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Med students to rally at Vermont Statehouse for single-payer health system Saturday

Sen. Sanders, Gov. Shumlin to join health-professional students who say Vermont can lead the nation in fundamental health reform

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 24, 2011

Contact:
Ali Thebert, Physicians for a National Health Program, ali@pnhp.org
Danielle Alexander, Albany (N.Y.) Medical College (available Friday after 3 p.m. EDT and all day Saturday)
Connie Yip, Columbia University School of Nursing
Barbara Power, Vermont rally media liaison

MONTPELIER, Vt. -- Buses, vans and carloads filled with health-professional students from Vermont and neighboring states will roll into town this Saturday, March 26, for a 1 p.m. EDT rally at the Statehouse aimed at showing student support for a single-payer health system.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vt., both of whom have been outspoken advocates of single-payer reform, are scheduled to speak at the rally.

The program will feature short remarks from future physicians, nurses and other health professionals from Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania and even faraway Oregon, all of whom have been inspired by the idea that Vermont might be the first state to adopt a truly universal, streamlined, and cost-effective system of financing care, thereby setting an example for the nation.

Mariah Stump, a student at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, said, “I believe that health care is a fundamental human right and I hope that the rally will spread awareness that physicians-in-training are hopeful for a system where the patient and physician are focused on one goal, rather than divided between barriers created by insurance companies. It is my hope that setting the example of a single-payer system in Vermont can demonstrate to the nation that comprehensive, quality and affordable care is possible and worth striving for.”

Jonathan Takahashi, a student at Harvard Medical School, said, “Through my training in medicine and public health thus far, I have seen firsthand how much the current lack of a unified and equitable health care system is a stumbling block in doing the work I care about. This is why action to improve health care, through measures such as implementing a single-payer financing system, is important to me.”

Earlier this week over 200 physicians from around the country said they would seriously consider relocating to Vermont if it were to implement a single-payer system. They were joined by 54 out-of-state medical students.

Saturday’s rally will include at least one band, many students in their lab coats or scrubs, and banners and signs calling for “Single Payer Now.” The event is sponsored by Physicians for a National Health Program and the American Medical Student Association, working in collaboration with local single-payer advocacy groups.

More student statements about why they are participating in this action can be found here.

Students available for interview before and during the rally include the following:

Danielle Alexander, Albany (N.Y.) Medical College (available Friday after 3 p.m. EDT and all day Saturday)
Larry Bodden, AMSA chapter president, University of Vermont College of Medicine
Megan Ash, Albany Medical College (available Friday after 3 p.m. EDT and all day Saturday)
Cameron Gibson, SUNY Downstate College of Medicine (Brooklyn)
Connie Yip, Columbia University School of Nursing (NYC)
Kirsten Austad, Harvard Medical School
Brandon Green, D.O., resident at Tufts Medical Center
Irmina Haq, Jefferson Medical College (Phila.)

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Physicians for a National Health Program (www.pnhp.org) is an organization of 18,000 physicians who advocate for single-payer national health insurance, an improved Medicare for all. To speak with a physician/spokesperson in your area, visit www.pnhp.org/stateactions or call (312) 782-6006.