Press release from the Asheville Democratic Socialists of America:
A local coalition of organizations including Asheville DSA, Asheville Racial Justice Coalition, Democratic Women of Buncombe County, HealthCare For All WNC, Indivisible Asheville/WNC, Progressive Democrats of Buncombe, Stronger Together of WNC-North, Sunrise Movement Asheville, and the Western Circle of NC Poor People’s Campaign are marching from Mission Hospital to downtown Asheville on Saturday, July 24th to rally in support of Medicare For All.Medicare For All is a proposal to replace the patchwork of private, for-profit American health insurance companies into a single-payer system that would eliminate bills, copays, deductibles, and premiums for all residents of the United States. The U.S. is the only industrialized country to maintain a system based on private health insurance, and it suffers some of the worst health outcomes among developed nations.According to Ellen Kaczmarek MD of HealthCare For All WNC, “Improved Medicare for All means that you never worry again about your health insurance if you change or lose your job, or have medical expenses that you can’t afford. It means never being excluded from healthcare because of income, color, sex, or age.”The Asheville March & Rally for Medicare For All is one of dozens of events planned across the country on July 24th to bring attention to the deficits of the American healthcare system.Tens of millions of Americans are uninsured or underinsured—meaning they have insurance but still can’t afford to see doctors or pay for medications—and medical debt is cited as the top factor in personal bankruptcies nationwide.Advocates argue that a single payer health system, funded by progressive taxation, would effectively be an anti-poverty program for millions of Americans, and would also aid in closing the racial health and wealth gaps. Black Americans are uninsured and underinsured at higher rates than white Americans, and so when disease strikes, they may become both less well and less wealthy at the same time, in a cycle that becomes more and more likely to repeat.Tre Williams of the Asheville Racial Justice Coalition notes, “in Asheville and Buncombe County specifically, there are stark disparities in health and wellness between white and BIPOC communities as a result of systemic racism and historical and ongoing oppression. Medicare for All would help to correct this injustice and is a vital component of health justice.”Marchers will gather at 10 a.m. at Mission Hospital, and after an initial rally, plan to begin walking at 10:30. They will finish around noon with a final rally at Reuter Terrace in Pack Square Park, which will feature music and guest speakers.“Opinion polls show that Americans want Medicare For All. The only thing preventing it from happening is the influence of the health insurance and hospital industries. We need a system that puts people before profits, and not the reverse,” said Tessa Paul, a co-chair of the Asheville chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America.