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Waiting for Supreme Court ACA Decision, Vermont Can Lead the Way

National solidarity initiative launched to support grassroots effort
to establish human rights-based universal healthcare system in

BURLINGTON, VT - As the country waits with bated breath for the Supreme Court’s ruling
on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Vermont continues to lead the way by implementing
state-level, human rights based universal healthcare.

“Act 48 here in Vermont stands in contrast with the insurance company bailout represented
in the ACA,” said Vermont Workers’ Center Director James Haslam. “Healthcare is a public
good, and we’re on the road to realizing our human right to healthcare here in Vermont
through a grounds-up people’s movement.”

The Vermont Workers’ Center and its allies around the country just launched anationwide
solidarity initiative called Vermont Can Lead the Way to build national public support for the
Vermont-based grassroots organizing-based Healthcare is a Human Right campaign
(HCHR) to counter the enormous resources being pumped into the state to anti-universal
healthcare groups, flooding airwaves with scare tactics and high-priced ads.

HCHR is a groundbreaking grassroots effort launched by the Vermont Workers’ Center in
2008 that led to the 2011 passage of universal healthcare through Act 48. The legislation
creates a universal healthcare system, grounded in human rights principles, setting
Vermont on course to be the first in the country to provide healthcare as a public good,
financed publicly and equitably. “Vermont Can Lead the Way” aims to build “critical national
solidarity support from people all over the country,” for HCHR, gathering at least 1,000
individual endorsers by September 3rd, 2012 (Labor Day).

Referencing the outside anti-healthcare groups, Vermont Workers’ Center Director James
Haslam said, “We will never be able to outspend these groups in an air war. But, we can
out-organize them on the ground, and we can only do this through national support for our
organizing! We’re building a movement through canvassing, community outreach, public
forums, accountability sessions with elected officials, collecting and sharing our stories, and
continuing to indict the current broken healthcare system. Now we need our national
solidarity movement so we can lead the way!”

Dr. Cornel West, Senator Bernie Sanders, Dr. Paul Farmer, Noam Chomsky, Dr. Patch
Adams, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield have already endorsed the campaign.

"This [initiative] is really important. The Healthcare Is a Human Right campaign in Vermont
is one of the best examples I can imagine for how grassroots change can happen in this
country, and we need all the support we can for it. If you want to see universal healthcare in
this country and see a state truly put people over profit, now is your chance to support that
happening,” said Jerry Greenfield, co-founder of the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream company.

Critical decisions will be made in 2013 about the health benefits in the new universal
system, Green Mountain Care, and the financing mechanism for healthcare. The
Healthcare is a Human Right campaign is working to ensure that the decisions result in a
healthcare system that fully embodies the human rights principles of universality, equity,
accountability, transparency and participation — a healthcare system that constitutes a
public good belonging to the people of Vermont.

"Prior to the 2012 elections we are beginning to see giant healthcare profiteers and other
big-moneyed corporate interests dumping huge sums of money to put out misinformation
and confuse the people of Vermont in order to derail this effort.", said Haslam.

Vermont Can Lead the Way and HCHR also calls for a move away from focusing on the
cost implications of universal healthcare: “We’re morally bound to provide a system that’s a
public good that embodies the values of universality and equity,” said Vermont Workers’
Center President Peg Franzen. “We know we can ‘bend the cost curve,’ but the number
one priority is confronting the human suffering under our current healthcare system, and
creating a universal healthcare system that fully realizes our human right to healthcare.”

Dr. Paul Farmer, founding Director of Partners in Health and board member of National
Economic & Social Rights Initiative, spoke on the importance of the campaign for the right
to healthcare. “The ongoing struggle for the right to health care has always needed
champions,” said Dr. Farmer. “Remember Martin Luther King’s Poor People’s Movement?
Remember the March on Washington? The Vermont Workers’ Center is a vital member of
this movement for health, working to ensure that all people get the health care they need
regardless of their ability to pay. Some things are not meant to be commodities – they are...

Vermont's universal breakthrough has inspired people throughout the country to take up the
struggle on a state level. To mark the one-year anniversary of Act 48 and the road ahead,
the "Healthcare Is a Human Right" campaign has created a new video (http:// detailing the story of the grassroots
organizing that led to the healthcare victory, and launched a new phase of the
campaign, "Vermont Can Lead the Way," to secure individual endorsements from people all
over the country. (

"If Vermont can actually implement universal healthcare, our state can lead the way for
states across the country to do the same," said Haslam. "People in Maryland, California,
Oregon, New York, Pennsylvania, Maine and an increasing number of states are beginning

to work together and apply strategies from the Healthcare Is a Human Right campaign in
their states."

