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North Carolina: Hundreds Protest for Single Payer Health Care

By Michael Graham

A photo of a hundred people holding healthcare reform signs

Asheville, NC – People from all over western North Carolina protested here in Pritchard Park, June 27, to demand a single payer system in which health care is provided to all people, with those able to paying their fair share.

The protest was organized by Western North Carolina for Change (WNC for Change), an organization that campaigned at a grassroots level for the historic Nov. 4, 2008 defeat of the Republicans. There was a clear realization in the crowd that this fight is will be a long one and that it is people in the streets who are going to make the real change happen.

One woman, who lost a son because he was denied health care, spoke strongly of the need for health care to serve people's needs, saying: “Thousands every year die because they are denied care, that’s many times the number that died on 9-11. If we are going to be declaring war it should be on this awful health care system!” She then placed responsibility on congress and big business for the sad state of health care. Speaking of congressional leaders she said, “They have a great single payer plan. As far as they are concerned the rest of us can die! It’s about time that big business stop running this country and we took it back!”

Signs spotted in the crowd said things like “People over profits!” “Health care is a human right!” and “Damn the insurance companies!” People in the United States pay so much money for health care that it amounts to one fifth of the whole economy, yet patient outcomes consistently rank below those of other developed countries. Democrats with wealth and power have been claiming to want a national health care system for decades. Western North Carolinians are now demanding that those who called for change come through on their big talk.

Sarah Buchner, chair of the local chapter of Students for a Democratic Society, attended the rally. She said, “It comes down to the fact that we've got a bunch of rich white senators with Cadillac insurance plans trying to tell students, working people and poor people that we don't have the money to pay for health care. They are liars. If they would stop spending all our money to occupy other countries we could pay for whatever the people need. It's the same old story of the people with the bread telling the hungry to go eat cake. We all know how that story ends.”

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