Burian lecturer to speak on Affordable Health Care Act and grassroots organizing

Nov. 5, 2012

Richard Kirsch's book, "Fighting for Our Health: The Epic Battle to Make Health Care a Right in the United States," offers a vivid, first-person account of how health care reform came to be, revealing how a reform campaign led by grassroots organizers played a crucial role in President Obama's signing historic health reform legislation in March 2010.

On Tuesday, Nov. 13, at 5:30 p.m., the author will be at WMU's Fetzer Center to sign the book and speak about how ordinary citizens fought for the passage of the Affordable Care Act. The lecture and reception following it are free and open to the public as part of the Burian University-Community Lecture Series.

Outcomes of the Nov. 6 national election may well impact the future of the Affordable Care Act—ObamaCare—and Kirsch's lecture, but the legislation, important as it is, is only part of the story.

"One thing that's true about the fight over the Affordable Care Act is that it shows grassroots politics can still matter," says Kirsch. "It was grassroots activists with personal stories who led the fight for its passage. With all the money in politics today, organized citizens can still make change." 

As the national manager and chief spokesperson of Health Care for America Now, Kirsch led that grassroots campaign. Currently, he is Senior Adviser to USAction and a Senior Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. Since the 1980s, he has worked for Citizen Action of New York and for USAction affiliates in Illinois and New Jersey. He has authored op-eds on health policy and several studies on health care reform, and has been honored by Families USA and the New York Statewide Senior Action Council Human Services for his advocacy and dedication to health care for all.

Established in memory of the founding dean of the WMU College of Health and Human Services, the Bill Burian University-Community Lecture series brings members of the community and University together to interact with leaders in the field, focusing on the qualities of health and human services that were the essence of Burian's mission.

Registration for the Nov. 13 lecture is not required, but will be appreciated at mywmu.com/burianlectures or (269) 387-2663. Information about the book "Fighting for Our Health: The Epic Battle to Make Health Care a Right in the United States" can be found at www.fightingforourhealth.com.

Download a promotional poster for the Kirsch presentation.