Emerged out of the first nationwide conference for single-payer health care activists
Has launched national campaigns with the George Soros-funded Health Care for America Now!
Views health care as a battleground of political warfare
The Universal Health Care Action Network (UHCAN) emerged out of “the first nationwide conference for single-payer activists” in March 1992. In a follow-up conference in November of that year, 250 leaders from 37 states established UHCAN as a national organization and situated it in Ohio “to symbolize [its] identity as a grassroots center for health care reform advocates.”
UHCAN supports a single-payer health care system controlled by the federal government. Its Board Co-Chair (and Executive Director of the Metro New York Health Care for All Campaign) is Mark Hannay, who sees single-payer health care as a right to which all Americans are entitled; i.e., as part of the unfulfilled promise of President’s Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. The organization also advocates “health care justice” as a natural extension of the “moral arc” of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.
UHCAN is affiliated with more than 50 national associations and hundreds of state groups. It supports the five principles for health care reform established by the Institute of Medicine:
Health care coverage should be universal.
Health care coverage should be continuous.
Health care coverage should be affordable to individuals and families.
The health insurance strategy should be affordable and sustainable for society.
Health insurance should enhance health and well-being by promoting access to high-quality care that is effective, efficient, safe, timely, patient-centered, and equitable.
In UHCAN's calculus, the best way to achieve these objectives is to put government in charge of the health care system, rather than to institute reforms that favor free-market principles.
A notable member of UHCAN’s Board of Directors is Nick Unger, who also serves as the Health Care Campaign Training Director of the AFL-CIO. In UHCAN’s Annual Meeting on November 19, 2009, Unger described the organization's mission in terms of political warfare -- a battle not simply for health care, but against the Republican Party, “Fox News, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, the insurance companies, the Chamber of Commerce, [and] Goldman Sachs.” According to Unger, a Democratic victory on this battlefield would help to correct the “wrong turn” America had made in electing Ronald Reagan to office three decades earlier:
“From a political analytical point of view, the last time America turned the corner was 1980, and we sure turned wrong. And we are living with the price of it now. We are at a corner now. If we miss this one, I don’t know if I will ever get a shot at another one.”
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