Five Key Things to Know about the Republican Healthcare Plan

Paul Ryan and the House Republicans finally put out their health care plan, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), though the plan is in fact less about health care than it is about redistributing wealth. The plan would deliver half a trillion dollars in tax cuts to corporations and the wealthy by taking health care access away from poor, working class, and middle class people. It would do nothing to address the crisis of unaffordable health care that imposes impossible costs and denies millions of people access to care.

Read more analysis from Ben Palmquist of the Put People First Campaign Team and the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative here.

Attacks on health care: what we expect

Ben Palmquist, member of the Put People First! PA Campaign Team and Campaign Manager for the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative, wrote the following guide to help us understand the upcoming threats, challenges, and opportunities with healthcare in the U.S.

Put People First is committed to helping our communities meet their needs, engaging people across the state in a strategic response to these attacks and creating solutions to ensure the health and well being of all people in Pennsylvania.

What to Expect from the Coming Republican Attacks on Health Care

Hard-right Republicans have taken over all branches of government, and since the election President-Elect Donald Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have all said that health care will be a major target in January.

The agenda the party is rallying around is truly unprecedented. Never before in history have ideological extremists held such sweeping control of government and had the power to repeal laws, dismantle and privatize public programs, and revoke fundamental civil and human rights. On the campaign trail, Trump was not fully in alignment with Ryan, so it is uncertain just what we should expect, but there is every reason to expect a truly catastrophic defunding and privatization of Medicaid that could force 30 million people out of the program, a dismantling of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that could take insurance away from another 22 million people, and a privatization of Medicare that would drastically limit health care access for seniors. The gravity of this would be enormous: taking comprehensive health care access away from people would literally kill tens of thousands of people every year.

While what Republicans will do exactly is unclear, they have released nine health care plans over the last four years. The following is a list of key conclusions that are emerging about the direction things are likely headed, with links to further reading on each topic.

Read more here.

Put People First! PA: Statement on the 2016 Presidential Election

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Two visions were on the table in this election:

One, an America that uses words like “freedom” and “liberty,” but takes us back to a time before social movements won civil rights for women, black people, LGBTQ people, disabled people and others.

The second, an America where anyone can get ahead no matter your skin color, gender or sexual orientation, just as long as you work and try hard enough.

But neither of these visions fits the reality that we, as everyday people, know: People are struggling with poverty and economic decline, from every racial and ethnic background, every gender, every ability and every religion, from rural and urban areas. These struggles come from forces and systems we cannot individually control: the changing global economy, lack of family sustaining jobs, environmental devastation, immigration, discrimination, police and military violence, incarceration, and corporate greed, among others.

The two visions are false choices. But Put People First is creating new choices. Put People First believes that Pennsylvania can have a future in which poor and working-class people come together across all lines of division. If we unite, share our stories, and commit to our struggles and each other, we can take powerful action to change things. We, the everyday people of Pennsylvania, can shift what is politically possible.

Our formula is simple. We unite around our basic needs and see them as human rights. We bring together people who’ve never been brought together before. We wrestle with our assumptions. We build community. We love each other.

We are the ones that we’ve been waiting for. When we’re united, nothing can stop us. Join today.

PPF Denounces Attack on MST National School

On Friday November 4th in the state of São Paolo, Brazil, 10 vehicles from the Civil Police broke into the National School Florestan Fernandes (ENFF), in the town of Guararema. Two Movimiento Sem Terra (MST/Landless Workers Movement) organizers were arrested. The MST is one of the largest social movements in the world and one of our leaders is currently at the National School attending a seven week course on agroecology and leadership development. Read more below directly from the MST on what’s happening in Brazil and attacks on the largest social movement in the world by the state acting in the interests of agribusiness. Contact the Consulate of Brazil in New York City to express your outrage at the criminalization of social movements and illegal search and arrests of MST members: (917) 777-7777.

