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17 single payer advocates arrested in civil disobedience at Aetna in Manhattan

The Times:

[I]n Midtown Manhattan on Tuesday morning a different sort of health-care protest took place, led by left-leaning groups who accused insurers of greed ...

Why, the idea!

... and called for nationwide, single-payer health insurance.

The police said that 17 people were arrested after refusing to leave the lobby of an office building on Park Avenue where the insurance company Aetna has offices. They were charged with criminal trespass. In addition, the police said, three of those arrested were charged with obstructing governmental administration.

Organizers said it was the first step of a national campaign meant to publicize their views and challenge claims made by right-wing radio hosts and Republican officials.

About 50 people arrived at the Park Avenue building at 10 a.m., participants said, and sent a representative to the Aetna offices upstairs to demand that the company agree to immediately approve “lifesaving” health care requests made by doctors. When that person was turned away, organizers said, sixteen protesters entered the lobby of the building and sat on the floor.

“This is very much a dignified, non violent response to what some people call the howler movement that erupted in August,” said Katie Robbins, part of an advocacy group called Healthcare Now.

The groups have organized using a Web site and Twitter. So far, organizers said, 300 people have signed up to take part in additional protests using civil disobedience and aimed at insurance companies that are being planned for October, while legislators are expected to be working on health care issues.

“We’re going to be in Chicago next week and L.A. the week after that,” Ms. Robbins said. “We’re timing this around the legislative efforts of Congress.”

Good. Courage! Nice to see a little outside baseball for a change.

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jumpjet's picture
Submitted by jumpjet on

A diarist named shockwave over at DailyKos has been organizing them on the last Friday of every month- demonstrations on the street corner across from the Los Angeles headquarters of Anthem, Wellpoint, HealthNet, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of California.

It's an interesting little exercise, and they've only been doing it for three months so far. Each time more people show up, however.

Submitted by lambert on

Very cool. There should be one in DC...

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

Real activists whip for whatever "watered down" legislation Dems say is sufficiently unchallenging for them. Only an unperson could get that wrong.

Andre's picture
Submitted by Andre on

“The myths about government death panels are pure hysteria,” an organizer, Mark Milano, said on Park Avenue. “The real death panels are people who are paid by insurance companies to deny healthcare to patients.”

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

love the use of putting "lifesaving" in quotes. thanks, Dr. NYT! i'm so glad you are qualified to judge medical situations of millions of people denied care by insurance companies. i mean, those people aren't sick and going to die or anything like that. they're just Whiners. with grasping, greedy doctors who are trying to take advantage of helpless little corporations.

i have bad, weak moments in which i indulge my inner libertarian with thoughts of what should happen to times writers and editors when the Revolution comes.