I have been following the national health care debate closely. Well, only some of it is debate. A good chunk of it seems to be angry mobs manipulated by a disinformation campaign by the right wing and its health insurance company allies, and people on Medicare yelling taking offense at government run health care. I have to be straight with myself. I have been of the mind that while I personally support a single payer health care system (or better-put, Medicare for All), it is not possible to pass such legislation in the current political climate, so we have to settle for a compromise known as the public option - one that allows any American to buy into a government-run insurance option. But I have been somewhat disillusioned. The fervor and nastiness with which the insurance companies and the political right is fighting giving Americans that choice has made me think twice. Perhaps we should have pushed for a single payer system to begin with, since the moneyed interests have no intention to compromise whatsoever. Their goal is to kill any and all health care reform legislation. Heaven forbid the average health insurance company CEO salary be less than $15 million yearly.

I strongly believe that the fight to preserve a public option is worthy, and I am personally in the thick of it - writing to my Congressperson, my Senators and the President. I have signed petitions and taken actions. I believe the Democratic leadership must deliver to the president a bill with a strong public option.  But, I now believe more than ever that through citizen action, we must eventually eliminate the health insurance companies from the process.

The speed of the shock-and-awe disinformation campaign from the right has made me realize that we progressives need to embark on a long term project to educate the American people about the benefits of a single payer, Medicare-for-All system - regardless of the fate of current health insurance legislation in Congress. It will be at least a decade long project to educate and inform, to train speakers, to help Americans take advantage of any government run health insurance options already available to them, and bring to limelight the fact that systems like Medicare and VA are indeed government-run (I know this last part sounds obvious to most, if not all of my readers, but as evidenced by the current mob-happenings, a good deal of Americans are not making the connection).

This new project that I am imagining will not be a 6 month campaign. It will be a true, decade long (or until we can achieve full nationwide Medicare for All coverage) project to transform American public opinion through truth-telling. This will not be an organization to perform civil disobedience or take over the offices of members of Congress every time they come home. Instead, part of our education project will be to educate members of Congress as well, in addition to the general public and candidates for office (focused on Congress). We will not be organizing people to go yell at public officials. Instead we will hold townhalls all over the country to answer legitimate questions, have a proper debate and change hearts and minds.

Another thing: this will be a 501 (c) (3) organization, and while will rely heavily on volunteers, cannot succeed as an all-volunteer organization. In my vision, I would want this organization to be the nation's premier organization focusing solely and exclusively on single payer health care reform. Our goal would be to bring single payer health care to reality by educating Americans neighborhood-by-neighborhood, city-by-city, county-by-county, state-by-state and getting them involved. For all of this, we will need some paid staffers who can dedicate their time to this issue. And we will need to raise money. From individuals, from friendly organizations (such as Credo Mobile), businesses, whoever will support this cause.

I am not content will simply outlining a goal of single payer health insurance system. I will give you the measures of success:
  • At the end of 10 years, Medicare for All will have majority support in both houses of Congress, if it does not already become law.
  • Our staff and volunteers will hold at least one town-hall meeting in each state by the end of the second full year, and hold 50 education sessions every year all over America.
  • We will provide information for bloggers and journalists online and wage a campaign of full information through blogs, social media, editorials, speakers on Television and radio, and every other possible way.
  • We will tell stories of murder by spreadsheet all over the country and publicize them via media campaigns online and offline.
  • We will arrange debates between our side and our opponents all over America under neutral circumstances and with impartial moderators.
We may want things done now, and we may be frustrated. We have every right to be. But take a lesson from what is going on now. Understand that we must educate American people over time so that they do not continue to get caught in this firestorm of corporate (and media) propaganda campaigns. If you think we need to embark on this important, long term project, then I am going to need your help. Can we do this? Is this possible? Or am I thinking of some pie in the sky idea? Your feedback is essential.

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