Seven citizens and healthcare providers who are fed up with the state of our healthcare and the healthcare debate were arrest at the downtown offices of Cigna today.

The sit-in is part of a national mobilization to end insurance abuse and build support for real reform – Medicare for All, a single-payer plan.

ChiSPAN, the Chicago Single-Payer Action Network, was key in organizing this sit-in and rally.

The mobilization involves civil disobedience at insurance company offices in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Philadelphia and other cities. Almost 700 people have already signed up to risk arrest at a health insurance company office, joining one of the largest campaigns of nonviolent civil disobedience since the civil rights movement. Many of these event are occurring next week on Thursday, October 15 in a dozen cities across the country.

The seven participants walked into the lobby and demanded to speak with the CEO of Cigna, demanding immediate approval of all doctor-recommended treatments. When access was refused, they sat down in the lobby of the building, Chanting “patients, not profits,” and “Cigna is the real death panel.” They put themselves on the line for people who die every day because an insurance company denies them the care that they need, and are calling for real reform, which eliminates the real cause of the health care crisis in our country, the insurance companies.

Participants in the rally outside the health insurance office included Mary E. Flowers, State Representative of the 31st district, and Midge Hough, a Chicago resident whose daughter-in-law Jenny died five weeks ago as a result of inadequate care. Jenny was seven and a half months pregnant and diagnosed with acute pneumonia. Carrying a sign with a picture of Jenny on it, Hough encourages others to stand up for quality healthcare for all.

“We lost Jennifer, and we lost our grandchild. She can’t speak up for herself anymore, but I’m going to speak for Jennifer,” said Hough while standing outside the Cigna office. “Tomorrow is her memorial service or I would have been one of the people sitting inside… This is the richest country in the world and my daughter in law and my grandchild died, and I can’t accept that.”

Participants in today’s sit-in are part of a national mobilization which will be one of the largest campaigns of nonviolent civil disobedience in the US since the civil rights movement. Next week, citizens and health care providers will participate in sit-ins in Atlanta, Seattle, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Cleveland, Portland, and many other cities across the country.

“Hundreds of people die each day because insurance companies deny them lifesaving care that they need,” said Marilena Marchetti, 29, an occupational therapist and a resident of Gold Coast, Chicago, who was arrested at today’s sit-in. “I put myself on the line for them. We need a system that places patients before profit.”

“At this critical juncture in the national health care debate, we are highlighting deaths and suffering caused by insurance company denials. In some states 20% of all doctor-approved health care recommendations are denied by insurance companies. People are dying because these corporations put profits before patients,” said Katie Robbins of Healthcare-NOW!

Experts agree that the current health care bill is not helping.

“The health care bill currently being debated in Congress is a giveaway to the insurance industry. Tens of millions of Americans will be forced to buy overpriced insurance, which will result in hundreds of billions in new annual revenue for the insurance industry,” said Kevin Zeese, executive director of Prosperity Agenda. “A Medicare for All system would cover all Americans, unlike the Dem proposal which will leave tens of millions without coverage, and would reduce the cost of health care immediately saving $400 billion annually in insurance company profits, executive salaries and bureaucracy.”

Lorin Klugman, Peggy LaLone, Marilena Marchetti, Timi Papas, Helen Redmond, Jim Rhodes and Tom Wilson are the seven who were arrested.

All the news coverage of the arrests:
Associated Press

Eyewitness 2 (AP story)

WGN-TV – major local TV news

Chicago Tribune (AP story)

Chicago Daily Herald (AP story)

Fox 59 Indianapolis

Common Dreams (press release)

Telemundo Chicago

16 Comments

  1. Sue J on October 9, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    We need to fund healthcare not warfare. Let’s make our military interventions revenue neutral with a WAR TAX. Stop the private insurance enemy from causing physical and financial harm to medically needy people. HR676 Medicare for all!



    • judy rigali on October 9, 2009 at 5:08 pm

      I am so proud of those who were arrested today. It is time for civil disobedience. I am stuck in Chattanooga, TN but will soon be back in my home town of Chicago. You all make me proud.



  2. ROBERT WILSON on October 9, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    GREAT WORK!



  3. Brice E. Hendricks Jr. on October 9, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    It’s time for one hundred percent of U.S. citizens to have health care and for the eighty percent of us that are now paying for it to be paying less!



