As reported to Donna Smith, American SiCKO
By Elizabeth Lalasz, Chicago Single-Payer Action Network (CSPAN)
CHICAGO -- On Wednesday, August 29, Chicago Single-Payer Action Network's first action went off without a hitch in front of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois in Chicago.
"We estimate between 40 to 50 people attended. It was energetic, loud and serious," reports Elizabeth Lalasz of CSPAN. She said the group formed a circle in front of the building and chanted, "Hey Blue Cross, what do you say, how many claims did you deny today?" and "People over profits, single-payer now."
Several BCBS executives came out, as well as security, to make sure BCBS employees didn't talk to any of the protesters. In fact, security made the employees go out the side entrance in order to avoid the CSPAN group. So, the group moved the picket over to where the employees were coming out, and a decent number of BCBS employees took CSPAN flyers and Lalasz said several of them mouthed, "I agree with you." Later, CSPAN got word that BCBS employees received an email directing them to not talk to the protesters.
Some protesters showed up because of their own horrible experiences with the U.S. health care system. Amanda Jones, a 25-year-old from Cary, IL, was diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder, cavernous angioma, and has close to $300,000 in medical bills. Blue Cross, among others have denied her coverage, because they say she has a pre-existing condition. "It's really horrible. We have been doing some fund raising to help her," Lalasz said.
There were health care workers involved in the protest, including doctors, nurses, and social workers. Nursing and medical students also came to the event from University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC), Truman and Malcolm X Chicago City Colleges, and Northwestern University.
There were a good number of groups represented at the protest as well: Physicians for National Health Plan (PHNP), National Nurses Organizing Committee (NNOC) HealthCare Now!, Metropolitan Seniors in Action, Older Women's League, Health Care for All Illinois, American Medical Student Association (AMSA), International Socialist Organization (ISO), Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), Access Living, Green Party, and the Kucinich Campaign.
Aside from last week's protest, CSPAN will do an action in Chicago in conjunction with the action American Patients for Universal Health Care is taking on Sept. 28 in Washington, D.C. CSPAN will be at the State of Illinois building, highlighting Illinois patients from 4 to 6 p.m. on Friday, September 28. The event will feature State Representative Mary Flowers, who is the main sponsor of the single-payer bill in Illinois.
For more information on upcoming protests, please visit American Patients for Universal Health Care.