Without justice there is no health, and without health there is no justice!

Last night our chapter hosted a talk at the Musician’s Union Hall on Medicare for All and healthcare justice in New Orleans. Frances Gill, co-chair of our chapter’s Healthcare for All Committee and southern regional organizer for DSA’s M4A Campaign, started us off with a powerful statement to our packed room of 50 or so people on the need for Medicare for All to win true healthcare justice in the U.S.

We heard from a representative of 504 Healthnet and Luke’s House, a clinic in New Orleans that provides free medical care. Jamila Webb from Birthmark Doula Collective spoke about the incredible work their organization does supporting pregnant and birthing women in Louisiana. She provided insights on the health disparities faced by soon-to-be mothers in Louisiana, particularly black women, and Birthmark’s work to combat the health injustice and health racism that is perpetuated and exacerbated by our profit-driven health care industry.

Michael Lighty, former policy director of the National Nurses Union, gave a captivating talk on Medicare for All and the democratic socialist solutions to the deep inequities of the U.S. healthcare system. The path to health justice will require a direct confrontation with the big pharmaceutical companies, hospital corporations and health insurance CEOs who make billions in profits while most Americans struggle to pay their insurance premiums and cover rising drug costs. 

Emphasizing the need for mass action to win the fight for a true universal healthcare system in the U.S, Michael encouraged us look to this year’s teachers’ insurgency to learn how DSA can build a mass movement of working people to win the demand for Medicare for All.

Our next Healthcare for All Committee meeting will be on Thursday 11/15 at 2022 St. Bernard Ave, Building C, 6:30 PM. We invite everyone to join our struggle for healthcare justice in New Orleans and beyond!

A Different World: New Orleans’ Healthcare Nightmare and DSA’s Plan to End It

The Democratic Socialists of America, or DSA, is a nationwide, membership-based political organization that aims to build working class power by employing a variety of different tactics, from electoral organizing to workplace organizing and direct service. DSA is an organization comprised of dozens of local chapters, whose projects, aims, and strategies vary widely from chapter to chapter. Every two years, representatives from DSA chapters gather to participate in a national convention and vote on three priority issues. Last year, the membership voted to center three priorities: electoral strategy, labor organizing, and campaigning for Medicare for All, or M4A.

Medicare for All is a policy that would create universal healthcare, free at the point of service with no co-pays or premiums, for all U.S. residents.

As a socialist organization, we know why we have to take on the fight for M4A. We can name the enemy. High uninsured rates, billing bureaucracy, high pharmaceutical costs, and unevenly distributed health care resources are not individual problems that can be tackled individually. They are interconnected symptoms of a larger problem: a health care system that is designed for a few to get rich when others fall ill.

Read more about DSA New Orleans’ fight for healthcare justice in this month’s issue of Anti-Gravity. 

Health Care Committee Hosts Successful Health Fair in Central City

On Sunday July 7, the New Orleans DSA Health Care Committee hosted their second Health Fair + Medical Debt Clinic in Central City. We offered blood pressure and glucose screenings, assistance with and education around medical debt disputes with help from Debt Collective, community health and housing resources, and food and drinks — all for free. The event also offered an opportunity to speak with community members about our fight for Medicare for All, how our current health care system has impacted their lives, and how single-payer health care would transform our lives and communities.

Over four hours we completed dozens of health screenings, spoke with many community members and leaders, shared over 100 pages of local resources, and had in-depth discussions about debt with a number of neighbors. In addition, we received dozens of pledges in support for Medicare for All.

The Health Care Committee meets on the third Thursday of each month. The committee also leads monthly Medicare for All canvasses, the next of which is Sunday, July 22, from 2-6 PM. You can sign up or at this link or get more information by emailing healthcare@dsaneworleans.org.

Canvassing for Medicare-for-All

The Health Care for All Committee shared the DSA vision for universal health care in the 7th Ward on Thursday, finding a receptive audience eager to share their struggles with capitalist medicine.

The canvass was part of the national Medicare for All Campaign. This was the fifth Medicare for All Canvass, and the third in the 7th Ward. Ten organizers met with our neighbors about their health care experiences.

Some shared difficulties they’ve had with the for-profit health care system. One organizer spoke with a woman on N. Galvez Street who could not get enough insulin and struggled to find a doctor who was accessible to her despite having Medicare.

Overall, neighbors in this community were very receptive to organizers, and the canvassers collected about 20 signatures in about an hour and a half of organizing.

The Health Care for All Committee will continue to follow up with neighbors we’ve talked to while organizing. The committee will collect more stories and engage neighbors who want to get more involved and volunteer.

Join us at our next meeting, Wednesday June 20th, 6:30 at 2022 St. Bernard Ave*

*We meet regularly on the third Thursday of each month