Updates from Montana and Vermont Campaigns for the Human Right to Health Care

The Human Right to Health Care campaign in Montana, led by the Montana Human Rights Network, is critically engaging with Senator Baucus and tirelessly pointing to the lack of respect for the human right to health care in the Senate Finance Committee’s approach to federal health reform. In the meantime, the campaign is also stepping up its local and state level activities. 


NESRI interviewed Christine Kaufmann, Montana State Senator and long-time Director of the Montana Human Rights Network, about her experience of developing Montana’s increasingly influential human right to health care campaign. In the interview Senator Kaufmann also argues that local and state-based activists need not wait for federal action on health care reform, reflects on her dual role as politician and advocate, and explains why politicians can be much more progressive if pushed by concerted pressure from the grassroots. To listen to the interview, click here.


This August, NESRI visited our partner organization, the Montana Human Rights Network, which is based in Helena, Montana. Together, the Network and NESRI held a series of focus group discussions on community health needs in Lewis and Clark County. On this visit we interviewed Alan Peura, the Helena City Commissioner who was instrumental in drafting the county’s right to health care resolution. The county adopted the resolution last December, declaring health care a human right and setting up a task force to identify ways for making access to health care universal. To listen to the interview, click here.


The Healthcare is a Human Right campaign in Vermont, led by the Vermont Workers’ Center, has had an influential voice in townhall meetings with Sen. Bernie Sanders and obtained some great media coverage. Michael Corcoran in The Christian Science Journal writes about why Vermont may become the first state to establish a single payer system. To read the article, click here.


The Vermont Workers’ Center was also successful in influencing the AFL-CIO’s resolution that calls for establishing the human right to health care through a single payer system. The Workers’ Center’s campaign was viewed as a critical pioneering effort in this regard. Over the next two weeks, the Workers’ Center is holding a series of People’s Hearings with legislators across the state. The first meeting will be on Sept. 22 in Montpelier.