One of the best examples of the power of C4CC and our brand of community organizing is our grassroots partners’ role in ensuring passage of 2010’s health care reform law – the largest expansion of health care coverage for Americans for almost 50 years.
Throughout the health care essay, C4CC was part of the Health Care for America Now (HCAN) coalition, which pushed for passage of the Affordable Care Act, which expanded health coverage to more than 30 million people.
HCAN generated more than 100,000 calls, emails and letters that brought the message about the need for reform directly to policymakers, and we helped organize several thousand visits to members of Congress so real people could tell their stories about why reform was so important to them.
Results of our efforts include:
- Several key House members changing their vote from “No” to “Yes” on the bill, ultimately leading to its passage. This includes Reps. Brian Baird (WA), Dennis Kucinich (OH), John Boccieri (OH), and Bart Gordon (TN), all four of whom were named in USA Today’s post-mortem as key switches that were decisive moments in the bill’s passage.
- The modification of the “free rider” clause, which would have disproportionately hurt low-income single parents, especially mothers.
- Singling out opponents of the bill in their home districts, at town halls and community meetings, to hold them accountable to their constituents for their vote.
- Putting a human face on the debate by highlighting personal stories of real people around the country who have been served poorly by the existing system, but who would benefit from the bill. One of these stories came from Marcelas Owens, whose personal story of losing his mother after she lost her health insurance and could not get care provided a vivid illustration of the moral failure of inaction on reform. Marcelas stood next to President Obama as he signed the ACA into law.
This victory – which seemed out of reach at points in the debate – was possible because of the sustained and organized efforts of the Campaign for Community Change and our grassroots partners. We are poised to use the same strategies to organize and mobilize low-income people to take a role in public debate – efforts that were vital to winning health care reform – to drive new movements that empower those most affected by the economic crisis to shape a new economy that generates prosperity and opportunity for everyone.
Your help – whether it’s a gift of $25, $35, $50, or taking action on our website – will help us give low-income communities the tools they need to fight for policies that reflect the values that helped grow our nation—opportunity, fairness and community.