Tuesday, March 09, 2010


Thousands of union and health care activists marched on the Ritz in Washington DC today where big shots from the health insurance industry were meeting. They came for the obvious reasons and to make citizens arrests of those who are the leading conspirators stealing money from millions of Americans forced to exist wit...hin a private system.

The demonstration is organized by Health Care for America NOW!, a national grassroots campaign for quality, affordable health care. This coalition asked the directors of about 100 groups to risk arrest at the event.

Isn't it about time these liberal leaders did something real to push through even just a little reform. I mean, we're not talking about the revolution here, just some bill in Congress that even if passed wouldn't yet bring us up to the level of health coverage found in any other industrial country in the world.

Chief executives of the top five health insurance companies raked in a combined total of more than $113 million in 2007 and 2008, according to executive pay experts at my organization, the Institute for Policy Studies.

The highest-paid health insurance exec was Ronald Williams of Aetna, who made $35.6 million over the past two years. It would take an American worker with average pay more than 1,000 years to make that much.

The following is from AFL-CIO Now Blog.

Thousands Tell Big Insurance: Blocking Health Care Reform Is a Crime

Posted By James Parks On March 9, 2010

credit: AFL-CIO
AFSCME members declaring the Ritz-Carlton a crime scene.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told the crowd: “It takes the average worker 212 years to earn what the average CEO makes in a year. What do you call that? GREED.”
credit: AFL-CIO
AFSCME President Gerald McEntee to Congress: “You better take our side before we arrest you!”

Thousands of union members, community activists, religious leaders and others turned out in Washington, D.C., today to confront Big Insurance and demand insurance companies stop plotting to kill [1] health care reform even as Congress debates bills to reform the nation’s broken health care system.

The boisterous, energetic, diverse crowd marched from the AFL-CIO and AFSCME buildings and DuPont Circle to the sound of beating drums and shouted slogans like, “Blocking health care is a crime” and “Health care can’t wait.” The crowd was so large, it completely encircled the block-long Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Washington, D.C., where the front group for the nation’s biggest insurance companies, the America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) is meeting. Health Care for America NOW ([2] HCAN) sponsored the rally and march. We live-tweeted the event [3] here.

Nicole Varma from Arlington, Va., who has no health care insurance because she is unemployed was among those taking part in the rally.
I am unable to get my medications because I can’t afford them. We need to send a message to the insurance companies that they definitely need to listen to the people. We don’t want insurance abuses. We want real health care reform.
Workers repeatedly expressed how they struggle to afford health insurance, an ever-growing expense that is eating away at their ability to pay a mortgage or send children to college. Here’s George Estright, a member of AFSCME Local 2162 who traveled from Harrisburg, Pa., for today’s rally.
We support health care reform to control insurance company profits. It’s not right for working Americans to pay for 200 percent profits for insurance companies. We need something that is fair and equitable.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka laid it on the line, telling the crowd:
The insurance companies won’t stop unless we stop them—and we do that by passing health care reform legislation.
So today we’re here to put the insurance companies on notice: We will not allow you and your lobbyists to bully Congress into not acting. Not on health care or any of the issues important to America’s working families.
Marcus Grimes, a former English teacher from Virginia, says he lost his sight because he didn’t have health insurance o cover a $3,000 operation he needed. He told the crowd health care is the issue of this generation:
We are at the crux of our generation. This is our time. We ask you insurance companies. We ask you senators. We ask your representatives. What side of history do you want to be on? We should no more people dying…We stand as one. We walk softly, but we carry a big stick.
The crowd placed a crime scene tape around the hotel and several leaders and victims of health insurance abuse delivered a “warrant” to the front of the hotel calling for the arrest of the insurance company executives.
Check out rally hotos from the Alliance for retired Americans [4] here.
[5] AFSCME President Gerald McEntee told the crowd that Big Insurance “is devastating our families and they’ve been getting away with it for years. We’ve had enough.”
Listen up Congress. This is a life and death battle with the insurance companies. I’m here to tell everyone that justice will prevail.
[6] AFT President Randi Weingarten said:
Our health care system exists to insure people who need it, not to make profits for insurance companies. That’s why we need real health care reform.

Article printed from AFL-CIO NOW BLOG: http://blog.aflcio.org
URL to article: http://blog.aflcio.org/2010/03/09/thousands-tell-big-insurance-blocking-health-care-reform-is-a-crime/
URLs in this post:
[1] health care reform: http://www.aflcio.org/issues/healthcare
[2] HCAN: http://healthcareforamericanow.org/
[3] here: http://blog.aflcio.org/2010/03/09/live-march-and-rally-at-big-insurance-meeting/
[4] here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/retiredamericans/sets/72157623588143504/
[5] AFSCME: http://www.afscme.org
[6] AFT: http://www.aft.org

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