Almost 500 Coloradans attended one of five rallies Tuesday for #HealthforAll hosted by the Colorado Foundation for Universal Health Care and more than 20 partners at high noon on 12-12 in Fort Collins (Read the Ft. Collins story here), Boulder, Denver, Colorado Springs and Durango. Ralliers cheered, waved signs, chanted, and sang songs demanding universal health care in honor of global Universal Health Coverage Day, a day of action marking the five-year anniversary of the United Nation’s historic and unanimous 2012 endorsement of universal health care.
Most who spoke shared a story of how the current broken U.S.
health care system fails us: A mother who chose food on the table over her own medication, leaving her young daughters too soon; a 31-year old who has worked full time since he was 22 and yet still cannot afford health insurance; a working class dad who paid the $600 cost to fill his daughter’s chemo prescription when she came home for Christmas—though the same drug cost her just $20 when she was home in
Every speaker spoke with heart — and fire and determination — for every man, woman and child in Colorado and the U.S. to be able to access quality health care affordably.
“It wasn’t until I worked with critically sick people that I understood the extent of the suffering and the cruelty that is endured by those who are uninsured,” said Ashlyn Velasquez, a Denver nurse speaking on behalf of the Democratic Socialists of America Denver, a partner in the rallies.
“Any bad diagnosis “will sluggishly drag you down for the rest of your life until you have exhausted all your resources and you have nothing left.
“It is a daily reality, and I see it. The pain of watching someone lose their livelihood to a sickness never waivers, and it is made worse when this system inevitably steals what we all hold dear: Our dignity and, quite literally, our lives.”
Tina Lehman of the United Nations Association Denver fought off stage two breast cancer this year thanks to great benefits through her husband’s employer.
“Now, good people. I don’t want to think what would have happened if I hadn’t had that privilege. And why is that a privilege? Why is health care perceived as a luxury in our country when we’re one of the wealthiest countries in the world? Why can’t we provide quality health care that is affordable for all?” she said.
We can, we should, and we will: That was the take home message of all the speakers, including many candidates for office.
Partners included the Universal Health Coverage Coalition, Our Revolution Metro Denver, Progressive Democrats of America, Democratic Socialists of America — Denver and Fort Collins, Fuerza Latina, Health Care for All Colorado, Fort Collins for Progress, Working Families, Indivisible Durango, Arvadans for Progressive Action, Longmont Area Democrats, United Nations Association-USA Denver Metro Chapter and Northern Colorado Chapter, Servicios de la Raza, United Mountain Voices, Fort Collins Community Action Network, Transition Fort Collins, Strength Through Peace, Denver Green Party, Democratic Socialists of America — Fort Collins, Front Range MoveOn, Colorado Community Health Network, Clean Slate Now, Our Revolution Boulder, and Healthcare-NOW!