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Fight for Healthcare

Healthcare is a human right, and our rights have been violated for long enough. President Obama stated in his weekly web address last month (Friday, June 5) that “The status quo is broken.” The profiteers have failed and the system is in shambles. The United States spends more on healthcare than any developed nation and in turn we have 46 million (15 percent of the population) without healthcare; 8.1 million are children. We need a renewed system, something that works and something that is a public, not-for-profit system.

The president kicked off his town hall tour in Green Bay, WI, a city that has kept down costs and in turn it has provided fertile soil for political support for Obama’s initiative. This strategy of “going public” is designed to harness the existing popular support for his new initiative. According to a Rasmussen poll, 65 percent of Americans favor the idea of universal healthcare and this public health option initiative is a universally available option designed to compete with the private sector.

Moderate Democratic and Republican legislators have revolted against President Obama’s initiative with the theme “Anything but public.” Reactive protestors say that a public option would cost too much, take away choice, and enjoy an unfair market advantage. The American Medical Association and the opposing legislators profit from the disenfranchisement of millions of Americans while the government picks up the check (i.e. corporate welfare). A recent article, “Centrist Democrats Raise Big Concerns,” cites the New Democratic Coalition and the Blue Dog Coalition’s attempt to “ensure that that government-backed health care plan doesn’t undermine the private market,” which would maintain healthcare services as a market commodity—and “ensure” that Representative Allyson Schwartz of Pennsylvania (NDC vice-chair, co-chair of the healthcare committee) would receive $38,823 in campaign funds from the health professionals sector for the 2009-10 reporting period. According to, eight of New York’s congressional representatives and our junior senator Kirsten Gillibrand ($23,825) also received funding from health professionals.

Our policy interests and course is clear: The interests of a few cannot outweigh the welfare of the many. The objections to universal healthcare, whether by a public plan or a single-payer system that has worked for other developed nations, are largely based on private economic interests; fear from the status quo, and class prejudices.

Many of us in the progressive community would like to insure all Americans under a single-payer plan that uses our large national tax base to fund healthcare (as opposed to “defense” or corporate subsidies), but this is our opportunity and we cannot pass it up. In Western New York, the Healthcare Education Project is organizing pillars of the community to engage in the debate towards progressive solutions. This is now or never; we cannot settle for “market solutions” from conservatives and moderate profiteers who are beholden to special interests. If any readers want to get involved e-mail Sergio at Let us call on those who say that they represent our interests and remind them to do just that.

Cliford Cawthon

Artvoice reserves the right to edit letters for content and length. Shorter letters have a better chance at being published in their entirety. Please include your name, hometown, and contact number. E-mail letters to: or write to: Artvoice Letters, 810 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14202

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