‘Healthcare is a human right’: Hundreds join March for Medicaid in Madison

MADISON, Wis. – Hundreds came to the State Capitol Sunday afternoon, in part of a March for Medicaid led by Wisconsin Poor People’s Campaign and Black Umbrella, amongst other organizations.

The march is part of a national week of action throughout the country.

“We’re having actions in Pennsylvania, Vermont, North Carolina and California,” said Natalia Fajardo of the Wisconsin Poor People’s Campaign. “This pandemic is showing that the profit making scheme that healthcare is organized under in this country is not working.”

Sunday’s event featured speakers who shared personal stories of being denied healthcare or struggling to afford co-pays and hospital bills.

““I see too many suffer from a lack of healthcare,” said Bruce Grau, a nurse practitioner who attended the march. “I work in nursing homes, mostly. Especially with COVID, what I’ve seen is that the environment of the nursing home has been depleted to the point where it’s running on fumes.”

Fajardo says prior to the Coronavirus pandemic, she estimates 140 million Americans were considered poor. Since then, she says Coronavirus has forced many out of work, and subsequently, out of healthcare.

“The fact we haven’t expanded healthcare coverage under this pandemic says it all,” she said. “There’s lots of people that are afraid to go to the doctor because of co-pays, or deductibles.”

Demonstrators at Sunday’s event marched from the Capitol to the Wisconsin Manufacturer’s and Commerce Building on East Wash, to protest against private companies who have profited off the pandemic.

Fajardo says the group will continue to fight for healthcare coverage for all groups, including veterans and indigenous peoples.

“No more closure of hospitals,” she said. “No more leaving healthcare workers on the frontline without proper protection. No more leaving people outside Medicaid because they make too much money for it, or don’t have documented status.”