Single Payer Update August 2018

PDA Meeting Report

August 13, 2018

Update on Single Payer Healthcare Events since Last Meeting

Perhaps of special interest:

  1. SP campaign is being squeezed by many 2018 activities-elections, federal activities related to healthcare, proliferation of advocacy groups, etc.
  2. Western Mass far more organized around SP than central or eastern Mass. Organizing efforts underway there.
  3. League of Women Voters is moving to emphasis on SP from support of ACA.
  4. Since most western Mass legislative candidates say they support SP, more detailed questioning during candidate forums would be useful.
  5. Updated SP finance-related report from Dr. Jerry Friedman expected but delayed.
  6. National Nurses Union is launching a multi-million dollar national advocacy effort around SP financing.



  • Meeting with representatives of many groups to discover possible collaborations.
  • New executive leadership.
  • Local contact: Alice Swift

Single Payer Strategic Forum

  • Composed of reps from several labor unions, various activist groups.  FCCPR extremely active.
  • Goals: build state-wide network of activist orgs, coordinate qualification of a binding statewide SP ballot question in 2019-2020 session.
  • Working to get labor unions actively involved, developing financial profiles for how SP would benefit workers/companies.
  • Fund-raising for literature handouts, organizing a SP speaker’s bureau. Website allows donations.
  • Prof. Jerry Friedman from UMass/Amherst has updated his stats on costs and report to be publicly released soon.
  • Developing small task force to revise MA S619 before re-submission for next legislative session in 2019.
  • Local contact: Deborah Levenson 

Western Mass Medicare for All

  • Has staged two half-day training sessions for those wishing to engage the public in conversation about SP.  More planned.  Being coordinated/presented by Beth Eisenberg
  • Actively collected signatures for statewide single payer, non-binding, ballot question. Successful in 6 legislative districts: Scibek, Kocot, Vega, Kulik & Goldstein-Rose.

“Shall the Representative from this District be instructed to vote for legislation to create a single-payer system of universal health care that would provide all Massachusetts residents with comprehensive health care coverage including the freedom to choose doctors and other health care professionals, facilities, and services, and that would eliminate the role of insurance companies in health care by creating a publicly administered insurance trust fund?

  • Has posted on their website a SP survey of 17 legislative candidates.  Searchable by district.
  • Tabling in various locations and special events. 
  • Now planning summer public education campaign.
  • Now a 501(c) 3 so donations are tax deductible.
  • Local hubs organized. Hilltown Hub being organized by Larry 413 296 0106 , Beth Isenberg and George Coling 413 238 0352. For Plainfield, Cummington, Worthington, Middlefield, Goshen, Chesterfield, Huntington, Williamsburg and possibly Ashfield.
  • National League of Women Voters starting a national caucus on SP financing.  Changing emphasis from ACA to Medicare for All. 
  • Usually meets 6:30-8 pm, Community Room at 20 Hampton Ave in Northampton. Check website for dates.
  • Local contact:  Deborah Levinson

Our Revolution Mass

  • No update.

Indivisible Northampton-Medicare for All Committee

  • Discussing development of public educational materials.
  • Usually meets at Pathways Cohousing at the end of Mountain Laurel Path in Florence.  Check website for dates.
  • Local contact: Nancy Talanian

Indivisible Williamsburg

  • Very active in SP.  Has shown Fixit and has 2 MDs to Q & A with audience.

Progressive Mass (Three Rivers Affinity Group chapter)

  • No update.

RaiseUp Massachusetts

  • Very large coalition of labor unions, faith-based groups and other progressive activist groups.
  • Has just distributed a statewide online questionnaire to gather suggestions about how to implement SP.
  • Over-arching concern is economic justice, under which many advocacy activities are included.

Democratic Socialists of America

  • Has a Holyoke hub.
  • Now has a primary focus on SP in western Mass.
  • Check website for details.


Health Care-NOW

  • Organizing a Pioneer Valley chapter.
  • Sponsored the 2018 Single Payer Strategy Conference, June 22-24 in Minneapolis.  Has posted online all handouts and 3 video presentations made. Major topics included incrementalism, “deep canvassing” to build SP support, and messaging (Becky Bond, speaker).
  • Possible local contact:  Kelly Johnson.


  • HR 676 and S1894 single payer legislation.  No changes.  No additional co-sponsors.
  • Teleconference 5/8/18.  Discussion about differences between SP financing and Medicare buy-in option. One a guaranteed right, the other an income-related purchasing option.
  • Three educational films described.   Fix-It Healthcare, Big Pharma, and Big Money Agenda.  All made by same group.
  • Teleconferences the second Wednesday of each month.  Check PDA calendar for contact info.

Physicians for a National Health Program

  • Single issue organization.
  • Website has a major SP FAQ section.
  • Just published a “no compromise” list of minimum features of a SP healthcare financing system.


  • Has completed national organizational efforts.
  • Focused on state and national elections.

Public Citizen

  • Published in July 2013:  “A Road Map to ‘Single Payer’, How States Can Escape the Clutches of the Private Health Insurance System”
  • No update.

National Nurse United

  • Just launched a national SP campaign in 7-8 states. Becky Bond is the leader of this effort.
  • Bond’s address at Minneapolis national strategy conference in June 2018 emphasized: people waiting to be asked to help, people want BIG solutions to the big problem of healthcare financing, a national plan is needed that is centralized and designed to win, and this effort cannot be staffed sufficiently so needs volunteers.
  • Has developed a series of tools for “deep canvassing”, which is designed to elicit perspectives from the public, both door-to-door and at special events.  Will be shared with local groups.
  • MA. legislative targets are R. Neal and Kennedy. 
  • Collaborating with WMM4A and Healthcare-NOW.


  • Two resources to track healthcare legislation. box/bill number, details page

Trackbill/search/bill number or legislator’s name (A phone app)

  • 10 Questions About Healthcare, Answered.  By Michael Lightly.  In
  • Beyond the Affordable Care Act: A Physicians’ Proposal for Single-Payer Health Care Reform.  Published on Physicians for a National Health Program At
  • Funding a National Single-Payer System. By Gerald Friedman. In Dollars & Sense, March/April 2012.  (Stats are being updated and to be released soon.)
  • How to Think about “Medicare for All”.  James A. Marone, PhD.  In The New England Journal of Medicine
  • The Case for Single-Price Health Care.  By Paul Hewitt and Phillip Longman.  In Washington Monthly, April/May/June 2018.