October 5, 2009.
Press release from: Health Care For America Now. Minnesota HCAN Coalition Says Health Insurance System Set Up To Generate Profits While Failing To Provide Health Care and Denying Claims Minnetonka, MN – UnitedHealth Group, the nation’s largest private health insurer, was targeted Monday morning by over one-hundred members of the Minnesota contingent of the Health Care for America NOW (HCAN) coalition, including small business, labor, faith-based, and non-profit advocacy organizations. The group convened outside the doors of UnitedHealth Group’s Minnetonka headquarters protesting the health insurer’s practice of denying care and claims in order to generate record profits.
Six arrests were made after protesters refused to stop blocking the doors to the headquarters. “We’re here today to stop UnitedHealth Group from continuing its business practice of denying health coverage and insurance claims as the primary means of turning a profit,” said Julie Schnell, President of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota and one of those arrested. “Enough is enough. The status quo is failing most Americans. The time has come for Congress to ensure we have the health care we can afford and that means the choice of a public health insurance option.” While health insurance CEO’s took home $690 billion, health insurance premiums have been going up four times faster than wages. In addition to ongoing federal lobbying efforts, UnitedHealth Group has also been involved in work to prevent a public option from becoming law.
In an August email, the insurer’s advocacy group “UnitedHealth’s United for Health Reform,” urged employees to attend town hall meetings and contact congressional members to elevate anti-reform messaging. And UnitedHealth Group, through its subsidiary Ingenix, is the sole owner and funder of the Lewin Group, which produces polling and research content widely cited by the GOP to stop health care reform. Diane Brennan, small business owner and grandmother, and one of those arrested, said she was involved in Monday’s protest because “Americans across this country are angry that many members of Congress are more interested in what insurance industry lobbyists have to say – and the $1.4 million they spend every day to oppose reform — than what working families need.
Change may be threatening to private insurers because they have the most money to lose. But whose side is Congress on? All I know is that if the insurance companies win, we lose.” Names of those arrested: – Anna Brelje (Political Director, Mpls Regional Labor Federation) – Pamela Twiss (Program and Organizing Director, TakeAction Minnesota) – Julie Schnell (President, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota) – Sean Anderson (Organizer with SEIU Local 26) – Diane Brennan (Small Business Owner, Grandmother and ISAIAH Leader) – Mary Rosenthal (SEIU Healthcare Minnesota and former UnitedHealth Group employee)
Video by Amy Cooper
Editing by Mike McIntee