Skip to main content

Coalition demands health before profits

Resource type: News

The Orlando Sentinel |

Original Source by Jeannette Rivera-lyles, Sentinel Staff Writer A group of Central Florida community leaders and residents announced Tuesday that they will be part of a $40 million grass-roots campaign to push for affordable health care. Health Care for America Now, a national coalition of community organizations, labor unions and health-care providers, launched their campaign simultaneously Tuesday in 44 cities including Orlando. The coalition proposes the creation of public health insurance that would compete with private health-care providers. Those who choose to sign up would pay on a sliding fee scale. “In our vision of health-care reform, the government works for us — setting and enforcing rules so that insurance companies put our health before their profits,” said Orlando resident Carolyn Patmon, a member of ACORN — Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now — a nationwide community alliance. Other Central Florida organizations that are part of the coalition are the Florida AFL-CIO and Planned Parenthood of Greater Orlando. Kissimmee resident Martha Fernandez was among the local residents who would benefit from the health-care proposal. She said she frequently has to choose between shopping for groceries or paying the bill for recent bladder surgery. “I’m not asking for anything free,” Fernandez said. “Just that it is offered at a fair cost. Health care is not a luxury.” Fernandez, who works as a custodian for Walt Disney World, earns $7.50 hourly, but her hours were cut back to 16 a week because of the economic slowdown. Her situation is hardly unique. According to the National Coalition on Health Care, 47 million Americans are uninsured. Millions of others do not have enough coverage because they can’t afford it. Health Care for America Now plans to spend more than half of its budget on a media campaign to bring attention to the problem and pressure political candidates, including presidential candidates, to address it. “We have a pledge for them to sign,” said Stephanie Porta, with Florida ACORN. “Are you with us or are you not? We want it in writing.” The coalition received a $10 million grant from New York-based Atlantic Philanthropies, which supports social change in disadvantaged communities. The rest of the money came from member groups. Copyright © 2008, Orlando Sentinel

Related Resources



Global Impact:

United States


HCAN, health care, Health Care for America Now