September 29, 2010
State Single Payer Strategy Session Update:
On Saturday, September 25th, dedicated single payer activists gathered from around the state to strategize for the upcoming legislative session and to set a map to victory for the Maryland Health Security Act in Maryland. The morning started with brief updates on the state of single payer at the state and national levels. This was followed by an excellent and informative presentation by Susan Delean-Botkin of the Nurse Practitioner Association of Maryland. Susan and her colleague, Lorraine Diana, successfully passed a piece of legislation this year using a well designed and executed strategy over the past four years. We then heard about grassroots and coalition building from Dr. Eric Naumburg of MD PNHP and Kevin Zeese of ProsperityAgenda.US. The Session was organized by volunteers from Healthcare-Now of Maryland and Maryland chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program.
Participants then gathered in groups to discuss strategies for a legislative approach, for increasing the grassroots membership in Maryland and for building the Maryland Coalition for Health Security into a more functional entity. This report details some of the efforts that were discussed.
Economic Impact Study: Much of the work for single payer in Maryland depends on commissioning an economic impact study for the Maryland Health Security Act. Healthcare-Now of Maryland and Maryland PNHP have an agreement with the Lewin Group to perform this study. We need to raise $40,000 and we currently have $26,000. We are looking for ways to raise the remaining $14,000 before the end of the year. Ideas for fundraising include:
- House parties – Drs. Carol Paris and Margaret Flowers have resources that can be used to hold a house party. Volunteers who are interested can reach Margaret at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Phonebanking – volunteers can do this from their home or through their organization. Contact Dr. Eric Naumburg at email@example.com
- Honoraria for speaking – organizations and community or faith groups that would like to host a speaker on single payer can do so for a low fee. Contact Margaret Flowers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Contacting coalition member organizations to request donations.
- Selling single payer items such as grocery bags, bumper stickers, buttons, etc at events. Carol Paris has volunteered to order grocery bags.
Grassroots Organizing and Coalition Building: The Maryland Coalition for Health Security was created in July, 2008 and currently includes 21 organizations in Maryland. Healthcare-Now of Maryland recently improved the website and purchased database tools from Healthcare-Now. Actions to grow our single payer base include:
- Putting information about our speaker’s bureau on the Maryland Healthcare-Now website.
- Reaching out to organizations that support health reform such as those who supported the public option during the recent Federal health reform process.
- Targeting key legislative districts with tabling, leafleting, etc. For those who are interested, these materials can be downloaded from the Maryland Healthcare-Now website at www.mdsinglepayer.org or contact Eric Naumburg at email@example.com.
Working with Legislators: In this current economic climate, it is important to emphasize the cost savings of single payer health care and how this would have a positive impact on the state budget. Volunteers are encouraged to:
- Make ourselves known to legislators by attending their events between now and the November election and make sure they know you are there because you support single payer.
- Research which people and organizations are important to target legislators.
- Arrange an Annapolis Night-Out during the legislative session to bring the single payer word to our state legislators.
- Identify candidates who could improve their chances of being elected by supporting single payer and working with them to educate them about single payer.
- Encourage our strong supporters in the legislature to participate in events with their colleagues to educate other legislators about single payer. Hold district meetings.
- Develop talking points about single payer and the federal legislation using data specific to Maryland.
- Organize a press conference and lobby days.
If you are interested in getting involved with these activities or have ideas to add, please contact us through firstname.lastname@example.org or look on the website (www.mdsinglepayer.org) for a meeting near you or let us know if you want to join our regular conference calls.