About 60 demonstrators from unions, churches and progressive groups marched today from the North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce to the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce today to press for health insurance reform. The chambers were chosen as march starting and ending points because of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's multi-million-dollar effort to scuttle health reform. The LR Regional Chamber, which enjoys a $200,000 subsidy from city taxpayers, is unfriendly to the administration's plan, and workers rights generally, too.
HCAN, ACO, AFL-CIO, AFSCME, Interfaith Workers Justice, Move-On.org, and Progressive Democrats in Action Demand Congress Listen to Voters, Not the Insurance Companies
LITTLE ROCK – Nearly 60 Arkansans armed with banners, signs, and stories of health insurance industry abuse marched from the North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce and across the Main Street Bridge to the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce Saturday. The crowd rallied to show that people in cities across the country are demanding that Congress deliver on the change people need by finishing comprehensive health care reform now and finishing it right.
“Enough is enough. We voted for change, and we want results,” said Candis Collins from Health Care for America Now. “Congress has been debating health care reform for more than a year now. Meanwhile, everyday people are still at the mercy of insurance companies’ soaring premiums, denied claims, and inflated profits. Today we say, 'No More.' No more politics. No more stalling. No more business-as-usual in Washington. We need good health care we can afford, and we need it now.”
Health care reform advocates were joined by progressive organizers and supporters to emphasize the pressing need to rein in corporate greed, regulate Wall Street, create more jobs, shore up our economy, address global warming, protect workers’ rights, and finally achieve quality, affordable health care for all Americans.
Saturday’s march and rally was part of a week-long nationwide push insisting Congress act now on health care reform and listen to everyday Americans, not insurance lobbyists. A recent National Journal report stated that the insurance industry secretly funneled as much as $20 million to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to pay for misleading ads designed to scare Americans into opposing health care reform. Arkansas was ground zero for those ads, with more than $1,076,000 in attack ads running in the state since November, including a $142,500 ad buy attacking Congressmen Berry and Snyder after they courageously voted to pass the Affordable Health Care for America Act out of the House of Representatives.
Health Care for America Now and its partners are holding nearly 40 events in 32 states between the 16th and the 24th with turnout expected in the tens of thousands. The flagship event of the week is the “March to the Finish Line for Melanie” - an eight day walk which started in Philadelphia, PA on Wednesday and will end in Washington, DC on Wednesday the 24th – the day before President Obama's Health Care Summit. The march is named for Melanie Shouse, a health care advocate who just lost her long battle with breast cancer after missing out on treatment because she did not have access to good, affordable health insurance. Supporters can follow the “March to the Finish Line for Melanie” online at http://melaniesmarch.com/.
Link to National Journal article by Peter H. Stone that reports America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) secretly funneled up to $20 million to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to pay for attack ad campaigns maligning health care reform: