Securing Affordable Health Care for All Americans
Resource type: Grantee Story
Today, nearly 50 million Americans have no health care coverage, those with insurance frequently do not get the care they need, and the ill are often shut out of the system. Health Care for America Now (HCAN) is campaigning to pass legislation in 2009 that would create a more inclusive and equitable system. HCAN is a coalition of more than 1,000 groups and has organised hundreds of rallies, run television ads and generated thousands of calls to members of Congress.
Creating a health care system that provides everyone with quality, affordable health care coverage has been a goal of progressive Americans for nearly a century. “Several presidents and U.S. Congresses have failed in their attempts to accomplish this goal,” says Gara LaMarche, President and CEO of Atlantic. “We looked at why health reform did not succeed in the past, and we decided that reform would not succeed this time without the support of a powerful army of citizens. That is why we have made perhaps the single largest advocacy grant in the history of philanthropy to HCAN. In the past, U.S. presidents have found that opponents of reform such as health insurers were far more organised and powerful than the forces that would benefit most from reform, particularly low-income workers, African Americans and Hispanics.”
To help level the playing field, Atlantic has awarded HCAN $25 million since June 2008 to build a large national coalition active in all 50 states. “We campaigned in 2008 to ensure that affordable, quality health care coverage for all was a central issue in the presidential and Congressional elections,” says Richard Kirsch, National Campaign Manager for HCAN. “By January 2009, we were ready to work with the new president and Congress to keep their promise to guarantee good affordable coverage to all, and we will keep up the campaign until President Obama signs a bill by year’s end.”