Coming together…

I’ve been getting E-mails in response to today’s Sacramento Bee article by Judy Lin, from people wanting to sign up to prevent some of the proposed cuts to schools, parks, health care and other vital services. The article describes the very preliminary conversations among leading organizations spanning a broad range of fields to work together toward a better solution to the budget crisis.

I think it’s an indication that California is ready for another solution to the budget crisis, other than cuts, cuts, cuts.

The enthusiasm comes through in our recent work. It comes through in the fact that we have health care organizations and leaders active and ready to go to oppose the cuts to health care.

The energy comes through in the conversations we’ve been having with groups in completely different sectors. I’ve been in broad-based campaigns before, but the depth and breadth of interest in stunning, bring together health and social service organizations with environmental groups, the education community, the world of police and public safety, and many others.

The interest comes through in the fact that so much has happened so quickly, as we try to catch up to even get a handle on all the grassroots, spontaneous activity going on, especially at the local level, to fight the cuts and find an alternative. The article was in indication of the great interest, even it is was premature, before this broad umbrella coalition even has a name.

It makes sense for Health Access California to be active in this type of effort for several reasons:
* With the major cuts in health care, in the mid-year cuts already made, and those still pending. You know things are bad when the least of the cuts is denying low-income seniors, people with disabilities, and prostate cancer survivors the basic dignity of incontinence creams and washes. And the cuts get worse from there.
* As a coalition organization, many of Health Access California’s member organizations are multi-issue groups representing specific constituencies (seniors, children, workers, communities of color, etc.) They all recognize that it’s not enough to say “don’t cut health care… cut something else,” because cuts in other areas often impact these same Californians in different ways. The children who lose health care are also impacted by cuts in the classsroom and park closings; a senior having their financial assistance cut also loses their Medi-Cal dental coverage and other services. This requires a global solution.

We’ll put out more information about this umbrella coalition as soon as we have it.

If we are united and active and vigilant, I am confident: We’ll come through.

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

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