Vermont Healthcare Rally Only the Beginning

by Harry S.

Over 250 people gathered for a rally outside of the University of Vermont's Davis Center, where inside regional politicians and healthcare lobbyists met for the Obama administration's regional healthcare reform forum. The forum was hosted by Governors Douglas of Vermont and Patrick of Massachusetts. The message from the 250+ demonstrators outside was clear: A single payer universal healthcare system is the only solution to the current healthcare crisis.

March 17, 2009
Nurses and union members bused in from Massachusetts and New York, there were also various activists from across the state of Vermont. The speeches came from a wide range of voices which included nurses, local health care activists, and healthcare policy experts. They were lively, and condemned both the failure of politicians to adequately address the healthcare problem as well as the greedy insurance companies. The forum was invite-only however the Vermont Workers Center was able to get a representative inside. She proudly dawned a "Its all about the class struggle!" t-shirt, and was the sole working class voice inside the forum.

Both Vermont and Massachusetts have been hailed by liberals as having the most progressive healthcare policies in the country, however working people are still burdened and see little of the "more progressive" healthcare systems. In Vermont the Vermont Workers Center conducted a study that interviewed over 1200 Vermonters. Over 95% believed healthcare is a human right, and yet two out of three reported being afraid to seek medical attention because of unaffordable costs.

The full report is available here.

Furthermore, Massachusetts has been axing "safety-net" hospitals. It is clear through these facts that politicians offer little but empty promises in regards to a real solution to the crumbled healthcare system. Working people understand this best of all, and only through grassroots organizing and mass movement will secure a healthcare system that works for all.

A glimpse of this appeared at the rally on Tuesday. In Vermont this rally was only a build up to what is projected to be a massive Healthcare For All demonstration at the State Capital in Montpelier on May 1st. Working Vermonters are urging others to "call in sick" on May 1st and flood the streets of the capital demanding a fair healthcare system for all.