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Health Care Activists: Big Insurance Companies a “Crime Scene”

October 7, 2009

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Yellow crime scene tape and "body pile-ups" attracted the attention of passersby outside Anthem Blue Cross offices in five California cities, as thousands of protesters declared the company's locations "crime scenes."

Activists from the group Health Care for America Now say it's their way of taking Anthem Blue Cross to task for putting profits ahead of people's health care needs. Nancy Gomez, a regional organizer for coalition member Health Access California, says lack of health insurance is associated with as many as 45,000 deaths each year in the United States.

"One person dies every 12 minutes because they don't have affordable, quality health care, and 64 percent of all bankruptcies are caused by medical debt. It's a crime the insurance industry is trying to frighten seniors."

Similar enactments took place in Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, and Santa Ana. Gomez says the protesters also are demanding that Anthem Blue Cross stop rescinding health coverage, and denying coverage to those who have pre-existing conditions.

"This could definitely be your next door neighbor, your brother-in-law, your sister-in-law, your nieces or nephews - it's everyday people."

Insurance companies say they're easy targets and contend that high medical costs are more to blame than the insurance industry for problems with the current system. Health Care for America Now is asking Californians to contact their lawmakers and urge them to support a strong public health insurance option, as a way to force competition among insurers and lower prices for coverage.

Lori Abbott, Public News Service - CA