Citizens rally at Farmers' Market for health-care reform
Saying far too many people cannot afford basic medical care, a group of Ann Arbor citizens gathered in front of the Farmers Market Saturday to call for national health-care reform.
Organized by local residents Eli Nathans, Madeleine Diehl and Amy Saunders, 20-30 demonstrators passed out homemade informational pamphlets and engaged several pedestrians in discussion about what they said is an urgent need for health-care reform. The demonstrators called for support of President Barack Obama’s plan and worked to spread information on the plan's proposed public option, which would provide government-funded health insurance.“This issue is so critically important right now,” said Saunders an Ann Arbor physician. “No civilized society should have a bulk of its citizens living without adequate health-care coverage. As a doctor, I’ve far too often seen the negative repercussions of a flailing health-care system: people are unable to afford basic coverage, become more sick, and spend far more money than they should be. From an ethical standpoint, we cannot stand by and let health-care reform slide by while so many are suffering needlessly.”
Although the group was not affiliated with any political organization, many demonstrators were members of the Ann Arbor Friends Meeting, a local Quaker chapter devoted to public service and community activism.
“Health-care reform is absolutely a moral issue - we’re all equal in the sight of God,” said Thomas Taylor, a member of the Ann Arbor Friends Meeting. “To decide which among our community receives health-care coverage based on income and affordability is unethical and completely immoral.”
The group’s overriding goal of creating a community dialogue was morethan met, according to one organizer.
“We’re all in this together, and if we don’t listen and talk to one another, nothing will get done,” said Diehl. “Ann Arbor’s citizens are not exempt from this economic downturn that has stripped so many of their jobs, their health care plans, and their livelihoods. Change begins with discussion, and that’s why we’re here today.”
Photos by Liz Rooney. Top: Caroline Nathans carries a sign calling for health-care reform. Bottom: Several health-care reform proponents try to get their message noticed.