CIGNA greed makes health care system sick

Towering over Uncle Sam was the horrific visage of “Count Bleed-Ya-Dry” or what could certainly be any insurance company. “I have a solution,” cried out the Count, in an eerie Dracula-like voice. “I’m better than a doctor. I’m an industry churning out profits,” he screamed lustily as he drew blood from Uncle Sam.

Meanwhile, the gathering crowd was poked with a giant needle symbolizing the billions of dollars being drained from Americans by the insurance corporate giants.

The young street performers chanted:

The clear solution that’s left

Despite the lies from the right

Is Medicare for All

We can win this fight

Insurance is a pain

Health care is a human right

Single Payer health care today!

Single Payer health care today!

The skit was performed by members of Backbone Campaign, who were promoting the upcoming visit of “Mad As Hell Doctors” on a nationwide tour calling for passage of single payer or “Medicare for All” legislation to solve the health care crisis. They will arrive in Chicago Sept. 25 and end their tour in Washington, DC on Sept. 30.

“Americans need health care, not insurance bureaucracy, bills and bankruptcy,” chanted the young street actors. They pointed out CIGNA denied 33% of claims in California and wondered what the figure was in Illinois. “Caring for profits over people is CIGNA’s business!”

CIGNA is also being mercilessly exposed by former employee turned whistle blower Wendell Potter, who said insurance companies are under tremendous pressure not to pay out claims by their Wall Street investors.

“You don’t think about individual people. You think about the numbers, and whether or not you’re going to meet Wall Street’s expectations,” says Potter.

CIGNA had $19 billion in revenues last year and its CEO Ed Hanway, has received over $120 million in bonuses over the last five years.

The health care system is in such crisis that 15 million Americans will be forced to visit an emergency room this year because they lack insurance coverage. A universal health care system could put an end to 100,000 preventable deaths a year, according to the group.

Many in the crowd were startled to hear that the health insurance industry is spending $1.6 million a day to defeat the current health care reform in Congress and to maintain the status quo. Flooding Congress with money is subverting democracy, the group insisted. Instead, they urged support for a single payer system to take the profits out of the health care and restore Uncle Sam to vitality.




John Bachtell
John Bachtell

John Bachtell is president of Long View Publishing Co., the publisher of People's World. He is active in electoral, labor, environmental, and social justice struggles. He grew up in Ohio, where he attended Antioch College in Yellow Springs. He currently lives in Chicago.