In case you're unaware, there is currently a bill in the Pennsylvania state legislature to establish a statewide single-payer (that's something close to Medicare for all) system. Governor Rendell has pledged to sign it if it gets to his desk, and there are currently 35 co-sponsors in the House - including 4 Republicans - and 9 co-sponsors in the Senate. That's out of a Senate of 50 and a House of 203.
This Friday, the 30th, there will be a protest at a Blue Cross/Blue Shield building in Philadelphia in support of single payer, and in my state of Pennsylvania this will have particular significance because of how close we are to real health care reform.
IMPORTANT: If you can't make it to the protest, but live in Pennsylvania, please contact your state legislators and/or the media to either thank them for their support or to urge them to support these bills (SB 400 and HB 1660). You can do that here.
On October 20th, there was a rally for statewide single payer on the steps inside the capitol building in Harrisburg. About 1,200 people showed up. It was organized by the incredible group Health Care 4 All PA.
The event on Friday is being held by The Mobilization for Health Care for All. My friend John Murphy sent out an email today describing what will happen (and why some participants might spend Mischief Night in jail):
There will be a public demonstration and sit-in on Friday, October 30th at the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Office at 1901 Market St., in Philadelphia.
This event will be part of a National Mobilization demanding Single Payer now! We are responding to the daily body count. 122 Americans die every day, 45,000 every year, simply because the USA does not offer Universal Single Payer health care – Medicare for everyone!
Some of the participants will risk arrest by requesting entry to the BC/BS office in order to present a letter containing grievances and demands. One of the demands is that BC/BS must cover all Doctor-prescribed care for its customers. These participants will not leave until their letter is accepted by management or they are removed by law enforcement.
Other participants will be supporting those inside – we need lots of people to turn out in support of this event at this pivotal time. Supporting participants will be needed to hand out literature and can carry signs emphasizing "SINGLE PAYER"; "MEDICARE FOR ALL"; "EVERYBODY IN NOBODY OUT". We want to be FOCUSED on healthcare so we are asking that slogans like "healthcare not warfare" be excluded. Although BC/BS in Philadelphia contributes millions of dollars to lobby against reform, it is officially non profit so we don’t want to use the slogan "patients not profits" at this event as the press would inevitably misconstrue the purpose of the demonstration.
John Murphy didn't include this, but the protest will be at noon.
This is a protest supporting single payer health care nationally, but like I said, it is extremely significant because of the bill in the PA Senate that only needs 17 more votes to pass and the bill in the PA house that only needs 67 more votes to pass. IF IT PASSES THE LEGISLATURE, THE GOVERNOR WILL SIGN IT!
This is the best shot we've got at single payer anywhere in the nation, including Congress.