Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Healthcare not Warfare

I have decided to start posting a few more of the missives I get from across the pond. This is the latest from PDA (Progressive Democrats of America). We may moan about our health service, but:

For several years now, the news media have identified healthcare and the war in Iraq as key issues in American politics. But very little of the reporting or the punditry goes beneath the buzz-word surfaces to the human realities that span from local hospitals to a faraway war. “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift,” Martin Luther King Jr. said 40 years ago, “is approaching spiritual death.” Today, nearly one in six Americans has no health insurance, and tens of millions of others are woefully under-insured--while the war in Iraq continues to further skew the U.S. government’s budget priorities.By launching the national “Healthcare Not Warfare” campaign , Progressive Democrats of America is moving ahead with a grassroots opportunity to turn from warfare to healthcare for all. While growing ever since it came into existence four years ago, PDA has been working with--and, more often, pushing--Democrats in Congress to end the occupation of Iraq. And, integral to its progressive program, PDA has been mobilizing support behind H.R. 676, the bill to create a universal single payer system to guarantee healthcare for all.

While the news media and all too many politicians simply treat “war” and “healthcare” as isolated issues, PDA is organizing for a fundamental shift in policies and priorities. Four decades after Dr. King decried “the madness of militarism,” we see how that madness continues to have wide-ranging and devastating effects, whether in our own communities or in Iraq. Recognizing and spotlighting the profound differences between “the leadership” and forthright leadership for peace and social justice, PDA has become a dogged presence on Capitol Hill and--most importantly--in congressional districts around the country. The impacts of PDA activism continue to grow with the organization.Of course we’re up against massive concentrations of economic power. Total U.S. military spending is now in the vicinity of $2 billion per day. And, likewise, the medical business in the United States is a rapacious corporate force.Rose Ann DeMoro, the executive director of the California Nurses Association / National Nurses Organizing Committee, recently pointed out: “As premiums have ballooned by 87 percent in the past decade, insurance-industry profits have climbed from $20.8 billion in 2002 to $57.5 billion in 2006. During that same period, health-care interests spent $2.2 billion on federal lobbying, more than did any other sector...”In the midst of a political system with economic powerhouses largely dictating public policy, our only hope involves persistent organizing for humanistic priorities. PDA’s launch of the “Healthcare Not Warfare” campaign goes to the heart of our current predicament and our goals for the future--a society and a world that nurture human life and social justice.Click here to learn more about the “Healthcare Not Warfare” campaign, and don’t forget to sign the petition!

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