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In the Struggle for Health Care Justice: Interview with Marianne Hoynes

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Mickey Z. -- World News Trust

July 5, 2014

I met Marianne Hoynes, a second-generation social activist, thanks to one of the many enduring networks spawned by Occupy Wall Street (OWS). Let me tell you a bit about her.

As a small child, Marianne followed a Quaker pacifist tradition, marching in various actions like protests to end the Vietnam War, to free Daniel Berrigan, and the Continental Walk to End Nuclear Disarmament. She grew up feeding the poor in the FISH nonprofit organization in central New Jersey, started by her parents and several other concerned citizens.

She is a health care activist who has lobbied on Capitol Hill on behalf of patients and doctors and an independent journalist who has written on many issues of social justice, including health care in the United States, Veterans for Peace, Occupy Wall Street, the National Defense Authorization Act, Icelandic politics, and about political prisoners like Jeremy Hammond and Chelsea Manning.

She lobbies also to keep Medicare solvent, to properly reimburse doctors for their Medicare patients, and for funding for the National Institutes of Health. Marianne has contributed to several independent films on the need for Health Care reform, including Got Healthcare Yet? by John Raymond, and the critically acclaimed film, The Healthcare Movie, narrated by Kieffer Sutherland, created by filmmakers Laurie Simons and Terry Sterrenberg.

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Hoynes has learned firsthand what it's like to be sick in America today and advocates for healthcare justice for Single Payer bill HR-676. Such a change, she declares, will allow "all Americans to have the exact same access to affordable health care, despite their illness or economic circumstance."

I had a conversation via e-mail with Marianne Hoynes and it went a little something like this"

MZ: How did your personal experience shape your perception and efforts on health care?

MH: In 2009, I went to a town hall meeting in Red Bank, N.J., to speak to my senator about health care reform. I did so because I could not afford the very expensive medications that would treat my autoimmune Rheumatoid Arthritis and Sjogrens Syndrome.

The co-pays for these chemotherapy type medications, also used to treat those who have survived devastating cancers, with Medicare, starts at $1,500 a month. People in the United States who have medicare part D are not allowed in any way, to receive financial help from pharmaceutical companies, due to a law that was passed in the 1980s.

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At this town hall meeting, hundreds of Tea Party members, bused-in and paid by an unknown benefactor, tried to scream me down as I made my personal appeal to Senator Pallone. This is the first time I realized I had a real battle on my hands -- not only to fight to save my own life but also the lives of tens of millions of other Americans who are experiencing the same injustice.

We have been made to feel so desperate for health care in this country, because of the actions of Big Insurance, or "the Health Insurance Industry," in collusion with the U.S. government. I mean, we have literally had to watch our children die, when methods and doctors were standing by that could have saved their lives, all because an insurance company decided that it did not want to take the financial loss to pay for our health care. Because that is what our health care needs are to Big Insurance -- a loss to their bottom line, to their profits. And Obamacare puts this industry, by law, between us and our doctors.

MZ: Corporate propaganda has done such an effective job demonizing "single payer" and "socialized medicine," what methods do you use and/or suggest in combatting this decades-long conditioning?

MH: In my experience, people cling to the limited propaganda they hear. The health care bill itself was written in "legalese," so most Americans have never actually read it. What was first told to us about the bill is now something very different to what we have. But people have been made to live in such fear when it comes to our health needs that they want the new Obamacare law to be everything they need for it to be. It is not. Nor will it be.

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We live in a time of great changes. We live in a t... by Marianne Hoynes on Saturday, Jul 5, 2014 at 9:00:35 PM
This country has been made to feel completely desp... by Marianne Hoynes on Saturday, Jul 5, 2014 at 9:18:44 PM
On a personal note. One of my loved ones, living w... by Marianne Hoynes on Saturday, Jul 5, 2014 at 9:23:06 PM
So sorry for your loss. The only way things will... by Bob Gormley on Monday, Jul 7, 2014 at 6:24:52 PM