Back in January, a victory on health care seemed a long way away. Today, we’re still in a big fight to protect the health care that we need and that everyone deserves.
It’s not just the Affordable Care Act that they’re going after. The right wing is going after Medicaid, Medicare, the Indian Health Service, veterans’ health services, and more.
In March, we stopped the first vote on repealing our health care. It was a huge victory. Because of you and your sharp organizing, we lit a wildfire of resistance. We spoke up in districts where no one expected people to fight for health care for all.
In February, during the congressional recess, we did 89 actions, 75 percent of them in Republican districts. Together, we drove a wedge right through the Republicans and deepened the division in the party, making the March vote impossible for them.
Why was that important? It saved health care for 24 million people. It discredited Trump and his agenda. It built our power and decreased theirs.
All of that lays the foundation for us to defeat the broader agenda of tax giveaways to billionaires, budget cuts to health care and Social Security – even going after Meals on Wheels.
But one of the pieces of good news is that we have won the battle of big ideas on health care. People all across this country believe that health care is a basic human right. Millions of people, many of whom had never been active before, have hit the streets to defend health care as a human right.
This is an uprising that is happening in communities that are blue, purple and red.
But President Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan are still at it. They will try again and again to pass this really bad bill.
Are we going to let them? No!
When we defeat the next vote, we’re not done. They’re going to come after our health care, our food, veterans services and our housing with a terrible budget. They’re want to cut all that to pay for tax giveaways to billionaires, corporations and the one percent.
Are we going to let them? No!
We are deeply committed to this fight because we have to be. Taking away our health care has a ripple effect across our communities. It is life and death for some of our family members, friends and neighbors. It will mean that health care bills will pile up even higher and impoverish us.
Lack of funding will mean cuts to hospitals and clinics. If they get their way, it will even mean cuts to health care for veterans. These cuts will pull money out of communities, hurt small businesses and devastate our home towns.
We are here today because many in Congress canceled town halls, turned their backs on to us and didn’t listen to what we had to say.
Today we are welcoming hometown leaders who are organizing in Republican districts. They come from small and mid-sized towns that will be deeply impacted by the proposed budget cuts. We are here to listen to their stories about the devastating impact that “Trump Care” would have on their families and hometowns and to identify next steps for all of us in the fight back.
Together, you and I, and millions across the United States, will continue to raise up this issue and make it central in the upcoming 2018 elections.
Our strategy is to hold strong where we are, show up in unexpected places and build new alliances in hometowns across this country. We know this means more organizing. This means stretching ourselves.
We are asking everyone to make four commitments.
● Rise up by building our team, by reaching out to five friends and family members to have kitchen-table conversations highlighting why this fight is important to you and your hometown. If we each reach five people, we will bring thousands and thousands of new people into the fight.
● Rise up during the May recess by organizing 50 “hometown actions” to highlight the impact of proposed budget cuts on our families and communities, and the ripple effect those cuts will have on hospitals, small businesses and schools.
● Rise up to take the profit out of our health care system, by holding insurance and drug companies accountable and build the pathway to Medicare for all.
● Rise up to make health care a pivotal issue in the 2018 elections and move us toward our goal of health care for all.
Are you with us?
This article is adapted from remarks made by LeeAnn Hall, co-director of People’s Action, during the “Hometown Rising” town hall on April 24, 2017 that concluded the People’s Action “Rise Up: From Protest to Power” convention. Videos of the “Hometown Rising” town hall featuring Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), and plenary sessions featuring Van Jones and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), are on the “Rise Up” convention page.