Today the policy committee for the Healthcare is a Human Right campaign submitted the following comments to the Healthcare Reform Commission for the members' consideration as they choose the consultant to design Vermont's new healthcare system:
1. Thank you for serving on Vermont's healthcare reform commission. As you know, Act 128 requires you to recommend one or more consultants to design a new healthcare system for Vermont. This work is of historical importance, and Vermonters are relying on you to choose wisely.
"We need you to win in Vermont," emphasized a healthcare provider from California at the Workers' Center's well-attended workshop at the US Social Forum this morning. Organized together with the International Worker Justice Campaign, our workshop explored the nuts and bolts of "Human Rights Campaigns to Build Power at the State Level: Healthcare and Workers' Rights."
On Tuesday morning, the five of us who got to Detroit early met with members of the Chinese Progressive Association from San Francisco, for the first-ever VWC/CPA exchange.
On June 28, the Health Care Reform Commission will choose the bidder it will recommend to be chosen to design three options for Vermont healthcare systems. That recommendation will go to the Joint Fiscal Committee, which will decide on June 29 which architect to hire.
Act 128 (S.88) calls on the Senate President Pro Tempore and the House Speaker each to appoint one non-voting member to the Joint Legislative Health Care Commission, which is responsible for recommending the consultant(s) who would design the healthcare systems called for in Act 128.
It also contains language that specifically disallows anyone from holding one of those two seats who might have a conflict due to a financial or other interest in a healthcare provider or insurer.
For the past two years, most of the energy of the Vermont Workers' Center has been dedicated to the Healthcare Is a Human Right Campaign. Together with thousands of Vermonters, we have talked with our neighbors, shared our stories, educated our legislators, marched, rallied and sung, and we have done what few thought possible — moved Vermont to make a commitment to fundamental reform of our healthcare system, to reform that recognizes and respects the human right to health of each and every Vermonter.
Our political power comes from demonstrating that our campaign is continuing to grow in size and in commitment. It is the continued growth of our numbers, along with repeated demonstrations, that will allow us to achieve our goal of establishing the human right to healthcare in Vermont. This is why the May Day rally is so important.
"First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you."
A quick report on the House Appropriations Committee. It was not really that dramatic, unlike many of the other committees that we have sat in on. The committee passed S.88 by a vote of 7-3. Reps who voted no were: Helm, Winters, Acinapura. Steve Maier defended the bill, with representative George Till, D-Bolton, there as well and Robin Lunge, legislative council. They did add an amendment, which carried the entire committee, an amendment about funding which I will write more of later. It should be going up to the floor later on this week, perhaps Thursday or Friday. We'll see.
At the end of March, we kicked off the "Road to Detroit" with two great musical events at the Workers' Center. On Sunday, March 21, Paul Baker Hernandez, a Carthusian hermit-turned-protest singer from Managua, Nicaragua, played movement music from all over the world, including several examples of the beautiful, passionate music of Víctor Jara, Chilean activist and musician tortured and murdered in the 1973 Kissinger/Pinochet coup.
Welcome to the Vermont Workers' Center's "Road to Detroit" blog as we prepare for (and attend) the US Social Forum in Detroit in June. The US Social Forum, which is expected to draw upwards of 20,000 folks from social movements throughout the country and internationally, is the next important step in our struggle to build a powerful multi-racial, multisectoral, inter-generational, diverse, inclusive, internationalist movement that transforms this country, and changes history.