Champaign County Health Care Consumers urgently needs your support in the struggle for REAL health reform. As the Congressional summer recess comes to an end, and Congress resumes in September, health care advocates and activists must hit the ground running in order to target our advocacy efforts to ensure that the needs and priorities of consumers – real live people – are front and center in the development of health reform legislation. CCHCC needs your support and involvement so that we can keep up with legislative developments over the next few months and mobilize thousands of our constituents to take action in the interests of the people and the interest of health care justice.
Health Reform – What’s Going On?
Already, the indications are that the well-financed lobbies working for insurance, pharmaceutical and other medical industries, are shaping legislation to their advantage, and to our (the people’s and the nation’s) disadvantage. However, there is some cause for optimism and some possibilities for REAL reform – but the promise of those possibilities will only become reality through a massive, coordinated and unrelenting effort by we, the people.
CCHCC is committed to tracking and analyzing the proposed health reform legislation, and informing our constituents about new developments and how to take action for REAL reform. This is no small task, given the confusing assortment of information, myths and lies, and industry-driven and partisan-driven propaganda, not to mention the complexity of some of the bills and plans being put forward by the House and the Senate.
The good news is that supporters of REAL health reform can take action now to support single-payer legislation. The Kucinich Amendment to the massive health reform bill, HR 3200, will clear the way at the federal level for states to enact their own single-payer legislation. Also, the House is set to vote this month (September) on the national single-payer health care bill, HR 676. Please see below for more information on these single-payer advocacy opportunities.
Besides these developments, the rest of the health reform bills and proposals from the Senate and the House are very complex and confusing (including the “public option” provision), and the source of much public and media debate and speculation – much of it misinformed. To help our community understand what is being proposed in the health reform legislation, and how to take action for REAL health reform, CCHCC is holding a Community Meeting on National Health Reform on Thursday, September 10 at 6:30 p.m. at the Champaign Public Library. 
The good news is that nothing is set in stone, yet! The legislation will continue to evolve and change, and we will have ongoing opportunities to take action for REAL health reform, whether on entire bills, or on components and amendments being proposed and debated. However, health reform supporters can act now to support single-payer legislation! CCHCC’s Campaign for National Health Reform pledges to stay vigilant, and to keep you informed, and to mobilize our constituents to take action for REAL health reform! Please read below to learn more about what CCHCC is doing, single-payer advocacy opportunities, and how you can take action for REAL health reform.
CCHCC’s Campaign for National Health Reform
Late this spring, CCHCC kicked off our Campaign for National Health Reform  – our community organizing effort to bring the voices of local consumers to national health reform efforts. With our Health Care Access Task Force and Consumer Health Hotline, we developed a set of principles for national health reform, and we use these principles to evaluate proposed legislation and to inform our advocacy efforts. Because we work with consumers every single day, and we see the successes and failures of our health care “system,” CCHCC is uniquely positioned to evaluate legislative proposals in terms of their REAL impact on consumers. We bring our real-life grassroots analysis and experience to this process, and we have no partisan investment, so you can count on us for an honest evaluation of legislative proposals.
Our Campaign for National Health Reform is working hard:
• Tracking the legislative process. We keep up with the important developments, as they unfold.
• Analyzing the legislative proposals. We analyze the legislation, in detail, from the perspective of consumers and the public interest and good.
• Educating and informing. We share our analysis with our constituents and the community, so that everyday people can have a real understanding of what is being proposed and how it will affect them.
• Organizing and mobilizing. We are organizing thousands of people to get involved and take action on national health reform. (Please see the “Take Action” section below to learn how you can get involved.)
Please remember to save the date for CCHCC’s Community Meeting on National Health Reform , which will be held on Thursday, September 10 at 6:30 p.m. at the Champaign Public Library. At this meeting, we will provide you with the most current update and our analysis on health reform legislation, and let you know how you can take action. We will provide ongoing information and updates through our health action network as the process unfolds.
Single-Payer Health Reform Legislation – Take Action!
While the rest of the health reform legislation continues to be crafted, debated, and reworked, there are two important opportunities to advocate for, and advance single-payer health reform.
What is single-payer health insurance? Single-payer health insurance is a form of universal health coverage (health coverage for all) in which a single public/governmental or quasi-public agency organizes health financing and payment for health services, but delivery of care remains largely private. The United States already has a great single-payer health system – Medicare. Medicare is the federal government health insurance for people aged 65 and older, and for people with disabilities. The government insurance pays for care delivered by private physicians.
HR 676 single-payer legislation set for historic House vote in September! You can take action to advocate for single-payer national health reform by urging your Representative to vote YES for HR 676, the national single-payer bill in the House. As a result of advocacy efforts, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has promised a House floor vote on HR 676 sometime in September. This is a historic development, as it is the first time that HR 676 will have been called for a vote by the full House. We have a real opportunity to advocate for HR 676!
Single-Payer health reform possibility for the states: The Kucinich Amendment. While the dominant legislation for national health reform (HR 3200) is far from REAL reform, it does include an unprecedented and important opportunity for states to develop their own single-payer programs. Rep. Kucinich introduced the Kucinich Amendment in order to enable states to establish single payer systems. Kucinich’s amendment, which the House Education and Labor Committee adopted, would relieve states from a provision in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act that lets the federal government block state programs that impinge on employer-based health care plans. Several states, including Illinois, New York, California, and Kansas are working toward launching state-run single-payer programs, and this amendment would clear their path. Because Illinois has a viable single-payer bill (HB 311), the Kucinich Amendment is an especially exciting opportunity. You can take action for single-payer for the states by adding your name to CCHCC’s letter calling on Congress to enact the Kucinich Amendment.
How you can help: Take Action for REAL health reform and Support CCHCC!
The real action on health reform will take place in the coming months, with single-payer possibilities starting this month! Changes to health reform bills will take place over several months, and various aspects of the proposed legislation will be debated, amended, kept, or thrown out. We pledge to keep CCHCC constituents informed about the important developments, so you can take action when it counts! There are many ways you can help:
Make a donation to CCHCC: Help support our efforts to mobilize thousands of people to take action on national health reform, and continue our consumer health advocacy work by making a tax-deductible donation to CCHCC. Click here  to make a donation.
Take action: You can take action by attending the September 10th Community Meeting on National Health Reform  and allowing your name to be added to CCHCC’s letters calling on Congress to keep the Kucinich Amendment in the legislation.