Asbury Park Press

Alliance Launches $40M Campaign For Universal Health Care

Asbury Park Press — Tuesday, July 8, 2008

By TOM BALDWIN
GANNETT STATE BUREAU

TRENTON — A broad alliance of advocates today raised a renewed cry for universal health care – be it private, run by government or a mix of both – at almost the same time Gov. Jon S. Corzine was signing into law a step toward their intended goal.

"We cannot trust the health-care industry to make it happen," said Ev Liebman, director of organizing and advocacy for New Jersey Citizen Action, a generally liberal lobby.

"There should be a choice," Liebman said of allowing people to buy their own insurance, seek it through willing employers or relying on a government program.

The event in Trenton at the Statehouse mirrored unveilings in 52 other U.S. cities, including about two-thirds of the state capitals, staged by the alliance called Health Care for America Now.

"In this country, right now, we have a crisis where health care is going to the most healthy and the most wealthy," said Rex Reid, political representative of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME.

"We need to change the health-care system so that everybody gets quality, affordable health care," Reid said.

Liebman vowed the groups would launch intense lobbying campaigns.

Alliance members come from advocates for health care, consumers, seniors, students, people with disabilities, women, labor, faith-based efforts, civil-rights and social-justice groups.

Liebman placed the cost of the campaign at $40 million.

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