A Sit-In Almost Turned Into A Shit-In At Cory Gardner's Office

Kalyn Heffernan of Wheelchair Sports Camp is heading into the second day of a sit-in with the disability rights group ADAPT, at Republican Senator Cory Gardner's office.
Kalyn Heffernan

For Kyle Harris for Westword – A sit-in almost turned into a shit-in when disability rights activists with ADAPT started needing to use the restroom — which had been shut down — after they had spent the night in Republican Senator Cory Gardner’s Denver office, trying to force him to vote against a Republican healthcare proposal that the Congressional Budget Office says would leave 22 million uninsured by 2026. “We brought in a makeshift shitter,” says activist and musician Kalyn Heffernan, the MC with Wheelchair Sports Camp, which won Best Hip-Hop Group at the 2017 Westword Music Awards on Tuesday, June 27, the same night she was occupying the senator’s office. When the DIY toilet arrived, “I think that’s when they they decided to let us [into the restroom],” she says. “Once that came in, shit got real. We had so much coffee, someone was bound to shit.” It’s not like the activists were holding back their bodily functions. After they had been denied the restroom on Tuesday, several activists urinated in the senator’s office in cups, bottles, a trash can, diapers and through catheters.

Newsletter - Positive Actions You Can Take This Summer


By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance. This week, we look at some of the current struggles in the United States and ways that you can get involved this summer. From protecting health care, net neutrality and the environment to building positive alternatives that transform our current dysfunctional systems, there is something for everyone to do. Read on to learn what’s happening and how to take action. This is the time to rise up and protect our families, communities and planet.

Wheelchair Users Dragged Away From McConnell’s Office For Protesting Health Care Bill

Stephanie Woodward, of Rochester, NY, who has spina bifida and uses a wheelchair, is removed from a sit-in at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office as she and other disability rights advocates protest proposed funding caps to Medicaid, Thursday, June 22, 2017, on Capitol Hill in Washington. CREDIT: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

By E.A. Crunden for Think Progress – Activists in wheelchairs protesting the Senate’s newly-released health care bill were arrested and dragged from outside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office on Thursday. The incident occurred after about 60 members of ADAPT, a U.S. disability rights organization with fierce objections to the American Health Care Act (AHCA), staged a “die-in” outside of the Kentucky senator’s office. The AHCA would cap and cut Medicaid, something that would have severe repercussions for Americans with disabilities. Many people living with disabilities rely on Medicaid for their basic care and survival. A press release circulated by ADAPT stated that the intent of the protest was to “dramatize the deaths” the AHCA would cause in this community if implemented. “To say people will die under this law is not an exaggeration,” Mike Oxford, an ADAPT organizer from Kansas, said prior to the protest. “Home and community based services are what allow us to do our jobs, live our lives and raise our families. Without these services many disabled and elderly Americans will die. We won’t let that happen.” Initially, the demonstration was a relatively peaceful show of dissent, as a large number of protesters gathered outside of McConnell’s office to voice their anger, with some yelling

Medicare For Everyone With A Pre-Existing Condition

Replace ACA with Medicare for All. Photo from FOX13 Salt Lake City

By Staff of Single Payer Action – Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) has no time for single payer. But Senator Lindsey Graham says yes to single payer for sick people. That’s what came out of a meeting with Senator Manchin with single payer activists earlier this month in Charleston, West Virginia. Also present during the meeting, via Skype, was University of Massachusetts Economics Professor Gerald Friedman. According to notes taken during the meeting by a participant, Manchin dismissed single payer in the the Senate, saying “my interest is in finding a workable pathway.” “Republicans are not going to back off of a private sector market,” Manchin said. “Mitch McConnell is determined to vote to repeal. But he wants to get rid of taxes to pay for what we want to do. To do that they’ve got to cut services. They’re not trying to look for efficiencies or work with preventative care.” “A few of us — Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham, and others — are looking for a better way. Lindsey Graham says — let’s put everyone with a pre-existing condition on Medicare.” “That’s a big leap forward,” Manchin said. “But I told him — we have to change the tax structure. We can’t accumulate more debt.” “There is not another Republican who supports what Lindsey has said,” Manchin said. “But people are listening. It gives us an opening we didn’t have before. I told Chuck Schumer to act like he doesn’t like it and wait and see what happens.”

The Washington Post Is Selling Snake Oil

Max Borge / Flickr

By Adam Gaffney for Jacobin Magazine – Our friends at the Washington Post are waging a brave campaign against Medicare for All. Over the weekend, the Washington Post editorial board took a bold stance: they argued that universal health care with single-payer financing is simply beyond reach. That the Post felt the need to issue the editorial at this particular moment is a testament to single payer’s rising fortunes. From coast to coast, activists are on the march: against the widely loathed, upward-wealth-redistributing, health-care-stripping abomination known as Trumpcare, for sure — but also for real universal health care. Yet the Post’s frail arguments should be confronted, because they repeat a number of common talking points that rest on flawed assumptions and that could do real harm. The Post editorial board begins by briefly conceding that single payer does have “some strong advantages.” It notes that single payer would be less of a hassle for many people (a good point), that it would get employers out of the messy role of providing health-care benefits (reasonable), and finally that it would facilitate cost-effectiveness research by government investigators (fine I suppose, although this is unlikely to galvanize the average person).

