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Medicare for All
Rally against AHIP convention
End Private Health Insurance
Medicare for All
Hundreds of us confronted the AHIP (America’s Health Insurance Plans) convention, June 16 at Moscone Center to give them a message, “Keep your hands off Medicare!” AHIP represents the insurance companies, those corporations who deny care whenever possible while raising your premiums. AHIP speakers included presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty and Senator Tom Daschle who oppose proposals that remove the health insurance industry from our healthcare system and support the Republican’s plans for Medicare vouchers and block grant Medicaid. The overhead costs under current insurance-dominated health care waste 30 cents of every dollar. Medicare has an overhead cost of about .03 cents on the dollar.
Our speakers joined a broad coalition of labor, community activist organizations, teachers, nurses, physicians, and messages from supportive politicians. Reverend Israel Alvaran, UNITE/HERE Local 2 passionately spoke to the immorality of the insurance industry; “Making money off of people’s health is immoral!” Karen Smulevitz, CARA (California Assoc.. of Retired Americans, told about a woman fighting kidney cancer whose doctor prescribed a new oral chemo medication. Yet, the medication would cost $2,400 a month. DeAnn McEwen, CAN (California Nurses Assn.), and National Nurses Organizing Committee warned us that those insurances people inside Moscone plot to put profits over people. “Blue Shield is No Shield, and Blue Cross is Double Cross!” Kim Alvarenga, District Director for Tom Ammiano, read a message from Assemblymember Ammiano reminding us of the need to work in coalitions to assure everyone access to healthcare. SB 810 would bring affordable healthcare to every resident in California and that includes undocumented workers and families. Beverly Ng Senior District Representative for Senator Mark Leno said it is our job here in California to lead the way for health care, that there is a difference in health care and health insurance! Glenda Hope brought messages of support from Marin Representative Lynn Woolsey. Long-time fighter for Single Payer health care Don Bechler, Single Payer Now, received enormous cheers for his years of organizing. Greg Brockbank, Health Care for All called Health care a civil right and the organization has gathered tens of thousands of signatures for AB 810. Raging Grannies and Faith Petric led us in familiar songs with different words: “We love our Medicare – Don’t Privatize
It’s our lifeline – our health care, And we won’t stand for Ryan’s big lies”
CPA, (Chinese Progressive Assoc.) youth told of their victory in stopping cuts to the Healthy Family program and their demand for inclusion of access into the Planning Commission programs. Then youth and elders together chanted; “Ain’t no power like the power of youth, ‘cause the power of youth don/t stop!”
The rally ended with street theater with Punch and Judy takeoff with gigantic, 12-foot puppets dueling it out in several boxing rounds. The family puppet defeated the Corporate bully.