Strength, Strategy and Donna Smith

April 15, 2010

The fight continues in earnest for health care for all.

Activists from across the whole bleeding state of Illinois, including representatives from
PDA, CNA, Chi-SPAN, Champaign County Health Care Consumers and other members of the Illinois Single Payer Coalition gathered at Augustana Church in President Obama’s old Hyde Park neighborhood to talk about health care.
The consensus was:

We ain’t done yet!

We can do better and we can do more.

Specifically, to keep pushing hard for a single payer plan, like Medicare, improved and expanded to everyone. That’s the path to true health care parity. There is a heapin’ helping of piece of mind down that road and more and more Americans are taking up the fight to take the profit motive out of health care access.

We met a roomful of quality leaders and fighters that are more than up for the task.

Here are some snappy highlights with some big name cameo appearances, including Doc Young who recently wrote so eloquently at HuffPo

“Single-payer Medicare for All is the reform that’s required. Just like almost all other major areas of progress in American life, fundamental health reform requires a movement based on equity, justice, prudence and
science that is free of market greed. That movement today is single payer.”


Here is a great conversation with PDA Illinois Chair-Maestro Bill Bianchi and buddy Donna Smith that inspires great hope for the future of the single payer movement and shows the strength and insight of two friends from Chicago fighting for all of us.

Boy, did IMPs miss ya!

Now meet all the member organizations that made this meeting a success.

Rah indeed!

Access Living

Downstate Democrats for Change

Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP)

National Nurses Organizing Commitee(NNOC)

American Medical Student Association (AMSA)

OWL-National Older Women’s League

Progressive Democrats of America Illinois Chapter(PDA)

Chicago Single Payer Action Network

Health Care for All Illinois

Gray Panthers

AFSCME: American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees

APJ: Aurora Peace and Justice

APU: American Patients United

CAEC: Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign

CCHCC: Champaign County Health Care Consumers

ChiSPAN: Chicago Single-Payer Action

DP: Democratic Party

FVCPJ: Fox Valley Citizens for Peace and Justice

HC-N: Healthcare-Now

IMM: Illinois Media Progressives (Hi!)

IGP: Illinois Green Party

ISPC: Illinois Single-Payer Coalition

JASC: Jane Addams Senior Caucus

LC: Longhouse Coalition

NAARPO: National Alliance Against Racism and Political Oppression

NNOC/CAN/NNU: National Nurses Organizing Committee/California Nurses Association/National Nurses Union

PDA: Progressive Democrats of America

SADA: Springfield Area Disability Activists

Ain’t it grand to have so many friends!


Because Nothing’s Scarier than a Pediatrician

October 30, 2009

Yesterday Dr. Margaret Flowers was arrested, yet again for trying to have a conversation about single payer.
She was part of a Mobilization for Health Care for All sit-in at a Baltimore CareFirst health insurance office and was arrested with 4 others, one of whom, Charles Loubert, is 81 years old. She and Charles were planning to stay in the hoosegow until the CEO of CareFirst, Chet Burrell, agreed to a public meeting with her.

Here are Margaret’s own words on risking arrest for single payer:

In short, I am going to be arrested again because I believe that it is my professional responsibility to advocate on behalf of those who can’t and because it is clear that the other traditional advocacy tools are not working. The phrase that runs continuously through my mind is “To be silent is to be complicit.” I cannot be complicit in the face of an industry that profits at the cost of human lives and in the face of an administration and Congress that are too dysfunctional to stop this practice.

Apparently, this mother of three is pretty scary, because despite Margaret and Charles’ efforts, the authorities got spooked and would not keep this pediatrician in the pokey. In fact, they wanted rid of her.
In a message from Margaret:

Margaret Flowers is home because Central Booking in Baltimore would not send me to jail. Our presence caused quite a stir – not the usual arrestee – and they weren’t sure what to do with us. A long day but we are all well and ready to continue!”


As you may know, Dr. Margaret first felt the zip-ties around her wrists in Washington D.C. as part of the Baucus 8, a group of doctors and advocates who stood up in Sen. Max Baucus’ Senate finance hearing on health care, with a simple question: Why are there seats for the insurance industry but not a single seat for single payer?

One by one the activists stood up from their seats-in the audience, and asked the question. No answer was given. The gavel was rapped repeatedly for order.
Dr. Margaret Flowers stood up. She wanted to talk about single payer as a solution. She wanted to talk about why she can’t care for her patients because of corporate bureaucracy.
But she was promptly escorted out of the room, put into a paddy wagon and charged with disorderly conduct for disrupting a Congressional hearing.
Max didn’t want to talk.
Soon Sen. Baucus found he could not continue the hearing with the interruptions from the crowd and asked for “more police.”
Donna Smith wrote about what she saw that day, eloquently and from the heart as usual.

