50+ Attend Morrisville People’s Forum on Healthcare with Speaker Shap Smith, Sen. Susan Bartlett and Rep. Floyd Nease

DSCF6880_0.JPGMORRISVILLE, VT – More than fifty Lamoille County residents braved frigid temperatures to participate in a People’s Forum on Healthcare with Vermont Speaker of the House Rep. Shap Smith (D-Morrisville), Rep. Floyd Nease (D-Johnson) and State Senator Susan Bartlett (D-Lamoille County). This forum was the ninth of its kind scheduled in recent weeks by the Healthcare Is A Human Right Campaign (HCHR), a statewide grassroots organizing effort coordinated by the Vermont Workers’ Center (VWC) which aims to change what is politically possible in health reform in Vermont.

The event including testimony from local residents who have been negatively affected by the healthcare crisis and explored the how Vermont can establish healthcare as a basic human right and win single-payer healthcare in 2010.

“We believe that healthcare is not a commodity but a public good shared by all,” said Susan Lucas, RN, VWC leader and president of the nurses union at Copley Hospital. “No one should have to forgo needed care because of costs.”

On December 1st, a similar event was held with Chittenden County legislators including Vermont State Senator Doug Racine, Chair of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee announced that the legislature would hold hearings on the single-payer healthcare legislation H.100/S.88. House Speaker Shap Smith reiterated the commitment to hold hearings on these bills. Rep. Floyd Nease said it would be “extraordinarily difficult” to pass these bills by over-riding the probable veto by Governor Douglas, but later told the audience of HCHR supporters to “keep doing exactly what you are doing.”

The HCHR is planning an action on January 6th to deliver thousands of postcards to the Vermont Legislature calling for action in 2010, see: http://www.workerscenter.org/Jan6postcard

* Video of Forum will be online soon. HCHR leaders are available for interview.

Background: The "Healthcare Is A Human Right" Campaign's long-term goal is a universal system where health care is recognized as a public good and provided collectively, rather than a marketplace commodity, and where the human right to health of all residents. Through these community forums the Vermont Workers' Center hopes to voice everyday Vermonter's values and visions for a universal system while urging our legislators to take the lead and make Vermont the first state to provide health care as a public good. The only legislation that has been introduced into the Vermont State Legislature for the 2009-2010 session that meets these standards are two bills, H.100 and S.88. On May 1st, 2009 the Vermont Workers' Center organized a "Healthcare Is A Human Right Rally" at the Statehouse which with over twelve hundred participants is considered the largest weekday rally at Vermont's state capitol in history.

More background links:
- Dec 10: Human Rights Day Report with Nurses & Sen. Racine: http://www.workerscenter.org/node/190
- Dec 14: “Vermont Health Reform Tops January Agenda” VT Press Bureau http://www.timesargus.com/article/RH/20091214/NEWS03/912140360
- Rutland Herald Editorial endorses HCHR Campaign: http://www.workerscenter.org/node/138
- Musicians launch benefit CD for HCHR Campaign: http://vermontcareforall.org/
- Dec 15: VPR's All Things Considered segment with Vermont blues guitarist and singer Scott Ainslie, talking about “Care For All” HCHR benefit CD. 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
- Burlington Free Press My Turn "Vermont Must Lead The Way" http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/article/20091202/OPINION02/912020315/...
- Healthcare Is A Human Right Campaign: www.workerscenter.org/healthcare
- Summary of bills S.88/H.100: http://www.workerscenter.org/node/168