Yesterday, around 150 Minnesotans gathered outside of UnitedHealth Group’s headquarters in Minnetonka to protest the insurance industry’s efforts to block health care reform while it continues to make record profits. The demonstration was part of a national day-of-action effort organized under the theme "Big Insurance: Sick of It."
Workday Minnesota reports:
MINNETONKA – When many Americans can’t afford basic health care, is one insurance company executive worth $744 million? That’s the question demonstrators asked Tuesday outside the headquarters of UnitedHealth Group, one of the nation’s largest insurers.
“We have a question for (United Health CEO) Stephen Hemsley,” said the Rev. Grant Stevensen. “How much is enough?”
In Minnesota, protests were held at UnitedHealth in Minnetonka and OptumHealth in Duluth. Minnesotans also participated in a rally at the Blue Cross Blue Shield offices in Fargo, N.D.
“We need to shed light on the fact the insurance companies are profiting on our losses,” said Laura Askelin, president of the Southeast Area Labor Council in Rochester. “They’re making money off sick and dying people.”
Our friends at the Minnesota AFL-CIO have a wrap-up of all the "Sick of It" events across the state, including video of many of the speakers.
Marchers carried seven hundred and forty-four green balloons emblazoned with white dollar signs–symbolic of the $744 million in unexercised stock options held by UnitedHealth CEO Stephen J. Hemsley. They performed an action in front of the UnitedHealth lobby that you can watch in the above video. In addition to the green balloons, MNA nurse Diane Johnson and ISIAIAH Pastor Grant Stevenson carried a blown up policy document, asking that Hemsley sign the pledge to support real health care reform. The pledge demands that UnitedHealth Group:
- Not stand between a doctor and a patient when it comes to deciding what care that patient needs.
- Not deny coverage or raise rates for individuals or businesses based on a pre-existing condition and end arbitrary caps on payments for necessary medical care.
- Terminate any policy or incentive that rewards employees financially or otherwise for denying care and rejecting claims.
- Not use any resources–including funds, employees, and facilities–to lobby against and oppose aspect of the health reform proposals supported by President Obama and being considered by members of the United States Congress, including but not limited to a national public health insurance option available on day one.
The corporate bureaucrat that met the group stated that she would review and show the demands to the CEO, but was unable to give a date in which UnitedHealth Group would give a response.
A short rally was held after the above events and you can view a slideshow of photos from it here.
You can track tweets from across the country about the Big Insurance: Sick of It campaign on Twitter, just use the hashtag #sickofit.