Marc Stier's blog

It's time to bring Health Care Reform Home. Join us on March 9

We are getting very close to the end of this year’s battle on health care reform. President Obama and the Congressional leadership have agreed on a path to enacting much of what we wanted by the end of this month. The first, critical vote may come as early as March 19.

But we need your help to bring it home. Can you join us next Tuesday, March 9, on a bus to DC for a final push for health care reform and against the insurance companies?

RSVP here for a bus leaving from Philadelphia at 7:00 am from Love Park. Other buses are leaving from Doylestown, Fairless Hills, Plymouth Meeting, and ten other cities in the state.

Join Melanie's March to the Finish Line

As I hope you know a group of Pennsylvanians are, right now, marching to Washington, DC for health care reform in the name of Melanie Shouse. You can find out more about our march at our website

And now if you take a free bus from Philadelphia on the morning of the 24th you can take a bus to join for the last mile of the march. (Thanks to SEIU for a large contribution for the buses.)

RSVP for the Philadelphia bus here

We'll arrive in Washington on the 24th, the day before President Obama's health care summit. We expect to be joined by hundreds of people on the last leg of the march from Union Station to the Capitol. We'll march to the Dirksen Office building for an event at which we'll be joined by Senators Casey and Specter, some of our PA House members, and members of Congress from other states possibly including some from the Congressional leadership.

Lou Agre Campaign Kickoff Saturday 1;00

Lou Agre's kickoff of his campaign for state representative in the 194th district is Saturday January 23rd at 1:00 pm at hiks campaign office at 6210 Ridge Avenue in Roxborough.

Free parking at Golden's.

Come out to support a true progressive for state representative.

Phone Bank for Martha Coakley!!!

The Massachusetts Senate election tomorrow is critical to the future of this country and especially to the future of health care reform. It’s likely to be a low turnout election, so everything we do here in Pennsylvania to help get Coakley supporters to the polls will make a big difference.

There are two local places where you can join phone banks to call likely Coakley supporters and urge them to vote tomorrow.

UFCW Local 1776, 3031 Walton Road, Plymouth Meeting, PA. 19462.
Now until 8:00 pm today and 10:00 am to 7:00 pm tomorrow.

Organizing for America PA Headquarters, 123 South Broad Street, Suite 820, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Shifts at 4:00 pm today; 10:00 am, 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm, tomorrow.

Why progressives should enthusiastically support HR 3926

Some progressives, motivated in part by Dennis Kucinich’s vote against HR 3926 are expressing disappointment with and even opposition to the health care reform legislation going through Congress.

While HR 3926 is not perfect—and the anti-abortion language added to it is terrible and will, we believe, be removed later in the process—it is a bill progressives should and must support.

In a long post I’ve explained in detail why I think single payer advocates like Kucinich have gone off the railse in opposing the bill. Here, in this short version, I want to summarize the case for progressives giving enthusiastic support to the legislation.

Two Preliminary Observations

Let me start with two preliminary observations.

Even if Kucinich is right, he’s wrong

First, even if everything Congressman Kucinich says about HR 3692 is true, it is a moral abomination to vote against this bill and kill health care reform this years.

We are talking about real lives of real people who desperately need health care and who suffer and die and go broke because they have no or inadequate health insurance. How can anyone in good conscience vote against legislation that would help thousands of people who desperately need help?

It would be one thing if Congressmen Kucinich and Mass had an alternative that could be enacted sometime soon. But, as I’ve pointed out in other writing, single payer has no chance of being enacted in the United States (or in Pennsylvania) now or in the foreseeable future. Handing President Obama a defeat on this legislation, with the result that large numbers of Democrats in Congress are defeated next year, would just delay the time when single payer is on the table, perhaps by a decade or more.

To ask people who need help today to wait is cruel. To have health insurance—as Congressmen Kucinich and Massa, and as almost every supporter of single payer I’ve ever met does—and ask other people to wait until some ideal is attained is worse than cruel. It is a moral abomination.

Health Care Reform: What you do in the next few days could make the difference.

All the work we have been doing to create a guarantee of quality affordable health care for all is coming to a point: The House vote on HR 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act is scheduled to take place this Saturday, November 7 at around 6:00 pm.

The vote will be close. We don't know whether we it will pass or not.

It really depends on you. Three members of Congress in Pennsylvania--Jason Altmire, Chris Carney, and Paul Kanjorski--undecided. If we can get more of their constituents to call them, they would be more likely to decide in favor of reform.

Can you take part in phone banking with us from the convenience of your own home?

We will be using a new computerized system called Activate to do phone banking that will connect you with constituents quickly without worrying answering machines or unanswered calls. Then you can immediately patch the people you talk to through to the office of the member of Congress.

You are my heroes

I spoke tonight at the beginning of the health care week being put on by the Penn Democrats. With the news that Harry Reid had decided to put a public option in the bill he intends to bring to the floor, it was a good night to be speaking. I gave a different kind of speech than usual, putting our campaign for health care reform in the context of the revival of progressive politics. I’ll write that up soon.

But on this very good day for our campaign, I did want to post the following reconstruction of my closing remarks on the HCAN PA Blog

I said at the beginning of my talk that the election of Barack Obama was the start of the rebirth of progressive politics in America. And I said that to keep this revival going, we have to keep working hard to enact progressive public policies beginning but not ending with health care reform.

