Between The Lines Radio Newsmagazine at the 2015 Left Forum

healthcarehumanright.png"Successes and Challenges of Human Rights Campaigns for Publicly Financed Health Care in the U.S."

a panel discussion exploring state campaigns to establish single-payer health care Saturday, May 30, 2015


Successes and Challenges of Human Rights Campaigns for Publicly Financed Health Care in the U.S. from PROUDEYEMEDIA on Vimeo.

panelLeft Forum Panel description: The movement for universal health care in the U.S. has experienced many successes, challenges, and setbacks. The U.S. remains the only industrialized country without universal health care, and the Affordable Care Act shows that access to and payment for care will remain inequitable while health care is treated as a market commodity rather than a public good. Health care is a matter of economic justice and human rights. After winning the country’s first law for universal, publicly financed health care in 2011, Vermont’s Healthcare Is a Human Right Campaign has inspired rights-based grassroots campaigns in a number of states, including Maine, Maryland and Pennsylvania, which have formed a Healthcare Is a Human Right Campaign Collaborative. When Vermont’s governor recently caved to pressure from businesses and refused to endorse a financing plan for the new system, the Vermont Campaign pushed back, supported by partners, allies and economists across the country. The Vermont Workers’ Center and NESRI released the Campaign’s own financing plan, demonstrating how equitable taxes can create a health care system that meets everyone’s health needs and advances income and wage equality. This panel will examine challenges in Vermont, Pennsylvania and elsewhere; discuss lessons for state-based campaigns; and assess how the struggle for health care is linked to other economic rights, including budget and tax policy.

leyshonBetween The Lines' Executive Producer Scott Harris introduces the panel discussion and the first speaker, Traven Leyshon, who provides an analysis of successes and challenges in Vermont. Traven Leyshon is a longtime working class radical having been active in rank and file movements in the auto and trucking industries. He is a founding member of the Vermont Workers Center, active in the Healthcare is a Human Right campaign, president of an AFL-CIO central labor council, and a member of Solidarity.

sairahmedKarim Sariahmed, of Put People First PA, discusses how PPF-PA has learned from VT's campaign and adapted that organizing model for Pennsylvania. He works in youth education and is starting medical school this summer. He holds a bachelor's degree from Swarthmore College.

rudigerAnja Rudiger, who assesses the progress/success and impact of campaigns in Vermont, Pennsylvania and other states, and the near-term and long range effect on organizing nationally. Anja Rudiger, Ph.D., is director of programs at the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative (NESRI), based in New York City. Anja works with grassroots groups across the U.S. to develop human rights strategies, analysis and tools to advance social and economic justice, particularly in the areas of health care and budget/revenue policies. She has advised and supported the Healthcare Is a Human Right campaign in Vermont since its inception in 2008. NESRI is now coordinating the multi-state Healthcare Is a Human Right Campaign Collaborative.


Audience Q&A with our health care panelists, followed by closing remarks

Between The Lines thanks Anja Rudiger, Traven Leyshon, Karim Sariahmed, Ellen Schwartz, Keith Brunner and Thuan Le for their help in organizing this panel.

This year's Left Forum theme:"No Justice, No Peace: Confronting the Crises of Capitalism and Democracy”
Featured speakers include: Glen Ford, Kshama Sawant, Tom Hayden, Rev. Osagyefo Sekou, Laura Flanders & Immortal Technique

The Left Forum is the largest annual conference of the broad Left in the United States. Each spring thousands of conference participants come together to discuss pressing local, national and global issues; to better understand commonalities and differences, and alternatives to current predicaments; or to share ideas to help build social movements to transform the world.

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