AFSCME Local 704

"Sick of Big Insurance"

Council 4's Kathy Jackson waves the American flag in front of Aetna.

"Big Insurance: Sick of It."

Supporters of real health care reform delivered that message loud and clear Sept. 22 during a protest at Aetna's corporate headquarters in Hartford. The Connecticut chapter of Health Care for America Now! sponsored the rally as part of a nationwide day of action to spotlight the insurance industry's well-funded opposition to providing quality, affordable health care to every American.

"There is a battle going on in America," said Peter Thor, Council 4's Director of Policy and Planning. "On one side: the American people. On the other: Insurance companies, just like [Aetna]. If the insurance companies win, we all lose. As the health insurance industry focuses on blocking affordable health care, people who aren’t covered and can’t get health care are dying—one American every 12 minutes."

In a petition sent to Aetna CEO Ron Williams (who earned $24 million), protesters called on the company to reform abusive practices and stop the use of customers' premium payments to fund lobbying against a public health insurance option.

From left: AFSCME's Matt Brokman, SEIU's Art Perry (playing Aetna CEO Ron Williams) and Council 4's Peter Thor.

“The health insurance companies are spending $641,000 a day to oppose reform because they profit by keeping the system exactly the way it is,” said Tom Swan from Connecticut Citizen Action Group. “They take our money and then deny claims; raise premiums, co-pays, and deductibles at will; fabricate pre-existing conditions; and refuse to cover the treatments our doctors prescribe. Enough is enough.” 

All across the country, fed up customers and advocates for health care reform held protests and declared, “Big Insurance: Sick of It.” The action in Hartford was one of five flagship events also held in Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, and Milwaukee, that drew thousands of protestors to health insurance company headquarters or to events where they could confront health insurance CEOs. 

"Health care reform with true cost controls and an effective public plan is necessary," said Council 4 Executive Board member Roberta Price,  who is president of AFSCME Local 610, representing state clerical employees in southeastern Connecticut. "For union members to now see their healthcare dollars spent lobbying against the reform they support is absolutely unacceptable."


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