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June 21, 2010
1:10 PM

CONTACT: Progressive Democrats of America

Donna Smith at 773-617-4493,
Reggie Cervantes at 760-515-0297, or
Adrian Campbell at 517-304-3018

American SiCKOs Head to Detroit

On the 3rd Anniversary of Sicko's Release, PDA's Donna Smith and Two Other Sickos to Speak at US Social Forum in Detroit

WASHINGTON - June 21 - Three women who were featured in Michael Moore’s 2007 documentary, SiCKO, will be marching, meeting and speaking in support of healthcare as a basic human right in the United States this week in Detroit at the U.S Social Forum. Each woman will convey the message that even the recently passed health insurance reform will not prevent their stories from happening to other Americans in the future. The three women serve together on the board of American Patients United and advocate for transformation of the US healthcare system into one of healthcare for all, not just some.

"I wish I could say that the new healthcare bill meant we'd won the fight for decent medical care for all Americans. It doesn't; it means the fight has just started. Everyone should listen to what Donna,
Reggie and Adrian have to say," added Moore as three of his documentary subjects continue to raise concern about healthcare in America.

SiCKO followed the stories of several US patients with health insurance who had been unable to get adequate healthcare or who were devastated financially due to insurance inadequacy or denials. The film also featured a segment showing several patients traveling to Cuba to seek the medical they were unable to get in the United States.

Donna Smith of the Washington, DC, area, now works for the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee and is also the co-chair of Progressive Democrats of America’s national Healthcare NOT Warfare campaign, but when SiCKO was released three years ago, she and her husband Larry had filed for bankruptcy due to medical crisis and also lost their home, even though they were fully insured. “I wish it were not so, but Congress did little to change the stresses in the US healthcare system that led to my family’s financial collapse--in fact, as more Americans are forced to purchase insurance that often is only affordable with high deductibles, co-pays and out-of-pocket expenses, many more will face financial ruin when they get sick. I expect medical bankruptcy to continue to rise unless we stem the tide with truly universal, improved Medicare for all.”

Reggie Cervantes of Oak Hills, CA, was featured in SiCKO as one of the 9/11 first responders who have been struggling to get healthcare ever since she helped on the scene at the World Trade Center in the 2001 terrorist attacks. “I remain committed to seeing that everyone has access to healthcare so no rescue worker, no person working to serve the public ever again is left injured and ill. Just as thousands of 9/11 workers still fight to get care for respiratory illnesses, cancers and PTSD, thousands more people now working on the Gulf oil spill will face the same health and financial damage as this current tragedy unfolds. President Obama was right to compare this environmental catastrophe to 9/11, but I certainly hope that two or three or five years from now, the workers won’t face what 9/11 rescue workers still face today in terms of the lack of access to appropriate care and relief.”

Adrian Campbell Montgomery of Wolverine Lake, MI, slipped across the border to Canada with her little girl to seek care she could not afford in the United States, and those scenes are featured in SiCKO. Today, like many thousands of Michiganders, Adrian faces mounds of medical debt and low prospects for employment. “Having huge medical bills this early in my life is forcing me to make life choices that might have been different if we had a truly just healthcare system in this country. Instead, I work terrible jobs when I can find them and get few or no benefits, so that when I get sick, I cannot get care without worrying about the bills and the collection agencies and all the trouble later. We need a single-payer system that covers all of us no matter what.”

All three women have stayed in touch since the movie’s release in 2007, and refer to one another as “SiCKO sisters.” They share a bond born of pain and shared suffering and the belief that they do not wish to leave this system to their children and grandchildren.

The SiCKO sisters will march in the USSF opening march on Tuesday afternoon, June 22, participate in a single-payer healthcare workshop on Thursday, June 24, 10 am – noon at the UAW Building, and will help facilitate a healthcare discussion along with several other groups on Friday, June 25, from 1 to 4 pm in Cobo Hall. All three women are also members of Healthcare-NOW!, one of the sponsoring organizations for the healthcare events at the USSF.


Progressive Democrats of America is a grassroots PAC that works both inside the Democratic Party and outside in movements for peace and justice. Our goal: Elect a permanent, progressive majority in 2008. PDA's advisory board includes seven members of Congress and activist leaders such as Tom Hayden, Medea Benjamin, Thom Hartmann and Rev. Lennox Yearwood. More info:


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