FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 8, 2017
“Healthcare is a Human Right”: Frederick County Residents Rally to Demand Single Payer
FREDERICK, Maryland – On Saturday, April 8, around a hundred people gathered in Frederick for a march and rally organized by Frederick Progressives and the Frederick Chapter of Healthcare is a Human Right Maryland in support of HR-676, National Improved Medicare For All.
Wearing yellow T-Shirts reading “Healthcare is a Human Right”, marchers assembled at the Baker Park Bandshell and made their way through downtown Frederick to Carroll Creek Park Amphitheater.
Speakers included a member of the clergy, health practitioners and local residents who recounted a number of struggles with the current, for-profit health insurance system.
“One of the things we’ve got to do is get out of the idea that insurance is a blanket that covers us”, said James French of Healthcare Is a Human Right Maryland. “We know that this can be paid for because so much is wasted by the industry now… We know there’s a model, we know there’s the funding, we can make it happen as long as we get elected officials who aren’t afraid of the insurance industry.”
The next speaker, Chris Adams, spoke about living with X-linked hypophosphatemia – a rare genetic disorder – and about how he lost his home and had to declare bankruptcy because of the costs of his treatment: “I believe that if my medical insurance had covered my medical bills, I would have been able to save my home and avoid bankruptcy”
James Van Kuilenburg of Support FCPF Trans Students spoke about the toll of the current system on the transgender population: “Trans people are some of the most likely to face unemployment and poverty, especially trans people of color. Because our current flawed system of healthcare is heavily reliant on employer-provided insurance, without benefit-paid work, many in our community remain uninsured…While trans people have benefited under the Affordable Care Act, there is still much work that needs to be done to ensure full access… We just want the right to obtain a pap smear as a trans man, or a routine prostate check as a trans woman. Currently, our for-profit insurers regularly deny these life-saving procedures…Trans people need single payer healthcare”.
Dr. Margaret Flowers of Healthcare is a Human Right and Health over Profit for Everyone told the crowd that in all her years of advocating for HR-676, she’d never seen this level of momentum for single payer. Flowers spoke about how the pressure that Healthcare is a Human Right and other campaign groups placed on Representatives Anthony Brown and John Sarbanes had successfully propelled them to co-sponsor the bill.
After the rally had ended, Sasha Czeh, who as a child had watched her mother struggle with healthcare bills while undergoing treatment for breast cancer, stated that National Improved Medicare For All is not only the most ethical path of action, but also the most fiscally responsible one. “The costs of [not implementing a single payer system] are transferred into our disability and social security system, into our social services and prison system, after people don’t get mental health care or addiction treatment. The human cost of delaying that care is a higher price than any actual treatment”.
Beth Landry, a Frederick-based nurse and organizer of today’s event, said, “Years of direct patient care has shown me that people suffer when they lack insurance coverage and have significant barriers to healthcare. Our country needs to adopt a system that honors the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and guarantees quality healthcare to every individual regardless of their income or zip code.”
Millicent Hall, 34, of Middletown, attended the rally with her husband and two daughters, one of whom “has three different processing disorders”. After spending most of their Health Savings Account on her assessments, Hall said, “we can’t afford her actual treatment… [which] will end up costing more than our mortgage a month. What bothers me is we didn’t do this, we didn’t ask for it. A doctor told us she needs it. How are we supposed to come up with an extra $1600 a month?”
Of the two House Representatives whose districts cover Frederick County, one, Jamie Raskin, has cosponsored HR-676. John Delaney has not endorsed Medicare for All.
The Frederick Chapter of Healthcare is a Human Right Maryland will be hosting a postcard-writing party in support of HR-676 on Thursday, April 13, at the Frederick Friends Meeting House at 723 N Market Street at 7PM. Kids will be welcome: please contact Brittany@hchrmd.org for more information.
For more information about the rally or the campaign, please contact Frederick County Progressives Chair, Beth Landry, RN via firstname.lastname@example.org or 443 366 9402, or Brittany Shannahan at Brittany@hchrmd.org or 443-592-5353.