Health

In West Palm, Health Care Protesters May Have to Be Dragged Away



Tomorrow at 11 a.m., health care reform advocates will gather at the West Palm Beach location of Humana, the health care insurance company, demanding that it stop denying coverage to policyholders with preexisting conditions and life-threatening illnesses.

It may lead to scenes like the one above, at Cigna's offices in Chicago.

Spearheading the campaign is Palm Beach Gardens-based Floridians for Health Care, sponsored by Healthcare-Now! and Mobilization for Health Care for All.

Floridians' communications director, Al Rogers, tells me they've assembled only 18 confirmed participants, trained by lawyers for peaceful protest, ready for weaponless battle and possible arrest.

"Our demonstrators are part of a historic struggle for health justice in America," Rogers says. "We are the voice for the 45 million uninsured and the 50 million underinsured in this country."

Rogers expects more to join the civil disobedience the day of, adding that in addition to Palm Beach, eight other cities will simultaneously host protests, with more than 1,000 demonstrators expected nationally.

The organizations are calling on two types of peaceful participants: outraged extremist sit-ins who have nothing to lose (and who may possibly be in need of the three hot meals a day and the guaranteed health care county lockup has to offer), as well as the less radical crowd, who will lounge, wave signs, and avoid a record. (I don't know about you, but the harsh lighting in mug shots isn't very flattering -- I'd go for the lounging.)

Humana has no clue about the possible Chi Town-like, body-dragging bonanza that may ensue outside its offices. Rogers' plan of attack gives the company only two hours' notice Thursday morning. Nothing like the element of surprise! Calls to Humana for comment were not answered. If you'd like join the rebels with a cause, here's the 411.

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Nicole Rodriguez