If you keep the faith, we are going to win

The last committee hurdle has been jumped. The Senate Finance Committee has reported a bill. It’s not great. It’s not we want. But it moves us a step closer to the real reform we must get in 2009.

I want to give you some idea of how we are going to get the reforms we want this year.

What we know and don’t know

Now if anyone tells you he knows what will happen in Congress this year on health care, he or she is not to be trusted. As Yogi Berra once put it, predictions are hard, especially about the future. And they are especially hard in politics, where so many factors—ideology, interest, ambition, and skill—play a role in determining what happens, especially on issues as difficult and complicated as health care.

But I do have a sense of how things will play out this year and I want to give you one scenario, not because I’m really sure about it, but because I do think you have to be prepared for the next two months.

Join in support of Dawn Smith as she confronts CIGNA tomorrow, Thursday 10 / 15 Noon

Businesses often do things that harm innocent people or the public.
But the health insurance industry is the only business in America that ties to increase its profits by deliberately targeting people who are sick or likely to be sick.

Dawn Smith has a rare but treatable brain tumor and health insurance with CIGNA. But CIGNA has been denying her the health care she needs. And recently, CIGNA raised the co-pay for her pain medication from $10 to $1000.

Dawn has traveled from Atlanta to Philadelphia in a mobile home to demand a meeting with CIGNA’s CEO, Ed Hanway. A rally with Dawn will take place tomorrow, Thursday, October 15 at noon at CIGNA’s headquarters at 2 Liberty Place (16th St and Chestnut St).

Can you take a few minutes to join us in support of Dawn! RSVP here.

The actions we are doing here are making the case, throughout the country, for real health care reform this year, with a public health insurance option that provides an alternative to private health insurance

PS A new TV ad, released in Philadelphia today, tells Dawn's story. See it here:

14 hours in lock-up

Reposted from

It wasn't much fun. Indeed for most of the time it was excruciatingly boring. But it was an interesting experience and I learned something from my almost fifteen hours in the lockup at police district 9. Of course, I could have learned most of this in a shorter period of time. If they ever give opportunities to be jailed for, say, three hours top, you should grab it.

Help us show that health care is fundamentally a moral issue--today 11:30 at Cigna

Today, Tuesday, October 6, at 11:30 am at 1601 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia to we are going back to CIGNA's world head quarters in Philadelphia to protest business practices that deny people insurance coverage and health care and their political efforts to block health care reform.

A few of us are going to risk arrest by blocking the doors to CIGNA's lobby. We need as many of you as possible to join us and show support for this action. Please RSVP here.

We are not eager to engage in civil disobedience. We have been organizing for months, built a huge campaign and have had a clear impact on our Senators and Representatives.

But what we have seen in the last few months from the opponents of health care reform, who are partly financed by health insurance companies, is a campaign of deceit, lies and distortions.

Why the Comcast-NBC merger should be blocked.

Cross-posted at Marc Stier at Large.

The Comcast-NBC merger is such a terrible idea from the perspective of consumers that I think we have to fight it.

But I'm so certain that Comcast in the long run will make an utter hash of the deal that I almost want to see it go through.

The very thing that makes the deal sensible for Comcast—and bad for us—in the short run is exactly what will make it a disaster for Comcast in the long run.

Comcast has made it's money by using its political and economic power to generate monopoly profits. It fears losing that monopoly and wants to use its cash reserves to create a new monopoly. It shouldn't be allowed to do so.

But if it does, the company is utterly unsuited to running businesses that operate in a competitive world and that mangage creative talent. It is likely to fail at doing so.

Declare CIGNA a Crime Scene! Training Sunday at 1:30!

In rallies, media events, press conferences, blogs and op-ed pieces, we are making it clear to the American people that if the insurance companies win, we all lose.

That effort is bearing fruit. Despite the disappointing action of the Senate Finance Committee, pressure for the public health insurance option is building. Polls show strong support for the public option. A majority of the Senate is now clearly in favor. And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who is working to figure out how to move a public option through the complicated Senate procedures has said that the final health bill will have a public option. See

But to make that happen we need to keep the pressure on.

You can help make the PA Senate a little bluer!!!

You know how frustrated you are with the Republican determination to cut god things out the state budget. This weekend you can do something about it. Volunteer to help Anne Scheuring win Tuesday’s special Senate election in the 24th district by contacting her campaign at or

I’ve said it before and will undoubtedly say it again: nothing is more important to the future of politics in Pennsylvania than re-taking the State Senate. If you gave me a choice between winning the Governor’s office next year and taking the Senate back, I’d choose the latter just. A Senate controlled by a state Republican party that has turned sharply to the right has been the biggest barrier to the progressive initiatives Governor Rendell has put forward on health care, education, energy and the environment.

If the insurance industry wins, we lose

So, you want to do something to support health care reform in 2009?

Here is your opportunity.

All over the country, on Tuesday, September 22, Health Care For American Now, MoveOn, and other groups are holding Big Insurance: Sick of It rallies.

One of three national flagship events is in Philadelphia at 4:45 PM
Dilworth Plaza, at the northwest corner of City Hall
. Our target is Cigna insurance, whose world headquarters is in Philadelphia

Wendell Potter, the former Cigna executive who has been speaking out about the awful practice of insurances companies will speak. So will Arlene Holt Baker, the Executive Vice President of the AFL-CIO.

The eyes of the country will be on us, so we need a HUGE TURNOUT for this event.

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