Medicare’s birthday: ‘We need to fight for it’

SEATTLE — To mark the 47th birthday of Medicare and Medicaid, area retirees with the Washington Alliance for Retired Americans, Physicians for a National Health Program and community allies celebrated in full force in downtown Seattle on Saturday, July 28 with a sidewalk parade from the Seattle Center through Pike Place Market to Victor Steinbrueck Park with music and street theatre.

More than 150 friends and families of the Washington Alliance, Physicians for a National Health Program, Washington State Labor Council and Washington Young Emerging Labor Leaders joined the march to tell politicians in Washington, D.C. and here in our other Washington, that “allowing insurance companies to be in charge of Medicare is wrong! Crippling Medicaid funding or health care benefits for Americans families is wrong! Social Security belongs to all of us!”

“If we are going to keep it, we need to fight for it,” said Lynne Dodson, Secretary Treasurer of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO. “Now is a vital moment for us to take action to protect the life-saving programs of Medicare and Medicaid for all generations.”

U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott thanked the Washington State Alliance for Retired Americans and the Western Washington Chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program for organizing the action. He stressed that, “Healthcare is a basic human right. Since 1965, Medicare and Medicaid have helped ensure this right for millions of Americans. The Affordable Care Act will ensure it for millions more. We must not rest until everyone is guaranteed access to quality, affordable healthcare.”

Check out a brief video of Saturday’s sidewalk parade.

The Washington Alliance for Retired Americans will be hosting a Social Security Anniversary luncheon featuring Barbara Easterling, President of the National Alliance for Retired Americans, Washington State Senator Derek Kilmer, members of the Washington Young Emerging Labor Leaders (WA YELL) and singer/songwriter Al Bradbury of ET & the Boy.

The luncheon will be held at the Teamsters Main Hall, 14675 Interurban Ave. S. in Tukwila from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, August 22. All are welcome. Please join us to Stand Up and Speak Out for Future Generations. For information contact the Washington Alliance for Retired Americans at washingtonalliance@gmail.com.

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