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$82 Million and United for Health Care

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The big number the press will concentrate on today, from the press conference today launching America’s Future Now and progressive health care campaigns, is $82 million:

Progressive groups are poised to spend more than $82 million to support President Obama’s goal of achieving quality, affordable health care for all this year, according to leaders gathered today at the “America’s Future Now” conference in Washington.

Truth be told, it is a big number. But if you think for one second that the insurance industry or the drug industry couldn’t double or triple that in a push against health care reform if they want to, you’ve got another thing coming. $82 million is chump change to big PhRMA.

The real story today is the fact that progressives are united behind President Obama’s health care plan:

Participants in the effort include the Health Care for America Now campaign; the two main labor federations, the AFL-CIO and Change To Win; as well as MoveOn.org, Democracy for America and mobilization groups representing people of color, women and young people. The various organizations serve different functions, with the bulk of the spending financing advertising and grassroots organizing on- and off-line across the country.

The collective effort involves the more than 1,000 organizations that are part of Health Care for America Now, representing over 30 million members committed to winning a guarantee of quality, affordable health care for all this year. It is the largest national progressive issue campaign in history, one that was lacking when President Clinton’s health care proposals were defeated by the health care industry and conservative groups more than a decade ago.

This is where our strength comes from, and this is why we will win. We can mobilize America, and we have voters on our side.

It is this level of organization and coordination with will move health care reform through Congress and on to the President’s desk. It is our ability to talk to broad swaths of America, to mobilize volunteers to go door-to-door, and to get voters to contact their Members of Congress that will manifest the public pressure we’ll need to pass historic legislation.

And of course, this contrasts pretty strongly with what’s happening on the conservative side of the spectrum. There is a war for the GOP going on between moderates and hard-line conservatives. They’re attention is diverted and unity is hard to find. As has been noted elsewhere, Republicans have been fairly silent on health reform, and a lot of their natural constituencies (big business, the insurance industry) are ostensibly on the side of reform.

There is a reason we have unity over health care – it’s because it is perhaps the most important issue that touches everyone in America every day. Reforming health care will do more for the average person in America than anything that has been passed by progressives in the last 40 years. America knows this, and progressive groups know this. As Dr. Howard Dean said at the press conference today, “This is a center-left country.”

And so, we’re united in working to bring this change to America, change that America wants and needs.

About the Author: Jason Rosenbaum is a writer and musician currently residing in Washington D.C. He is interested in the intersection of politics and culture, media consolidation issues, and making sense out of our foreign policy disasters. He currently works for Health Care for America Now and he is also the webmaster for The Seminal.

This article originally appeared in Health Care for America Now. Reprinted with permission by the author.


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