payer now."
Several BCBS executives came out, as well as security, to make sure BCBS employees didn't talk to any of the protesters. In fact, security made the employees go out the side entrance in order to avoid the CSPAN group. So, the group moved the picket over to where the employees were coming out, and a decent number of BCBS employees took CSPAN flyers and Lalasz said several of them mouthed, "I agree with you." Later, CSPAN got word that BCBS employees received an email directing them to not talk to the protesters.
Some protesters showed up because of their own horrible experiences with the U.S. health care system. Amanda Jones, a 25-year-old from Cary, IL, was diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder, cavernous angioma, and has close to $300,000 in medical bills. Blue Cross, among others have denied her coverage, because they say she has a pre-existing condition. "It's really horrible. We have been doing some fund raising to help her," Lalasz said.
There were health care workers involved in the protest, including doctors, nurses, and social workers. Nursing and medical students also came to the event from University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC), Truman and Malcolm X Chicago City Colleges, and Northwestern University.
There were a good number of groups represented at the protest as well: Physicians for National Health Plan (PHNP), National Nurses Organizing Committee (NNOC) HealthCare Now!, Metropolitan Seniors in Action, Older Women's League, Health Care for All Illinois, American Medical Student Association (AMSA), International Socialist Organization (ISO), Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), Access Living, Green Party, and the Kucinich Campaign.
Aside from last week's protest, CSPAN will do an action in Chicago in conjunction with the action American Patients for Universal Health Care is taking on Sept. 28 in Washington, D.C. CSPAN will be at the State of Illinois building, highlighting Illinois patients from 4 to 6 p.m. on Friday, September 28. The event will feature State Representative Mary Flowers, who is the main sponsor of the single-payer bill in Illinois.
For more information on upcoming protests, please visit American Patients for Universal Health Care.
Wednesday, September 5, 2007 6:59 PM
Contibuted by Adrian Campbell, American SiCKO
DETROIT -- Hey, it's Adrian here. Kyle and I are still working on this Canuck-Yankee relationship, and I'm still looking for a better job since I was fired for being un-American by appearing in 'SiCKO
My little girl, Aurora, is doing OK, but friends and family have to help me find a way to get the tubes in her ears that she needs. It really hurts to have to beg for health care. But you all know about that.
Last night, I got an email from a Canadian man who wants to support the effort for the U.S. Congress to pass HR676
, Rep. John Conyers', D-MI, bill to give every American health care.
Below is the message, and I thought it was especially fitting for 9/11:Dear Adrian,
For the last 20 years, I have worked for two companies that write software for public transits agencies .
Most of our clients are American Public Transit Agency which include New Jersey Transit, Pierce Transit (Tacoma Washington), Metro-Dade Transit (Miami Florida), COTA (Columbus Ohio), SORTA (Cincinnati Ohio) and Ride Smart (who provide public transit for Wayne, ma comb and Oakland Countries in Michigan.
I have traveled many times to my American clients over the years. They are great people, and we would sometime go to hockey and baseball games after work. There are just a few other which I did not write software for but other people in the company did -- (those firms were in) Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Chicago, and many others which I cannot remember.
I guess about 90 percent of my income over the last 20 years has come from work I did for my American clients. I owe the American people a big debt for providing me with a good paying job for the last 20 years. I got this job just a few months after graduating from Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario. I live just outside of Hamilton, Ontario. Your guy friend will know where these places are... just west of Toronto.
I am trying to repay this debt to the American people by in any way I can helping to get HR676 passed. On YouTube I leave comments saying that HR676 is the solution to the healthcare problems in America.
I also emailed Reggie from 'SiCKO' to tell her to thank all the 9/11 workers for searching for remains of my fellow Canadians. There were about 20 Canadians who died in the WTC on 9/11. I know at least the remains of one Canadian were found, and he has been buried next to his parents grave in Mississauga, Ontario.
I also saw the last YouTube video of your burning all your things from Meijer's.
Good luck with your fight for HR676. I look forward to day when the president of the United States of America signs the bill HR676 and it becomes law and all Americans will have health insurance just like we have in Canada.
Labels: 9/11 responders, Adrian Campbell, SiCKO
...an open letter to the U.S. Senate from Donna Smith, American SiCKO
Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD), waving from the floor of the Senate on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2007, anticipates running for re-election next year.
DENVER – It was a moving scene. Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota returned to the U.S. Senate yesterday, nine months after suffering a brain hemorrhage that nearly took his life.
I vividly remember that day. I was working at a contract position here in Denver when someone came out of our break room and said some Senator from South Dakota had a stroke or something. My stomach flipped. We had just moved from South Dakota weeks before, and Tim Johnson was one of my U.S. Senators.
When I arrived home that day to my daughter's home where we were living in a small storage room, a handwritten note was waiting in her mailbox for me. It was to me from Sen. Tim Johnson. The irony of receiving that note on that day was spooky for me. The note is on his U.S. Senate note paper, and he thanked me for my efforts to be a fair reporter in western South Dakota where most media leans heavily and easily to the far right. I still have that note and will treasure it always. It wasn't easy to report on any Democrat in western South Dakota, and it was kind of him to acknowledge that fact.
But now it is months later. I have been in Michael Moore's 'SiCKO' and to Cuba for health care, and Sen. Johnson and his family have been through hell and back with his brain injury. Both of our families have much yet to endure.
I listened to his statement today and marveled at his courage. How many of us would step to that microphone and do what he did and what he had obviously fought to do with every fiber of his body. Every American should take great comfort that among all the terrible falsehoods and shams we watch unfold from Washington, these few moments were very human and very American – in the best senses of both.
In part, Sen. Johnson said, "But I return to work today to this great body with a renewed spirit and a sharper focus. I better appreciate today what individuals and families go through when they face crippling hardship – whether that hardship be the consequence of catastrophic health issues, economic hardship, or lack of an opportunity to reach one's full potential in life.
"I believe I have been given a second chance at life. I vow to take that second chance and work harder than ever to be the best I can be for my state and for my nation; to be a voice for those individuals and families who too often are ignored or forgotten; and to fight to live up to the ideals that have made this nation great. That is my focus and that is my commitment to my constituents back home in South Dakota, to the people of this great nation, and to my colleagues here in Washington." When he finished his statement, you, his colleagues stood and honored him with applause, as well you should.
Then our Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, spoke. In his moving tribute to his friend and fellow Democrat, Sen. Reid shared a truth that might have been lost on some but that seared at my heart and soul like a hot knife.
In praising Sen. Johnson's doctors and acknowledging the serendipity that allowed his medical crisis to occur when and where it did, Sen. Reid inadvertently highlighted some of the very issues the rest of us out in America face today.
Reid said that if the hemorrhage had occurred one day later, Johnson might have been on an airplane bound for South Dakota. OK, that would be bad. It would have taken precious time for a plane to land and for care to reach my Senator. He might have died or had a very bad outcome indeed.
But then Reid added that if the crisis had occurred two days later, Johnson might have been on an Indian reservation. Oooh, now that's not good. Everybody knows that having a medical emergency on one of the nation's Indian reservations would necessarily mean pretty lousy chances for high quality trauma care or even minimal stabilization of a medical emergency.
So, my good Senators, Sen. Johnson was blessed to have his emergency in Washington, near an awesome medical facility with doctors who were top-notch and able to work with the best of the best to save his life and to save his brain so we could applaud him today.
Most Americans are not so lucky. We don't have the insurance benefits and access to quality care that saved Sen. Johnson's life and brain. And the kicker still is that we – the American taxpayer and voters – give you – our Congressional members – better benefits at better prices and therefore a better chance for life than we even demand for ourselves.
I would like to hold Sen. Johnson to the words he spoke today and challenge him to work now on bringing the health care crisis in this nation forward once again in the Senate. He has a unique perspective and a unique opportunity – perhaps a God-given opportunity to argue that he values the health and lives of his constituents and of everyday Americans just as much as he does his own. In my heart, I know he does.
Now I just need to find out if he has the courage to stand up and say it in spite of the re-election race decision looming in the not-too-distant future.
A U.S. filmmaker from Flint, Michigan offers a proposal on his website that would give every American access to health care benefits like those given to every member of Congress – for free.
I would like to challenge Sen. Johnson and the rest of the U.S. Senate to read The Michael Moore Health Care Proposal
. Give it your own touches and introduce it in legislation. Let the courage and compassion that exists in America guide you to bringing this discussion into the Senate before another year and another election cycle – and the deaths of 18,000 more Americans – passes.
This nation needs health care reform now, please help us.
U.S. Senator Tim Johnson's note to American SiCKO Donna Smith:
Labels: Donna Smith
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