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400 Single Payer Supporters Protest at American Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) Conference
AHIP represents corporations that insure the healthy and avoid helping the sick. Their program on June 16th at Moscone Center in San Francisco featured GOP presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty and Senator Tom Daschle. Both oppose proposals that remove the health insurance industry from our healthcare.
A rally for Medicare For All and ending private insurance outside the AHIP conference featured many speakers and entertainers. Some of these are acknowledged here.
Famed folk singer Faith Petric opened the program. The Raging Grannies and friends appearing as Billionaires for Wealthcare provided an opportunity for the gathered crowd to boo the wealthy who benefit from the reigning healthcare system in America. The rally ended with a mock battle between AHIP and "The Working People and Families of California". A cast of 12 foot tall puppets courtesy of Labor United for Universal Healthcare of LA portrayed the roles; the crowd cheered when working families won the battle.
Kim Alvarenga, who is District Director for Tom Ammiano, spoke on the importance of including all residents including undocumented immigrants in universal healthcare proposals. Also appearing on the makeshift stage was Tim Paulson, Executive Director of the San Francisco Labor Council and Hank Abrons, President of Physicians for a National Health Program – California. Four youth representatives from the Chinese Progressive Association appealed for a healthcare program that is inclusive and leaves no one out, saying that only Single Payer fits that bill.
Glenda Hope read a statement from Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey. Dennis Kelly, President of United Educators of San Francisco also took the stage. The California Nurses Association was represented by DeAnn McEwen. Beverly Ng spoke on behalf of State Senator Mark Leno who is the author of SB 810, the California Universal Healthcare Act (single payer). Karen Smulevitz spoke from the heart. She is from CARA, the California Alliance for Retired Americans. The rally was emcee'd by Hene Kelly, Sergeant at Arms for the San Francisco Labor Council, who kept the program flowing smoothly and the crowd engaged with chants and great enthusiasm for the cause.
A "Billionaire for Wealthcare" stays in character; she argues with a single payer plan advocate.
In this photo you can see police carrying barriers to keep the crowd in line. The barriers were set up to make way for the conference attendees to have a clear path.