Healthcare Reform Rally Draws Hundreds
By Micah Leamer
Photos by Terry Hatch
On Tuesday August 25th hundreds of people crowded onto the steps on the west side of the Nebraska State Capital building. A group of sixteen event sponsors had organized a rally from 6-7pm. By the start of the rally the crowd had spilled onto the street. Most of the people present held signs in support of healthcare reform and the public option proposed by the Democratic leadership. There were also a handful of counter demonstrators holding signs to protest the healthcare legislation that is currently being proposed in congress. Despite the conflicting opinions present, the rally remained peaceful and orderly.
From a podium on the steps a series of speakers gave short speeches. After each speech the crowd chanted, “Vote Yes!” The rally began with an opening prayer from pastor Janet Goodman-Banks and reverend Donald Bredthauer. This was followed by personal health care stories from local Nebraskans. Among the people who told personal stories were a small business owner from Lyons, a secretary from the Omaha school system, a self-employed consultant, a retired healthcare worker, a retired Air Force master sergeant, and a doctor.
Afterwards, state senators Jeremy Nordquist and Amanda McGill came to the podium. When Senator Nordquist spoke he said, “This debate is not about myths and lies but rather creating a lasting legacy of healthier Nebraskans.” After speaking in turn, Senator McGill welcomed the keynote speaker, Nick Rathod, who both grew up in Nebraska and is the director of intergovernmental affairs at the White House. Nick gave a historical account of different administration's attempts to reform the health care system, from the Truman administration up to the Clinton administration.
One of the key points in his speech was that this legislation will make it so that “insurance companies will no longer be able to cancel your insurance because you got sick.” Another theme of the speech was that, “this is not a takeover of the system. All it is, is an option. We want to break up the monopoly private insurance companies have on the system.”