Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont held a town hall meeting on August 29th and was asked by one of his constituents from the Healthcare is a Human Right Campaign what as Vermonters those who are supporting that movement can do about the amount of money that is going to flood into their state and how to stand against it and stop it. Bernie explained just how powerful the interests are that they are fighting against and how the recent Supreme Court decision to allow massive amounts of money to be poured into campaigns has made that worse. He also explained that if Vermont leads the country in trying to prove that a single payer, Medicare for all system can work, they are going to be deluged with special interest money trying to fight it.
As Bernie pointed out, the reason there is going to be so much money poured into trying to make sure Vermont doesn't go to a single payer system is that if they can prove that it works, other states won't be far behind and you'll see it spread across the country state by state. Sanders then explained what needs to be done to fight those special interests.
SANDERS: In my view, if we are serious about having a cost effective, high quality health care system which guarantees health care to every man, woman and child, the way to go is a Medicare for all single payer system. If Vermont leads the country, you are absolutely right that we are going to be deluged with lobbyists and big money interests. Why? Because if the small state of Vermont, with all of 630,000 people, if we can show that a Medicare for all, single payer system works, then New York state is not far behind, then next New Hampshire and then California. The rest of the country comes.
That is why what we're doing here is so important and you are absolutely right. Well what do we do?
You know what, you're doing it. The answer those with big money, the only way I know to effectively fight back is by educating, by organizing. At the end of the day you knock on doors, you talk to people, you explain the issue. When we make it clear that they understand who our opponents are, there are people out there who are making billions and billions of dollars off of human misery.
You mentioned earlier, somebody mentioned, in this country, last year, you know how many Americans died because they didn't get to a doctor on time? 45,000 people died and god knows how many others became much ill than they should have because they didn't go to a doctor.
What we have now is a system designed to make profits for the insurance companies. There is a reason why we pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs and that is because these guys are making huge sums of money. They don't want a strong nonprofit system. Will they fight us? They sure will. So what you're going to have to do is give real support to the elected officials, to the legislature and hopefully the new Governor who has the guts to stand up to these people.
Bernie wrapped it up with pointing out that those who call single payer radical are talking about Medicare and SCHIP and those who bemoan "socialized" healthcare like John McCain are trashing the Veterans Administration.
This fight in Vermont is going to be very important to the entire country, so go show your support for the Healthcare is a Human Right Campaign.
And here's more from Truthout on Vermont struggling to keep single payer alive. Single Payer Isn't Dead: How States Are Keeping the Movement Alive
Sadly I suspect what is going on in Vermont will be ignored by our mainstream media who along with those corporate interests are going to flood that state, don't want to see them succeed either.