The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Ali Thebert, Physicians for a National Health Program,

Med Students to Rally at Vermont Statehouse for Single-Payer Health System Saturday

Sen. Sanders, Gov. Shumlin to join health-professional students who say Vermont can lead the nation in fundamental health reform


Buses, vans and carloads filled with health-professional students from Vermont and neighboring states will roll into town this Saturday, March 26, for a 1 p.m. EDT rally at the Statehouse aimed at showing student support for a single-payer health system.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vt., both of whom have been outspoken advocates of single-payer reform, are scheduled to speak at the rally.

The program will feature short remarks from future physicians, nurses and other health professionals from Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania and even faraway Oregon, all of whom have been inspired by the idea that Vermont might be the first state to adopt a truly universal, streamlined, and cost-effective system of financing care, thereby setting an example for the nation.

Mariah Stump, a student at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, said, "I believe that health care is a fundamental human right and I hope that the rally will spread awareness that physicians-in-training are hopeful for a system where the patient and physician are focused on one goal, rather than divided between barriers created by insurance companies. It is my hope that setting the example of a single-payer system in Vermont can demonstrate to the nation that comprehensive, quality and affordable care is possible and worth striving for."

Jonathan Takahashi, a student at Harvard Medical School, said, "Through my training in medicine and public health thus far, I have seen firsthand how much the current lack of a unified and equitable health care system is a stumbling block in doing the work I care about. This is why action to improve health care, through measures such as implementing a single-payer financing system, is important to me."

Earlier this week over 200 physicians from around the country said they would seriously consider relocating to Vermont if it were to implement a single-payer system. They were joined by 54 out-of-state medical students.

Saturday's rally will include at least one band, many students in their lab coats or scrubs, and banners and signs calling for "Single Payer Now." The event is sponsored by Physicians for a National Health Program and the American Medical Student Association, working in collaboration with local single-payer advocacy groups.

More student statements about why they are participating in this action can be found here.

Physicians for a National Health Program is a single issue organization advocating a universal, comprehensive single-payer national health program. PNHP has more than 21,000 members and chapters across the United States.