American SiCKOs Head to Detroit

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

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 - 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.

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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:http://pdamerica.org

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