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General News    H2'ed 9/29/09

Citizens and health care providers participate in sit-in, risk arrest at health insurance office in New York Tuesday

By Press Release  Posted by Press Release (about the submitter)     (# of views)   1 comment
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Message Press Release
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MEDIA ADVISORY: Sit-in at insurance company office, 10 AM, 09

Contact: Lacy MacAuley, (202) 445-4692,

Katie Robbins, Healthcare-NOW! (330) 618-6379,

Follow us on Twitter @mob4healthcare

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Sit-in is first action of a national mobilization to end insurance abuse and win health care for all

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What: Sit-in at an insurance company office to launch campaign of nonviolent civil disobedience to end insurance abuse and win health care for all

When: 10:00 AM, Tuesday, 09

Where: Aetna office, 99 Park Ave (@ 40th), New York, NY

Who: Citizens and health care providers who are fed up with insurance company greed and are calling for real reform, Medicare for All, a single payer plan

New York, NY Citizens and health care providers who are fed up with the state of our health care system will risk arrest at a New York Aetna health insurance office on Tuesday morning. The sit-in is the first action in part of a larger mobilization to end insurance abuse and build support for real reform Medicare for All, a single payer plan. The mobilization involves civil disobedience at insurance company offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, and other cities throughout October.

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Participants in the sit-in are expected to peacefully assemble and walk into the office, where employees are reviewing health insurance claims, and denying claims for care that doesn't make them money. If they are not allowed entry to the office, they will sit outside the door. Participants in the action will demand immediate approval of all doctor-requested care for lifesaving treatment. They will not leave until their demands are met, or they are removed by law enforcement.

"Hundreds of people die each day because insurance companies deny them lifesaving care that they need," said Constancia 'Dinky' Romily, 68, who is a retired nurse and resident of East Village, New York who is participating in the civil disobedience. "I'm willing to put myself on the line for them. We need Medicare for All, the real public option."

A nurse for 30 years, Romily has seen the worst of insurance company denials. She describes one young woman in her care, about 30 years old, who had been a victim of a crime and shot in the spine, making her paraplegic. The patient had "terrible spasms," so the doctor recommended the implant of a pump device that would deliver anti-spasmodic medication directly to her spine. The insurance company denied this doctor-recommended care for six months. "Eventually," says Romily, "she died much sooner and in much more misery then she would have if she had gotten the device implanted. These insurance companies are the real death panels."

The sit-in is part of the Patients Not Profit campaign of the Mobilization for Health Care for All. The mobilization was launched by the organizations Prosperity Agenda, Healthcare-NOW!, and the Center for the Working Poor. Tuesday's action has been organized by Private Health Insurance Must Go!, a local New York coalition.

"At this critical juncture in the national health care debate, we are highlighting deaths and suffering caused by insurance company denials. A recent study found 20% of all doctor-approved health care recommendations are denied by insurance companies. People are dying because these corporationsput profitsbefore patients," said Katie Robbins of Healthcare-NOW!

The sit-in coincides with the Senate Finance committee's mark up of the health care bill. Bloggers with a project called Little Sis discovered that former employees of Wellpoint Insurance have literally drafted the legislation. Chairman of the Finance Committee, Max Baucus' chief health adviser,

Elizabeth Fowler is understood to speak for Baucus on health policy issues is actually listed as the author of the bill. Fowler worked for the insurance industry from 2006 to 2008, when she served as vice president of public policy for Wellpoint.

Participants in Tuesday's act of civil disobedience think that the health care bill fails to address the real cause of our health care crisis, the insurance companies.

"As long as the for-profit health insurance companies are still calling the shots, and are still denying care and coverage to people, the system is going to continue in a downward spiral," said Ken Bing, 54, a resident of Queens, New York, and a licensed physical therapist who plans to participate in the sit-in and risk arrest. "I think Medicare for All, a single payer plan, is the solution."

Bing has been a physical therapist at a major clinical facility in Brooklyn, New York, for 20 years. He says that too many times he has found himself arguing with insurance companies in order to provide the care that he knows a patient needs.

"On a day-to-day basis, there are barriers being put up between what our clinical judgment is and what is covered by the insurance company," said Bing. "We are the only industrialized democracy that doesn't provide universal health care. A single-payer plan would save time and money so we could provide health care for all."

Experts agree that the current health care bill is not helping.

"The Democratic health care bill is a giveaway to the insurance industry. Tens of millions of Americanswill be forced to buy overpriced insurance, which will result in hundreds of billions in new annual revenue for the insurance industry," said Kevin Zeese, executive director of Prosperity Agenda. "A Medicare for All system would cover all Americans, unlike the Dem proposal which will leave tens of millions without coverage, and would reduce the cost of health care immediately saving $400 billion annually in insurance company profits, executive salaries and bureaucracy."

# # #

For more information:

Mobilization for Health Care
Prosperity Agenda,
Center for Working Poor,

View our Facebook Page

Check us out on YouTube

Follow us on Twitter @mob4healthcare


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