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Health care: Citizens Call Congress Home “Listen to Our Solutions to the Health Care Crisis”

(PRWEB) April 21, 2005

Outraged American citizens from across the country are planning Citizen/Congressional Hearings in sixty cities nationwide. They are calling for their Representatives in Congress to attend these hearings and listen to their constituents address the failures of the profit-based health care system as well as spell out new and creative solutions.

Â?Our representatives need to hear what we have to say and to consider our solutions rather than those being promoted by insurance company lobbyists and drug companies.” They are scheduled for: New York City, May 14th, Riverside Church; Aliquippa, PA, May 21st; Wells, VT, May 30th, Village School; Rochester, June 1st, St. Mary’s Church; Birmingham, AL, June 13th, University of Alabama ; Boston, June 28th, Fanuel Hall

Says Mae Jackson, poet and community activist from Brooklyn, “BushÂ?s proposed health savings accounts will put a larger burden on our families and increase our suffering. The so-called Â?ownershipÂ? society will continue to move more of our tax dollars into the ownership of private corporate accounts while leaving us with less healthcare and very little money for the priorities of our own families.”

WhatÂ?s new about these congressional hearings?

Marilyn Clement, National Coordinator of the Â?Campaign for a National Health Program NOW,Â? points out that, Â?For the first time in history, citizens themselves are calling for congressional hearings and not the members of congress. Â?Another striking difference is the economic, ethnic and religious diversity of those calling for these Citizen/Congressional Hearings. We all have a stake in compelling congress to end the private interest gravy train thatÂ?s costing the rest of us so much.Â?

Who is involved?

Rural and minority women, doctors and nurses, Catholic sisters, Native American tribes, Asian immigrant women, labor unions, musicians, human rights advocates, American Medical Women, former nurses, people in tiny towns and people organizing huge venues like Fanuel Hall in Boston — all are involved. Not so surprisingly, a number of business people have gotten into the act. They will be testifying to Congress because they canÂ?t sustain the rising payments to the health care industrial complex seen as a barrier to their attempts to cover themselves and their employees.

Events are Beginning:

The first event took place in St. Louis on April 1st. (See report on our website:

In Mississippi a group of community organizers, health care activists and Black farmers are planning their Congressional Hearing with Representative Bennie Thompson.

The Lincoln, Nebraska effort is being orchestrated by a musician.

In Dallas plans are afoot to have a Congressional Hearing at a local television station in conjunction with the community.

New York City volunteers plan to orchestrate a congressional tour of a critical VeteranÂ?s Hospital now threatened with closing.

Organizers from smaller rural communities such as Wells, Vermont and Aliquippa, Pennsylvania want to know if their Representatives will grant them an audience.

Tyler, Texas is another surprise organizing effort in a very conservative district.

The Nashville, TN coalition is led by a homeless advocacy group, an international labor union, and groups representing the 323,000 Tennesseans recently removed from TennCare coverage.

Three separate events are being planned in New Jersey by Health Care for All.

The Detroit hearing is being organized by labor leaders and community organizations.

The Cleveland hearing will be led by a PNHP medical professor and the head of Health Ministries for the United Church of Christ.

Hearings are planned in four Colorado cities: Pueblo, Alamosa, Denver and Fort Collins.

Kentucky organizers are first holding a dozen county hearings all over the state in preparation for their state hearing.

Chicago, Salt Lake City and Las Vegas will hold hearings later in the year or early in 2006.

What is causing this uprising?

“We’ve had enough,” says Jackson. “We cannot continue to sustain these attacks, profit-taking from our pockets, cutbacks of services, personal bankruptcies, unnecessary pain and deathÂ?”

These ad hoc Citizen/Congressional Hearings were first proposed in a December mass-emailing from Â?The Campaign for a National Health Program NOW!Â? The response from across the country was enthusiastic and has quickly led to the flurry of activity outlined above.

“We expect a lot more of these hearings between now and the 2006 Congressional elections,” said Marilyn Clement in a recent interview. “The citizens will be watching to see if our Representatives respond to us or whether they will continue business as usual.”

For more information:

The Campaign for the National Health Program Now

339 LAFAYETTE, NYC 10012


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