America celebrates 50 years of Medicare: Parties, pies, and a rallying cry for change

America celebrates 50 years of Medicare: 
Parties, pies, and a rallying cry for change

 On July 30, nurses, seniors, elected official, healthcare activists, and more—threw a huge cross-country, 25-city celebration of Medicare’s 50th birthday. Under the rallying cry “Protect! Improve! Expand!” (PIE), it’s no wonder birthday cake gave way to pie on this landmark day, where community fun mixed with moving testimony on Medicare’s role in making healthcare a human right.

“For many, Medicare—and Medicaid—has saved their lives,” said Karen Higgins, RN and a co-president of National Nurses United at the Washington, D.C. rally. “Nurses at the bedside see the human value of Medicare every day: ensuring that seniors get the care that they need, keeping them healthy, saving them from bankruptcy due to medical costs.”

Check out images from the day, which included: Senator Bernie Sanders’ impassioned speech in Washington, D.C.; a pie contest in Portland, Maine; picnic fun in Lakewood, Ohio; rally in Detroit; and Medicare foe Paul Ryan getting “pied” in Oakland, Calif.; a carnival in Las Vegas; live music in Los Angeles; emotional testimony from nurses and patients—and a thousands-strong overall turnout in cities including Boston, Miami, El Paso, Chicago, Los Angeles and more.

“There is no human right I know that is more important than to say loudly and clearly, ‘Healthcare is a right of all people, not a privilege!’” said Sen. Sanders to the cheers of the crowd in Washington, D.C. “The time has come to say that we need to expand Medicare to cover every single man, woman, and child as a single-payer national healthcare program.”

Thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate 50 years of essential care for our most vulnerable—and to call for a future where Medicare is expanded to cover all!     

To see more pictures, go to flickr -