Category: healthcare


Today the “news” announced that 26 years olds (up from 23) can now be insured on their parents’ corporate insurance plans as of today. My daughter is 24. She can get back on my plan. Except my company plan has to have it’s annual “enrollment period” which lasts for 4 months. So I can enroll her now but she can’t be insured until January and that will only last for another year and a half. Meanwhile our rates have gone up 17%. For many they have gone up well over 30%.

But I want to let all the corporate insurance companies out there know how much I appreciate their compliance with the law to allow my daughter to have health care for another 18 months. After all, we all owe our very existence to the corporate insurance industry. It is only by their willingness to let us pay outlandish premiums that we may live yet another day, at least until we actually do get sick and they deny coverage.

We must all pull together and do whatever we can to make sure the insurance industry continues to make its record profits for shareholders. These people need jobs. God knows they aren’t capable of doing anything productive for society. It’s a small price to pay that so many will die (45,000 annually – 15 times 9/11) so that so few may live so lavishly. The few, the proud, the greedy, the  shameful – the U.S. health insurance industry. Be proud and stand up for who you are.

Got Healthcare Yet?

  1. Fact: In 2009 the U.S. Census Bureau reported that 46 million Americans did not have health insurance. That number was by then actually over 52 million and was reduced to 22 million with the passage of health care reform. But it has grown since then to 27 million and continues to grow.  If the reform measures are repealed (as Republicans want) it will be back in the 55 to 60 million range.
  2. Fact: A 2009 Harvard University and Ohio University study concluded that 45,000 Americans die every year for lack of health care. That number is 15 times (every year) the number killed in 9/11.
  3. Fact: The number one cause of foreclosure in America in health care debt. In America if you want to live and be treated for a serious condition, you have to fork over your house or die.
  4. Fact: 62% of all bankruptcies in America are due to medical debt.
  5. Fact: 1% of Americans own more than half of America’s wealth. Obama refused to consider a single payer healthcare system that would decimate the health insurance industry because it represents (along with all the medical debt credit industry) one-sixth of our economy. But with 1% owning half the wealth, that one-sixth is really only very small percent of the population.
  6. Fact: A single payer system (Medicare for all) is the only way to fix the U.S. health care problem.  As long as there is a for-profit health insurance industry in control of American’s health, only the very rich will be covered, and our medical debt and quality of health will continue to devolved.
  7. Fact: America ranks 37th in health care worldwide (based on infant mortality and longevity) – World Health Organization study.
  8. Fact: America ranks 52nd in heath care fairness – World Health Organization study. Cuba has better health care than the U.S. in terms of fairness.
  9. Fact: 39 other countries have universal healthcare coverage for all citizens. Many, even for those who aren’t citizens, but just visiting. Not so in America.
  10. Fact: America has the greatest health care technology, but only the rich can pay for it.
  11. Fact: Got Healthcare? Tough. This is America. Die.

Got Healthcare?

is a 91 minute documentary of people in the streets of Los Angeles in the summer of 2009 fighting for healthcare reform. Despite the passage of the new health care law in March 2010, 22 million Americans remained uninsured. The people who fought for reform won a band aid on our healthcare system. Now Republicans vow to repeal the health care reform law. Insurance companies are raising their rates by strong double digit percentages. Health care in America can hardly get better under theses circumstances. A single payer system is the only viable solution. This film tells you why.
http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=9248149&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=1&color=&fullscreen=1&autoplay=0&loop=0Got Healthcare? official website

The following post is from Dr. Irma Strantz with a important update on California’s SB810, a state bill that would allow a single payer healthcare system in California. The new federal law passed in March allows states to implement a single payer system. But the fight is not yet over.

This would eliminate the cruel unjust practices of California insurance companies in who continue to deny healthcare to people for the sake of profit, resulting in poor public health and even death to those who lack adequate health care, unlike every other modern industrialize nation in the world.


