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!


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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For Nick

August 12, 2009

Cat and I were devastated by news of the untimely passing of one of the true leaders in the single payer movement, and someone we were honored enough to call friend.

Nick Skala, former principal researcher for PNHP, law student, contributor to both IL H.B. 311, and H.R. 676, close friend and confidant of Dr. Quentin Young, died suddenly on Sunday.

He was a good egg.

We worked with him, we got to know him, we learned from him,
we watched him grow, we got to call him our friend, we’re sure as hell going to miss him every single day, and we’re sure as hell never going to stop our work until, echoing the words of Dr. Ida Hellander, we bring about Nick’s vision of health care parity and justice.

We went through our archives and put this together for him.

This audio is of Nick during the HCAI Committee hearing on the Illinois single payer bill.

Unfortunately you have to listen to four minutes of IL Rep. Rosemary Mulligan rant, but I felt it important to show just what misinformation Nick was up against. Hard as she tries, she just can’t grasp what Nick is saying.

The last time we saw him was in D.C., where despite his stated ‘distaste’ with having spent time in the sausage factory, he seemed comfortably at home. I understand he was a whirlwind of energy and ideas during his time with the House Judiciary Committee.

You can see the last piece of tape we took of him here.
Other videos of Nick in action here and here.
Nick’s slide show on single payer in Illinois, Part 1 and Part 2.
(The first pieces we did with him, and still used for single payer presentations.)

Donna Smith posted this on Common Dreams today- we can’t say it any better.

Saying Goodbye to Another Single-Payer Warrior, a Shooting Star
Donna Smith

On Sunday, August 9, 2009, Nicholas Skala died in his sleep in Chicago. Nick was only 27 years old, but as a third year law student at Northwestern University and as a researcher for Physicians for a National Health Program, Nick’s influence reached far beyond what most of us will ever achieve. His death was not only shocking and unexpected, it was an absolute reminder of the finite nature of our time on this earth and of our responsibility to one another to leave this a better place than we found it.

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