Take Action

Urging individuals and institutions to divest from private health insurance companies is a direct way to hurt these inhumane companies’ bottom lines while ramping up public support for a universal healthcare system that takes for-profit insurance out of the mix.

The divestment movement is new and growing, and there are many ways you can get involved. We have several different active initiatives, listed below, that urge different sectors of our communities to take their money out of private insurance companies. Please scroll down for more information on how you can join the movement.

TIAA-CREF Shareholders
TIAA-CREF is a Fortune 500 financial services institution with $487 billion in assets, and is the leading retirement provider for people who work in the academic, research, medical and cultural fields. Over 3.7 million individuals have retirement funds through TIAA-CREF.

Included in their vast portfolio of investment opportunities, TIAA-CREF has a CREF Social Choice Account which they describe as “a leader in socially responsible investing (SRI). . . [They] believe that good corporate governance and responsible business practices can enhance the long-term economic value of companies.” CREF Social Choice manages $10 billion of their total assets.

However, included in their socially responsibly investment fund are large holdings in WellPoint, Aetna, Coventry, Humana, and other major private health insurance companies. Single-payer activists are well aware of the draconian practices and human rights abuses perpetrated by private for-profit health insurance companies, and are demanding CREF Social Choice divest from these companies.

Do you have shares in TIAA-CREF or CREF Social Choice? Have experience in shareholder activism? Please contact Sandy Fox at sm2fox@yahoo.com to learn more and get involved.

Inter-Faith Communities
Rev. David Bos of Louisville had played a major role in the Presbyterian Church USA’s establishing a national position supporting single-payer healthcare. He also realized that Presbyterians could take a position in favor of divesting from the Wall Street health insurance companies and began a movement within the church toward that end. His widow, Rev Johanna Bos, has continued to carry the movement forward.

In the summer of 2012, at their biennial national meeting, Johanna presented a resolution urging the church to take the first step towards divestment (which is for the National Presbytery to create a committee tasked with gathering information on private health insurance companies’ practices). The resolution was passed with overwhelming support, and we hope for full divestment at their next meeting in 2014.

We will be continuing to provide information and resources to the Presbyterian Church USA as it moves along the path to full divestment, but we would also like to introduce this issue to other faith groups and communities.

Are you involved with your local synagogue, church, mosque, temple, or other faith group? Interested in doing outreach to any such group in your community about the need to remove any money they may have from private health insurance? We would love for you to join us and share with us your ideas! Please contact Johanna Bos at jovanwijk@gmail.com for more information.

Students and Universities
Taking a lead from the anti-apartheid and mountain-top removal divestment movements, this committee is focused on talking to students, professors, and faculty members about the abuses of private health insurance companies. Universities have huge endowments, many of which include investments in private insurance companies. We are in the process of creating a divestment toolkit for students to use to organize classmates around divestment on their campuses. To help with this toolkit or to find out more information, please contact Katie Robbins at divest@healthcare-now.org.

Physicians know better than anyone how our current for-profit model of healthcare places a multitude of barriers in the way of accessing care. Are you a physician or medical professional? You can get involved by encouraging your alma mater and/or affiliated medical institution to divest from private insurance companies. Here is a letter you can send to your institution to find out more about their holdings in private insurance. Contact Dr. Rob Stone for more information on how you can help: grostone@gmail.com.

There are dozens of organizations and groups working on healthcare justice issues or who are committed to the single-payer cause (such as the National Organization of Women, Code Pink, California Nurses Association, United Steel Workers, National Health Care for the Homeless Council, and many many more) who we would like to get involved in this campaign. Are you a member of any of these groups or have thoughts on other groups we could reach out to? Then please contact divest@healthcare-now.org to get involved.