Medicare and a Memory With Dolores Huerta

Today, I had the opportunity to speak at a Medicare Rally in Frank Ogawa Plaza in Oakland to honor the 50th birthday of Medicare. I know many of you could not be there, so I wanted to share my speech with you below. I also had the pleasure to meet and share a photo with Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones and Dolores Huerta, a living legend and historic community organizer. I was humbled and inspired by the amazing and dedicated advocates around me. I look forward to continuing the fight to make sure the United States provides healthcare to all of us. Quite frankly, the fact that we do not is unacceptable!

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Happy Birthday Medicare!

Dear Medicare,

On July 30, 1965, you were inked into law. You are much wiser and older than I am. You were surrounded by revolutionaries like the Voting Rights Act and the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. Your selflessness contributed to the desegregation of the south, because hospitals who racially discriminated against their patients would not receive any federal funding granted to them in your name. You were a civil rights advocate lifting older Americans out of desperation, when 1 in 3 adults over 65 years of age was in poverty. You are a legend, like Cesar Chavez, Martin Luther King Jr, and like the legend who will grace this mic in a few moments, Dolores Huerta!!

We are facing difficult times now. We have to tweet phrases like #blacklivesmatter, as if we were transported back to the decade of your inception. And like healthcare justice, our battle cry is loud and clear. Medicare you deserve more. You deserve more than I can give you as a second year medical student. Sometimes, I get so frustrated with the limitations of our healthcare system, it begins to make me sick.  Almost as sick the patients who frequent our student run clinics, because although they may have insurance, it pales in comparison to you. You do so much for our elders, yet you are not allowed to help the rest of us, who are incessantly thirsting for more. You have not been allowed to reach your potential. You are ripe with sagacity and tenacity to lift us from the depths of our desperation, as present and future practitioner who want to make sure we are all accounted for. Not just the ones who can afford to pay for health insurance, not just the ones attempting to navigate bronze, silver, gold and platinum plans that fall into a hierarchical jigsaw puzzle we call a healthcare system. But, hold fast Medicare; we are fighting for Medicare For All with you and for you. Today we are with you, Medicare and again on October 1st, Students for A National Health Program (SNaHP) with students all over the country will hold teach-ins, candle-light vigils, and marches to highlight the thousands of people who die each year because they do not have health insurance! So you see Medicare, you may be older, wiser and have just a bit more patient experience, but just know that we are the new revolutionaries standing on the shoulders of giants like you! Thank you for all you have done and we will not stop until we true health for all, through Medicare for all!

Thank you!


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