More information and the new video can be found at
To endorse and view the most current list of endorsers, visit

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes. has a link for visitors to provide endorsements and this evidently also requires donations, and that's fine; but what about having simply signatures of support so that people who don't have a means to donate money could still sign on in support of this ... what I guess can be called movement?  I don't have a means to donate, but definitely would sign as a supporter from a moral p.o.v.


I'm not a Vt resident and haven't been in the US for over 12 years now, but definitely hope for great success with this movement for universal healthcare (UHC) in respect of human rights (UHCHR).  It should always be a HR.  Govt robs taxpayers to enrich corporations; many or most politicians are shareholders in these corporations; they wage wars that internationally are of supreme criminality and do that at taxpayers' expense; and they vote to support corporations that screw up the natural environment and the economic system.  They can definitely put taxpayer dollars to far better use and UHCHR should be considered essential for any society.


It's declined a lot in Quebec, Canada, since the 1980s and I don't have a clue if there's any hope for the near future for correcting this bad problem.  And it is bad.  Bad is an appropriate term for this. 


In Sherbrooke, Quebec, I've been on a waiting list for nearly four years now to try to get a personal physician.  I can do without one at my age (55), but it would be of interest to be able to see one once in a while, maybe once a year or every two years.  Even every two years would satisfy me.


Go to the emergency room at the local hospital and you're lucky if you get to finally see a doctor in less than 15 to 17 hours after you register.  Go to a medical clinic at 9 a.m. and you may often be so late by that time that you're number will only be served the next day, so you have to return the next day, because the present day is already booked-up; by 9am.  I was lucky a couple of months ago at one emergency MD medical clinic.  Got there at 8:45a.m., the clinic starts giving out numbers at I think 9:30am, and Drs start seeing and treating people at 10am.  I got to finally see a doctor around 3 to 3:30 p.m. 


That was QUICK service with the decline that's happened here.  Most people would consider themselves lucky to get service this quickly.  Unlike the emergency rooms at hospitals, clinics have opening and closing hours.  They, none that I know of anyway, operate or run 24hrs a day, while emergency rooms at hospitals do.  The one here does anyway.


Back in the 1980s if you went to the emergency room at the hospital, then it rarely took more than 2 hours before you finally got to be seen by a Dr, and 2 hours were for people with less severe problems than other people had.  It was first-come-first-seen or first-treated, except when people with urgent problems came in after you've registered and haven't yet seen a Dr.  That's of course understandable.  If you're there for a non-threatening problem and someone who comes in later has a far worse problem, then of course that person should be seen and treated first.  But I never heard of anyone waiting more than 2 to 2 1/2 hours, back in the 1980s and '70s. 


I had to go last year for a bad knee injury and got to the emergency room around 3pm.  Finally got to see a Dr by 1am the next morning.  If you have a portable computer with DVDs for movies, etc., then it's a good idea to bring that along with you; that and/or things to read.  There isn't an entertainment center or room at the hospitals and medical clinics, so bring something to help make the wait easier to take.  I didn't have anything for that, but people were friendly.  It became almost like a social club. :)  One woman seated next to me used to work in medical services somewhere in the province and when I spoke of how it was much better for waiting time back in the '80s, she agreed, saying it was much better back then and the '70s.  She worked during those years, so she would know more than I do about the difference, since I seldom used medical services, except when my family had a family physician back in Massachusetts when I was a child and young teenager.


But I was lucky.  A couple who was there, here, arrived at the hospital no later than 9am and the man finally got to be seen and treated by a Dr shortly before me.  The couple left about 5 to 10 minutes before I was done there, around 1am the next morning.  They had to wait six hours longer than I did, so I was very lucky.  But I had to be in a wheel chair, so drove around, spoke with different people, drove to the cafetaria, et cetera.  Otherwise, the wait would've been very frustrating.


Do NOT look to Quebec for role model, but the rest of Canada might have good services.  Universal healthcare is federally mandated, perhaps, but it's provincially managed, and Quebec govt has increasingly been rendering the system very impaired.


