This post focuses on where we go now that the ACA has survived. GOP claims that the ACA will go into a ‘death spiral’ are unsubstantiated. ACA is not going to implode, but it is far from perfect, so where do progressives go from here?
Before launching in to the tremendous opportunity that the GOP has just handed us, a couple of important notices:
Retake Our Democracy on KSFR & a Fundraiser. Listen in on KSFR today from 11-12 when I will be interviewing Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver and pitching for funding for KSFR. I will be announcing a few matches to incentivize you to contribute, but if you really want an incentive, just no that if the Death Budget is passed, KSFR will lose 15% of its funding. Time to step up. Call in to 428-1393 and make a contribution between 11-12 today.
Refugee Fund. When we posted Friday morning about the need for funding for a pilot program that provides ESL classes for refugee parents and art classes for their children, the fund was sitting at $120 and had been there for 3 weeks. Eight hours after our post, the total was $875 only $125 short of the goal. Click here to put them over the top. If they have reached their goal by the time you go to donate, trust that Retake will keep you posted on more opportunities to support this valuable work. Thank you, not only for your generosity, but for the kind notes thanking us for bringing this to your attention.
Thurs., April 1, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm. Higher Education Building, 1950 Siringo Road, Santa Fe. New Mexicans for Money out of Politics is partnering with American Promise, a national group that organizes and advocates from across the country to provide a free, half-day training on advocating for a 28th constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court decision known as “Citizens United.” The training will provide information on how best to mobilize the political will necessary to ratify a constitutional amendment, establishing once and for all that corporations are not persons and that money is not a form of speech. Click here for more on the American Promise. For more information or to RSVP, email BreakingBigMoneysGrip@gmail.com. There are just a few slots remaining, so act now.
Bernalillo Ward Elections Today! We sent a note to Bernalillo supporters who signed up to be active, and we’ve announced these meetings a few times. They are today, so click here for locations, times, and how to find your Ward number. Go out there and retake the Bernalillo Ward system! The rest of this post makes a very strong case for the need for leadership from the bottom up, since our Democratic Party ‘leaders’ appear to be asleep. Read on for more.
Retake Our Democracy Outreach & Organizing Mtg., Apr 4, 5:30-7:30pm, 1420 Cerrillos Rd., Santa Fe. If we are going to build a progressive coalition with real clout, this is where the action is. At this meeting we will activate plans that have been in development for weeks: to form alliances, canvass Santa Fe block-by-block, conduct outreach and organizing in 16 NM cities, and expand our Open House Activism activities. Click here for details and to RSVP.
Overcoming the Politics of Division and Fear: An Interfaith Panel on Finding Common Moral Ground. Thurs. April 6, 7-9pm, Temple Beth Shalom, 205 East Barcelona Rd, Santa Fe. An extraordinary panel to discuss how we can find moral ground and unify to fight hate.This event is FREE, but you must have a ticket to enter. Learn more and get tickets online at Eventbrite: http://bit.ly/2lXSmXA.
Why This Win Is So Important & Where We MUST Go Now!
Let’s start with this: We Won. We haven’t been able to say that much of late. So take a moment a ponder — it looks as if the GOP has suffered a devastating defeat, has no immediate plans to take another pass at repealing the ACA, and so for all its flaws, it will survive, perhaps for the next two years. What does this really mean?
Before even starting with healthcare, the importance of this victory is that it may well be the harbinger of the collapse of the GOP. What we are seeing is the GOP leadership unraveling as the extreme right Freedom Caucus is no less uncompromising with Trump than they were with Obama, and this bodes poorly for a raft of other GOP promised legislation coming up soon. It may be that we get to witness one campaign promise after another dissolve from internecine warfare within the GOP. And this provides progressives an enormous opportunity, an opportunity that requires the Democratic Party to assume leadership in relation to healthcare, minimum wage, renewable energy, Wall St. regulation, and other key policy issues. And unless I missed something, a progressive vision is not what the Democratic Party has developed either at a State or National level. But it must. The Democratic Party can’t just be about opposition to Trump, it must project a vision around which people can rally. So let’s start with healthcare.
First, it is simply not the case that the ACA is about to implode or head into a death spiral. While both Ryan and Trump cite the Congressional Budget Office as pointing to the ACA’s immanent collapse, this is not what the CBO has reported. Click here for a report on what the CBO and other experts have said, essentially that:
- enrollment is down only 4% (hardly a collapse) and that there is a long line of California enrollees still being processed,
- the rate increases that occurred in 2016 had long ago been predicted, along with the prediction that after this one-time increase the ACA market will stabilize.
The really good news is that 24 million Americans will not lose coverage, and that with the death of the ACHA we will not have given the 1% a massive and permanent tax cut made possible by the dismantling of Medicaid. The importance of the failure to achieve these cuts to Medicaid are enormous, because much of the GOP’s tax reform plans (their next policy foray) are predicated on these cuts to Medicaid, as is Trump’s Death Budget. For a tremendous article on why Medicaid is so important to the health of the nation, click here. If you have been confused by all the health coverage jargon, this is a good entrée into the value of Medicaid.
While it is not about to collapse, the Democratic Party must acknowledge that the ACA is imperfect, and we need to organize at national and state levels around a Single Payer Plan. There are obvious flaws in the ACA, and too many centrist Democrats view advocacy for Single Payer as a criticism of the ACA and, worse, a criticism of Obama. But even Obama understood that the ACA was flawed; it was just the best he could do. The failure to make a Single Payer Plan the centerpiece of a progressive agenda is a missed opportunity, and as described below, there is someone lurking in the woods who just might take that banner if the Democrats fail to do so. Why is Single Payer so important? First of all, as reported in this excellent Counterpunch article, the Single Payer system would fix the still dysfunctional US healthcare system. Counterpunch describes how premiums and co-pays even under ACA are too costly; pharmaceutical costs are out of control; and there are still millions who are uncovered even today. Millions of Americans delay or avoid needed care simply due to costs. Click here to read the entire Counterpunch article.
But the Democrats must go further. They must develop a progressive agenda that will energize the party and sustain the enthusiasm witnessed across the nation in resisting Trump. It isn’t enough to be against the bad, there must be a vision for the good. A Democratic Party banner could include commitments to:
- $15 national minimum wage;
- A plan for 100% transition to renewable energy, restored and stricter regulation of all extractive industries, a ban on all new pipelines and fracking, and a significant investment in economic transition planning for communities that have relied on the fossil fuel industry for decades;
- Commitment to a strengthened and broadened Social Security system with guaranteed annual COLAs;
- A reformed and far more progressive tax system;
- Immigration reform and a path to citizenship;
- Serious criminal justice reform;
- 28th Amendment and reversal of Citizen’s United;
- Elimination of the Super Delegate system;
- Serious regulation of Wall St; and of course;
- Single Payer healthcare coverage.
Likely you could add 3-4 others, but it doesn’t need to include every possible policy, it needs to be a clear, progressive, humane message, something that says: this is what we stand for. It is one thing for folks in NM to organize at the grassroots level to revitalize the county and state Democratic Party, but in the absence of a clear Party vision, at some point that effort will collapse. Period. Right now there is a 3-way race for State Party Chair. I encourage you to write to all three of them and ask if they endorse the policies listed above. Roxanne and I are running for State Central Committee and will be voting for DPNM Chair, and there is no way we’ll support anyone who can’t step to the plate.
Paul & Roxanne