Editor’s note: What follows are quotes from participants at the recent NYC Single-Payer Strategy Conference: Building the Opposition: Fighting for Healthcare Justice in the Era of Trump.
ATLANTA, GA — “The coming attacks on Medicaid, Medicare, the Affordable Care Act (Obamcare) plans, veterans’ healthcare and even employer-based plans must be opposed. While some mainstream organizations will fight to defend the status quo, we must ‘play offense while playing defense’, fighting back in a way that acknowledges the inadequacy of the current healthcare system, and calling for universal, equitable and affordable solution: Medicare for All!” Single-Payer Strategy Conference, January 2017
Scores of ‘healthcare horror’ stories were shared at the January strategy conference ‘fighting for healthcare justice in the era of Trump’. Some testimonies were unimaginably painful like the one from the woman who spoke of her 21-year-old nursing student daughter dying in her arms from a diagnosed blood clot after being turned away without treatment from an emergency room. This testimony along with stories from Standing Rock, Flint, Michigan, and many more punctuated the gathering convened by Healthcare-NOW, Labor Campaign for Single Payer Healthcare and One Payer States in New York City. The standing room only crowd of nearly 500 healthcare activists were working through their own collective trauma, angst and outrage about the national election results and cabinet choices that position rabid foxes, in the proverbial chicken coop of critical government agencies, especially the nomination of Tom Price to Health and Human Services (HHS). It was clear that the only way out of this nightmare was to go forward on the offensive and demand that the government guarantee healthcare for all! Everybody In and Nobody Out!
Plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), gut Medicaid through grossly inequitable block grants and end Medicare through a privatization voucher scheme are terrifying and threaten the lives of millions. The Strategy Conference vibrated with a heightened sense of urgency that repealing, gutting and privatizing these systems must be immediately replaced by a publicly funded government secured ‘single-payer’ national health insurance system that guarantees access to the healthcare people need regardless of immigration status, gender, income, age or any health condition. From tactical action plans to seeking long-range strategic alliances with those most dispossessed and in the cross-hairs of the fascist administration, a transformative vision for a just and equitable healthcare system is being fought out and it demands that the government, not unaccountable corporations be responsible for guaranteed, universal, comprehensive healthcare for all!