Sidewalk Town Hall Champions Single Payer

A short video from the Courier-Journal about Louisville’s April 8, 2017, Town Hall for HR 676, Improved Medicare for All.


Town hall champions single-payer health care

Darla Carter , @PrimeDarla  April 8, 2017, Courier-Journal


Exorbitant prescription costs, high deductibles and having to jump through hoops to get procedures covered.

Those were among the realities of today’s insurance landscape highlighted Saturday at a sidewalk town hall in downtown Louisville.

Dozens of people gathered outside U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s office to show their support for single-payer national health insurance, which is sometimes referred to as “Medicare for all.”

A new system is needed because “we’re fed up. Enough is enough,” said Dr. Garrett Adams, a former Louisville pediatrician who served as president of Physicians for a National Health Program. “We’re sick and tired of our lives being run by greedy profiteers,” such as “the health insurance industry, for-profit hospitals, Big Pharma and medical device companies. It doesn’t have to be that way.”

About a dozen speakers, including U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, state Rep. Jim Wayne and Louisville physician Barbara Casper, spoke as a crowd held up signs emblazoned with statements like “Patients not profits” and “Hey, Mitch. Healthcare for all is a right!”

“It is shame to live in a country where people are expendable like pawns on a chessboard, a chessboard built for profiteers,” the Rev. Ron Robinson told the crowd. “It is a shame to live in a country where people have to use the emergency rooms as their primary care doctor. …Somehow, we need to raise our consciousness to a higher level and take back what is taken away from us.”

Similar events were held around the country to focus attention on U.S. Rep. John Conyers’ HR 676 Medicare for All bill, which the Michigan Democrat has introduced in Congress since 2003.

“This is an historic day,” Adams said. “All across the country we are demanding a health-care system that works for all of us.”

The national day of action was organized by Physicians for a National Health Program and several other organizations.

Support for single payer “is really growing,” said Kay Tillow, chairperson of Kentuckians for Single Payer Healthcare, a co-sponsor of the sidewalk town hall. Conyers’ plan “really would work to cover everyone, to rein in the costs” and , cover “everything medically necessary,” from eyeglasses and hearing aids to long-term care.

While some strides have been made due to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, the nation needs a plan that would cover everyone and stop profit-making entities from siphoning funds that are needed for care, Tillow said.

Letter | Support single-payer health plan

“We are not doing a good job…so we are appealing to everyone to rise up and make this politically possible by seeing your Congress persons and contacting and talking to them,” she said. “ … We are seeking to appeal to McConnell and the entire Congress.”

The national day of action is being organized by Physicians for a National Health Program and several other organizations.

In a recent piece in the Detroit Free Press, Conyers argued that the time is ripe to support single payer now that a major effort to replace and repeal the Affordable Care Act has failed.

Conyers wrote, “Time and time again I’ve heard Democrats dodge questions about their support for universal healthcare by saying they’re focused right now on defending the ACA. Now that we have repelled Paul Ryan’s attack and Donald Trump has signaled that Republications will move on, the time for those excuses has passed.”

He went on to say, “I want my colleagues to join me in supporting single-payer not to save money or to win elections, but because it is the moral and just thing to do, if, like me, you believe health care is a right to everyone and not a privilege to those who can afford it.”

Reporter Darla Carter can be reached at (502) 582-7068 or