In Wayne, Pennsylvania, on April 10, 2010, in conjunction with a regional conference of the Progressive Democrats of America, citizen representatives of fourteen states gathered and decided to begin a more coordinated collaboration aimed at passage of state-based, single-payer healthcare legislation. Groups in four additional states are also involved.

On April 23rd the Vermont House followed that state’s Senate in passing single-payer legislation. Bills are moving forward in several other states.

At the Wayne meeting, those assembled drafted a “Declaration of Health Independence and Security,” which citizens plan to present in each state on July 4th of this year. Signatures are being collected on the declaration here:

Donna Smith, Co-Chair of PDA’s “Healthcare Not Warfare” campaign, said: “Our new resolve to work in a coordinated campaign for state single-payer in all of these states, does not mean we will stop advocating for national single-payer healthcare. In fact, we hope that successes in the first few states will energize the national campaign and persuade by demonstration.”

The text of the declaration follows:

Declaration of Health Independence and Security

When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for citizens of this nation and its separate but equal states to transform conditions related to the common good within our control and necessary in order to assure the basic human rights of all, recognition of our common humanity and a decent respect to the opinions of humankind compel us to declare those conditions for which we demand such a transformation.

Healthcare is a basic human right. To this end, we the undersigned citizen representatives of these assembled states, declare our dedication to the transformation of the profit-driven healthcare system into one of our shared humanity under a social insurance model–a publicly funded, privately and publicly delivered system, equally available to all. Current expenditures on healthcare can and must fund this systemic transformation.

Working in our individual and several states, we will educate our fellow residents, petition our legislators for our collective redress of grievances under the current system, and pursue passage of citizen-driven healthcare policy legislation.

We hold these truths still to be self-evident, that all men and women are created equal and have certain unalienable rights. Among these rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and that in order to enjoy these rights, access to healthcare without regard to financial or any other barriers must be secured.

Signed this 10th day of April, 2010, at Central Baptist Church in Wayne, Pennsylvania.

Donna Smith, Healthcare NOT Warfare Co-chair,
Laurel, Maryland

Norman Solomon, Healthcare NOT Warfare Co-chair,
Point Reyes, California

Chuck Pennacchio, Healthcare4AllPA, Executive Director
Pipersville, Pennsylvania

Ben Day, Mass-Care: The Massachusetts Campaign for Single Payer Health Care Executive Director,
Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts

States represented: West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Delaware, Ohio, California, New York, Colorado, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota

Progressive Democrats of America was founded in 2004 to transform the Democratic Party and our country. We seek to build a party and government controlled by citizens, not corporate elites–with policies that serve the broad public interest, not just private interests. PDA is a grassroots PAC operating inside the Democratic Party, and outside in movements for peace and justice. Our inside/outside strategy is guided by the belief that a lasting majority will require a revitalized Democratic Party built on firm progressive principles.

For over two decades, the party declined as its leadership listened more to the voices of corporations than those of Americans. PDA strives to rebuild the Democratic Party from the bottom up–from every congressional district to statewide party structures to the corridors of power in Washington, where we work arm in arm with the Congressional Progressive Caucus. In just five years, PDA and its allies have shaken up the political status quo–on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, Medicare for all, voter rights, accountability, and economic and environmental justice.