On Saturday February 18th the Maine Health Care is a Human Right Coalition held a powerful rally, attended by more than 200 people, at the Monument Square with a march to Senator Collin’s office. We left her a loaf of bread with this invitation to join us at the upcoming People’s Forum on Health Care.
To: The Honorable Senator Susan Collins
From: The Health Care Is a Human Right Coalition
Date: February 18, 2017
Like you, Senator Collins, we have been thinking about health care for quite some time now. Over 3 years ago, we started asking fellow Mainers about their experiences with and without health care and health insurance.As we listened, we recorded their stories. We also asked them what we thought was a particularly important question: Do you think health care is a human right? Their answer to that question was a resounding YES! 94% of the hundreds of folks we talked to believe that the right to health care belongs to each and every one of us simply because we are human.
We believe that the Affordable Care Act was an important, but flawed start. As often happens, politics got in the way of providing what people really want and so badly need. For many of us, failures of the Affordable Care Act and news from Congress about its repeal and replacement continue to make us feel like we have to grovel for legislative crumbs when we are hungry for universal health care, delivered in a system that is just and extends to all.
We are emphatic: The design of any new system or replacement must recognize that health care is neither a privilege reserved for only those who can afford it, nor a commodity to be bought and sold for profit. Access to high quality affordable health care must extend to all.
Furthermore, a just system of health care must reflect the following basic human rights principles:
Equity- Everyone puts in what they can and gets what they need. People have different means and resources that impact their ability to pay. Some people will be sicker and some people will be healthier. High deductibles and health care savings accounts do not adequately address equity.
Accountability- Any health care system must answer to the people. The provision of health care must not only be responsible to the recipients of that care, but also is obligated to the rest of us.
Transparency- We shouldÂ all know how our health care system is managed and run. Providers are responsible for offering clear and complete information in a manner that patients and their families and advocates can understand.
Â Universality- Health care must be afforded to everyone, without exception. Our health care system must include allâ€¦every single one of us. In the United States of America, we know there is enough for all.
Participation- We should all be able to participate in decisions about our personal health care to the highest degree possible. Accessing and practicing preventive care is one example of how our participation not only supports our health, but makes all of America stronger.
We are polite, Senator Collins, but we are also resolved. We left a beautiful loaf of bread for you at your Portland office. Why bread? Bread is a universal symbol of plenty and generosity, and an ancient symbol of life itself. The bread serves as a reminder: We, your constituents, are hungry for health care, not health insurance.Â We are concerned for our lives. Our voices and our thinking are strong. Please come listen and hear us. To do so, we invite you to our first:
Peopleâ€™s Forum on Health Care
March 27th at 6 PM. The location TBA
The Health Care is a Human Right Coalition