Six representatives of the Healthcare Is a Human Right Collaborative attended the Single Payer Strategy Conference at the end of October in Chicago. Together they ran a participatory Healthcare Is a Human Right workshop, presented on two panels, and connected with allies from around the country who are organizing in their own states for universal, publicly financed healthcare.
The conference was organized by Collaborative allies Healthcare-NOW!, Labor Campaign for Single Payer, and One Payer States, and centered around five strategy questions that asked how we build a social movement, how we organize around specific aspects of the Affordable Care Act, how we move state and national campaigns to victory, and how we concretely confront inequities in our work.
The Collaborative’s Healthcare Is a Human Right workshop modeled the HCHR campaign’s participatory, human-rights-based approach to organizing. The six facilitators—three members from Put People First! Pennsylvania (PPF-PA), two from the Vermont Workers’ Center (VWC), and one person from NESRI—spoke to how the ingredients of the HCHR campaign model intentionally and strategically address the challenges raised in the conference’s strategy questions. Participants broke into small groups to actively engage in exploring one of the HCHR campaign ingredients. The groups focused on base building, leadership development and political education, and the human rights framework, and were a space for participants to ask questions, share ideas, and engage with others in the room.
Keith Brunner from the Vermont Workers’ Center also spoke to the full conference on lessons from Vermont, and Jonathan Kissam from VWC and Ben Palmquist from NESRI spoke on a panel about the importance of making sure healthcare for injured and ill workers, which currently operates under states’ workers’ comp systems, is part of our policy vision for universal healthcare. Ben also presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association, speaking on the importance of situating healthcare policy within a broad economic and social rights framework that puts human needs at the center of all policies, and that includes democratic modes of governance that respect and elevate the knowledge and leadership of people who are impacted by injustices.