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General News    H2'ed 5/27/13

No Holiday for Killing the Uninsured, the Underinsured and the Broke in the U.S.- Until Health Care is a Human Right

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Message Donna Smith
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Originally published at Donna's SiCKO Blog on May 26, 2013

Are you having a nice three-day, holiday weekend out there?  Count your blessings then, because for thousands and thousands of people all over America, this is no holiday weekend.  We're not giving the uninsured, the under-insured or those already bankrupted a break from their worries about accessing health care.  We don't give "those people" a break at all.

I've been writing about the numbers -- the death toll and the bankruptcy toll -- for weeks now.  The numbers just keep ticking ever higher.  123 more dead every day.  1,978 more go bankrupt every day.  All caused by our profit-first health care system.  Sometimes I do not know how to make the point in a way that makes people take action, as it is little more than an exercise in hand-wringing if I don't get more people to decide that our system is flawed and must be changed and that we are the ones who must change it.

An improved and expanded Medicare for all for life system would put an immediate end to the rising death toll related to lack of access to needed care, and it would also end bankruptcies driven by medical crisis and debt.  We need to do whatever is required to make that change in our system.  

Here in Colorado, I'd like to see us enshrine in our Constitution's Bill of Rights that health care is a human right and a public good.  Once we do that, we can require that our elected officials create the system that would uphold that Constitutional provision.  

We do have a health care is a human right ballot initiative campaign beginning , and we will kick that off on Saturday June 1, at our annual meeting .  Rep. John Conyers, Jr., will be our featured speaker.   Mr. Conyers is more than an icon of the civil rights struggle in America -- he is the only Congressional member ever endorsed by the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  He is the second longest serving member of Congress.  He is the lead author of HR676, the national Medicare for All bill.  We are incredibly honored to have him coming to Denver for our annual meeting.   If you are near Denver that day, plan to come.    

If you are not in the Denver area and you believe in our campaign, we need your help.  It is not cheap to run this kind of campaign, and the for-profit interests in our dysfunctional system will be difficult to fight.  Frankly, even some of the well-meaning sorts in some political circles will fight this effort as they reach for something more politically expedient or personally profitable or both.   So, if you are able, please assist.

In the meantime, remember those suffering, dying, and going broke for health care today in America.  Many have also served our nation in a wide variety of ways yet when they needed health care, none was given because they lacked the coverage or the money to pay.  

Today's count: 

The 2013, to date, U.S. medical-financial-industrial -complex system dead:  17,835


The 2013, to date, U.S. health care system bankrupt:  286,820

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Donna Smith appeared in Michael Moore's 2007 film, "SiCKO," and spent five years working for National Nurses United/California Nurses Association in Chicago and Washington, D.C., as their single-payer political organizer/educator.  She is now the executive director of Health Care for All Colorado and lives in Denver with her husband of 38 years, Larry

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