200+ Pack Statehouse event delivering thousands of postcards calling for VT to lead the way on healthcare

4000+ Postcards Delivered to Statehouse to Kickoff Push For Vermont To Make Healthcare A Public Good

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"We urge you to stand up and take the lead!"

MONTPELIER - More than two hundred Vermonters from the Vermont Worker's Center "Healthcare Is A Human Right Campaign (HCHR)" filled the Cedar Creek room at the Statehouse today, coming from all over the state, to deliver thousands of postcards to the leadership of the State Legislature and to take action on the two single-payer healthcare bills, S.88 and H.100, and mend the broken healthcare system this year.

"We came here today because we seek to change what is politically possible in the healthcare reform process," said Susan Lucas, RN president of the nurses union at Copley Hospital. "We believe that healthcare is not a commodity but a public good shared by all. The time is now to make healthcare a basic fundamental right for every single person"

The Vermont Worker's Center collected over four thousand post cards from all over the state during the past several months as part of their campaign. The postcards begin with "It's time for Vermont's elected officials to recognize, as the people of Vermont do, that healthcare is a human right - not a commodity, benefit or privilege but a public good that government has the inalienable responsibility to ensure. It is time for the Vermont legislature to establish a system of universal healthcare that is equitable, is accountable to the people, and eliminates all barriers to healthcare."

The postcards were addressed to the leaders of the Vermont Legislature: Senate Pro Tem Peter Shumlin, Speaker of the House Shap Smith, and Senator Doug Racine and Rep. Steve Maier, who both chair of the Healthcare Committees in the Senate and House.

"If Vermont can be, and I believe it can, the first small rural state that partners with our great progessive delegation and our president to deliver a healthcare system that follows the individual instead of the employer you would see an economic revival in this state that would make the other forty-nine states wish they were us," said Senator Peter Shumlin, President Pro Tem of the Vermont Senate.

The Healthcare Is A Human Right campaign has been pushing for action on H.100 and S.88 for over a year. A joint hearing on health care reform will be held at 6pm on Tuesday, January 12th at the Statehouse.

Other leaders of the campaign that spoke in the Cedar Creek Room were Jennifer Henry, RN, President of the Fletcher Allen nurses union & United Professions of VT/AFT, Martha Allen, President of the Vermont NEA and Sarah Launderville, Executive Director, Vermont Center of Independent Living

BACKGROUND: In 2008, the Vermont Workers' Center launched the Healthcare Is A Human Right Campaign and on May 1, 2009 organized a "Healthcare Is A Human Right" Rally at the Statehouse which drew over twelve hundred participants and was the largest weekday rally in the state's capitol history. Over the past few months the campaign has organized a series of nine People’s Forums on Healthcare across the state with over 70 state legislators and more than 800 people participating to date. At the December 1st Chittenden County People's Forum in Colchester, Senator Racine announced that joint hearings on single payer bills H.100 and S.88 will begin on January 12 and the VWC is organizing hundreds of people to attend. At 3pm on January 10, the last People’s Forum on Healthcare is being held at the Bixby Library in Vergennes for Addison County legislators, including Rep. Steve Maier, Health Committee Chair.

MORE INFO:
- "Flurry of Activity in First Day of Session", VT Press Bureau, http://www.timesargus.com/article/20100107/NEWS02/1070348/1003/NEWS02

- "Workers Lobby for Single Payer Health Care" VT Public Radio, http://www.vpr.net/news_detail/86826/

- "Health Care Rally Held at Vermont Statehouse" http://www.wptz.com/news/22165408/detail.html

- "Group heads to Montpelier to push for healthcare reform" http://www.wcax.com/Global/story.asp?S=11776082

- "VT. health reform tops January Agenda" VT Press Bureau http://www.timesargus.com/article/RH/20091214/NEWS03/912140360

- "To Your Health" 12/22/09 Seven Days column by Shay Totten http://www.7dvt.com/2009your-health

- Dec 10: Human Rights Day Report with Nurses & Sen. Racine: http://www.workerscenter.org/node/190

- Sen. Racine Announces Hearings on S.88/H.100: http://www.workerscenter.org/node/185

- Rutland Herald Editorial endorses HCHR Campaign: http://www.workerscenter.org/node/138

- Musicians launch benefit CD for HCHR Campaign: http://vermontcareforall.org/

- VPR's All Things Considered with Scott Ainslie, musician and HCHR leader. Link to listen http://www.vpr.net/flash/audio_player/audio_player.php?id=29863

- Dec 5: The Vermont NEA, the State's Largest Union Gets Behind HCHR Campaign http://www.workerscenter.org/node/189

- Healthcare Is A Human Right Campaign: www.workerscenter.org/healthcare

- Summary of bills S.88/H.100: http://www.workerscenter.org/node/168

- Burlington Free Press My Turn "Vermont Must Lead The Way" http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/article/20091202/OPINION02/912020315/...

- Vermont Public Radio Report on HCHR: http://www.workerscenter.org/node/134
-END-

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