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ACTION ALERT: Support the National Prison Strike

National Prison Strike StampStarting August 21, 2018, incarcerated peoples in 17+ states will be striking to demand an end to the death penalty, unfair wages, unsafe conditions, and racist policing and sentencing practices. They are also demanding equitable access to therapeutic rehabilitation programs and the right to vote.

Throughout the history of prison strikes, lack of quality medical care is a constant theme. The Attica Prison Rebellion, which this strike commemorates, was in part a response to the poor health conditions and medical experimentation on incarcerated people. At Attica, there were compassionate physicians who demanded access to prisoners to assess their injuries following the violent retaliation by correctional officers. As caregivers and public health advocates, SNaHP seeks to honor this legacy of medical solidarity by supporting those striking almost fifty years later in the 2018 National Prison Strike.

SNaHP is encouraging caregivers and public health advocates to personally support the 2018 National Prison Strike by signing the Letter of Solidarity sponsored by White Coats 4 Black Lives.

Here are a few other ways you can support to the strike:

  1. Educate ourselves and others about the strike demands.
  2. Officially endorse the strike by emailing a statement of endorsement to prisonstrikemedia@gmail.com and millionsforprisonersmarch@gmail.com. (Sample statement here).
  3. Share the Letter of Solidarity with classmates, colleagues, and social media: http://bit.ly/students-for-the-strike.
  4. Amplify incarcerated voices via social media using the #August21 and #prisonstrike hashtags.
  5. Organize a phone tree in preparation for phone zaps and similar requests once the strike is underway.

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Statement in Solidarity with the National Prison Strike

SNAHP IconAugust 15, 2018

 

Jailhouse Lawyers Speak

Millions for Prisoners Human Rights

Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee of the IWW (IWOC)

& all incarcerated peoples

millionsforprisonersmarch@gmail.com

prisonstrikemedia@gmail.com

On behalf of Students for a National Health Program, please accept this letter of solidarity with all incarcerated peoples participating in the 2018 National Prison Strike and the supporting organizations of Jailhouse Lawyers Speak, Millions for Prisoners Human Rights, IWOC, and more. Throughout the history of prison strikes, lack of quality medical care is a constant theme. The Attica Prison Rebellion, which this strike commemorates, was in part a response to the poor health conditions and medical experimentation on incarcerated people. At Attica, there were compassionate physicians who demanded access to prisoners to assess their injuries following the violent retaliation by correctional officers. As caregivers and public health advocates, we want to honor this legacy of medical solidarity by supporting those striking almost fifty years later in the 2018 National Prison Strike.

Students for a National Health Program advocates for equitable access to medical care, and we stand in support of those who are striking for their right to health. America’s criminal punishment system is dependent on the inadequate accessibility of mental healthcare, rehabilitation, and treatment for substance use disorders. These lifesaving measures are even harder to access for people already in prison. Incarcerated people are often denied medical services, including appropriate reproductive care for pregnant persons, and treatment of infectious disease. We believe all people have a right to safe living and working conditions, rehabilitation programs, and access to mental, medical, and reproductive healthcare. In order to create a healthier and more equitable justice system, we proudly endorse the National Prison Strike and pledge our support.

 

In solidarity,

Students for a National Health Program, National Board

Robertha Barnes, Augie Lindmark, Jonathan Michels, Sydney Russell Leed, Tony Spadaro, and Michael Zingman

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Can a New Generation of Med Students Help Push Medicare for All?

This article was originally published by Pacific Standard. You can read the original article here.

pnhp_1Upon finding out what residency programs they’d been matched with this spring, some 310 fourth-year medical students have taken the #MatchDayPledge, a social media campaign that invites the next crop of first-year residents to snap selfies alongside a signed commitment to fight for “improved Medicare for All.” The initiative was sponsored by Students for a National Health Program, or SNaHP—a single-payer advocacy organization with 1,400 members and chapters in over 60 medical schools—whose annual conference in New Orleans this March culminated in a demonstration on the steps of city hall, where they demanded an equitable health-care system financed by a single, public insurance pool.

