ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Many in Rochester joined more than 50 cities across country in rallies and marches to push congress to pass "Medicare for All."
They also want lawmakers to recognize that healthcare is a human right.
Kim Smith is a candidate for Rochester City Council. She says she is fighting for "Medicare for All" because of her experiences as a child.
"Our health care package when I was growing up was peroxide and Band-Aid,” Smith said. “Our system needs to do more. We pay into this system for generations everyone has paid into this system and we have gotten very little out of it."
Dave Sutliff-Atias, who belongs to Green Party of Monroe County, added his own healthcare horror story.
"My doctor broke up with me once because I had a job making $9 an hour and I couldn't afford the deductible for my health insurance,” Sutliff-Atias said. “I couldn't as a diabetic, go through the appointments that he wanted me too because I couldn't afford it and he said ‘OK, I'm not your doctor anymore."’
Ashley Teague organized the "Medicare for All" rally in Rochester. She points out the COVID-19 pandemic showed the importance of having "Medicare for All" when many people lost their employment insurance because they were laid off from their job.
The goal of this rally was to send a message to congress.
"It's hopefully going to make it loud enough to tell that the legislators in office and people in office like we need this now,” Teague said. “It's time to stop waiting for it then if not we are going to have to keep going above and beyond to get it passed."
Sutliff-Atias told ralliers it is vital to support candidates that believe in "Medicare for All" and single payer healthcare.
"You need to look at folks, their words and their deeds and what they've done and what they are doing and if they are not doing to enact single payer healthcare, they need to go," Sutliff-Atias said.
Smith wanted to make sure everyone understood what she believes are simple truths.
"Number one, inadequate healthcare is not due to personal failings, but more so far it is a system failure,” Smith said. “Number two, Medicare is a message and a system that helps every race, every culture, every age and every class.”