Thursday, April 07, 2011

My Confession & (Healthcare) Testimonial

Healthcare is a Human Right Rally at the Statehouse 2010 & 2011!!!

As I confessed in the April Herbal & Community Health update this month, before the March 31st 2011 Senate hearing on healthcare I’d never even been in the big Senate room at the Statehouse. And this week I’m testifying in it! Sort of. I can’t physically be there, as it’s the weekend of the Reproductive Rights Conference (!), so I’ve written a testimony that my friend is going to read for me. (Thank you, Heather!) On 3/31, once I began listening to everyone’s moving stories about lack of access to healthcare, I wish that I’d arrived earlier and signed up to testify. I’ve heard many express that they don’t feel like the Healthcare is a Human Right campaign here in Vermont is focusing enough on increasing access to traditional medicines (herbalism, acupuncture, midwifery/homebirth, massage therapy, etc). You know why that is? Cuz we haven’t been showing up enough and putting in work! This movement, like any, is shaped by those who show up, that means y*o*u! And me, too. So I’m showing up via written word, and I hope that others will turn out to show support and/or send in a written testimony!

What’s happening: The health care bill, H.202 (a bill seeking to establish a Vermont based universal/single payer healthcare system), passed the House last week by a vote of 92-49! This is the result of lots of hard work by thousands of Vermonters who care about making health care a human right in Vermont. At the 3/31 Senate Hearing for patients and "consumers" of health care services – 60 signed up to speak and all but 3 spoke out in favor of healthcare for all. The next Senate hearing is for Healthcare Providers Thurs April 7, 6-8pm– Everyone Welcome! People's stories affect the outcome of any legislation – and this is your chance to tell the Senate Committee members how the current health care system affects you, your family, and your clients - how you'd like to see the system changed and what the human right to healthcare means to you. If you plan on testifying, or would like someone to read comments on your behalf, please show up early in order to sign up and keep your testimony to 2 minutes. If testifying isn't your thing, please know that coming to watch others testify is a great way to provide moral support for those that are speaking up!!! Please see info above. If you have any questions, please contact Heather Pipino at or 802-595-1671

As we get closer to actually establishing healthcare as a public good in Vermont, the opponents of this movement are turning up the heat. It is really important that we continue to be a presence and a voice for health care justice. Please join us if you can and spread the word to your networks. For more info see:

Save the Date!!

Healthcare is a Human Right! Rally at the Statehouse in Montpelier: Sun May 1st 11am A lot will be happening in the days and weeks leading up to this, please help us make this march and rally HUGE! Join Sen. Bernie Sanders and thousands of Vermonters all over the state as we build a movement for Vermont to be the first state to have universal healthcare. Share with your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers!

My Testimonial: (Feel free to leave comments!!)
My name is Dana L Woodruff and I’m speaking today as a Community Herbalist and Health Educator. I’m able-bodied and fortunately in good health and have not often needed to call upon the medical system often in my life. I’ve had periods of being insured and others when I’ve been uninsured. Many in our community are much more dependent on the mainstream medical system, needing insulin, dialysis, or surgeries for basic survival. While I am grateful for the existence of this mainstream medicine for emergency response and acute care this is but one form of healthcare. I believe absolutely that healthcare is a human right. This right is not only about increasing access to doctors, specialists, and medications. What is broken about our system is not only the masses that it excludes through both cost and policy, but also how limited our view has become of what kind of healthcare is considered legitimate. Strolling down Main Street you may notice the window display of Montpelier Pharmacy filled with bottles and jars of old-time extracts and liniments made with plants. Not long ago, the pharmacy and doctor’s housecall bags were filled with such herbal medicines. Herbalism, midwifery, and other holistic practices thrived long before the American Medical Association formed and began its campaign to discredit their legitimacy and close down their schools. Even still, it is often herbalism, acupuncture, massage therapy, and other traditional forms of holistic healthcare that have brought relief from chronic pain and insomnia, have prevented surgery and lowered blood pressure, have improved quality of life and returned the body to health long-term. I imagine that the logistical details of putting the idea of universal healthcare into practice here in Vermont can be an overwhelming task. I’m asking this evening that in the process of the important work of determining the specifics of what services will and will not be covered that you will consider the healthcare needs and choices of many Vermonters who want increased access to both mainstream medicine as well as preventative care and traditional holistic healthcare services. Thank you.


  1. Beautiful testimony, Dana! Thank you so much! I sincerely hope that other traditional healthcare providers / practitioners can show up tonight at 6PM in the House Chamber! Sign up at 4pm to testify and keep it to 2 mins in length! Solidarity!

  2. Go Dana! Yes, I too have been wishing the health care debate could cover more alternative medicines... but then again there are great advantages to being outside the system and unregulated! One of the reasons I dropped my insurance is that I have enough is savings to cover basic trauma care if need be, and I probably wouldn't use modern medicine for chronic conditions anyway... but including alternative treatments in a state system means they must be regulated and evaluated and controlled, and the best healers I know can't prove their systems in scientific terms.