In Red Pairs: Handmaids Are Resisting


By Abby Zimet for Common Dreams – Women occupying senators’ offices Friday aren’t alone in resisting the all-male “declaration of war on women” that would be repeal of Obamacare and enactment of a GOP health plan widely blasted as “catastrophic.” Getting creative, women from Texas to Ohio have increasingly been protesting assaults on women’s health care by dramatically donning red robes and white bonnets to channel Margaret Atwood’s dystopian-themed “The Handmaid’s Tale,” wherein women are forced to bear children in a totalitarian society. Their goal: To remind persistently-backwards-looking conservatives that Atwood’s vision of women defined purely by their reproductive capacity is not, in fact, “an instruction manual.” Atwood’s 1985 novel depicts women stripped of their rights in a theocratic, patriarchal, not-so-distant Gilead – aka America – rendered barren by environmental disaster, where fertile women, or handmaids, must bear the children of regime leaders and are controlled by them. Initially seen as a cautionary tale, the book has seen new life as a hit TV show on Hulu; it gained new resonance when Trump got “elected” in the middle of filming. Atwood has long argued its premise is based on old, real human themes: Historically, she notes, “There is no totalitarianism worth its salt that doesn’t try to control women.”

Survey: Physician Attitudes Shift To Single Payer

Single payer protest in NYC by Occupy

By Staff of CMS – The AHCA, which would roll back the Medicaid expansion in 31 states, including Illinois, earned positive views from just 23.4 percent of physicians who said they were “generally favorable” about the legislation. Rather, physicians voice support for single payer and and also support the Affordable Care Act (ACA)with some fixes. In the Chicago Medical Society survey, the ACA received a “generally favorable” view from 62.7% of Chicago area physicians and even more, or 66.8% have a “generally favorable” view of a single-payer financing health care system. Given a choice between single payer, an improved ACA and the AHCA, Chicago physicians favored a single payer approach by 2 to 1 over the ACA and by 3 to 1 over the AHCA. Chicago area physicians’ more positive views of single-payer financing comes as attitudes shift on the issue. Just last week, the California Senate approved a “Medicare for all-type/single payer bill.”

Single Payer Not Top Priority Even For Democrats

Single payer protest in NYC by Occupy

By Staff of SIngle Payer Action – “Congressional Democrats and the national Democratic Party don’t actually want to pass Medicare for All because that would be the end of the steady flow of campaign money the party receives from the for-profit health care industries,” Kirkwood says. “This money powers the careers of Party insiders and the political campaigns of their candidates. But, Democratic elected officials need to publicly appear to support HR 676 because it is extremely popular among Democratic voters. Democrats privately tell reformers that they support Medicare for All and, if anyone asks, they say – yes they have co-sponsored HR 676. But, when push comes to shove, they will not vote to pass HR 676 in the Congress. And they have little fear that push ever will come to shove because party leadership will not allow such a vote – as they did not in 2009.” In an open letter to single payer activists, Kirkwood calls for a campaign to recruit and run single payer doctors for Congress. “We should try to recruit physicians or retired physicians to run in both parties and in multiple Congressional districts,” Kirkwood writes. “Asking physicians to stand for election produces several benefits.”

Bronx Home Health Care Cooperative Is Fixing The Field One Aide At A Time


By Claire Molloy for DNA Info – BRONX — Zenobia Hernandez swung the wheelchair in front of her students, demonstrating how to maneuver a patient in it when there is no ramp present. “The first thing I’m going to do is take the brakes off,” Hernandez said, in Spanish, as she flipped a lever below the wheelchair. “I pull the chair towards me and place my leg here,” she pushed her right leg next to the base of the chair. “Then I’m going to use my hip to support the weight.” Eleven women, dressed in scrubs, watched carefully as Hernandez demonstrated proper technique at the Cooperative Home Care Association — which trains them to become home health aides — near Fordham University in The Bronx. The program, which allows students to learning how to help patients out of bed, check blood pressure and look for signs of worsening conditions, is as close to reality as possible, with fake bathrooms in the building, complete with a shower and a tub for training aides how to assist in bathing. In the next 10 years, home care work is projected to add more jobs than any other occupation in the United States due to the country’s aging population. Job quality is one of the reasons people are not entering the field.

