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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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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Taking it to the States

August 7, 2009

One of the highlights of the recent Washington Medicare Rally was an afternoon briefing on single payer in the states, hosted by Donna Smith of California Nurses.

Present were Chuck Pennacchio of Health Care for All Pennsylvania, Nick Skala of Health Care for All Illinois, California state Sen. Mark Leno, and a surprise appearance by Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who detailed his own amendment to H.B 3200, which would remove a legislative barrier to state single payer.

We’re proud to present their remarks.