The 3rd Annual Universal Health Care Conference matters
About 130 Coloradans gathered on July 21 in Denver to connect, rally, and act because they believe everyone deserves health care.
Lauren Swain, a long-time punk rocker, joined rally leaders Derrick Blanton and musician Christopher Macor and about 20 others for a Facebook Live breakout session chanting:
What do we want?
Medicare for All!
When do we want it?
To the Monkeys tune “I’m a believer,” they marched and sang: “Then I realized we need health care for all. Not a broken messed-up mired system from hell.” (Then I realized, we need single payer, an easy simple way to pay for our care.”)
Some wore hospital gowns, plastic butts, and carried signs that health insurance doesn’t keep you covered. (About 800 Americans die per week due to lack of health care, and many who declare bankruptcy HAVE insurance.)
They spoke out, sang loud, and didn’t mind looking silly for a cause they all know will bring peace and health and relief to Americans.
This “rabble-rousing” lot included schoolteachers, parents of young children, medical residents, physical therapists, pizza makers, IT consultants, dog walkers and psychologists.
It included business CEOs and marketing execs ready to help other businesses compete without the burden of rising health care costs. (They led the breakout session titled “Universal Health Care means Business.”)
And yet before July was out, conservative attackers sent press releases bashing the Democratic candidate for governor for associating with these “radicals.” (Rep. Jared Polis was scheduled to speak as the day’s second keynote, but due to a scheduling mix-up, he visited with folks in the morning and sent a video speech for the afternoon.)
Days later, on Medicare’s birthday, conservatives launched their time-release Koch-funded libertarian study showing that Bernie Sanders’ improved Medicare for all bill would lead federal spending to rise 32 Trillion over 10 years.
While the research clearly showed that every American would have comprehensive health care for the same or less than we spend now – and end us suffering and dying in increasing numbers under today’s broken profit-delivery system – mostly the headlines just screamed hysteria.
They pay a premium to stoke your fears.
But at the conference, folks traded great ideas and emails. They plan to get together more often, take more community actions including parades, book groups, and demonstrations.
They learned how to better communicate their shared values with elected officials, skeptics, neighbors, and family members.
They care deeply about reforming health care because they want everyone as healthy and happy as each can be, supported by a winning health care system that makes Coloradans and Americans strong, body, mind, and soul.
They are part of a growing grassroots movement across America demanding improved and Medicare for All.
In other words, they’re a threat to those only too happy for the rest of us to die, so long as their profits keep flowing, uninterrupted.
Radicals. Hmmm. If you say so. We’re honored to be in good company with Jesus, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., the suffragettes, the marriage equality movement.
To quote nurse Ashlyn Clarke Velasquez, “Seeing the broken health care system in action radicalized me. Radical compassion requires radical change.”
Change is coming. And the candidates brave enough to stand up for the public good and for we the people are coming too. Mark our words.
We think we can, we think we can. And therefore, we shall.