Such actions may not command outsized attention relative to the overall Medicare-for-All campaign, which grew considerably after Bernie Sanders‘ 2016 primary run and counts among its supporters groups like National Nurses United, the AFL-CIO, the Democratic Socialists of America, and several national Democratic figures, including Congressman Keith Ellison and Senator Elizabeth Warren. But the heightened participation of medical students within the movement signals an apparent shift in the way that some future physicians interpret their public duties as they step into their new roles. As the Affordable Care Act teeters after a stormy few years of legal onslaught, volatile exchange markets, skyrocketing premiums, shrinking coverage options, and just-missed repeal efforts, young doctors stand to be a key bloc influencing the direction of American health-care reform, which voters cite as a top concern for 2018 mid-terms.

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Solidarity with Medical Students Who Demand Single Payer Now!

fist_logoThis statement was originally published July 18, 2018, to coincide with the AOA annual business meeting in Chicago.

We, the undersigned, stand together with medical students as they pressure organized medicine to support a single, comprehensive health care system for everyone in America.

At the American Medical Association’s annual conference in June, medical students demanded the organization end its decades-long opposition to a single-payer national health program, a system that would be publicly financed but privately delivered and is better known as “Medicare for All.”

This week, members of the Student Osteopathic Medical Association will submit a resolution asking the American Osteopathic Association to support Medicare for All.

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What Does Jeff Bezos Have to Offer Health Care?

17124132409_d7d0b42ebc_zThis article was originally published by The Progressive. You can read the original article here.

In late January, Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, and Jamie Dimon announced that Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan would be collaborating on a new “health care venture.” More recently we learned that Atul Gawande, the celebrated endocrine surgeon and writer for The New Yorker, will be its CEO, starting on July 9.

We don’t know much about what the project actually seeks to accomplish. Other than Gawande’s comment that “the system is broken, and better is possible,” the venture has not clearly named the health care problems it is attempting to solve or even offered a mission statement.

How might a new team of billionaires, led by a prominent surgeon and storyteller, approach our health care system? To get a better idea, it may be useful to look at Amazon and its chief executive officer, Jeff Bezos.

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Is this the year the AMA finally joins the single-payer movement?

medicareforallrallylosangeles

This article was originally published by STAT News. You can read the original article here.

Fifty years ago this month, at the 1968 meeting of the American Medical Association, a fourth-year medical student named Peter Schnall seized the microphone and scolded several hundred of the most prestigious, highly educated white men in America.

“Organized medicine has never felt responsible and accountable to the American people for its actions and continues to deny them any significant voice in determining the nature of services offered to them,” Schnall chastised the group.

“Shut up!” yelled the doctors, who were accustomed to being treated with respect and deference, not with outrage and indignation.

Schnall’s outburst, coordinated by members of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Poor People’s Campaign and the Medical Committee for Human Rights, aimed to be a wake-up call to an institution that was highly successful at protecting physicians’ “interests against encroachment” but failed to meet the public health and human needs of patients by opposing both civil rights and the expansion of safety-net health programs.

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ACTION ALERT: #MEDforED: Healthcare solidarity with NC teachers!

medforedlogoStudents for a National Health Program, Health Care for All NC and other national and state single-payer organizations will march alongside North Carolina teachers as they rally for respect this Wednesday, May 16 in Raleigh, North Carolina.

One of the primary issues affecting public teachers across the country has been the rising cost of their health coverage. West Virginia educators recently underscored the connection between jobs and health when they initiated a massive walk-out and demanded action over their increasingly expensive, yet meager, healthcare coverage.

“It’s the insurance,” confirmed one of the striking teachers. “That’s the big deal.”

In North Carolina, health insurance premiums are skyrocketing for all of us and our teachers pay an outrageous average of $10,000 a year to cover their families.

As healthcare professionals and advocates fighting for a universal, single-payer health system, we believe the purpose of both healthcare and public education is to serve the common good of the community, not the bottom lines of corporations.

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Everyone should have access to health insurance

This article was originally published by The Advocate. You can read the original article here.

snahp_summit_2018_2As a medical student, you never forget the first time a patient says, “Thank you for your help, but I can’t afford it.” It’s the one sentence that could stop any treatment plan, regardless of the potential benefits.

Medical textbooks aid in the diagnosis and treatment of patients, but they fail to tell us how to help a patient who cannot afford care. Like millions of Americans, many of our patients leave clinics with a choice between addressing their critical health needs or paying for basic necessities. As medical students and future physicians, we cannot ignore the system that denies our patients access to the care they need and deserve.

Over the course of history — from the Greensboro sit-ins of the 1960s civil rights movement to today’s high school students leading the fight for stricter gun regulations — students have been powerful agents of social and political change.

