May 13, 2019

HCAO-Action National Strategy Committee

Conference Call Notes

Present:  Debby Schwartz (committee chair), Betsy Zucker (notetaker today), Lisa Morrison, Beth Kerwin, Mike Huntington (Corvallis – DeFazio) , Jodie Zeisel, Chris Lowe.  (All are Portland area constituents of Earl Blumenauer, other than Mike)

Report back on the May 11 Medicare for All Speakout w/Jayapal in Portland

Extended discussion of the event – all who attended were very pleased with the presentations, and the active presence of two Oregon Representatives (Blumenauer and Bonamici) and two County Commissioners (Meieran and Jayapal).  Good questions from the audience, good answers from the panelists. Discussion of turnout, possible reasons. HCAO has posted livestream on their Facebook page. Media interview with speakers after the event went well alsl. After the event, Dem Party meeting w/ Blumenauer (including Debbie and Lisa) was positive. There was also a great interview by Ani Haines on KBOO Friday morning 5/10 (the day before the event) with our own Lisa Morrison and Lynda Chick. Anyone have a link to the interview?Other discussion re: HR 1384.  Should messaging include “Expanded and Improved” ? We need to reassure all, including current Medicare users, that this will be an improvement for everyone.

Organizing/crowd-canvasses in Schrader’s district; possible kickoff with Mayor Gamba in Milwaukie. – Debby

Schrader is the only Oregon Democratic Representative NOT to sign on. There have been a number of actions – canvasses, bird-dogging at Town Halls, meetings with his staffers – trying to push him to support national M4All.  Debby is suggesting another event in Schrader’s district. She has asked Mark Gamba, progressive mayor of Milwaukie (and candidate to challenge Schrader in the primary) about participating in an event, and he is willing, schedule permitting. Group supportive, discussed options for crowd canvass during the week, vs. door-knocking on a weekend, pros and cons. No decision on specifics for next event – may depend on date.  Discussed importance of not endorsing candidates for office, or appearing to do so.  OK for an organization to contrast the policies of candidates, as long as both are given equal billing (Chris has experience with this at PSR – Physicians for Social Responsibility, a C3)


    • Debby try to establish date with Gamba.    
    • Once event set,  invite other organizations: IPA, Clackamas County HCAO & DSA groups, Clackamas Indivisible groups, as well as Portland activists.


  • Chris will draft a possible handout, contrasting the health care platforms/policies of Schrader and Gamba, and in no ways implying endorsement.


Report: Update on Single Payer in Congress

  • Link to text and summaries of HR 1384, fthe Medicare for All Act of  2019, from Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s website.  
  • House of Representatives’ Medicare for All Hearing in the Rules Committee (4/30/2019) .  Healthcare-NOW’s report also includes links to watch the entire hearing,  or clips of testimony by activist Ady Barkan and ER physician Dr. Farzon Nahvi.  First Medicare for All hearing in Congress, ever.
  • Congressional Budget Office (CBO)’s issued its May 2019 report on “Key Design Components and Considerations for Establishing a Single-Payer Health Care System” Betsy: this report lays out the big decisions which will need to be made in single payer legislation and its implementation. Readable, relatively short.  Does not address specifics of financing, and seems to take a rather skeptical approach – but is still a major step forward in taking single payer legislation seriously in Congress.
  • Next hearings: HR 1384  Will go to a hearing in House Ways and Means Committee; not yet scheduled.  HR 1384 will have a 5/22 Hearing in House Budget Committee 10 AM, reviewing the CBO report.  Among the Dems on the Budget Committee are Jayapal, Khanna, and Lloyd Doggett (who introduced HR 6505  the Medicare Negotiation and Competitive Licensing Act of 2018). No Oregon Dems.
  • FYI, Debby reports that Ro Khanna will become the sponsor of the State-Based Universal Health Care Act (was HR 6097 in 2018)

October Single Payer Conference:  10/18/2019-10/20/2019 – Debby

Very exciting! The annual National Single Payer Strategy Conference will be here in Portland in October, sponsored by Healthcare-NOW and Labor Campaign for Single Payer. Debby is coordinating with the national groups.  Breakout sessions for all levels. Organizers are asking for local planning of an action on Friday 10/18 downtown – possibly crowd canvassing to target Wyden? Rally? Street theatre? Media Event? We’ll need to include all of our allies and coalitions to pull this off.  Great brainstorming, no action taken.

VA privatization – Betsy

The VA Mission Act of 2018 passed last year, and is scheduled to be implemented early June.  It will continue and increase the trend toward outsourcing healthcare, and starving the VA for resources.  Surprising to much of the public, the VA scores highly on independent evaluations of health care systems, both in quality of care & waiting times, and most Veterans and their organizations want to strengthen the VA.  At the same time, there are ongoing attacks on federal workers and their unions, and the VA drags its feet on filling the 49,000 national staff vacancies. Long story short, the process is starving the existing public resource, and making it a worse place to work, while outsourcing care for Veterans to the private sector. The VA is the largest publicly funded, integrated health care system in the country.  Stay posted – AFGE (federal workers’ union) and Veterans For Peace are probably planning public event in Portland for June 5.  Here is a report on a Town Hall which Alexandria Ocasio Cortez participated in, joining nurses and Veterans at the Bronx VA to push back on privatization.