Saturday, May 26 marked the one-year anniversary of Act 48, the groundbreaking legislation in Vermont to implement a universal healthcare system grounded in human rights principles.
“It’s a time to celebrate and it’s a time to gear up for the next critical steps toward fully realizing our right to healthcare,” said Vermont Workers’ Center (VWC) President Peg Franzen.
According to the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative, the “human-rights based grassroots approach” of the VWC’s “Healthcare is a Human Right” campaign was critical to this breakthrough, and VWC’s members say it will take the same going forward.
“As we head down the road to implementation of this new system the next year will be critical,” said VWC Director James Haslam, referencing the upcoming decisions around benefits under Green Mountain Care and the 2013 decisions around financing. “Giant healthcare profiteers and other big-moneyed corporate interests have begun dumping huge sums of money to put out misinformation and confuse the people of Vermont in order to derail this effort.”
“We got this far through thousands of people of Vermont coming together to challenge the notion of health care as a private good to be bought and sold,” said Franzen, “and we’re going to keep pushing ahead until our human right to health care is realized!”
Vermont’s universal breakthrough has inspired people throughout the country to take up the struggle on a state level. To mark the one-year anniversary and the road ahead, the “Healthcare is a Human Right” campaign has created a new video detailing the story of the grassroots organizing that led to the healthcare victory, and has launched a new phase of the campaign, calling for national support through an initiative called “Vermont Can Lead the Way” that seeks endorsers of the campaign all over the country (www.healthcareisahumanright.org).
“If Vermont can actually implement universal healthcare, they can lead the way for states across the country to do the same,” said Haslam. “People in Maryland, California, Oregon, New York, Pennsylvania, Maine and an increasing number of states are working together on using strategies from the Healthcare is a Human Right campaign in their states.”
More information can be found at www.healthcareisahumanright.org