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Mon Oct 28, 2013, 04:09 AM

Report on Healthcare Now! (HCN) Strategy Conference 2013, Nashville, TN


The conference began with a plenary on the strategy in the south. The speaker talked about the need for a special strategy in the south due to the legacy of white supremacy, the plantation mentality (where whites feel oppressed by the government and the northern whites, and the blacks are oppressed by the whites), and the atmosphere of fear, distrust , and envy. They went on to talk about the particular challenges and opportunities that exist for organizing in the south.

Next, HCN’s Director of Organizing, Ben Day, highlighted some resources they’re putting together. They are publishing a Single Payer Activists Guide to Affordable Healthcare Act to help with education, media, and outreach during this time of transition. These Guides will be out soon. They are also planning to conduct Everybody Institutes, trainings they plan to conduct nationwide.

We then touched on Healthcare Justice in Tennessee. There wasn’t much there, but a good story about the women’s suffrage movement and how the last state to approve the amendment was Tennessee. The decisive legislator changed his vote to pro suffrage due to a letter from his mom saying something like “Dear Son, Be a good boy. Hoorah for suffrage! Your mother” It is a powerful story of the persuasive impact of finding an effective secondary target (in this case it was mom).

There was then a break out session on the Challenges and Solutions for State Single Payer Legislation. We spoke about two different strategies, one is passing a bill without funding and then following up to pass another with the funding mechanism, the other is passing a bill that contains the funding mechanism. We also talked about whether to include a laundry list of things covered by the law or to create a body to make those tough decisions. Finally we spoke about some obstacles such as ERISA and getting money from the federal government programs. Additionally, there were questions about the role and necessity of conducting studies.

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