One System for All: Fighting for Universal Access to Health Care
Continued from previous page
Cutting the budget so we move toward a US model is only one answer to “ﬁlling in the hole.” The direction we should be taking is to improve prevention and start to truly tackle the social determinants of health [the conditions in which people are born, live, and work, which are determined by social factors such as income levels and power]. This implies, of course, substantive shifts in many policy sectors: housing, labor market, education.
Translated by David Dudar.
Inspired? Here are a few suggestions for getting involved!
- Demand that government-funded research of pharmaceuticals be available to all medical researchers and not simply given to private corporations for proﬁt-making. Fight for the availability of affordable medicines around the world. Medecins Sans Frontieres has a campaign for the access to essential medicines ( www.msfaccess.org).
- Organize to change state health care legislation. Visit the Universal Health Care Action Network’s State Connections map to ﬁnd out what groups organize around health care justice in your state ( www.uhcan.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&layout=blog&id=7...).
- Join the Healthcare-NOW campaign to pass HR 676. It would establish an American national universal health insurance program by creating a publicly ﬁnanced, privately delivered health care system that uses the already existing Medicare program ( www.healthcare-now.org/campaigns/win-win).
- Get involved with the movement for a single-payer national health insurance system. Health professionals can link up with Physicians for a National Health Program by becoming a member, and everyone can check out their suggestions for action ( www.pnhp.org/action/activism).
And check out the following resources and organizations:
- Women of Color United, End Violence Against Women and HIV & AIDS, www.womenofcolorunited.org
- SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective, www.sistersong.net
- Hesperian Foundation, www.hesperian.org
- Health Care Without Harm, www.noharm.org
- “People’s Charter for Health,” People’s Health Movement, www.phmovement.org/en/resources/charters/peopleshealth
- “Access to Medical Technology,” Knowledge Information Technology, www.keionline.org/a2m
- “Resources and Videos,” Healthcare-NOW, www.healthcare-now.org/takeaction/books-and-videos
- Meredith Fort et al., eds., Sickness and Wealth (South End Press, 2004)
- Jim Yong Kim et al., eds., Dying for Growth: Global Inequality and the Health of the Poor (Common Courage Press, 2000)
- Paul Farmer, Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights, and the New War on the Poor (University of California Press, 2005)
- “Sicko,” directed by Michael Moore, Dog Eat Dog Films, 2007
- “Sick Around the World,” directed by Jon Palfreman, PBS FRONTLINE, 2008, available online at: www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/sickaroundtheworld
- “Critical Condition,” directed by Roger Weisberg, PBS/POV, 2008, available online at: www.pbs.org/pov/criticalcondition/
- “Health, Money and Fear,” directed by Dr. Paul Hochfeld, available online at: www.ourailinghealthcare.com
This piece is the eighth in a series called Birthing Justice: Women Creating Economic and Social Alternatives. The series features twelve alternative social and economic models which expand the possibilities for justice, equity, and strong community. They are based in the US, Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Some are national-level, some global-level. Some are propelled by people’s movements, some forced or adopted into government policy. In first-hand narratives, women describe their role in having created the models and show us their unique perspectives and challenges in the movements.
Beverly Bell has worked with Haitian social movements for over 30 years. She is also author of the book Walking on Fire: Haitian Women's Stories of Survival and Resistance. She coordinates Other Worlds, which promotes social and economic alternatives. She is also associate fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies.