Burlington Free Press
March 18, 2009
Single-payer health care system touted
150 rally in support of concept at regional forum at UVM
By Nancy Remsen, Free Press Staff Writer
Dr. John Walsh, a neuroscience researcher from Worcester, Mass., stood Tuesday with 150 other sign-carrying supporters of government-financed health care outside the building where 400 invited guests would attend a regional health care reform forum sponsored by the Obama White House.
Walsh passed out yellow fliers that denounced President Barack Obama for failing to live up to promises to consider a Canadian-style health insurance system. “Single payer is the choice in the polls,” Walsh declared.
Sandy Eaton of Quincy, Mass., and a member of the Massachusetts Nurses Association, came to the only forum scheduled for the Northeast to add his voice to those demanding that national policymakers weigh the merits of a government-financed system when they discuss reform options. “Let’s make sure there is a fair and legitimate comparison,” Eaton said.
Rebecca Elgie, a retired teacher, traveled six hours from Ithaca, N.Y., because she has made advocacy for a single-payer system her cause. Three years ago she walked 400 miles across her state to raise awareness about the need for a better way to pay for health care. Elgie said, “The employee-based system has outlived its usefulness.”
The rally greeted the invited guests as they strolled toward the Davis Center at the University of Vermont under a bright blue sky. “They need to know there is enough support for people to drop everything and come here to support single payer,” said Dr. Deb Richter, a Montpelier family physician and prime force in the single-payer movement in Vermont.