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Jan-18-2013 15:41printcomments

Salem Rally for Affordable Health Care

Local HCAO organizations are arranging ride-sharing and hiring buses.

Jessica Hoffman, HCAO rally organizer
Jessica Hoffman, HCAO rally organizer

(SALEM) - On Monday Feb. 4, the first day of the 2013 legislative session, the 61 member organizations of the Health Care for All-Oregon coalition and 20 grassroots groups of local supporters from across the state will rally on the Capitol steps in Salem for Health Care as a Human Right.

According to HCAO leaders, the purpose of the rally is to demonstrate the breadth and depth of support for universal health care and for the Affordable Health Care for All Oregon Act, which has been re-introduced in this session by Representative Michael Dembrow (D45).

The Act would cover all Oregon residents with no co-payments, deductibles, or premiums and be funded by dedicated taxes, based on ability to pay. Advocates believe that universal health care will result in a healthier population, a more prosperous economy, and a better business environment for the state.

The rally on the Capitol steps will be only part of a very full day of activities planned to inspire and unite HCAO coalition members. Beginning about 10 a.m., teams of marchers carrying signs on behalf of a universal health care system will walk through downtown Salem. Raging Granny singers will greet them back at the Capitol steps at 11:15. At 11:30 the formal rally will begin, led by emcee and rally organizer Jessica Hoffman, chair of the HCAO Mobilization Committee and a health care activist since her student days in the Public Health Department at Oregon State University.

Several individuals will speak at the rally with stories that exemplify personal and business problems due to the current health care system. Among them will be Wes Brain of Ashland, a long-time member and advocate for Jobs with Justice, and the Rev. Joel Miller of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Corvallis. Music will be supplied throughout the rally by Norman Sylvester, and David Rovics, in addition to the Raging Grannies. Rep. Dembrow will be one of the speakers, as will physician Paul Gorman, nurse Nadine Grzeskowiak and other surprise guests.

We encourage everyone to join us in Salem to raise our voices for legislation which will bring health care for all to Oregon. Participants will be able to meet with their representatives or a member of their representative's staff in the afternoon.

Local HCAO organizations are arranging ride-sharing and hiring buses. The full rally schedule and information about transportation options are posted at http://hcao.org/feb-rally-for-health-care/ and on the HCAO FaceBook page. Participants are asked to wear red, bring signs and a lunch, and take along rain gear in case of inclement weather

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