Have you heard that SB 810 passed by a vote of 13 to 6 on June 29th in the Assembly Health Committee?  The hearing lasted about an hour, with Senator Leno providing a strong defense for it’s passage and Health Committee Chair William Monning thanking him for keeping this healthcare reform vehicle alive, stating that it is “as timely as it has ever been”.  Among the “in-person supporters” who lined up and briefly testified were representatives from California Nurses Association, Physicians for a National Health Program – California, Health Care for All – California, League of Women Voters – California, California School Employees Association, California Teachers Association and California Labor Federation. The landmark health care reform legislation, previously vetoed twice by Governor Schwarzenegger, now proceeds to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for a hearing and vote in July or early August. Pending a successful Appropriations Committee vote, the bill will be heard by the full Assembly and if approved, will go to the Governor for signature.  That may happen in September.

Now what we need to do is write our Assembly members on the Appropriations Committee and urge their YES votes for SB810.  When the Assembly Health Committee staff summarized the bill, they showed more than 300 letters of support received from organizations and individuals throughout California!  Our letters make a strong statement, and thank you for taking the time to send one!  The Chair of the Appropriations Committee is Assemblymember Felipe Fuentes.  Local Assemblymembers Charles Calderon and Mike Gatto sit on that Committee and they should hear from us as well.

The mailing address for each of these three Committee members is: PO Box 942849, State Capitol, Sacramento, CA 94249-0058.  For emails, you can use Assemblymember.Fuentes@assembly.ca.gov and then substitute the name for each of the others (i.e. Calderon, Gatto).

Thank you for your continuing efforts in support of SB810!

Irma Strantz, Director
Health Care for All – San Gabriel Valley Chap.

I DO NOT RECOMMEND GIVING TO THE RED CROSS.

I volunteered as an RN and also worked for Red Cross in the 1980’s. They are not that same organization since Elizabeth Dole became the first of several questionable ‘CEOs’ in the 1990’s. ARC DOES NOT ALWAYS USE THE MONEY COLLECTED FOR THE PURPOSE IT AS DONATED! ARC controversies ensued after 9/11, Hurricaine Katrina and after the SriLankin Tsunami. ARC has a much lower ranking with www.charitynavigator.org than many other worthy service groups and relief providers.

I did medical relief work in New Orleans just after the hurricaine…and the Red Cross was shameful in it’s hands off distancing from those in need. They even refused to give aid to Latino resident hurricane victims who didn’t have their ID’s. Gathering millions of dollars in donations, ARC sent trucks to the Common Ground Relief storage, attempting to take our donated supplies which we were distributing to areas in need that Red Cross wouldn’t even go to! Some Medical volunteers who came with the Red Cross defected to other groups due to frustration with the organization’s lack of genuine assistance to the disaster victims.

Read about these scandals /problems if you are interested. Articles from the LA Times, NY Times, Wash Post, Toronto Star detailing ARC transgressions can be found at www.commondreams.org . search.

1. Partners In Health
888 Commonwealth Avenue
3rd Floor
Boston, MA 02215
tel: (617) 432-5298
fax: (617) 432-5300
EIN: 04-3567502
Mail donations to:
P.O. Box 845578
Boston, MA 02284

RANK 66.98 ****

MEDICAL care. Dr. Paul Farmer and Tracy Kidder longtime Haiti advocates recommend this group. They have operated in Haiti for 20 years.
Mission

Founded in 1987, Partners In Health’s (PIH) mission is to provide a preferential option for the poor in health care. The work of PIH has three goals: to care for our patients, to alleviate the root causes of disease in their communities, and to share lessons learned around the world. Through long-term partnerships with our sister organizations, we bring the benefits of modern medical science to those most in need and work to alleviate the crushing economic and social burdens of poverty that exacerbate disease. PIH believes that health is a fundamental right, not a privilege. PIH works in Haiti, Rwanda, Peru, Russia, USA, Malawi and Lesotho, and supports projects in Mexico and Guatemala.

