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Activists Arrested at Health Insurance Protest Outside Cigna offices
SUNRISE - Two people were arrested early this afternoon when they refused a request to leave during a demonstration outside the Cigna health insurance offices in Sunrise.
The two were part of a group of about 20 demonstrators protesting Cigna for what they called unfair denial of benefits to sick customers. The demonstration was part of a nationwide effort organized by the Mobilization for Health Care for All, an advocacy group calling for a national, single-payer health care system. Related demonstrations were held in 18 other cities, including San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Philadelphia, Baltimore and New York.
The same group recently organized a similar sit-in outside Humana offices in West Palm Beach.
The demonstration at Cigna today was peaceful and cordial, with protesters standing outside the building and several Sunrise police officers keeping them from approaching the lobby.
When John Garcia, who represents the building's management, read a statement asking demonstrators to leave the private property, Sunrise Police Lt. Anthony Rosa warned that he would make arrests. All but two demonstrators went back to their cars.
Arrested were Robert Walz, 59, of Hallandale Beach, and Rogelio Marquina, 72, of Miami-Dade County.
Organizer Al Rogers said the willingness of people across the country to subject themselves to arrest could be a precursor to larger demonstrations in the future if Congress doesn't pass health reform that includes a public option that takes effect within a year.
"America can't wait for this," said Rogers. "It's got to be done now."
Cigna spokesman Chris Curran said the company is in favor of health reform but questioned the value of demonstrations that have targeted Cigna and other health insurance providers.
"Incidents such as these are not constructive and do nothing to further everyone's goal of providing all Americans with access to quality, affordable health care coverage," he said. "We remain committed to collaborating with Congress and all involved to arrive at a long-term solution that will ensure our health care system will benefit all Americans." health insurance offices in Sunrise.