Americans in the US have an opportunity to learn about good and not-so-good, plus declined, aspects of UHC in other countries and this knowledge gained can then be used to form a better UHC system.  For goodness sake, don't mimic Quebec, or else you'll have very little progress.  A lot of people here are unhappy about the decline, but either not enough of the population cares, or this democracy on paper is just democracy on paper; like the US Constitution, as Bush said in January 2003, "just a piece of paper". "Lovely" politics.  It "makes my day" any day I feel like vomiting, which will only happen if I ingest poisons. :)


Do it right in Vt!  Learn from the good and the bad of UHC in other countries, and avoid repeating what's bad or detrimental, or which can be improved upon.  With all of the $ (moola) the US govt (federal) has been investing in wars, et cetera, Americans can most definitely afford a fantastic UHC system.  It doesn't help those of us not in the country, but why not do it for the people in the country!  Every govt needs to look out for the good of the population that's under the jurisdiction of the govt.  Helping neighbours is also a great concept, and we have a planet of neighbours, but charity, when truly needed, can surely start at home, first.  (Charity shouldn't be confounded with spoilage, so I say only when it's truly needed.)

Dr. Paul Farmer, founding Director of Partners in Health and board member of National
Economic & Social Rights Initiative, spoke on the importance of the campaign for the right
to healthcare.
“... Some things are not meant to be commodities – they are...


I like that idea. :)


Ulcers (external kind):


Just listened to the video and assuming that all of the stories told by people who speak in this are true, then it's clear that UHC or UHC-HR is absolutely needed.  Of course we already knew that.


But I'm amazed about the external foot ulcers.  It's possibly not as bad as getting deadly cancer, but the story told by a nurse or nursing assistant, if she isn't an MD, about people sometimes losing feet and legs because of treatable ulcers that develop on feet, now that's scary.  Cancer is of course scary, but we've been hearing and reading about cancers for many years. I've never before heard or read of anyone losing feet or legs because of ulcers, and these, I think, are external and aka abscesses. My lower-leg abscesses may be also aka carbuncles.  I've had two large ulcers on lower (below the knee) parts of both legs and another developed further down, but I haven't seen an MD for this.  Instead, I've gotten info. from the Web and from pharamcists, and got non-prescription cream sort of medication, plus also used rubbing alcohol.  This keeps the ulcers that've left scarring under control.  It's only scars.


There wasn't any visible pus coming out, but just touching these areas proved that they were definitely infectious.  I touched them and later started doing dishes with a detergent that was anti-bacterial.  My hands suddenly felt like they were on fire, so I guessed right away that infection was the problem and ran to the bathroom to apply rubbing alcohol.  That took care of the problem, but the abscesses still needed to be treated with the non-prescription cream for some weeks.  This lasted for around a month several years ago and it hasn't been a problem since then.  Only scarring remains and I'm not going to waste MDs time due to mere scarring.  The healthcare system in this province has very badly declined since the 1980s, and I don't make money from using legs like some fashion model might, so I don't waste my or MD time about the scars.


Because I don't have a personal physician and seeing a dr at a medical clinic or at a hospital emergency room takes MANY hours in Quebec, plus when I worked in the US I usually didn't have health insurance, I learned to visit pharmacists.  This can often be sufficient.  It's how I've been treating health problems.  I had accupuncture one time, but don't really want to talk about that, for it was only one experience and it's too easy for people to over-generalize, but it really did me no good.  That's all I can say, yet people can over-generalize from that.  Many people don't believe in chiropractacy due to having had poor or no good results, but I had great results.  I dealth with a chiro. who was a dietary quack.  All I wanted was chiro. skeletal treatment.  He wouldn't do it unless I would obey to his food diet, so I said, "Bye-bye, I'll take care of my diet myself. I only came here for chiro./skeletal treatment and you give me this fanatical diet nonsens!  Bye-bye".  Another chiro. said I should continue returning and I didn't see why, for I felt fine, so I went to another chiro., a young woman, and she exploded like a volcano, because I didn't need chiro. treatment anymore and she only worked to treat people who really needed treatment. :)


Healthcare practritioners can be funny people, sometimes.  I only went to her for confirmation that I didn't need any more treatment, but I'm surprised the building her office was in still stood when I left.  She exploded.  All I wanted was a trustable 2nd opinion, because I thought the other chiro. I had been seeing weekly for a year was screwing me, say.  I had a bad automobile accident and it seriously damaged the spine.  But after six months or so, I wasn't sensing any more improvement.  So after the chiro. was still saying that yeah, I should return for treatment, and this was nearly 12 months later, I said, gotta get a 2nd opinion about this.  The super-conscientious female chiro I saw blew up.  "Don't come back here until you have a real need", she said, explosively.  :)  Well, it proved that she was consientious and dedicated.  I didn't appreciate being scolded, but she was honest and that's what I wanted.  I learned of her through an aunt and her friend, both of whom seemed to greatly like this chiro., and I wanted 2nd opinion,  because the other chiro. kept saying I should come back and I felt fine for months.  I got fed up with that.  There's something wrong when you feel fine and a chiro. or massage therapist, ... tells you to come back,  So I wanted a 2nd opinion and asked for a rendez-vous with the chiro. my aunt and her friend had been visiting for treatments.  OMG, the chiro blew up.


