The members of the Chicago DSA’s Health Care Working Group believe that quality healthcare is a fundamental human right, not something only the rich should have access to. Therefore, we have resolved ourselves to do all we can to transform our nation’s health care system to make it more accessible and equitable for everyone.
We recognize that grassroots movement-building, education, mutual aid, and direct action are all critical components of our fight for health care justice.
We prioritize the needs and voices of those most negatively impacted by our current healthcare system whether through unaffordability, unavailability, discrimination, or other factors. These groups include (but are not limited to) women, transgender and non-binary people, people of color, LGBTQ+ people, immigrants, veterans, the houseless, those living with disabilities, and the poor.
We understand that our fight for health care justice is inextricably linked to work for racial, economic, environmental and systemic justice, including fights against the most violent and unhealthy institutions in our society, such as police and the prison industrial complex. We assert that only a combination of these efforts will lead to healthy, safe, and stable communities.
We seek out opportunities to work with established community groups in Chicago to carry out mutual aid, education and direct service initiatives, and to better understand the needs of our communities and our city as a whole. For example, we have worked with/continue to work with the Illinois Single Payer Coalition, National Nurses United, ADAPT, Pilsen Alliance, and One Northside.
Medicare for All (M4A)
Shortly after the Health Care Working Group was formed in late 2017 interest emerged in participating in the National DSA’s Medicare For All campaign. Since taking on the campaign interest in M4A has continued to grow and has become one of the working group’s major efforts. Excitingly, this campaign has recently been elevated to the level of a Chicago DSA chapter priority campaign allowing for more resources while remaining strongly tied to the Health Care working group.
So what do we mean when we say Medicare for All? We mean a single, universal health care program administered by the federal government, covering all medical services that is free at the point of service. You can read more details here.
Our campaign focuses on canvassing for signatures in support of federal Medicare for All bills, M4A educational and teach in events, and providing support to other organizations such as those in the Illinois Single Payer Coalition. Recently we have also added Congressional District specific M4A organizing committees in the Illinois 4th, 5th, and 9th districts to select individualized tactics to pressure their respective Congressional representatives.
Disability Rights Caucus
Seek to help our comrades become more aware of, and sensitive to, the interests, concerns and needs of the disability community. Align and partner with Chicago based disability rights organizations to fight for inclusion, community integration, and independence for all individuals living with disabilities.
If you or anyone you know is an opioid user, please do not hesitate to reach out for supplies of Narcan, an overdose-reversing drug. In conjunction with efforts to establish distribution networks within and adjacent to CDSA, we also hope to educate the public on the opioid epidemic’s roots in American white supremacist capitalism.
Chicago Health Care Resources List
Chicago has a number of free or low-cost health resources available around the city, and we want to identify and spread awareness of such resources that are currently available as we continue our long-term campaign for developing true health justice for everyone. We particularly want to connect people who are the most underserved by our current healthcare system—including un- or underinsured individuals, the undocumented, our LGBT comrades, and people seeking reproductive services—to these resources.
The Health Care Working Group holds a general meeting once per month. We also typically host at least 2 other events per month that include teach-ins, reading groups, campaign or Congressional district specific meetings, and fundraising events. Additionally, in the warmer months we table for Medicare for All almost every week.
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