Voters Are Fired Up For Single Payer Creating Dilemma For Democrats

Voters are Fired Up for Single Payer Creating Dilemma for Democrats

By Margaret Flowers for Health Over Profit – On Sunday, June 4, the same day that Our Revolution, a Democratic Party group that arose from the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, organized rallies and die-ins to highlight the number of people dying in the United States due to lack of access to health care, the New York Times published an article, “The Single Payer Party? Democrats Shift Left on Health Care“, prominently on the front page and above the fold. The article quotes RoseAnn DeMoro, head of National Nurses United, saying, “There is a cultural shift. Health care is now seen as something everyone deserves. It’s like a national light went off.” Minnesota Congressman Rick Nolan was also quoted, saying that rank and file Democrats “are energized in a way I have not witnessed in a long, long time.” Nolan is correct in stating that following the Democrat’s large loss in 2016, the party needs “a more boldly ‘aspirational’ health care platform.” Democratic Party voters have been strong supporters of single payer health care for a long time. Polls have consistently shown that super-majorities of Democratic Party voters want single payer, but Democratic Party candidates keep telling them that they can’t have it.

Hunger Games And Hospitals: The Crisis Of Medical Crowdfunding


By Brittany Shannahan for Health Care is a Human Right Maryland. As of the time of writing, a GoFundMe campaign to raise $300,000 for the medical expenses of Micah Fletcher has nearly reached its goal. Fletcher, 21, is the only survivor of the three men who intervened on a racist attack against two girls on a train in Portland, Oregon. The girls were Destinee Mangum, who is Black, and her friend, a Muslim wearing a hijab. A YouCaring page has also been set up to raise money to help them in their recovery: The girls, 16 and 17-years-old, are suffering immense trauma in the aftermath of this tragedy. Although they survived, their lives will never be the same as they were being the targets of hate… Most importantly, funds will go toward mental health services to ensure their mental and emotional welfare.

We Need A Senate Version Of Improved Medicare For All


By Margaret Flowers. It’s time to fight for a solution to the ongoing healthcare crisis in the United States. We are spending twice as much per person each year on health care than most other industrialized nations, enough to provide comprehensive high quality health care to everyone. HR 676: The Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act has 112 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives, a record number since it was first introduced in 2003. HR 676 is a gold standard framework for a national health insurance. A Senate version of the bill is needed in order to put us in a strong position to achieve a high quality healthcare system. Although Senator Sanders campaigned heavily on Medicare for All, he back-tracked last fall after the election and said that he would not introduce a single payer bill. Activists urged him to change his mind and Senator Sanders did agree to introduce a Medicare for All bill, but it falls short of HR 676 in critical areas

“I’m Scared I’m Not Going To Make It To My 31st Birthday

(Image: Health care via Shutterstock)

By Brittany Shannahan of the Health Caer is a Human Right campaign in Maryland – Pain medication [opioids]. I hate it so much. But my grandmother hates her insulin for her diabetes, but she still does because it keeps her alive. I’m on a teeny tiny dose to just keep me going. My rheumatologist informed me yesterday that this was the last script he was going to do, so now I have to go to a pain clinic. It’s difficult for me to get to a pain clinic. Hogan declared a state of emergency for the opioid epidemic and I think that’s what made the doctor not able to give me my prescription. I think it’s interesting that they’re putting all this money into fighting the epidemic instead of funding research to alternative pain medications. Since talking to you, I’ve had three fractures. Yesterday, when I got that phone call, I broke down. The first thought that was through my head was, “this is how I die”. It’s such a huge topic for me because if I didn’t have to take pain medication, I would be so much happier, because I hate it. I don’t like the sluggishness and I don’t like the addictiveness of it.

First Ever Global Health Study Finds Massive Inequity


By Dean R. Owen and Rachel Fortunati in HealthData.org. SEATTLE – A first-ever global study finds massive inequity of access to and quality of health care among and within countries, and concludes people are dying from causes with well-known treatments. “What we have found about health care access and quality is disturbing,” said Dr. Christopher Murray, senior author of the study and Director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. “Having a strong economy does not guarantee good health care. Having great medical technology doesn’t either. We know this because people are not getting the care that should be expected for diseases with established treatments.” For example, on a scale of 0 to 100 for health care access and quality, Norway and Australia each scored 90 overall, among the highest in the world.

Healthcare Is A Feminist Issue: An Interview With China Martens

(Image: Health care costs via Shutterstock)

By Brittany Shannahan for The Maryland Healthcare Is A Human Right Campaign – In the 5th century BC, the Greek playwright Aristophanes wrote a bawdy comedy in which the women of Greece withhold sex from their husbands in order to secure the end of the Peloponnesian war. If the collective action led by Lysistrata had been real as opposed to fictitious, it would probably be known today as the oldest labor strike in the history of the world. Lysistrata remains one of the most beloved of all surviving comedies from Ancient Greece, and for myself and many other women who have enjoyed it through the years, its central argument, that the provision of sex and intimacy is a type of labor that can be collectively withheld in order to improve the material circumstances of women and their families, invites us to unpack and analyze the many types of invisible and uncompensated labor that women in the 21st century are expected to perform. Today, March 8, 2017, we may see one of the largest women’s strikes in history. In addition to paid work, the Women Strike website invites women to strike from “emotional labor, childcare, diapers, housework, cooking, sweeping, laundry, dishes, errands, groceries, fake smiles, flirting, makeup”.