I was not totally surprised about her conscience.  She was super-honest.  Not some charlatan chiro.  She was a real pro.  But, man, she could have exploded a little less than she did.  I almost ended up on the moon.  Imagine if she kicks you in the seat area.  You might wind up on Mars.  Excellent chiro. and I don't see why these healthcare professionals aren't included in UHC; but with that said, there also has to be a beginning, a start.  The start clearly has to be MD and nursing.  I just wish that chiro., physio., other very useful medical/health practices weren't excluded.  When I sought physio. in Ontario, Canada, around 1992 or '93, it was covered by the provincial health insurance, so I didn't have to pay a nickel or penny to see a physiotherapist and get some basic instruction.  But it's not covered  by Quebec so-called UHC.


Anyway, I learned when I didn't have health insurance in the US to just go to a pharmarcy and inquire about problems with pharmacists.  It's always worked out fine, so far.  But we sometimes need full MD care.  If we get needed advice from pharmacists and it's not prescription medicine, which requires MD presecription, then we help to free up MDs so that they can have more time to look after people who truly need MD care.


For me, UHC or UHC-HR is essential for society, but while MDs and nurses, ..., are essential I also believe that society needs chiropractracy, physiotherapy, physio-therapeutic massage, and maybe even accupuncture.  I don't know about accupuncture, except for having seen claims that it's beneficial, but I've had experience with the other treatments.  MDs in Quebec, Canada, have long been against chiropractacy, but it's done me, my father and other people great good.  There's no valid reason for MDs to be against chiropractacy when it's properly done. If we're going to bitch about doing things improperly, then MDs also make errors, there're some who are jackasses, to be polite, and so on, as well.  So, and in essence, society needs all of these services to be included in UHC-HR.


Of course there has to be a beginning and we might not be able to include all healthcare in UHC-HR right away, so start with the MDs and nursing.  But I think chiropractacy, physhiotherapy, and phsysio-therapeutic massage, which would be part of phsyio anyway, I guess, should be included.  They can only be included if there's a commencement of UHC-HR though.  If society doesn't have that, then forget about adding anything else.


It can all be done, but people like to bitch, argue, et cetera, and end up doing nothing seriously good for society, so who knows where all of this will lead.  But if Americans can be open-minded, rather than close-minded as is in Quebec, where chiropractacy and physiotherapy are treated as if luxuries, rather than essential services, when they often are essential, then you'll have a poor UHC.  Do it right.  Get it all right.  Don't make the stupid mistakes that were made here.  Chiropractacy by good practiotioners is something I'm a real fan of.  It's helped me a great deal.  It saved me from months of hospitalization.  It's a specialty and should be respected, but it's like all medical fields, there can be charlatans, exploiters.  So you want to go to only the good practiotioners and they do exist.


Sometimes all a person needs is good physio. or chiro. treatment and it's much less expensive than surgery and months of hospital care, so these alternative treatments can sometimes be needed and be less costly.  Taxpayers have nothing to bitch about this, for this would cost less and it would also leave more time for MD and nursing care to see to people who truly need that kind of care.  It's not less money, work, ... for anyone. Instead, it's about properly serving society.  With all of the money Washington spends on wars that are actually criminal, to boot, the USA could have a fantastic UHC.


I'm not in the USA anymore. Haven't been for a long time now due to so-called economics and racketeering bs down there (and it isn't better here).  But everyone can support all movements for UHC.  It doesn't matter where we are. UHC is needed for everyone, all societies.  I lose because of the H-1B et cetera programs, but that doesn't prevent supporting the call for UHC.  Professor Norman Matloff, UCDavis, was always our best advocate, but we gained no headway, for since when does Justice lead in the country?  C'est la vie.  I'm glad that I didn't have any dependants though.  It's the USA putting the USA out of work, so USA sending USA into poverty.  Well, I could only be more strongly for UHC, then.  It's not going to benefit me if the USA establishes UHC, since I'm a USA'n who's abroad, but it's still something every society needs, so I'll always support it with my p.o.v.  That's all I can contribute.  I'm not totally homeless and it's illegal here to be homeless, isn't that a joke!  But I'm not far from homeless.  It's not legal here though, so we have to find a way to not be homeless.  If you don't want to end up imprisoned, then you have to manage to not be homeless. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ...


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