By David Pittman, Washington Correspondent, MedPage Today
TAMPA, Fla. — Protesters at what will likely be the largest organized protest this week at the Republican National Convention tried to draw attention to the problems they see in healthcare.
The Coalition to March on the RNC — about 100 protesters strong — gathered Monday in a Tampa park before marching on the Tampa Bay Times Forum, site of the convention, and spoke for inexpensive health insurance and women’s rights among other issues.
Hoping to catch the attention of Republican policymakers while in Tampa, Renee Davis, LPN, spoke about providing reproductive health and breast cancer screenings to all women.
The Affordable Care Act mandates that all new insurance policies cover birth control and certain other preventive health services with no copay, coinsurance, or deductible. Those provisions, which took effect Aug. 1, have riled political conservatives who state it encroaches on their religious freedom by forcing some faith-based employers to provide contraceptive coverage against their will.
Louisiana, Davis’ home state, is one that is trying to block that provision of the ACA, she said.
Davis, national program and alliance director for UniteWomen.org, a nonpartisan group started in February that is dedicated to ending women’s inequalities, also decried efforts to cut funding to Planned Parenthood and the preventive health services it provides.
“What we want is good, inexpensive health-care for all,” Jared Hamil, spokesman for the Coalition to March on the RNC, told MedPage Today before his group’s rally Monday. “How is it only the privileged can pay for this?”
The group supports the mission whether it be a single-payer system or totally government run.
Hamil was dry on specific ideas for how to achieve the group’s goals, though. Nor does the coalition list any health-specific group endorsing its mission. Instead, a bevy of labor, student, and anti-war groups have signed on in support.
Regardless, other health-minded protesters attended Monday’s March on the RNC.
Hillary Lehr, activist for Global Exchange, a human rights organization in San Francisco, spoke against the massive amount of money the health insurance industry spends on lobbying — $635 million last year alone. That money could pay for more than 1,900 open-heart surgeries and 18,000 rounds of chemotherapy treatment, Lehr said.
“We’re not trying to state the private sector shouldn’t have a role in shaping what [health] policy is,” Lehr said. “But it shouldn’t have the only role.”
is MedPage Today’s Washington Correspondent, following the intersection of policy and healthcare. He covers Congress, FDA, and other health agencies in Washington, as well as major health-care events. David holds bachelors’ degrees in journalism and chemistry from the University of Georgia and previously worked at the Amarillo Globe-News in Texas, Chemical & Engineering News and most recently FDAnews.
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Submited at Tuesday, August 28th, 2012 at 12:15 am on Uncategorized by chuck
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