Medicare for All: Sit-Ins & Protests at Senators' Offices in 19 Cities

For Immediate Release

Contact: 
Katie Robbins, healthcarenow08@gmail.com, 330-618-6379
Kevin Zeese, kzeese@earthlink.net, 301-996-6582
Margaret Flowers, nose1@aol.com, 410-591-0892

Medicare for All: Sit-Ins & Protests at Senators' Offices in 19 Cities

Angry Citizens Vow to Sit-In at Senators’ Offices for Medicare for All

WASHINGTON - Declaring
health care to be a human right, hundreds of advocates for a
single-payer, Medicare-for-All health program will protest at senators'
offices around the country on Dec. 10, International Human Rights
Day. Many will risk arrest by committing acts of civil disobedience.

What: Sit-ins and protests at senators' offices to demand single-payer health reform
When:
 Thursday, December 10, 2009, International Human Rights Day
Where:
 18 cities across the country (see list at end)
Who: Mobilization for Health Care for All, a national civil disobedience campaign http://mobilizeforhealthcare.org

Organizers
say the coordinated sit-ins and other actions will spotlight the
"complete inadequacy" of the present House and Senate bills, which,
they say, will leave at least 17 million people uninsured and millions
more with shoddy coverage, unprotected from skyrocketing medical costs.

"Elected
officials are the ones with the power to end this abusive, immoral
health care system we have," says George Randt, M.D., a physician
specialist in primary care medicine in Cleveland, Ohio, and a member of
the national single-payer advocacy group Healthcare-NOW!. "They have
the power to take out the middleman-the private insurance
industry-which provides no care but merely inflates the cost of care
for everyone. The bills emerging in Congress are completely inadequate.
Patients deserve better." 

The
actions are part of a national civil disobedience campaign for
single-payer health reform led by the Mobilization for Health Care for
All. The campaign has gained notoriety for having organized more than
35 sit-ins across the country in recent weeks, targeting private health
insurance companies and exposing their role as the real "death panels"
that decide who lives and who dies based on ability to pay. 

"My
life should not be in the hands of insurance CEOs who profit from
denying me care," adds Kate Barnhart of New York, one of the over 200
citizens arrested at the recent round of sit-ins. 

Barnhart's
doctor ordered a brain scan for a tumor in early September, but the
procedure's approval has been repeatedly delayed by her insurance
company. "I had been paying $900 a month for my premium," she said.
"Last week, the company terminated my policy, and I still haven't had
my brain scan. Do my senators think this is OK?" 

Medicare-for-All
supporters advocate a publicly financed, privately delivered health
care system similar to Medicare. The single-payer system would be
financed entirely through taxes, cover everyone, ensure freedom to
choose doctors, and save about $400 billion annually by eliminating
wasteful paperwork, bureaucracy and insurance company profits. The vast
majority of people would pay less in taxes than what they presently pay
for premiums and out-of-pocket costs like co-pays and deductibles. 

Sen.
Bernie Sanders, I-VT, introduced a single-payer amendment to the Senate
leadership's health bill on December 2nd that would essentially replace
the existing bill's language with an improved Medicare-for-All plan.
Sanders has also announced plans to introduce another measure that
would permit individual states to experiment with their own
single-payer programs.  

"While
Obama was courting my vote, he said during the debates that health care
is a right," said Andy Richards of the Coalition of the Uninsured and
Underinsured for Single-Payer, based in Washington, D.C. "My mom fought
cancer for 21 years, and even though she had health insurance, the
out-of-pocket costs were astronomical. She passed away in 2005. Today
my dad is still paying off medical debt and was nearly on the brink of
bankruptcy." 

Richards
is another recent sit-in arrestee who, at age 25, was denied coverage
due to a so-called pre-existing condition. "Does it sound like a right
to you when people go without health care or pay so much for it that
they go bankrupt? My senators need to do the right thing: stop
accepting bribes from insurance companies and pass single-payer
amendments in the Senate." 

December
10th is the 61st anniversary of the signing of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, of which the United States is a signatory.
Single-payer actions commemorating Human Rights Day are taking place in
the following cities:

Atlanta, GA:       Denise Woodal, denisewoodallksu@yahoo.com

Des Moines, IA:   Mona Shaw, 515-282-4781, monashaw@aol.com

Louisville, KY:   Harriette Seiler, (502) 644-7124, hmseil01@insightbb.com

Baltimore, MD:  Charles Loubert, folkspirit@yahoo.com

Kalamazoo, MI:  Don Cooney, 269-387-3190, donald.cooney@wmich.edu

New York, NY:  Laurie Wen, 917-446-1610, lauriewen@aol.com

St. Louis, MO:   Mark Reed, 314-773-7876, mtreed@swbell.net

Newark, NJ:       917-446-1610, organize@mobilizeforhealthcare.org

Syracuse, NY:     Karen Nezelek, 315-876-9669, knezele@twcny.rr.com

Cleveland, OH:   Drew Smith, 330-703-0556, info@mobilizeohio.org

Philadelphia, PA:  Joan Martini, joanmmartini@aol.com

Virginia Beach, VA:  Trudy Serrano, 757-671-9345, trudyserrano@live.com

Seattle, WA:     Sally Soriano, Sally@SallySoriano.org

Washington, D.C.:   Andy Richards, (571)-438-3393, arichards365@hotmail.com

Davie, Orlando, West Palm Beach, and Tallahassee, FL: Rick Ford, 561-601-9150, ffordpa@aol.com

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The Mobilization for Health Care for All is a nonviolent campaign to end private health insurance abuse and win health care for all. We want the real “public option”: Medicare for All, a national single payer plan that cuts out the profit, covers everyone, and puts patients first. We welcome any organization or person who shares our goals, agrees to our guidelines for action, and wants to join this fight.

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