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Domestic Weekly Update December 8, 2009

But, at the end of the day, as difficult as it may be, the fight for a national health care program will prevail. Like the civil rights movement, the struggle for women’s rights and other grassroots efforts, justice in this country is often delayed — but it will not be denied. We shall overcome!

— Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in a June 2009 Huffington Post Op-Ed

New and Urgent in This Week’s Update

  • Join the Joint RESULTS National Conference Call This Saturday at 2:00 pm ET
  • Use Traditional and “New” Media to Push for Strong Health Care Reform (December Action)

Latest from Washington, DC, and Beyond

  • Support Senator Sanders’ Single-Payer Health Care Amendment
  • Medicare and Medicaid Expansion Rumors in Senate Negotiations
  • Fundraising Update
  • Quick News

Organizational Reminders and Updates

  • Announcements
  • Upcoming Events
  • RESULTS Contact Information


Join RESULTS National Conference Call THIS Saturday at 2:00 pm ET (Different Time)

Plan to join us for the RESULTS’ National Conference Call this Saturday, December 12 at 2:00 pm ET. This will be a joint domestic and global call, which is why the call is later this month. It is always great to get all of our volunteers on one call to hear about the latest developments on both our global and domestic campaigns and to celebrate what we have accomplished. What a fitting way to end a great year.

TAKE ACTION: Coordinate and gather with your group this Saturday for the national conference call at 2:00 pm ET. The call-in number is (888) 409-6709 and ask for the RESULTS National Conference call. Plan to call in no later than 1:57 pm ET to give time to the operator to connect you with the call.


Use Traditional and “New” Media to Push for Strong Health Care Reform (December Action)

As the health reform debate continues in the Senate, we want to keep the pressure on senators to strengthen the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act. In addition to activating your community action networks during the debate per the November Action, our December Action urges you to generate media in support of passing a strong bill out of the Senate. This includes the traditional RESULTS work of generating op-eds and letters to the editor, as well as using new media like blog commenting and Facebook to generate support.

We are urging senators to support amendments that strengthen and expand the Medicaid program as in House’s Affordable Health Care for America Act (H.R.3962). For a side-by-side comparison of RESULTS’ priorities, the House bill and the Senate bill, see our Recent Developments in Health Care Legislation web page.

Voice your support for getting real health care reform passed as soon as possible. Emphasize the investments in providing coverage and access for society’s most vulnerable. In particular health reform should expand Medicaid to cover everyone in or near poverty (up to 133–150 percent of the federal poverty line — over one-third of those currently uninsured), and invest in America’s community health center network to provide millions of people access to vital primary health care.

It is unknown when the Senate will vote on health reform. Senate leadership wants a bill passed before Christmas and may keep the Senate in session up until Christmas to do so. Because this will be an historic vote, every action you take is important in building the political will for meaningful health reform.

TAKE ACTION: Take the December Action. Use traditional and new media calling on your members of Congress by name to support strong health reform and urge them to strengthen and expand both the Medicaid program and America’s investment in community health centers. The action sheet has talking points you can use for your letters.

In addition to sending letters to the editor and submitting op-eds, also use Facebook and other social networking sites to get the word out. Today, December 8, add RESULTS to your Facebook friends list and “donate your status” to RESULTS. By acting today, you are acting in concert with activists all over the country holding candlelight vigils in support of meaningful health care reform. See the action sheet for information on how to donate your status on Facebook. If you cannot donate your status today, choose another day (or days) this month.

Please note: We know that we have been gearing all of you up for a bevy of calls during the Senate debate that to date has not materialized. This is simply because the Senate is moving slower than anticipated. Although many amendments have been filed, it is not known how many will actually be voted on. We appreciate your patience and please know that there will be calls needed before the process is done. In addition to votes on possible amendments, calls will be needed for the cloture and final votes in the Senate and the final vote on the conference committee compromise.


Support Senator Sanders’ Single-Payer Health Care Amendment

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced an amendment to the Senate health care bill on December 2. Amendment 2837 replaces the current Senate health care bill with a single-payer, health care for all system as set forth in S.703. The system would be administered by the states. He is joined by cosponsors Senators Roland Burris (D-IL) and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH).

RESULTS supports a National Health Program (also known as “single payer”) as the long-term solution for our health crisis. The American Health Security Act of 2009 (S.703), introduced by Senator Sanders, provides health care to all Americans. It eliminates co-pays and deductibles while restoring choice of physicians.

Whether or not this amendment passes, a strong showing of support sets the stage for consideration of a national health plan in the future.

TAKE ACTION: Contact your senators and urge them to support Sen. Sanders’s single-payer amendment 2837, and urge them to also cosponsor S. 703. You can use our alert to send an e-mail to your senators.


