Access to affordable health care is the emerging domestic issues of the 1990’s. Yet Washington remains where it’s been for decades: Plenty of proposals, but no real action now or in the foreseeable future.
A number of states, however, are putting politics together with policy. Still, the single greatest roadblock to enacting legislation is forging alliances among key constituencies.
A group of legislative leaders from some 25 states have formed the State Alliance for Universal Health Care to muster the political will within and among their states.
While a rational resolution remains the ultimate goal, it’s clear that Congress will move when the states take action. Members of the State Alliance are thus working together on several fronts:
-Sharing political insights to help one another put together coalitions in their various states.
-Exchanging research findings, policy initiatives and legislation.
-Using the Alliance as an information clearinghouse.
-Supporting individual states in requests for federal waivers related to universal health care.
I began The Alliance in Minnesota. My efforts over four years in Minnesota resulted this year in large House and Senate majorities for the biggest access and reform bill in America. Vetoed by Governor Carlson, the bill may get the 2/3 majority needed for override when the legislature reconvenes in January.
The Alliance has formally met twice in its formative period since 1990, including C-Span coverage with congressional leaders and the “best brains” in America last December in Washington. It is moving quickly to fill a critical void in the universal health care movement.
Its newsletter is emerging as a focal point for information dissemination. When the Alliance elects officers and adopts Articles of Incorporation in Orlando this month, the heretofore grassroots efforts will continue to broaden and accelerate.
The Alliance will maintain its base of operation in Minnesota. For further information contact: Exec. Director John Ryan (612) 296-1478.