Saturday, May 10, 2008

Coalition Against Privatization Protests GHI/HIP Privatization

Posted by CAP

On May 9th, a group of determined protesters gathered in front of the office of State Superintendent of the Insurance Eric Dinallo at 25 Beaver Street in Downtown NYC to oppose the proposed conversion of GHI & HIP to a new for-profit company. The march sent a clear message in opposition to the proposal and recommended that Superintendent Dinallo refuse to sign off on it.

Despite heavy rain and winds, demonstrators made their way from 25 Beaver to offices of HIP at 55 Water Street. Along the way, they chanted "Eric Dinallo - JUST SAY NO!" "They Say Privatize - We Say Organize!" and finished the march with a lively chant of "We'll Be Back!" Upon arrival at the HIP offices, demonstrators were able to fraternize with workers from HIP who face the prospect of termination if the conversion is approved.

One participant used a hand-held digital camera to capture the second-half of the march:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxwcEZCW2ds

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdD7udfrdl0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8V5JEx3Xgo0

Protesters highlighted the negative aspects of the unregulated private health insurance system in the United States. Payments for medical care now eat up the highest percentage of household disposable income and premiums have increased by 80% from 2001-2006. The conversion (privatization) of GHI & HIP will fully expose 4 million people in NY State to the worst effects of this system. A number of speakers at the demo spoke not only against the privatization but in favor of an all-inclusive single-payer national health insurance plan.

The demonstration was the first public act of the Coalition Against Privatization and speakers at the event included representatives from the Independent Community of Educators (UFT), rank-and-file members of the Transit Workers Union Local 100, rank-and-file members of D.C. 37, the Metro New York Health Care for All Campaign, the Socialist Party USA (NYC) and Socialist Action.

The Coalition Against Privatization is planning two follow up actions. On Monday May 12th we are encouraging a phone-in/email-in to the offices of Eric Dinallo. On Friday May 23rd we are planning a march on the offices of GHI. We are also planning a joint action with the health care rights group Healthcare NOW! as part of a national initiative on June 19th.

The next meeting of the Coalition Against Privatization will held on Friday May 16th at 6:30pm at the A. J. Muste Institute, 339 Lafayette St., Buzzer #11.

For more information email noprivatization@yahoo.com or (718) 869-2279

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