Health Care for America Now held a retreat last week. Via Greg Sargent at TPM:
I'm told that dozens of the heaviest hitters from the health care reform world met for a private retreat in Virginia last week and spent two days girding for a major battle with the insurance industry, hashing out specific messaging, discussing organizing goals and planning a major fundraising drive to blanket the airwaves with ads next year.
At the retreat -- which was organized by Health Care For America Now, the major umbrella group of unions, reform advocates and providers -- the group agreed that they were aiming to start next year with at least $25 million for ads and field organizing, with the hope of raising many millions more.
Lots of elements of health care reform and how to win were discussed, but one of the most important was taking on the opposition. Specifically, if we want to win health care reform, we have to not only prove the insurance industry and the right-wing of this country wrong, we have to make them untrustworthy.
Case in point, as I wrote yesterday, conservatives and the industry will use all their resources to "kill" health care reform to preserve their own interests:
As this debate moves forward, keep a close eye on who's making arguments. If it's the insurance or pharmaceutical industry, you can bet their argument helps or protects their bottom line. If it's conservatives, you can bet it helps their political viability. Don't ever assume these groups have the public's interest at heart.
Having arguments is one thing, and yes, reasonable people can disagree on issues like health care. But it's important that the general public understand who's pushing arguments like "We can't afford health care in an economic crisis" or "big government health care is not the solution we need" and why they are pushing those arguments. As conservatives are making clear, they aren't against health care for ideological reasons so much as for partisan reasons:
Amidst the usual scary phrases like "government takeover," "Marxist," and "Obamacare" (what does that even mean?), Pethokoukis comes clean about his real problem with health care reform - people will like it and they'll like Obama for making it happen. Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute agrees. His message to Republican lawmakers: Blocking Obama's Health Plan Is Key to the GOP's Survival.
The country needs to understand why the right-wing is against health care reform. You can help make that happen.
SEIU has put together an online letter writing tool for folks to write letters to the editor to their local paper. All you have to do is input your zip code and write a letter and it will be automatically submitted to all the local papers in your area.
So, please take a moment and write a letter to your local papers. Expose the reasons why conservatives oppose health care reform. Make their arguments untrustworthy. That way, we'll be able to win quality, affordable health care for all in 2009.
(also posted at the NOW! blog)