We won in the House! Next up the Senate. Thank you, let's keep it up!

As you might have already heard, Vermonters won a huge step towards universal healthcare today in the House in a final vote on H.202 92-49 (see release below). Big thank you's and recognition to everyone who worked so hard helping us get this far. It has been amazing seeing how far we have come, seeing how strong all of you leaders around the state have become and also how many new incredible people are getting involved everyday. It's great to be working with you, to be building this movement together, to be seeing all the hard work pay off. I have been feeling good about the work of our campaign all along, but since the March 14th hearing (see: http://www.vitlink.org/public/index.php) I think we have turned the corner. This week has been incredible. We kept stride out of the amazing March 14th hearing (see: story http://www.workerscenter.org/node/778) and continued to turn up the heat on the House, we found the time to launch a new campaign See Put People First! http://www.workerscenter.org/peoplesbudget ) on a six-day tour with four Town Hall Meetings on The Economy with Sen. Bernie Sanders and were still able to out organize our opponents at the first Senate hearings tonight on the bill (see: http://www.workerscenter.org/node/786 ) .

We still have our work cut out for ourselves. New opposition groups are popping up including "Vermonters For Healthcare Freedom, just as insurance industry whistleblower Wendell Potter recently predicted (see: http://www.cctv.org/watch-tv/programs/wendell-potter-insurance-company-w... ). We need to maintain the momentum and to raise the money we will need (see donate: http://www.workerscenter.org/donate ), but we must not forget how far we have come and that we are on the right side of the arc of justice. We need to organize in a big way for the March 31st Senate hearing in the House Chamber and then we need help to build for the biggest rally yet on May 1st (see: http://www.workerscenter.org/may1) so we can build the necessary momentum to continue winning all the necessary fights on this road to universal healthcare!

Thank you for all your hard work and support! It's an honor to work with the best people I've ever known.

Onward we go,

Vermont Takes Step Towards Making Healthcare a Human Right

Healthcare Is a Human Right Campaign welcomes passage of universal healthcare bill (H. 202) by Vermont House

Montpelier, VT -- Statehouse -- On Wednesday, March 23, members of the grassroots Healthcare Is a Human Right Campaign cheered on as the Vermont House of Representatives voted 92 - 49 to pass the universal healthcare bill, H.202. The House bill passed as a result of thousands of Vermonters speaking out and demanding that healthcare be treated as a human right and provided as a public good.

“This bill puts Vermont on a path to a system in which every Vermonter can get the healthcare they need when they need it, and the financing of that system is shared equitably by all. This is a huge step forward,” says Peg Franzen, President of the Vermont Workers’ Center.

The Healthcare Is a Human Right Campaign still hopes to strengthen the bill in the Senate based on its human rights principles of universality, equity, accountability, transparency and participation.

“This bill is a road map and it gets Vermont started down that road. We are fighting hard to have human rights principles be the guidelines for this bill, because we must have a system that works for everyone,” says Franzen. “We’re asking the Senate to specify that Green Mountain Care will be financed equitably, which means that people and businesses should contribute based on their ability to pay. We’re also demanding that the new system gets rid of the middlemen - private insurance companies - which are in the business of making money on our backs and denying us access to care.”

In 2008, the Vermont Workers’ Center launched the Healthcare Is a Human Right Campaign to change what is politically possible in healthcare reform. The Campaign has done this by uniting Vermonters across the state who struggle to get the healthcare they need, and who believe healthcare is a public good.

For more information, go to www.workerscenter.org/healthcare

Healthcare Is a Human Right Campaign leaders are available all across the state for interview or comment.