MA Health Care Rally Gives Thanks

HealthCareRallyVert.jpgBy Jennifer Reading — 11/12/09
An enthusiastic crowd of health care supporters gathered outside the statehouse to thank their congressional representatives for their help in passing the historic health care reform legislation.
The Affordable Health Care for America Act passed in the House with a vote of 220 to 215. All ten members of the Massachusetts delegation unanimously voted “yes” on the bill that will overhaul the national health care system.
“Never before have we been this close to treating healthcare as a basic human right and providing all Americans with access to the affordable care that they need and deserve,” said Jason Lewis, the Stoneham-Winchester state representative.
The bill provides for health care reform with a public option that many believe will help cut costs and expand affordable coverage. It also raises reimbursement for Medicaid, includes a long-term care insurance program for disabled adults and allows young people to stay on their parents’ insurance policies though age 26.
“Everyone deserves health care in this country,” said Amy Whitcomb Slemmer, Executive Director of Health Care for All, “and your health outcome should not depend on your financial income.”
According to MoveOn and the other organizations in the Health Care for America Now Coalition, over 70% of Americans supports a public option. This is despite the fact insurance companies are spending nearly $5 million a week to defeat it.
MoveOn Boston council coordinator Gillian Mason believed Congress’s vote is sending a clear message to these insurers.
“It would end the practice of excluding people because of pre-existing conditions and gender discrimination,” said Mason, “And it would be the first step to help end big insurance’s strangle hold on the health care system in America.”
The bill now moves to the Senate. So these rally leaders and participants are appealing to Senators Kerry and Kirk for their support.
“Now we must re-double our efforts to ensure that a strong health care reform bill, including a public option, is passed in the Senate,” said Lewis, “Those who stand to lose from health care reform and those who simply want to see President Obama fail will not give up without a fight.”
And based on the passionate rally cries of reform supporters, neither will they.
“We can make sure that every American has affordable health insurance,” said rally participant Harold Fortuina. “It’s not a big luxury. Every other country can do it, and does it for less with often better quality than we can. So it’s time for America to step up and do it.”