2. Doctors Without Borders, USA
333 Seventh Avenue
2nd Floor
New York, NY 10001
tel: (888) 392-0392
fax: (212) 679-7016
EIN: 13-3433452

RANK 61.22 ****
Providing trauma and surgical care.

Mission

Doctors Without Borders, USA (DWB-USA) was founded in 1990 in New York City to raise funds, create awareness, recruit field staff, and advocate with the United Nations and US government on humanitarian concerns. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international medical humanitarian organization that provides aid in nearly 60 countries to people whose survival is threatened by violence, neglect, or catastrophe, primarily due to armed conflict, epidemics, malnutrition, exclusion from health care, or natural disasters. In 2007, MSF-USA raised $152.1 million and sent 200 aid workers to work overseas.

Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)

Haiti Earthquake Response – Doctors Without Borders
donate.doctorswithoutborders.org
Your gift today will immediately support emergency medical care for the men, women, and children affected by the earthquake in Haiti. Please give as generously as you can to our Haiti Earthquake Response and help us save lives.

3. Operation USA

Disaster relief & development since 1979

International : Humanitarian Relief Supplies

Operation USA
3617 Hayden Avenue
Suite A
Culver City, CA 90232
tel: (800) 678-7255
fax: (310) 838-3477
EIN: 95-3504080

RANK 68.30 ****

Mission

Founded in 1979, Operation USA helps communities alleviate the effects of disasters, disease and endemic poverty throughout the world by providing privately-funded relief, reconstruction and development aid. We provide material and financial assistance to grassroots organizations that promote sustainable development, leadership and capacity building, income generating activities, provide education and health services, and advocate on behalf of vulnerable people. Operation USA rapidly and expertly provides on-the-ground aid by sending vital life-saving supplies and cash grants to assist communities in rebuilding. Partnering with grassroots organizations, Operation USA specializes in reaching vulnerable populations who are in the greatest need, yet who are often ignored by governments and larger aid organizations.

4. Oxfam America
226 Causeway Street
5th Floor
Boston, MA 02114
tel: (800) 776-9326
fax: (617) 728-2594
EIN: 23-7069110

RANK 63 ****

Oxfam assigned to lead aid groups on water and sanitation Update: During the next two weeks, Oxfam will coordinate international aid groups on the ground in Haiti in the delivery of emergency water and sanitation services. Water is the most critical need in a country where this week’s earthquake left at least 250,000 people homeless.

5. United States Fund for UNICEF
125 Maiden Lane
New York, NY 10038
tel: (800) 367-5437
fax: (212) 779-1679
EIN: 13-1760110

RANK 61.55 ****

Mission

The United States Fund for UNICEF was founded in 1947 to support the work of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) by raising funds for its programs and increasing awareness of the challenges facing the world’s children. The oldest of 37 national committees for UNICEF worldwide, we are part of a global effort to save, protect and improve children’s lives. Every moment of every day, UNICEF is on the ground providing lifesaving help for children in need. We provide families with clean water and sanitation, we vaccinate against childhood illness, and we help protect children against malaria. We provide nourishment to fight malnutrition, and we care for children affected by AIDS. We protect children from abuse, and we give them an education. We are here to make sure that all children lead a healthy, humane, and dignified life.

I generally am skeptical about the “name” pundits and media stars like Olbermann, Maddow and all the experts they have on their shows that they repeatedly call on to explain things. Even though I generally agree with them, their shows always end up balancing the political spectrum as if the true place where the world should exist is somewhere between the right wing nut tea baggers and the progressives who want universal health care and an end to all war.

Think about that for a minute. What kind of world is it where we agree to accept war just to balance the political spectrum? Why isn’t war horrifically wrong and something that should never ever be resorted to as long as people can talk things out. It’s not like the middle ages where in order to negotiate you have to travel thousands of miles to meet with your foes. Every nation in the modern world has an open dialog with every other one. The fact that we attack territories like Iraq or Afghanistan to rid ourselves of “terrorists” is absurd. No group of people or enemy lives within the borders of any single country. If you attack them, they simply pick up and move to another territory, just as Al Qaeda exists in countries all over the world.

