The Phoenix Progressive Democrats of America, along with other members of a group calling itself the Arizona Coalition for a State and National Healthcare Plan will be protesting the offices of the insurance company United Healthcare at Camelback and 24th Street with a "die-in" tomorrow, Thursday, October 15. And there may be some civil disobedience involved, according to Phoenix PDA spokesperson Dan O'Neal. (See update below.)
Seems the national group Mobilization for Healthcare for All is coordinating non-violent actions in nine cities tomorrow, Phoenix being one. So when some protesters lie down and feign death, there may be others either in the offices of the company or on its property willing to do a sit-in of some sort.
"We're planning on doing a die-in," O'Neal told me just now. "Whether there will actually be a sit-in part of it, I'm not sure. It'll be kind of spontaneous. We're hoping to get at least 123 people as part of a die-in, representing the 123 people who die every day in this country because of the lack of health care. That's 45,000 people a year, according to a new Harvard University study."
Indeed, that study, which was done by Harvard University Medical School's Cambridge Health Alliance, found that uninsured folks are 40 percent more likely to croak than their insured brethren. (No duh, there.) They did the math and figured out that means 45,000 deaths per year in this country due to lack of access to healthcare.
In other words, Americans are just dying to get insurance. Ba-dum-pa.
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As far as the healthcare bill that just passed the Senate Finance Committee, O'Neal says it "sucks." The PDA's backing a single payer option that would likely put companies like United Healthcare out of business.
"We're very strong for Medicare for all -- single payer," explained O'Neal. "Taking what your parents and mine have right now with Medicare and just expanding it to everybody. That's the most cost-efficient option. In other words, you take the insurance companies completely out of the equation. All studies have actually proved that it'll save money in the long run."
In other words, cut out the middle man. Sounds pretty good, as long as you don't work for an insurance company. In any case, the protest sounds cool, primarily because people are threatening to get arrested for a cause, which is always exciting. The get-down gets down at 4 p.m. and lasts till 6 p.m. So if death becomes you, and/or you've always wanted to get fitted for a pair of steel bracelets, be there.
UPDATE October 15, 2009: Alas, there were no arrests. DISAPPOINTED! Ah, well, it is Phoenix...James King went down there to check it out and was unimpressed. Personally, I think the left needs to get a whole lot meaner if they want to get their way. Stop being so damn polite, people. It doesn't work. The only thing the right understands is aggression, anger, etc.