News & Politics

Fighting Rich Lobbyists to Save Health Care Reform Is AlterNet's Top Take-Action Campaign of the Week

Powerful medical lobbyists stand in the way of health care progress in the name of profits. We must put an end to it.

Our health care system is a structural rip-off that burdens American families and creates an unfair treatment gap based on people's financial means. While many politicians have campaigned on the promise of health care reform, once elected they shirk their responsibilities, succumbing to pressure from powerful medical groups, insurance companies, and individuals such as anti-reform frontman Rick Scott. These powerful medical lobbyists use their influence to stand in the way of progress in the name of profits. We must put an end to it, and now is the best time to act. 

According to research cited by Democratic pollster Celinda Lake (PDF), 70 percent of Americans -- including almost 2 out of 3 Republicans -- want major health care reforms, with the choice of a public insurance plan open to everyone added to the current mix of Medicare, Medicaid and private insurers.

With significant grassroots pressure on members of Congress and the Obama administration to challenge the status quo, we might just be able to avert a looming public policy disaster.

As Franklin Delano Roosevelt once famously said to a group of activists from the progressive movement of that era who were arguing for him to act on an issue as vital to them as health care is for America's future, "I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it." It's time to make sure Obama and his administration do what they know is right. That's why Health Care for America Now is AlterNet's top take action campaign of the week. A coalition of progressive groups, Health Care for America Now, which includes groups such as ACORN, the AFL-CIO, Campaign for America's Future and MoveOn.org, is fighting for the inclusion of a public-insurance option in any new health care legislation.

We must make sure that Obama follows through on his campaign promises of health care reform. Click here to learn more about how you can get involved.

Here are the rest of the campaigns we are highlighting this week:

II- Hold Shell Oil Accountable for Its Environmental and Human Rights Crimes

Shell Oil will stand trial on May 26 on charges it was complicit in the murders of Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Nigerian activists. ShellGuilty.com is a collective of environmental and human rights groups who have formed a global campaign to hold Shell accountable and demand that it stop gas flaring in Nigeria.

Call for Shell to come clean about its corporate irresponsibility, human rights abuses, and record of environmental devastation. Take action by clicking here.

To learn more about how you can help, go to http://www.shellguilty.com/.

III - Help Save Troy Davis's Life

Troy Davis faces execution for the murder of Police Officer Mark MacPhail in Georgia, despite a strong claim of innocence. 7 out of 9 witnesses have recanted or contradicted their testimony, no murder weapon was found and no physical evidence links Davis to the crime. The Georgia Board of Pardon and Paroles has voted to deny clemency, yet Governor Perdue can still exercise leadership to ensure that his death sentence is commuted. Please urge him to demonstrate respect for fairness and justice by supporting clemency for Troy Davis: http://takeaction.amnestyusa.org/siteapps/advocacy/index.aspx?c=jhKPIXPCIoE&b=2590179&template=x.ascx&action=12168

IV - Time to Ride: It's National Bike to Work Week

May is National Bike Month and The League of American Bicyclists is reminding everyone that May 11 to May 15 is Bike-to-Work Week. Check out the League's step by step guide on how to get started organizing a Bike-to-Work event in your area. Also, check their events section often to see what bike month and Bike-to-Work week events are going on in your community. Lastly, or course, ride your bike!

V - We Must Lift the Federal Syringe Funding Ban 

Join forces with Harm Reduction Coalition and urge members of congress to remove the federal ban on needle exchange funding. The Community AIDS and Hepatitis Prevention Act (H. R. 179) would eliminate all laws which prevent federal funding from being used by state and local jurisdictions for syringe exchange. Exchange programs are proven health measures for curbing the spread of HIV, viral hepatitis, and also increases access to medical services and drug treatment for those who desperately need it. Help reverse the cruel and antiquated rule, which has been in place since 1989, and urge your congressperson to support H. R. 179.

VI - Tell Congress to Investigate Human Rights Violations in Gaza

Jewish Voices for Peace is calling on you to urge your congressperson to demand an investigation into whether Israel complied with provisions of the U.S. Arms Export Control Act in its recent Gaza offensive. Numerous human rights organizations have documented direct attacks on civilians in Gaza, and attacks that were disproportionate or indiscriminate, and some apparently deliberate.

Make sure the U.S. Government knows that your tax dollars comes with strings attached: do not allow your money to contribute to more of the violent same. Click here to learn more.

VII - Demand Accountability for Bush-Era Torture

MoveOn.org, Democrats.com, FiredDogLake, and other progressive groups are gathering signatures to demand Attorney General Eric Holder hold those leaders who broke our laws accountable. Over 250,000 signatures have been delivered to the Attorney General’s office, but that is just the beginning. Let Holder know that you think "it’s time to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate and prosecute the architects of the Bush-era torture program." It’s time to tell Washington that no one is above the law. To learn how to help, click here: http://pol.moveon.org/notorture/index.html?rc=homepage

VIII - 94 Billion Reasons to Rethink Afghanistan

Before we commit more troops and taxpayer dollars to Afghanistan, don’t you think we should have a national conversation to address the many questions surrounding this war? Urge the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee to hold oversight hearings in order to rethink our policy toward Afghanistan and uphold the nation’s system of checks and balances. Make your voice heard, before it’s too late: http://rethinkafghanistan.com/

IX. Protect American Workers, Help Get the Employee Free Choice Act Passed

The Employee Free Choice Act is the most important labor legislation in almost 40 years, but it is facing huge, well financed, opposition from greedy corporations. Help cut through the corporate propaganda and show that this bill is about helping WORKERS who are the backbone of our economy. Take action now: http://action.americanrightsatwork.org/campaign/efcacampaign/

X - Stand Up Against Wall Street and Demand Economic Change

12 million unemployed. Foreclosures up 81%. Wall Street has taken over. Enough is enough. A New Way Forward is a grassroots movement pushing back, demanding that we break up the banks and never again let them get so big that they distort our politics and take down the economy.

If it’s too big to fail, it’s too big to exist. Dismantle the power of the financial elite and make policies that keep a new crop from springing up. To learn how you can take action go to: http://www.anewwayforward.org/the_idea/

Have a campaign you think AlterNet should know about? Email us with information attakeaction@alternet.org.