Medicare and Medicaid Expansion Rumors in Senate Health Care Negotiations

On Monday, rumors began to fly that an expansion of Medicare may be on the table as senators negotiate to find 60 votes in support of health reform. These negotiations concern the public health insurance option. The Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act in its current form contains a public health insurance option. The public option is an alternative health insurance plan run by the government or a nonprofit agency designed to compete with private health insurance plans. The Senate version would allow states to “opt out” of the public option if they so chose. The House passed a public option (with no opt-out) in the Affordable Health Care for America Act on November 7.

There are currently four senators in the Democratic caucus — Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Joe Lieberman (D-CT), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and Ben Nelson (D-NE) — who are opposed to the public option and have stated publicly that they may not vote for cloture on the Senate bill if the current version is included. Because all Republicans are expected to vote no on the health reform bill, these four votes are needed to proceed to a final vote. Senate leadership has therefore been negotiating to find a compromise that will please both these moderates who opposed the public option and progressives who support it.

Yesterday, the negotiations to an interesting turn. As reported this morning, in exchange for scaling back or eliminating the public option, the Senate may allow persons to buy into Medicare at age 55 or 60, rather than 65 under current law. Furthermore, Medicaid could be expanded to persons earning up to 150 percent of the federal poverty line (some news outlets say Medicaid could be expanded up to 300 FPL, although most see this as highly unlikely). The House health care bill already expands Medicaid to 150 FPL.

These, of course, are just rumors at this point as negotiations continue, and could very well be unfounded, but if there is any truth to them, they could potentially be dramatic changes. RESULTS has endorsed a Medicare for All health system and supports policies that move us toward that goal. However, because this is mostly speculation right now with few details, RESULTS takes no position on these proposals at this time. As we learn more, we will keep you updated on the latest developments.


Fundraising Update

Fall Fundraising Campaign — $30,000 Challenge Grant Throwdown! A very generous new donor to RESULTS Educational Fund has thrown out a $30,000 challenge grant to inspire our groups and donors to jump on board the fundraising bandwagon! This is a dollar-for-dollar match. The two requirements are that donations have to be made to RESULTS Educational Fund in November or December and it needs to be new money. “New money” means amounts in excess of what you gave last year or donations from new donors. For example, if you gave $100 in 2008 and plan to give $200 in 2009, as long as your donation is made this month, $100 of your 2009 donation would be matched making your total 2009 gift a cool $300. For your friends, family, and colleagues — the same rules apply.

Even if you have already given this year (either as a monthly sponsor or a one-time gift), you can still participate in the challenge. Any amounts in excess of last year’s gift made between now and December 31 will be matched.

The timing could not be more perfect for our Friends and Family campaign. This is a great time to offer friends and family an amazing opportunity to make their money go farther and engage a whole new crop of donors into the exciting work of RESULTS and REF.

PLEASE REMEMBER: The deadline to give is December 31 so your Friends and Family letters must be mailed asap. Also, if you make a donation for the challenge or ask your friends and family, please write or ask them to write “Matching Challenge Donation” in the memo line of the check or in the comments box on our online donation form.

Resources To Help Your Fundraising Activities. Use our House Party Toolkit and Letter Writing Toolkit to plan your fundraising activities. Also, you can include Mini annual reports in your letters and at your events (see our full Annual Report for 2008 as well). We also have RESULTS/REF thank you cards available for follow-up to your activities. If you would like us to send you copies, please e-mail Cynthia Stancil at cstancil@results.org.


Quick News

Senator Casey’s amendment would strengthen children’s health care. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) has introduced amendment 2790 to the Senate health care bill. This amendment would strengthen the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The effort to pass this amendment is being led by Children’s Defense Fund, First Focus, and Voices for America’s Children. They stress that the amendment is aimed at keeping coverage for CHIP children affordable for families; ensuring comprehensive benefits for children in CHIP; reducing administrative barriers that make it difficult for families to enroll their children; and protecting the gains made with CHIP in reducing the uninsured rate among children. For more information on the amendment see Senator Casey’s press release.

FRAC releases two reports on school breakfast. This week the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) released its School Breakfast Scorecard for the 2008—2009 school year, and School Breakfast in America’s Big Cities. School breakfast participation is rising but still is less than 50 percent of school lunch participation. Because school breakfast and lunch are entitlements, they can and do respond quickly to economic downturns. One method that schools have used to increase breakfast participation is to move breakfast outside the cafeteria with “grab-and-go” boxes that can be taken into the classroom. For more background on child hunger in America, see our Child Nutrition page. You can also send a message to Congress using our Child Nutrition Reauthorization alert.

