A Health-Conscious Inaugural Ball

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At least one of the 10+ inaugural balls for President-elect Barack Obama will be a health-conscious affair.

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The Health for All Blue Diamond Ball, to be held Jan. 20 at the Smithsonian Institution’s Natural History Museum (home of the Hope Diamond), will focus attention on health as a human right.

In the United States today, 45 million people lack medical insurance. Around the world, billions are deprived of the basic human right to health.

In December, Moveon.org asked its 3 million members, “What is the most important issue for the nation?” The survey revealed universal healthcare to be the No. 1 choice, ahead of the war in Iraq and the economy.

The black-tie ball’s sponsors support Obama’s vision of change, including a prominent place for healthcare on the presidential and legislative agendas.

Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee Jackson Browne and Grammy Award-winner Graham Nash, both members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, will headline the event. Two of the country’s most respected singer-songwriters, they’re also known for their social, environmental and political activism over several decades. In 1979, they collaborated on an all-star concert series for Musicians United for Safe Energy (MUSE), and both participated in the Vote For Change tour in 2004. Browne’s latest album, Time the Conqueror, was released in September. Nash’s box set, Reflections, will be released on Feb. 3.

“A true transformation of the healthcare system in the United States has never been such an urgent priority,” says Radia Daoussi, president of The Vineeta Rastogi Foundation, a health and human rights organization, and one of the event’s sponsors. “The presidency of Barack Obama offers an historic opportunity for reforming the healthcare system in the United States and strengthening support for health worldwide.”

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