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June 19, 2008: Healthcare YES! Insurance Companies NO!
Protest the Insurance Companies'  Convention in San Francisco

On June 19, several thousand people from all walks of life demonstrated in San Francisco at the national convention of health insurance companies. For years, these companies have bankrupted us, denied us healthcare, and ripped apart the social safety net. Now they want to force themselves down the throats of our 47 million with no health coverage.

We demand single-payer healthcare: equal, comprehensive, low-cost, accessible healthcare for everyone. It would be delivered by today's doctors, clinics, and hospitals, but paid for by a single, publicly-accountable government-operated agency. No insurance companies! In California, it’s SB 840. Nationally, it’s HR 676.

Inside the convention, executives of America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) met with top political and policy advisors of both parties to create "universal healthcare" by forcing everyone to buy private health insurance. Everyone would pay unaffordable premiums, deductibles, and co-pays. Poor people get worse care. Government spends billions to (barely) help poor people pay their premiums. It’s welfare for insurance companies and Katrina-care for us.










photo by Patricia Jackson, SF Gray Panthers

photo by Patricia Jackson, SF Gray Panthers

Photo by Luke Thomas, Fog City Journal

photo by Gray Panthers of California

Over 3,000 people came, health care activists, nurses, union members, and victims of insurance companies, covering the sidewalks of both sides of 4th Street between Mission and Howard, and around the Howard Street side of Moscone on all four corners. 20 buses came from as far away as San Luis Obispo and Chico. Attendees to the conference—of American Health Insurance Providers (AHIP)—were outnumbered 2 to 1 by protesters and had to walk past lines of outraged health advocates crying “Shame On You!" (See video in next panel.)

photo by Bill Hackwell.

California School Employees Association activists,
low-wage workers desperately needing single-payer.

Photo by Patricia Jackson, SF Gray Panthers

Video of SF Demonstration against Insurance Companies 
From SinglePayerHealthcare, Santa Cruz


Video of Demonstration at Humana Health Insurance
with great talking healthcare blues song.

photo from Fog City Journal

Cynthia and Allen Campbell. Cynthia, a nurse for thirty years, was refused renewal of her insurance by Blue Shield after they discovered she has two stage IV cancers. Cynthia said “I always paid into the insurance programs. I rarely used the policies. Now that I do need to use them, there is no insurance plan available to me. I think the tragedy of my situation is that the health care mess is totally preventable. It's a product of greed. … Now we've got this middleman mentality, that you've got to get profits to corporations that own the insurance companies.” See video of Cynthia.

photo from Fog City Journal

A major theme of the demonstration was "What is a life worth?" and showed portraits of Nataline Sakisyan, a 17-year-old cancer survivor, died hours after CIGNA reversed its original decision, agreeing to approve her liver transplant. CIGNA originally declined the transplant her doctors had ordered because her plan does not cover "experimental, investigational and unproven services."

photo from Fog City Journal

The demonstration concluded with everyone filing by and laying flowers on an alter with pictures of some of the 18,000 people killed annually by America's marketing of healthcare as a commodity for profit rather than a right of all human beings.



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