Three Arrested for Advocating for "Medicare For All" Explain Why

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Dr. Margaret Flowers believes ”we have entered a new phase in the movement for health care as a human right: acts of civil disobedience. It is time to directly challenge corporate interests. History has shown that in order to gain human rights, we must be willing to speak out and risk arrest.

When eight single payer advocates politely asked for an advocate for a single payer national health plan to have a seat at the table where 15 insurance lobbyists were waiting to testify to his Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Max Baucus had them arrested (C-SPAN, May 5, 2009; Washington Times, May 12, 2009). Three of those handcuffed and led away will tell why they put their futures on the line for an improved Medicare for All at the 6th Annual Public Meeting of Physicians for a National Health Program, Western Washington Chapter. The meeting’s theme is “Keep the Pressure On: Towards Improved Medicare for All in 2011". It will be held on Saturday, February 5th, at 7PM at Kane Hall Room 120, on the University of Washington Campus. The public is invited. Admission is free.

“When compared to health care in other advanced nations, the United States excels in only one area – the amount of money spent per capita per year. Despite our high spending, the U.S. leaves a third of the population either uncovered or underinsured and thus vulnerable to financial ruin, even death, as 45,000 people die every year simply because they lack health insurance as shown in a Harvard study (American Journal of Public Health | December 2009),” says Dr. Margaret Flowers, keynote speaker who has been arrested three times in her attempts to get President Obama and Congress to extend an improved Medicare for All to everyone in the United States. She continues, “the alternative scenario of a national improved Medicare for All will save lives and save money and place our nation on the path of becoming one of the best health systems in the world – something of which we can all be proud.”

"We must engage in actions that expose corporate fraud and corruption. We must make our presence known.” Dr. Flowers is PNHP’s Congressional Fellow in Washington DC. She obtained her medical degree from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and did her pediatric residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. She has appeared on Bill Moyers’ Journal, the Ed Schultz Show and many other venues.

Also speaking will be Katie Robbins, National Organizer of HealthCare-Now, who works to support and coordinate grassroots single payer advocacy groups across the country and Mark Dudzic, a long time labor leader who is the National Coordinator for the Labor Campaign for Single Payer. Both were also arrested during Senate Finance Committee hearings.

About PNHPWWW: Physicians for a National Health Program advocates a national health program that covers everyone with comprehensive benefits. Health care is financed and paid for through a unified public agency and privately delivered. PNHP has more than 18,000 members and 40 chapters across the United States.

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