Workers’ Education Society, physicians, healthcare providers stage die-in to draw attention to failure of for-profit healthcare, call for single-payer

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More than 100 participated in a “die-in,” representing the thousands of people who die every year in Missouri because the state has not expanded Medicaid. – WES photo

Protest part of national day of action in over 30 cities

St. Louis – “Our healthcare system is broken,“ Dr. Pam Gronemeyer told protesters assembled outside the Washington University School of Medicine during the Campaign for Guaranteed Healthcare national day of action Saturday, April 8.

“Even with advances made under the Affordable Care Act, too many people cannot afford healthcare,” Gronemeyer said. “Profit has no business driving the industry. We need single payer, Medicare for all.

“Healthcare is a human right. Everybody in, nobody out,” Gronemeyer said.

Gronemeyer represents Physicians for a National Healthcare Program and Missourians for Single Payer Healthcare. They, along with home healthcare workers, elected officials and community leaders hope to draw attention to:

  • Our nation’s continuing healthcare crisis.
  • The Missouri Legislature’s refusal to expand Medicaid.
  • The call for a single payer healthcare program.

DIFFICULT CHOICE

Tony Pecinovsky, president of the St. Louis Workers’ Education Society (WES), a community organization partnering with local unions focused on adult education, talked about his personal healthcare experience as a small child with cerebral palsy.

“No parent should have to choose between paying the mortgage, buying groceries or taking care of their children’s healthcare needs, like my parents,” Pecinovsky said. “But our for-profit healthcare system forces parents, especially low-income parents, into this situation. It forces them to make this difficult choice. The only solution is single payer.”

NEED TO EXPAND MEDICAID

State Representative Joe Adams (D-University City), sponsor of the Missouri Universal Health Assurance Act, talked about the prospects for expanding Medicaid through the Missouri Legislature. Missouri is one of a handful of states nationwide that has refused to accept federal money to expand Medicaid.

According to St. Louis University School of Law, the Republican dominated legislature’s recalcitrance has cost the ‘Show-Me-State’ an estimated 24,000 jobs and $2 billion annually.

“I see the impact of our backwards system every day,” Sherise Penson, a member of Service Employees International Union (SEIU)-Healthcare, said. “I take care of people on fixed incomes. I see the way they struggle to pay for medicine. Something is wrong when our elderly and our sick are forgotten.”

The rally took place at South Euclid and Forest Park Parkway across from the Washington University School of Medicine.

Over 100 activists participated in a “die-in” as part of the demonstration, lying on the ground to represent the thousands of people who die every year in Missouri because the state has not expanded Medicaid.

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