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ACTION ALERT: National White Coats for Black lives die-in demonstration on 04/17

Screen Shot 2018-04-10 at 2.32.59 PMDear current and future healthcare providers,

Hope this message finds you well. Many of us are still mourning the tragic death of Stephon Clark, 22-year-old unarmed black man shot and killed by the police in his grandmother’s backyard. This event is tragic and unacceptable, and yet the story is all-too familiar. Stephon Clark joins an ever-growing litany of black lives ended by police violence. The White House thinks this is a “local matter”, but we disagree. This is a national public health crisis.

We are calling on all medical and nursing schools across the nation to join us on April 17th, 2018 at 12pm as we hold a National White Coats for Black Lives die-in demonstration.

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It’s time for Medicare for all

This article originally appeared in Winston-Salem Journal. You can read the original post here.

snahp_hkonj_2018For more than 100 years, Americans have searched for a cure for health care inequality. Instead, we’ve been prescribed placebos: watered-down poverty programs and party politics.

Despite attempts to ease the pain with reforms like Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act (ACA), we continue to rely on a market-driven health care system. After stitching together the remnants of various poverty programs we are left with a system so dysfunctional and freakish it would make Dr. Frankenstein recoil.

After signing the Health Reinsurance Act—the result of a contentious battle for a national health program that was ultimately foiled by the American Medical Association—Republican President Dwight Eisenhower handed the pen to Esther Lape, a social scientist and longtime universal health care advocate. Disappointed that the bill fell far short of her expectations, Lape reportedly waved the souvenir in the air and declared, “This represents a puny little bone in the vertebrae of what I had in mind!”

What Lape envisioned would be transformative: quality health care for everyone.

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SNaHP in The Big Easy: LSU Chapter to Host the 7th Annual SNaHP Summit in New Orleans

This article originally appeared in The Pulse. You can read the original post here.

snahp18On Saturday March 3, 2018, the Louisiana State University Health Science Center chapter of Students for a National Health Program (SNaHP) will host the 7th annual SNaHP Summit from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. in New Orleans, Louisiana. The annual summit is a one-day event that gathers students from multiple disciplines to learn about what a national health program would look like in the United States, and how to think about and advocate for beneficial change in our healthcare system. Attendees network with students from all over the U.S., learn how to talk about health policy, and contribute to national strategy for single-payer advocacy. Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, MD, MPH, FACP, co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), is a graduate of LSUHSC School of Medicine, and will be speaking at the summit.

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The Biggest Moments of 2017 in the Fight for Universal Healthcare

This article originally appeared on Common Dreams. You can read the original post here.

medicareforall2017
Photo courtesy of Public Citizen.

In the face of a fiercely conservative administration, 2017 has seen an upsurge in popular resistance against measures that threatened to chip away at important–if imperfect–social welfare initiatives, chief among them the ability for Americans to receive quality healthcare.

Activists pushed back against a series of attempts by Republican lawmakers to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with bills that the Congressional Budget Office estimated would have led to the loss of health coverage for 22 to 23 million Americans.

While it is tempting to remain on the defensive in the face of an agenda that would rob us of our healthcare, citizen activists across the country recognize that merely protecting the ACA would continue to leave the most marginalized populations in this country behind. While many Americans continue to receive health coverage under the ACA, an estimated 28 million remain uninsured and medical bills continue to be the leading cause of bankruptcy in the United States.

According to a national survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, 60 percent of the population believe that the federal government has a responsibility to provide health coverage for all Americans. Despite continued assertions that universal healthcare in the United States is merely a liberal “pipe dream,” a Medicare-for-All health program–a healthcare insurance system that is government-run–remains the best option for ensuring that all Americans have access to quality healthcare.

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SNaHP Shots: William Grant

william_grantSNaHP Shots is a regular column featuring interviews with SNaHP members from around the country who are committed to passing universal healthcare legislation in their lifetimes.

Where are you from? Where do you attend medical school?

I am a second-year student at Duke University School of Medicine in the Primary Care Leadership Track in Durham, NC. I am originally from Gainesville, FL, and graduated from Morehouse College. While I haven’t decided on a specialty, I hope to provide care in an under-resourced community.

Despite your busy schedule as a medical student, why have you decided to devote your time and energy to the movement for universal healthcare?

I see my role as a medical student and advocate for universal healthcare as being undeniably intertwined. I chose to attend medical school not only to help and treat patients, but to use my platform as a future physician to advocate for social-political change and this of course includes the movement for universal, comprehensive care.

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