Guest Opinion: A69 helped awaken the health-care-for-all movement
All social movements begin somewhere.
Someone speaks out against an injustice that many have felt, and envisions a better way.
The power holders hate this: They will do everything possible to silence a growing tide of voices speaking up for social justice.
They did just that against the campaign to pass universal health care for all Coloradans, the successful citizens’ ballot initiative that became Amendment 69.
The 2016 ColoradoCareYES campaign was outspent 10 to 1 by primarily out-of-state health care, health insurance and pharmaceutical companies and others who profit from a health care system that is so bad that Americans are more afraid of the bills they’ll receive if they get sick than of sickness itself.
The ColoradoCareYES campaign — funded by Coloradans, not corporations — reached a lot of people but not enough.
And even though Colorado law required that Amendment 69 begin with the words “Shall taxes be raised $25 billion…”, one in five Coloradans understood that voting yes would save 80 percent of Coloradans big money; that the $25 billion would replace the $30 billion we’d spend without A69; and that every Coloradan would ever after have comprehensive affordable health care for life.
So 20 percent marked progress. Social movements take time. Since 2016, the numbers of Americans who support universal health care has grown to a majority in almost every poll.
Here in Colorado, before the ColoradoCare campaign, most people couldn’t pick “single payer” out of a lineup. They didn’t realize the term meant one nonprofit payer (such as an improved and expanded Medicare for all) to simply pay for our care, replacing all those health insurance middlemen who make a profit by denying us lifesaving care.
They didn’t realize we would save money. Headaches. Worry. Time. That we could start that business or focus on our businesses, without being slaves to health insurance. That we could trust our employees, our families, and we would be taken care of.
At our recent third annual Universal Health Care Conference, Healing America with Health Care for All, one of the attendees asked this question: What could Americans do if we didn’t have to worry about health care?
What indeed? A growing majority of people want to know the answer to that question. All the corporate voices paying huge bucks to scare us won’t make the idea we should all have health care crazy or dangerous. Americans just want what’s afforded those who live in England, France, Canada, Spain, Portugal — indeed in every other modern nation. We’d have to go to Afghanistan or Angola to experience health care as unjust as here at home.
The Big Pharma and corporate medicine power-holders own the airwaves. They’ll pay a premium to stoke your fear. They can outspend We the People at every turn.
Enough is enough. We know that when we all do better, we all do better. Making health care universal can protect us all from outbreaks, from accidents, illness, from anything unforeseen. And when this basic human need of ours is met, we can see what Coloradans can really do — what we are capable of — when we rise together.
Candidates who stand up for health care for everyone are brave. They care about you and about your families. They are willing to risk the ire of the monied corporate bullies to stand up for your well-being because for life, liberty and happiness, we all need health care too.
Let’s stand up for our shared public good and vote this November.
Sara Wright is director of communications for the Colorado Foundation for Universal Health Care.
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