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Friday, January 13, 2017
Health Justice Advocates Rallied Outside Trump Tower to Say “Hands Off Health Care” as Congress Moves Forward to Dismantle Access for Millions
(New York, NY) – Advocates from across the U.S. who support a single-payer national health insurance program—aka improved Medicare for All—rallied outside Trump Tower this afternoon to kick-off their annual national conference, which is being held this year in New York. As Congress moves to make radical changes to a variety of health insurance programs, they called on the incoming Trump administration to take a different direction, moving instead toward a universal health care program by improving and expanding Medicare. During his election campaign, President-Elect Trump spoke of his support for Medicare, and prior to his candidacy expressed admiration for other countries’ national health programs and his affinity for something similar in the U.S.
Participants at the rally vowed to confront our nation’s new political leaders should they move to sharply curtail funding for and dramatically scale back health insurance programs.
"Nurses have a front row seat to observe the suffering of our patients from medical bills they can’t pay, loopholes they can’t fit through, and quality care beyond their reach,” said Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez, President of the New York State Nurses Association. “The Affordable Care Act relieved some of that burden, but to repeal it now without replacing it with a superior system, such as an expanded and improved Medicare-for-All, is like removing a band aid from a wound and watching the patient bleed to death.”
“People like me who are living with disabilities often need long-term care, but in America we are forced into poverty to get those services through Medicaid. That’s outright humiliation,” said Nadina LaSpina, a member of Disabled in Action of Metropolitan New York. “Now the Trump administration and the Republican Congress are threatening to take even that vital program away from us. Are we supposed to cry and beg for mercy? No! We’re going to fight back! We are not going to lose our rights!”
“We are fortunate enough to live in a time when we can see a way to finally end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the near future. However, this dream will not be possible without universal health care,” said Italo Medelius, a member of ACT UP New York. “AIDS activists like me have been demanding a national single-payer health insurance program for many years, and we will not rest until it's achieved. Si se puede!”
After their rally, protestors marched to join a nearby rally of labor unions in support of members of the Communications Workers of America from upstate New York who are out on strike over health care benefits in their contract negotiations.
The Single Payer Strategy Conference kicks off at the Wyndham New Yorker Hotel at 7pm on Friday, January 13th, featuring guests like Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Health Commissioner Mary Bassett, State Senator Bill Perkins, Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, and former Ohio State Senator, Nina Turner.
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