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Vermonters Rally for Health Care For All

Legislature “ignored” study showing that Vermont could save over $118 million annually while covering everyone under public-private system

-- Health care professionals and residents of Vermont will gather on the lawn in front of Vermont's State House in Montpelier September 28, from 12-3:00pm to rally in support of universal, publicly-funded health care for all Vermonters.

The rally is to kick off Vermont Health Care For All’s “Prescription for Change” campaign to get the legislature to re-open discussion of statewide health care reform.

“Last year Vermont received a $1.1 million grant to study several forms of health care reform. The results were clear: Vermont cannot afford NOT to adopt a universal health system,” said Dr. Deb Richter, a family practitioner and President of Vermont Health Care for All. “We spend $2.4 billion a year on health care, more than enough to cover everyone, including the 51,000 Vermonters who have no coverage and all of us who have gaps in our coverage for medications, for exorbitant out-of-pocket costs, care for chronic illness, etc”

“The promise of a decent health system to replace the catastrophe that has befallen health care for Americans is at the top of the people’s list of concerns. There is race, now in progress, to determine which state to be the first to inaugurate a humane, rational system with “Everybody In, Nobody Out,” said Dr. Quentin Young, co-founder of the 10,000-member Physicians for a National Health Program. “I can assure you that today, across the nation, health activists have their eyes on Vermont, a leading contender to be number one.”

Several states have burgeoning single payer movements: Oregonians will vote on a statewide single payer plan (Initiative #23) on November 5. In Maine, the legislature has approved a $200,000 grant for an economic study of single payer by the DC group Mathematica to be released this December. In Massachusetts, candidates for office are being polled for their stand on single payer by the large coalition MASS-CARE. Several other states also have active movements, including California – where a study of nine options for reform revealed single payer to be the best choice – and Washington state where organizers are planning a ballot initiative for 2004.

Over 80 Vermont physicians have already signed on to the “Statement for a Vermont Universal Healthcare System” as part of the Prescription for Change campaign. The statement reads, in part, “I endorse a universal healthcare system for the state of Vermont, one that includes all Vermonters, pays for all necessary healthcare out of public funds, retains private delivery of healthcare, and has a publicly accountable budget process to ensure adequate capacity to meet the health care needs of all Vermonters. The Vermont legislature should without delay conduct serious and constructive discussion to establish such a system”.

The rally will feature several national speakers as well as local physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, social workers, and others, and will kick off a statewide organizing campaign.

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Quentin Young, M.D. Chicago, National Coordinator, Physicians for a National Health Program, President, American Public Health Association, 1998-99.

Thom Hartman, Montpelier, Author, “Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Demise of Human Rights” (in press).

Deb Richter, M.D. Monpelier, President, Vermont Health Care For All, President, Physicians for a National Health Program 2000.

Rudolph Mueller, M.D. Albany, New York, author “As Sick as It Gets: The Shocking Reality of America's Healthcare, A Diagnosis and Treatment Plan” (Olin Frederick, Inc. 2001)

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Despite spending twice as much on health care per person as Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Canada, Australia, Japan and every other developed country, over 40 million Americans have no health insurance.

For more information about Vermont Health Care for All go to www.vthca.org
For more information about the September 28 Vermont rally is www.vtrxforchange.org

Physicians for a National Health Program has been advocating for health care reform for 15 years with more than 10,000 members across the United States.