Paul Krugman - Nobel Prize Winning Economic Scholar

But back to the media pundits. Paul Krugman is one that I find a little less “balanced.” That’s a good thing. He attacked Obama for the selection of the same assholes that brought down our economy as the people to run our treasury and economics. He was left out to dry by the media for that, which indicates to me that he was doing something right. The media is owned by conservatives, even MSNBC, the one thought of as progressive. Olbermann and Maddow take their stories from their higher ups at MSNBC based on what is marketable to the progressive leaning audience. The fact that MSNBC is bent as far as it is toward progressives, indicates that progressives are actually close to center and not on an extreme end of the political spectrum. But when Olbermann talks about Limbaugh or the Fox News dickheads, he’s just giving them free advertising. If he truly thought they were of as little importance as they really are, he’d ignore them completely. They are nonentities and don’t exist in my world.

Now the Senate just passed a healthcare bill and Krugman is applauding that as a great step forward. Is Krugman trying to get back into the media spotlight by going middle of the spectrum here?

Krugman writes in the New York Times article, Tidings of Comfort, about the split of people into three distinct areas of the political spectrum: the far right teabaggers, the fiscal conservatives and the progressives, as if this defines left, right and center.

First, there’s the crazy right, the tea party and death panel people — a lunatic fringe that is no longer a fringe but has moved into the heart of the Republican Party. In the past, there was a general understanding, a sort of implicit clause in the rules of American politics, that major parties would at least pretend to distance themselves from irrational extremists. But those rules are no longer operative. No, Virginia, at this point there is no sanity clause.

A second strand of opposition comes from what I think of as the Bah Humbug caucus: fiscal scolds who routinely issue sententious warnings about rising debt. By rights, this caucus should find much to like in the Senate health bill, which the Congressional Budget Office says would reduce the deficit, and which — in the judgment of leading health economists — does far more to control costs than anyone has attempted in the past.

But, with few exceptions, the fiscal scolds have had nothing good to say about the bill. And in the process they have revealed that their alleged concern about deficits is, well, humbug. As Slate’s Daniel Gross says, what really motivates them is “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, is receiving social insurance.”

Finally, there has been opposition from some progressives who are unhappy with the bill’s limitations. Some would settle for nothing less than a full, Medicare-type, single-payer system. Others had their hearts set on the creation of a public option to compete with private insurers. And there are complaints that the subsidies are inadequate, that many families will still have trouble paying for medical care.

Unlike the tea partiers and the humbuggers, disappointed progressives have valid complaints. But those complaints don’t add up to a reason to reject the bill. Yes, it’s a hackneyed phrase, but politics is the art of the possible.

The truth is that there isn’t a Congressional majority in favor of anything like single-payer. There is a narrow majority in favor of a plan with a moderately strong public option. The House has passed such a plan. But given the way the Senate rules work, it takes 60 votes to do almost anything. And that fact, combined with total Republican opposition, has placed sharp limits on what can be enacted.

There may not be a Congressional majority in favor of single payer, but there is (I think) a popular majority among all Americans in favor of it, or would be if they understood what it really is and were not misinformed by conservative owned media.

And that’s at the heart of what’s wrong in the U.S. government. It doesn’t act on the will of the majority. It’s not representative. This is one fact that pretty much all of these three groups agree on. Taxation without representation is alive and well.

The other point here is that progressives are painted as far left of center, when in fact they are more middle. With the extreme right moving into the spotlight in the Republican party it makes progressives perceived as being far right only because of a popular obtuse sentiment that these two groups have to be balanced.

Nothing could be farther from reality. Progressives don’t balance with right extremists any more than right balances with wrong. You might think that right does balance with wrong, and if so then you exemplify my point. If right balances with wrong then we should allow just enough crime to balance with the good that people do. If a hero saves a life then it should be OK to murder someone for balance.

And so for Obama and others to say we have to compromise and balance the political spectrum is completely absurd, irresponsible, and morally corrupt.

http://static.ning.com/socialnetworkmain/widgets/photo/slideshowplayer/slideshowplayer.swf?v=200912021300

Screenshots from the feature documentary film including over 60 cast members.

I interviewed over 60 real people in the streets of the greater Los Angeles area for this film. Nearly all of them were very articulate, intelligent, well informed thinkers that I like to think of as the documentary equivalent of A-list actors. All of them are in this slide show of screenshots from the film Got Healthcare?.

Cast list:

Lucia Brawley
President Barack Obama (archive footage)
Dr. Irma Strantz
Margaret
Cathy Roberts
Maureen Cruise RN
Karen McGee
June Caldwell
Jerry Caldwell
Henry Shaw
Greg Harrison
Dwight Williams
Elizabeth MacFarland
Maddie Gavel-Briggs
Steven Gibson
Melonie Magruder
Roxanne Morales
Patrick Briggs
Dr. Paul Papanek
Ray Gillis
Wesley Murphy
Dr. Jane George
Ellen Campbell
Sam Pullen
Tony Briggs
Patricia Harris
Bob James
Valerie
Evelyn Bennu
Susan Gregory
Aosta Dimos
Dr. Jo Olson
Betty Seidmon
Dr. Alice Chen
Secretary Kathleen Seibelus (archive footage)
Dr. Susie Baldwin
Dr. Casey Kirkhart
David Busch
Mr. and Mrs. Brian Foster
Stella Kim
Dr. Nikki Mihara
Michael Meloan
Jeff Goodwin
Joanna Joshua
Jasmin Romero
Gilbert Saucedo
Rhonda Hayter
Dr. Paul Song
Dr. Matt Hendrickson
Grigor Sarkisan
Shaylan
Carrie Bible
Valerie Bradford
Michael Moore (archive footage)
Sandra Cannon
Sheila Dvorak
Dr. Margaret Flowers (archive image only)
David Faubion
Matt Britt
Donna Green
Dr. Horace Williams
Joan Holtz
Tom Laichas
NOW members protest the Stupac-Pitts amendment

NOW members protest the Stupac-Pitts amendment

NOW (National Organization for Women) warns that the Senate will vote on an amendment similar to Stupak-Pitts that would prevent millions of women from obtaining insurance coverage for abortion under their version of health care reform, S1796. Is that the bill number or the year they intend to regress to?

It appears advocates will use this amendment to hold health care reform hostage unless this affront against women is included.

This comes on the heals of the passed house Stupak-Pitts, anti-abortion amendment and the more recent mammogram media blitz tactic that blamed the White House for an independent private sector task force recommendation. It appears the health care insurance industry and their friends in Congress are out to target women in an all out effort to discredit health care reform.

NOW posted the following to it members on their website:

Reportedly, Sens. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Bob Casey (R-Penn.) may offer a version of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment to be attached to the Senate bill. That means, in all likelihood, if the Senate adopts this harmful amendment, it will remain in the final Senate-House conference bill and become law. Alternatively, a modified variation of Stupak-Pitts could be incorporated into the bill. Either way, millions of women lose — big time.

Please Take Action NOW!

The Stupak-Pitts amendment explained:

* The ban on abortion coverage in insurance would apply to both the proposed public option and to private health insurance plans sold in the new regional health insurance exchanges. It is estimated that some 36 million uninsured persons would be purchasing insurance policies through new exchanges and would be eligible for federal affordability subsidies.
* Health insurers may not sell plans that cover abortion to customers who are paying without a subsidy, if even just one person who is receiving the federal affordability credits (the subsidy) were to purchase a plan. In other words, even if you are paying 100 percent of your insurance costs, abortion coverage would not be available in your plan if anyone with affordability credits joins the same plan.
* Women may purchase a separate abortion “rider” for coverage, though many doubt that these riders would be offered by the insurance companies.
* Small companies (fewer than 100 employees) would also likely purchase health insurance through the exchange, but if any of their employees received affordability credits no abortion coverage could be included.
* Eighty-seven percent of employer-based insurance plans now cover abortion services, but if employers withdraw coverage and send their employees to the health insurance exchanges, those employees would likely lose abortion coverage under these new prohibitions.

There may be a modified version of this harmful amendment that is included in the Senate health care reform bill that will be debated next week. We want to make sure that Stupak-Pitts language is not used and that no variation of this harmful amendment is passed. Please send a message to your senators that you oppose any restrictions on insurance coverage of abortion. Thank you for all the work you do for women’s rights.

Dan Pfeiffer writes, “One of the hallmark tactics from opponents of health insurance reform has been to grab onto any convenient piece of information and twist it into some misguided attack on reform, no matter how unrelated it may actually be….. and Fox News obliges them with the headline ‘Critics See Health Care Rationing Behind New Mammography Recommendations.'” He says the media outlets feed on this kind of opportunistic “controversy.” Ya think?

Gee, how did the mainstream media miss this statement coming from the White House?

Pfeiffer continues that it’s ironic that the the right would spin this government agency recommendation as “health care rationing” that is part of the insurance reform movement. In fact health care reform proponents want to see increased preventative measures, as do most doctors.

One very basic problem with U.S. healthcare is that we have a policy of only providing free health care to people when they are in an emergency or at risk of death. By that time it’s often too late, especially in cancer cases. Staunch reform proponents want socialized medicine for all people to have health care as they need it, when they need it, for all ages – Medicare for all.

So the right is spinning this (what I would call suspicious) recommendation from the independent U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

Note the word “independent.”

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius had stated that she expects no changes to take place in the government or in the health insurance industry as a result of this (independent) USPSTF report. In fact she stated Wednesday that women should continue to get checked at age 40. Yet the right wing liars, as per usual, keep saying this stuff will be part of health care reform.

On the other hand we should indeed keep watch that the health insurance industry doesn’t try to sneak in this kind of cut back on preventative services which would benefit them and which they could blame upon reformers with this kind of media spin. How hard can it be to influence an independent task force when you’re an insurance industry that already has Congress on it’s payroll and has written the recently passed health care bill with lobbyists? This is all out media warfare. The pen is mightier than the sword.

Pfeiffer’s blog continues with the following clarification FAQ:

Will Medicare now stop paying for breast cancer mammography for women because of this recommendation?

Women who are currently getting mammograms under Medicare will continue to be able to get them. There are no plans to change that. The law states that in order to change Medicare coverage of mammograms a formal rule making process must be undertaken and that is not happening.

Isn’t this the first step toward denying coverage for mammograms?

No. The Task force is an independent panel of experts in prevention and primary care that evaluates available evidence and makes recommendations about effective clinical preventive services based on scientific information. Under the health insurance reform legislation, the USPTF would have no power to deny insurance coverage in any way. Their recommendations would be used in health reform to identify effective clinical preventive services.

How will this recommendation affect private health insurance coverage?

The Task Force does not address insurance coverage and payment issues; it focuses on the science of the clinical services it evaluates. Each insurance company is different and makes its own coverage decisions. The Task Force recognizes that clinical and policy decisions involve more consideration that this body of evidence alone. Clinicians and policymakers should understand the evidence but individualize decision making to the specific patient or situation.

Tommy Thompson said the Task Force recommendations were the official position of the U.S. Government. Is that your position?

We have tremendous respect for the Task Force and the work they have done. They are an independent scientific body that makes recommendations based on scientific evidence; however they do not set official policy for the federal government. Under health reform, their recommendations would be used to identify preventive services that must be provided for little or no cost.