  4. Rosina on October 9, 2009 at 6:59 pm

    Wish I could join! Thanks to all who are willing to stand up
    to corporate criminals!



  5. Courtney on October 9, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    WOW! Stepping up, taking risks!Thank you to these 7 courageous Chicago. The Chicago Seven takes on a new meaning:)
    In the USA, the first “sit-in” was in February 1960 in Greenboro when four black americans sat at a segregated Woolworth lunch counter. They were refused service and they sat for another 30 minutes before risking arrest. Within 2 months, the non-violent civil disobediance concept of “sit-in” spread to 59 cities in 9 states!
    Single Payer is the civil rights movement of our time.
    “Not enough” people have signed up in Houston yet to do this action here, but discussion in various groups and a training on non-violent civil disobediance in progress. Saludos



  6. NANCY EVANS on October 9, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    WE NEED TO ALL STAND TOGETHER GET RID OF THESE INSURANCE COMPANY FOR DOING PEOPLE WRONG. I HOPE THEY ALL GO BROKE, THIS IS THE FIRST PRESDENT THAT CAN PUT THEM OUT.



  7. Sherry Noland on October 10, 2009 at 1:44 am

    More than 100 Americans die every day from lack of adequate health care. If terrorists were exploding bombs every day killing this many people would Congress have so much trouble passing legislation that would end the violence immediately — no matter what it cost?! No!

    We need to SEE it. KNOW it. It has been going on without notice….except to those poor souls and their loved ones. We need to see their faces. They’re our soldiers in this war on greed. It’s time to take notice and stop this. Now.



  8. C B Stranaghan on October 11, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    Thanks to all of you, for helping all of us!

    HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANIES AND SENATORS BEWARE OF POOR INVESTMENTS:

    Having a senator in your hip pocket today is one thing, but CHANCES ARE POOR for those senators receiving the confidence and backing of consitutents in their Kingdoms during the NEXT ELECTION.

    LISTEN UP,LEGISLATORS:

    STARTLING FIGURES FROM A NEW ROBERT WOODS JOHNSON FOUNDATION FUNDED STUDY RELEASED LAST MONTH ESTIMATE THAT 45,OOO AMERICANS WILL DIE THIS YEAR FROM LACK OF REALISTIC HEALTH CARE. THIS IS UP FROM 18,000 IN 2002 WHEN MORE PEOPLE HAD INSURANCE.

    WE ARE AT WAR – WITH OURSELVES. I PROPOSE A TRUCE. PASS HR 676/S703, SINGLE PAYER (UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE), OR A REASONABLE FACSIMILE.

    HR 676 IS IN THE CBO PROCESS AS WE SPEAK. HR 676 WILL BE INTRODUCED THIS MONTH FOR A HISTORICAL UP & DOWN VOTE IN THE HOUSE THIS MONTH !!!

    INFO AT PNHP.ORG

    CALL OUT THE NATIONAL GUARD?
    WE HAVE A NATIONAL EMERGENCY ON OUR HANDS!!



  9. john on October 11, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    I wish I could have been there.We know all to well the ineffeicents of the present system. While the majority is good and needed there is that element that alot of us who have good care dont see.Keep up the good work .



  10. Edith Kenna on October 11, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    Go Healthcare-Now! You are on it! Now the insurance industry becomes extornists if they don’t get a mandate..if they don’t get every one forced to buy their product. Medicare for All is the way to go. Obama knows it, Baucus knows it, Pelosi knows it…but they are running scared. Mother Earth



  11. Cliff on October 12, 2009 at 12:33 am

    Give the bastards hell. We’ll force our way back into the headlines. These companies are nthing short of organized crime.



  12. R.Louis on October 12, 2009 at 10:21 am

    Good for you guys keep up the good work. When are you coming to Kansas City so I can join you in the fight?



  13. Doug Gerash on October 12, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    This is what it will take to regain the so-called “debate.” The Insurance companies are the criminals, demonstrators are acting in defense of humanity.



    • rubbit x on October 13, 2009 at 3:52 pm

      i Agree Stand up guys



  14. Melanie on October 13, 2009 at 9:02 am

    On November 7th, 2009, join us as we march on Washington to demand REAL healthcare reform. People Not Profits – Medicare for All.

    Join us on facebook:

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=144158323692&ref=nf#/event.php?eid=149007619890