News & Politics

Progressives Have the Troops and a Massive War Chest for Health Care Reform

Progressives will spend $82 million mobilizing against big business interests that stand in the way of better, more affordable health care.

I'm sitting in a press conference next to my AlterNet colleague Joshua Holland. We're watching progressive heavyweights Bob Borosage, Howard Dean and labor leader Anna Burger discuss the prospects for health care reform in Congress this summer. The topic is the major pile of dough -- $82 million -- and number of grassroots and advocacy groups -- 1,000 -- and their members -- 30 million -- that are pushing hard for the Health Care for America Now (HCAN) campaign.

Howard Dean lays out the landscape: "This is a center-left nation," Dean is saying. He ties the rise of America's "multi-cultural" society, and the precedents set by patterns of younger voters who "see themselves as multicultural" -- who not only have elected a multicultural president, but whose ideology offers hope for health care reform. RIchard Kirsh, who is the national campaign manager for HCAN, makes some major declarations: "We've waited 100 years for health care reform, and we're going to see it in the next few months."

Pollster Celinda Lake announces the results of a survey she conducted for Change to Win, a major labor coalition pushing hard for health reform. Looking through the results, the one that caught my eye is this number: 62% of people in the survey think that health care, education and energy reform must be enacted as soon as possible. Which is really in tune with the thinking of this HCAN campaign.... do it NOW!

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A reporter from the Boston Globe asks Howard Dean if it's more important to have a bipartisan plan or a public health care plan, and Dean smashed that softball out of the park -- we'll pass it with 51 votes if we need to, Dean says. Kirsh came up to the mic and reminded us that when Social Security was up for a vote in DC, not one GOPer in the House voted for it, and only one Republican senator gave a yes vote.