About the Book
"Richard Kirsch's book is the rarest of combinations: an insider look at American politics that instructs as well as entertains. As head of the remarkable advocacy organization Health Care for America Now, Kirsch was on the frontlines of the fight for affordable, quality coverage for all Americans in 2008-10. Now he recalls those searing yet inspiring experiences with wit, wisdom, and a wry sense of humor. The result is a compelling story of the power of citizens' groups that says much about how health care reform happened—and what its passage and uncertain implementation mean for our democratic future."
— Jacob S. Hacker, Professor of Political Science, Yale University, and co-author, Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer—And Turned Its Back on the Middle Class
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. The book brings readers inside the biggest and most consequential issue campaign in American history. Fighting for Our Health recounts how a reform campaign led by grassroots organizers played a crucial role in President Obama's signing historic health reform legislation in March of 2010 — defeating the tea-partiers, Republican Party, health insurance industry, and the US Chamber of Commerce.
The action takes place inside the Beltway — the White House, Congressional anterooms, and the streets of DC — and at hundreds of town meetings, demonstrations, and confrontations in places like Danville, Virginia and Lincoln, Nebraska.
The book describes the tense relationship between progressives and the Obama administration, as the President and his team both pushed for reform and made repeated concessions to the health care industry, while trying to squelch any pressure from the left.
Most powerfully, it is the story of the triumph of thousands of people who had seen loved ones die, families go bankrupt, small businesses ruined, and futures destroyed by the health insurance system in the United States.
"Finally, a book about intrigue and politics in Washington that has relevance for Americans outside the beltway, written by someone who is actually in a position to know what really happened."
— Howard Dean, former Governor of Vermont
"This is the book to read for the inside story about the grass-roots campaign for health care reform... Richard Kirsch tells that story with passion and insight — and with important lessons for organizers of all kinds."
— Paul Starr, Pulitzer Prize winner, Princeton University professor and author of Remedy and Reaction: The Peculiar American Struggle Over Health Care Reform
"Fighting for Our Health is a thoroughly enjoyable, enlightening read... that should be on the shelves of every activist in the country and will be a staple of college courses for many years."
— Peter Dreier, E.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics at Occidental College and author of The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame