In nationwide rallies and creative actions, proponents of universal healthcare mobilize to defend—and expand—public program
From California to Florida to Maine, communities in 25 cities across the United States are staging rallies, picnics, and flash mobs this week to celebrate Thursday's 50th anniversary of Medicare—and call for its expansion into a system that provides publicly-funded healthcare for all.
"It is urgent that we continue organizing for the right to healthcare by fighting efforts to roll back or privatize Medicare and joining with movements around the country to establish a publicly-financed healthcare system that includes all people," Ellen Schwartz, president of the Vermont Workers' Center, told Common Dreams.
The nationwide actions marking President Lyndon B. Johnson's July 30, 1965 signing of the bill that created Medicare were organized by a broad array of organizations including Physicians for a National Health Program, Alliance for Retired Americans, National Nurses United (NNU), and Public Citizen.
They also include high-profile supporters, among them 2016 presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who spoke at a Washington, D.C. rally on Thursday morning. "Healthcare is a right for all people, not a privilege," Sanders told a cheering crowd.