Speech at Medicare for All Rally

This is a two-minute speech Jenny Brown gave on behalf of the Women’s Liberation Taskforce for National Health Care at the July 30, 2009 rally for Medicare for All in Washington, D.C.  The rally was organized by Health Care Now.

Why are Women’s Liberationists in the U.S. in the fight for national health insurance? It’s not because women need more health care. It’s not because we think women are particularly more caring—in fact, we’d like to STOP being the safety net when our rotten health care system kicks people out quicker and sicker. It’s not even that women are less likely to be insured.

No, the Women’s Liberationists of Redstockings and the feminist groups in our taskforce say that the insurance company stranglehold on our health care system is an obstacle to women’s freedom and independence. How? It builds in dependence on men’s insurance and their employers. It builds on the uncompensated work women do when our lousy, cheapskate health care system fails us.

Health benefits based on jobs and marriage undermine our independence and undermine our power on our jobs and at home. Feminists demand equality from men, but we also need to tear down the structures that make us dependent on the men in our lives. Our job and marriage-based system is one such obstacle. We say: Stop tying health care to jobs! Stop tying health care to marriage!

The half-assed, money-wasting proposals that Congress and the insurance companies are currently crafting will NOT help women gain independence because they don’t alter the jobs-and-marriage system for getting health care. Therefore we oppose them categorically. “We will not accept insults and call them steps in the right direction” as abortion pioneer Cindy Cisler said at a similar juncture.

Every individual must have health care in her own right, as a right, like they have in so many other countries.

This is Redstockings 40th anniversary—I urge you to go to our website and get our book about why we think national health insurance should be a priority for the feminist movement. www.redstockings.org

Thank you, Health Care NOW, for all you do in this struggle.