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MST Denounces an “escalation in the repression of the struggle for land, dominated by the interests of agribussines allied to the violence of a State of Exception”  
   
On this Friday, November 4th, MST was on the criminalization spotlight. A violent action by the police, codename “Castra”, spanned three States, Paraná, São Paulo and Mato Grosso do Sul. The main target of the operation was to arrest and criminalize leaders from two camps held by MST organizers in Central Paraná State. The camps are named “Dom Tomás Balduíno” and “Herdeiros da Luta pela Terra” (Land Struggle Heirs).

On a note, MST denounces a “surge in the repression of the struggle for land, dominated by the interests of agribussines allied to the violence of a State of Exception”.

“We remind the public that we have always acted in an organized and peaceful manner for the advancement of Land Reform. We reclaim the land for it’s social function and that it be destined to settling the 10.000 families that are currently camped in Paraná State.”

In São Paulo, 10 vehicles from the Civil Police broke into the National School Florestan Fernandes (ENFF), in the town of Guararema. Two MST organizers were arrested.

According to the reports, police officers arrived at around 9:25 am, closed the school gate and jumped over the reception window,  taking shots aiming at sky. The shards of collected bullets prove that none of them were rubber, but lethal.

In Mato Grosso do Sul, three police vehicles with Paraná plates broke into CEPEGE, “Geral Garcia” Research Center and Professional School, in Sidrolândia. The police operation was searching for MST organizers from Paraná that allegedly were there. The police remained there until approximately 9AM, when they left with no arrests. During the operation, police prohibited the use of mobile phones.

Organizers that were in CEPEGE at the moment were performing cleaning and maintenance tasks.

### Here is the full note:

# More Land Reform and a stop to MST criminalization

Once more the Landless Rural Workers’ Movement is a victim of criminalization constructed by the repressive apparatus of the State of Paraná. The violent operation, codename “Castra”, took place this Friday, November 4th 2016, in Paraná – municipalities of Quedas do Iguaçu, Francisco Beltrão and Laranjeiras do Sul; and also in the States of São Paulo and Mato Grosso do Sul.

The aim of the operation is to capture and criminalize leaders from ‘Dom Tomás Balduíno’ and ‘Herdeiros da Luta pela Terra’ encampments, located in the central region of Paraná state. Until now 6 leaders were arrested and they are still looking for other workers, under several accusations, including criminal organization.

Since May 2014, approximately 3,000 encamped families are occupying areas that were before occuppied by Araupel Company. Those areas were illegally occupied by the company and because of that the Federal Court of Public Land declared that they belong to the Union, so they must be devoted for Agrarian Reform.

Araupel Company became a powerful economical and political empire by illegally occupying public land and constantly using violence against rural workers and peasants that occupy land, many times acting in collusion with the civilian and military police apparatus, they have even fund political campaigns of public authorities, like the one of the Chief of Staff of the Beto Richa’s government, Valdir Rossoni.

We highlight that this action is part of a continuous process of persecution and violence that MST has been facing in several states and in Parana. On April 7th, 2016, in the land illegally occupied by Araupel Company the families organized in the Dom Tomas Balduíno encampment were victims of an ambush made by the Military Police and security personnel hired by the company. In the attack, were there more than 120 gunshots, Vilmar Bordim and Leomar Orback were executed, there were also countless people bullet wounded. In the same large state in 1997, gunmen hired by Araupel killed in another ambush two Landless Movement workers. Both cases remain unpunished.

We denounce the escalation on violence and repression against the struggle for land, where agribusiness interests associated with the violence of the State of Exception predominate.

We remember that we always act in an organized and pacific way so the Agrarian Reform advances. We demand that the land fulfills its social function and that it is destined for the settlement of the 10,000 families encamped in Paraná.

We keep fighting for our rights and we join those who fight for education, health, housing, more rights and more democracy.

Struggle and build Popular Agrarian Reform.
Curitiba, November 4th, 2016.