This day the doctors of the Baucus 8 acted as they always have and always do – they acted in the best interests of the patient. Even though they were facing legal consequences for protesting the lack of a single payer voice in Congress and even though they had their own concerns, they quite literally dropped everything and acted on our behalf.
For me, this evidence of professional integrity and commitment spoke even more loudly to their message about healthcare reform. For Senator Baucus, this is a political process which will feather his cap and pad his coffers ever so comfortably if he keeps the for-profit interests protected and enhanced through this health reform legislative process. His health and his standing in life are safe and secure in ways most of us can only imagine – yet he would deny that health security to all Americans.

This “political process” to which Sen. Baucus subscribes, allows 45,000 Americans to die each year.

Reality is simply more terrifying.
Happy Halloween.

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Politics made from scratch, not with…

September 30, 2009

But that won’t deter activists like these.
Kudos to those arrested today. And the Baucus 813 before them.
You are proof that we are stronger than a majority of those who represent us.
You took them to school.

Washington is not strong enough to compete with doctors like these.
Dr. Quentin Young, National Coordinator of Physicians for a National Health Program, Studs Terkel’s doctor and lifelong fighter for social justice had some wonderfully scratchy words to wear out Sen Max Baucus’ hide in his introduction to the Mad as Hell Doctors on Saturday at the UIC College of Pharmacy.
Doctor Young just celebrated his 86th birthday btw.

And Dr. Paul Hochfeld, an emergency physician and head Mad as Hell Doctor is on his way to Washington D.C. with a message for President Obama:
Please admit it, you are not strong enough to fight these interests.
At least not without us.

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Chicago’s Congress Crashing Weekend with the Mad as Hell Doctors

September 29, 2009

Chicago got them for a whole weekend!
First stop-SK Tools picket line and then a jam packed reception at Joey’s Brickhouse with the Progressive Democrats of America.

These Mad as Hell Docs are barreling down on D.C. with the momentum of thousands of supporters who have heard the doctor’s message loud and clear: Single payer now!
State by state, hundreds of people have gathered to share their stories with the doctors and joined the movement in spirit and sedans.

Here are some highlights from Joey’s…More to come on this Congress Crashing Eve!
Roll on Docs!

All the best!

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Tie a White Ribbon on your dog’s Weiner Amendment.

September 17, 2009

Just tie white ribbon somewhere!
Show your support for single payer.
Rep. Anthony Weiner gets it.
Tear down the idea of “cost control” and replace it with “sustainability”.
Improved and expanded Medicare for all.

Our friend Nick always said that when activists hold fast to their principles, they find that what was politically infeasible a week, or a month or a year ago suddenly becomes feasible.
Moments of great social change never start with compromise.
We’ve seen in the recent weeks what happens when you start backpedaling.

If it takes a group of Oregon Doctors in a Winnebago speaking, lobbying and tying white ribbons everywhere, then more (of our) power to them.

Dr. Margaret Flowers joined up with the doctors recently and added her voice to the growing choir.
Doctors are Mad As Hell at the insurance industry consistently preventing them from doing their job.
Their job is life and death.
They want to take care of us, and they do not like it when industry bureaucrats step in and tell them “No you can’t.”
It’s about care, not currency.

Dr. Flowers, we bow to your sincerity and will follow your lead to tie Congress down to real reform.

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Mad as Hell Doctors Keep it Simple.

September 14, 2009

What a revelation, by Senator George McGovern. Apparently, his simple wisdom has prompted a nationwide “slapping of the head”, by gum.

It’s simple. Medicare for all.”

That’s the message the Mad as Hell Doctors are bringing to Chicago on Sept. 26th, and to Congress on September 30, and to President Obama, if you keep calling and emailing.

Our home town hero Dr. Quentin Young will be joining the Mad Docs, along with single payer supporters from across the state, Saturday Sept 26th at the UIC College of Pharmacy, 833 S Wood St. Chicago to meet the doctors LIVE!
Go to to let ’em know you’ll be there too.

And we’re all gonna holler, “It’s simple. Medicare for all!”

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Mad as Hell Docs Announce Chicago Stop

September 9, 2009


Got their motorhome running and headed our way!

We’re sure that when the “Care-A-Van” gets here on Sept. 26th, they will be seriously honked off.

Just look at those wheels!



“We’re mad as hell because our health care system is run by people who profit from illness,” says Dr. Paul Hochfeld, lead Mad As Hell Doctor. “Other wealthy nations have test-driven single payer, and it works. But elected officials in America have closed the door to discussion. We’re here to open it.”


Get the local scoop at MadDocsChicago.Com and follow them across the nation at MadAsHellDoctors.Com

This event hosted by the Illinois Single Payer Coalition, invites us all to catch up with the docs on their historic road trip to Congress.
Join them at the UIC School of Pharmacy, Lecture Hall 134.
That’s on 833 S. Wood Street with starting at 11am.
Celebrate and support these ramblers on the road to health care for all!

The original Mad as Hell Doc Quentin Young, National Coordinator of PNHP will be on hand to welcome the crew to Chicago.


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