Insider Richard Kirsch offers a vivid, first-person account of how health care reform came to be.
This first-person account brings readers inside the biggest and most consequential issue campaign in American history. Fighting for Our Health recounts how a reform campaign led by grassroots organizers played a crucial role in President Obama’s signing historic health reform legislation in March of 2010defeating the tea partiers, Republican Party, health insurance industry, and the US Chamber of Commerce. The action takes place inside the Beltwaythe White House, Congressional anterooms, and the streets of DCand at hundreds of town meetings, demonstrations, and confrontations in places like Danville, Virginia and Lincoln, Nebraska.
The book describes the tense relationship between progressives and the Obama administration, as the President and his team both pushed for reform and made repeated concessions to the health care industry, while trying to squelch any pressure from the left.
Most powerfully, it is the story of the triumph of thousands of people who had seen loved ones die, families go bankrupt, small businesses ruined, and futures destroyed by the health insurance system in the United States.
The book is accessible to undergraduate and graduate students as well as the general reader. Detailed enough to interest people primarily concerned about health care policy and politics, it will also capture readers generally interested in US political dynamics and the health of American democracy.
About the Author
Richard Kirsch is an Institute fellow at the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government and a senior fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. He has 36 years of experience leading citizen campaigns on health care, campaign finance reform, and other issues. As national campaign manager for Health Care for America Now he appeared on PBS’s The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, CNN, ABC’s World News Tonight and Good Morning America, Fox, CSPAN, and the Colbert Report. He was frequently quoted in The New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal.
Table of Contents
Foreword Thomas L. Gais ix
Introduction: The Great Quest 1
1 Thumb Out in Both Directions 7
2 The Solution Is the Problem 25
3 Building Health Care for America Now 47
4 Ready, Set, Go! 65
5 Health Care in the 2008 Election 83
6 The Economy or Health Care? 105
7 From the Ground Up - Champions 121
8 From the Ground Up - Swings 143
9 The Happy Warrior 161
10 No HELP for the Gang of Six 171
11 The Guns of August 189
12 The White House Waffles 213
13 If the Insurance Companies Win - You Lose 225
14 The Baucus Bill Is a Failure 239
15 Did the White House Try to Get Me Fired? 259
16 The House Makes History 267
17 Harry's Dilemma 285
18 Lieberman's Revenge 301
19 Christmas Eve 311
20 Not Again! 319
21 Stop Big Insurance - Congress Listens to Us 329
22 Fighting for Our Health 345
Epilogue: The Fight Goes On 357