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Rally in Five PA Cities: Just say “No” to the Health Insurance System

June 19, 2008

Philadelphia, IL – Doctors, nurses, medical students and patients are rallying in five Pennsylvania cities today, to encourage people to "just say no" to the current health insurance system.

Thousands of people die every year from a lack of health insurance, according to Families USA, a consumer advocacy group that focuses on healthcare issues. The rally organizers' message is that it's time to stop letting for-profit health insurance companies run the nation's healthcare system.

Patty Eakin, an emergency room nurse at Temple University Hospital, says the events are being held to honor those who have died or are critically ill, either because of a lack of access to medical care, or their inability to pay for health insurance.

"I see a lot of needless suffering because people don't have good preventive care, or any care at all."

Eakin views insurance companies as "middlemen" in the healthcare system, whose profit takes 30 cents out of every medical dollar spent. But supporters of the current system contend that insurers work to help control costs and streamline the administrative details of a complex healthcare delivery system.

The rallies also are being held to call attention to the Family and Business Healthcare Security Act (HB 1660 and SB 300), a universal healthcare proposal being considered by the Pennsylvania Legislature. Chuck Pennacchio, executive director of the group Health Care for All Pennsylvania, believes it could provide a model for healthcare reform - not only in the Keystone State, but nationally.

"What we need to do is to deliver actual medical care to people who need it, when they need it, as prescribed by their physicians - not something that is siphoned off at 30 cents to the dollar."

More information about the legislation is available online at www.healthcare4allpa.org. The rallies take place today in Allentown, Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Wilkes-Barre.

Deborah Smith/Don Mathisen, Public News Service - PA