An national launch with a California twist…

HEALTH ACCESS UPDATE
Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

UNPRECEDENTED CAMPAIGN LAUNCHES TO WIN NAT’L HEALTH REFORM
* $40 Million Campaign Starts in Over 50 Cities and 35 Capitols Across Country
* Lt. Gov. Garamendi in Los Angeles & Mayor Newsom in San Francisco Headline CA Events
* “Health Care for America Now” Campaign Launches TV Ads

Click Here for What’s New on the Health Access WeBlog: Photos, comments and reports from the HCAN launch events in CA and DC; New HCAN TV Ads; Real Cuts Made to Kids Health Coverage: Conference Committee Approves Semi-Annual Status Reports for Children, Also Approves Healthy Families Premium Increase; (Full Budget Update Coming); More on the Health Budget Cuts; More on Medical Errors; Health Care Humor; Multiple Cuts on a County

LOS ANGELES & SAN FRANCISCO – In key California cities of national importance to the health care reform debate, and in 52 other cities across the country, including 37 state capitals (and in Washington, DC, with Elizabeth Edwards), a new national campaign is bringing together millions of Americans to demand quality, affordable health care for all.

Health Care for America Now (HCAN) is being launched nationally by over 100 national and local groups that represent community organizations, labor, doctors, nurses, women, small businesses, faith-based organizations, people of color, netroots activists, and think tanks. Health Care for America Now is organizing to assure that the first order of business of the next President and Congress is to pass legislation in 2009 that guarantees quality, affordable health care for all.

A BROAD COALITION: Health Care for America Now is an unprecedented coalition led by ACORN, AFSCME, Americans United for Change, Campaign for America ‘s Future, Center for American Progress Action Fund, Center for Community Change, MoveOn, National Education Association, National Women’s Law Center , Planned Parenthood Federation of America, SEIU, United Food and Commercial Workers, and USAction.

Part of the effort will be to organize in communities around the country, and to get commitments from Congressional leaders to commit to making health care reform a top priority in 2009, and to commit to key principles. Congressional representatives will be asked “What side are you on?” in the a debate between reforms that provide a guarantee of quality, affordable health care we all can count on, or policies where consumers will continue to be at the mercy of the private health insurance industry, left alone to fend for yourself in a complicated, bureaucratic insurance market.

AN UNPRECEDENTED EFFORT: Starting today, the campaign is spending an initial $1.5 million on national television, print, and online advertising and is sending out an email blast to more than 5 million people. Over the next five months, Health Care for America Now plans to spend $25 million in paid media and have 100 organizers in 45 states.

THE CAMPAIGN IN CALIFORNIA: Leading the field effort in California is Health Access California, California ACORN, and the California Partnership, in active partnership with many of the California groups participating in the launch events, including: the California Labor Federation, AFSCME, CREDO Mobile, MoveOn, California Teachers Association, Committee of Interns and Residents, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, SEIU, Small Business Majority, Universal Health Care Action Network, United Nurses Association of California, United Food and Commercial Workers, and others.

This campaign focused on Congress will be coordinate with continued active efforts of California organizations to press for state-based health reform. The California effort is premised on the notion that there will be new opportunities at *both* the state and federal levels to push for health reform in 2009. California can and should be a leader, because of the urgency of the health care issue in California, because of the size and influence of our Congressional delegation, and because of our experience in developing and debating health care policy.

The events in California spotlighted the challenges and opportunities of this national campaign.

* An event in front of Los Angeles County Hospital spotlighted the city as “ground zero” for the health care crisis nationally, with closing emergency rooms and one of the highest rates of uninsured in the nation. “I’ve seen the insurers and the special interests line up against health reform again and again, and this campaign is needed to make sure it gets done.” said Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, who formerly served as California ’s Insurance Commissioner and was a leader in the national health reform debate in the early 1990s. “Nobody needs health reform more than Californians facing a broken health system,”

* An event in front of City Hall in San Francisco spotlighted a city not only hosts the leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, but that also shows health reform is possible—and meet many of the principles advanced by the HCAN coalition. “ San Francisco has shown that healthcare reform is not only the right thing to do but is economically feasible,” said Mayor Gavin Newsom, who just celebrated the one-year anniversary of the implementation of their universal healthcare program, Healthy San Francisco. “What San Francisco has done is not the end but the beginning. We need our state and federal leaders to take immediate and aggressive action on health reform.”

Health Care for America Now offers a bold new vision for health care reform: Americans can keep the private insurance they have, but would also have new options, including a choice of private or public health coverage plans. The campaign also calls for new rules to be enforced on an insurance industry which consistently charges whatever it wants, sets high deductibles, denies coverage based on pre-existing conditions, and drops coverage when people get sick.

Health Access California will continue to report on both state and federal efforts on health reform, including the Health Care for America Now effort. Health Care for America Now started with a financial commitment of at least $500,000 from each of the 13 steering committee members and a $10 million grant from NY-based Atlantic Philanthropies. Health Care for America Now (“HCAN”), a section 501(c)(4) issue advocacy organization, is a broad coalition of nonprofit and political organizations that are working to promote quality, affordable health care for all Americans. HCAN and each of its members conducts and funds only activities appropriate to its tax and election law status.

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.

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