A new study shows that health reform will “bend the cost curve” more than expected. The report is coauthored by David Cutler, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, and Commonwealth Fund president Karen Davis and senior research associate Kristof Stremikis. It shows that the cost-containing impacts of the Senate and House health reform proposals could be even greater than previous analyses have shown. They reach this conclusion by taking into account the implications of important research not reflected in previous analyses by the Congressional Budget Office and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

House Passes Estate Tax Extension. On December 3, the House passed H.R.4154, a permanent extension of the 2009 estate tax law. The vote was 225-200. The bill exempts estates for individuals worth $3.5 million or less from any estate tax liability ($7 million for couples); assets above that amount are taxes at a 45 percent rate. Without any action, the estate tax will go into full repeal in 2010 for one year. RESULTS supports a progressive estate tax and has endorsed H.R.2023, the Sensible Estate tax Act of 2009. The House bill is seen as a compromise between those who want a more progressive estate tax (like RESULTS) and those who want it further cut or repealed. Now the bill goes to the Senate, which may try to cut the tax even further. It is unknown when the Senate will take up the estate tax due to the ongoing health care debate. If and when calls are needed, RESULTS will let you whom to call and what to say. For more information on the current politics of the estate tax, see our Recent Developments in Economic Opportunity Legislation page.

President Obama Outlines Plan for Creating Jobs. From the Wall Street Journal, “President Barack Obama proposed small business tax cuts, home retrofits and infrastructure investment as ways to accelerate job growth Tuesday, saying more programs are needed to boost the weak labor market and ensure the recovery takes hold for Main Street. In a speech at the Brookings Institution, Mr. Obama said he . . . also wants to extend fiscal stimulus programs that would provide unemployment insurance for out-of-work Americans and help laid-off workers keep their health insurance. . . . The White House also wants to provide $250 payments to seniors and veterans and act on measures that could help local governments keep teachers and police officers employed.  . . . Pointing to better-than-expected job market data last week, the president said the economy is on the right track. But more steps are needed to make sure that job growth matches up with economic growth, he said.”


Announcements

Updated RESULTS PowerPoint on Health Reform Now Available! Want to re-educate yourself on RESULTS health care work in 2009? Want to provide a great recourse for your community action networks on health reform? Use our updated Health Reform 2009 PowerPoint presentation for yourself and others as the health reform debate moves forward. You can download the presentation at: http://www.results.org/images/uploads/files/2009_health_care_for_all.ppt. Thanks to RESULTS Domestic intern Ann Beltran for updating the PowerPoint to reflect the latest developments.

Help RESULTS Add 500 New Facebook Friends. Facebook is an excellent tool for nonprofits like RESULTS to organize, mobilize, and educate volunteers, partners and the general public. The RESULTS Facebook page keeps everyone connected and updated on the latest RESULTS news and events. The more friends we have, the more we can spread our message and grow our movement to end global poverty. We currently have almost 300 friends but we know we can add 500 more with your help. Suggest to your friends to add RESULTS to their friends list. Simply paste http://www.facebook.com/RESULTS.org?ref=ts#/RESULTS.org?ref=ts&suggestfriends into your browser and a window will appear that will allow you to connect your friend to RESULTS. Selected friends will get a suggestion from you to add RESULTS as a friend; it’s that easy! For questions about Facebook, please contact Eric Harris (eharris@results.org).

Check out the RESULTS blog! Did you know that RESULTS has blog on our new website? Check it out here. If you find something you like, please be sure to post a comment.

Online Activist Resources. See the newest edition of the RESULTS Advocate online. Also, check out our new and improved Activist Milestones, Outreach Action Sheets to engage others in your community in action around health reform, and updated Faith in Action Newsletter Action Inserts.


Upcoming Events

(Click to see a complete calendar)

December 12: RESULTS Combined Global and Domestic Monthly Conference Call, 2:00 pm ET.

December 15: 2010 Domestic Campaigns Conference Call, 7:30 pm ET. Plan to join us for a discussion of possible 2010 Domestic legislative campaigns. We want your input on what issues we should work on next year. Just call (218) 486-1611 and enter passcode 2883622# to participate. Also, if you already have ideas that just can’nt wait about possible 2010 domestic campaigns, please e-mail Meredith Dodson (dodson@results.org) with your ideas.

December 24–January 3: RESULTS offices closed.

January 9: RESULTS Domestic National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET.

June 20–22, 2010: RESULTS/RESULTS Educational Fund International Conference, Washington Marriott Hotel, Washington, DC.


RESULTS Contact Information

Main Office: (p) (202) 783-7100, (f) (202) 783-2818, 750 First Street NE, Suite 1040, Washington DC 20002.

Domestic Legislative and Grassroots Support Staff: Meredith Dodson, x116 (dodson@results.org); Alan Gold, x106 (gold@results.org); Jos Linn, (515) 288-3622 (jlinn@results.org).

Grassroots Fundraising Support: Stacy Carkonen, (206) 715-4986 (scarkonen@results.org).

The RESULTS Domestic Update is sent out every Tuesday over e-mail to RESULTS volunteers and allies all over the country. You can read this update online at RESULTS U.S. Poverty Action and News page. The purpose of these updates is to inform and activate RESULTS activists to take action on our domestic campaigns.

If you would like to unsubscribe from these updates, follow the link below or contact Alan Gold at gold@results.org or (202) 783-7100.