Won’t the USPSTF be used to ration care under health reform?

Absolutely not. The USPSTF, an independent task force made up of some of the nation’s top doctors and scientists provides science-based recommendations regarding the most effective preventive, treatment and screening services. The Task Force’s recommendations would be used to help determine the types of services that must be provided for at little or no cost and the Task Force would have no power to deny insurance coverage in any way..

What do these recommendations mean for the current health reform bills?

While the bills are still being drafted and debated in Congress, health insurance reform legislation generally calls for the Task Force’s recommendations to help determine the types of preventive services that must be provided for little or no cost. The recommendations alone cannot be used to deny treatment.

http://www.youtube.com/v/VA5GOSiZ9Q8&hl=en&fs=1&Over 50,000 die every year for lack of health care and more for denial of care despite having health insurance. That’s well over 100 deaths per day. 50 million (and growing) in the U.S. have no health care at all. This is why nine Lieberman constituents and members of Mobilization for Health Care Now were arrested today as they sat-in Lieberman’s DC office and demanded to see him.

Five of the Lieberman Nine have been released. The other four intend to stay in jail until Lieberman meets with them to discuss rejecting the money he accepts from insurance companies!

Meanwhile ABC News reports: “Later we will see much a larger protest from the other side of the political spectrum as potentially thousands of protesters gather with Republican lawmakers on the West side of the Capitol. Those protesters will lobby against Democrats’ health care bills in large part because they include a public option..”

Congress is getting it from all sides. Their compromises with the insurance industry infuriate progressives and as weak as what’s left of a public option is, the right are protesting it’s inclusion. You can’t please everyone so you may as well have a single payer system, medicare for all, problem solved, which is what is buzzing about as we hear that Pelosi is allowing a vote on the Weiner amendment for a single payer system!

Huff post reports the following:

Nine protesters were arrested Thursday in a demonstration at the office of Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) to demand that he pledge to stop accepting from the health insurance industry.

Lieberman, who last week said he would join a GOP filibuster of any health care bill with a government-run public option, has accepted about $1.5 million from health professionals and insurance agencies since 2003, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Twenty protesters, including four students from the University of Connecticut, marched into the senator’s office in the morning and demanded to speak with him. Aides denied their request, offering constituents a closed-door meeting with two legislative aides, which was rejected. Nine protesters then staged a sit-in, saying they would not leave the office until they could have a discussion with the senator in person.

“We’re waiting to see if the senator for Aetna is ready to be the senator for the people,” explained one protester, Kai, who wouldn’t give his last name. Aetna has spent over two million dollars on lobbying in 2009, and has donated $65,000 to Lieberman’s campaign committee.

Within 10 minutes of the protesters’ arrival, Capitol police were on the scene. They dragged away nine protesters, including two of Lieberman’s Connecticut constituents, as Senate staffers watched from the lobby and office hallways.

After the arrests, five of the remaining protesters continued on to Lieberman’s committee hearing, which was already underway. They stood in the back of the chamber and quietly held up signs reading “Patients Not Profits” and “Insurance $$$ Makes Me Sick.”

“It’s ironic Lieberman is chairing this meeting on corporate crimes,” said Medea Benjamin, who characterized the practice of accepting campaign donations from health insurance companies as criminal.

Mobilization for Health Care has a petition to sign urging Lieberman to “publicly pledge that he will no longer accept any money from any insurance companies.

Over 2000 signed this petition within just a few hours of this story breaking.

http://www.youtube.com/v/oAawqXBUzhc&hl=en&fs=1&Med students have gone to Congress to plead with them to stop provisions in health care legislation that would outlaw affordable generic drugs for the sake of protecting corporate competition. They have seen first hand how people suffer and die because of the inability to obtain life saving drugs, a painful, slow, horrible death for many. This is sadistic. Sign the petition to help.