Make It the Baucus 13

Make it the Baucus 13.

Five more people were arrested at the Senate Finance Committee this morning.

They are advocates of a single payer health care system.

And they were protesting the fact that Committee chairman Senator Max Baucus (D-Montana) continues to exclude single payer advocates from a series of hearings on health care reform.

Last week, eight doctors, lawyers and activists were arrested as they sought to put a single payer advocate at a table of 15 witnesses.

Today, 13 witnesses testified – not one a single payer advocate.

The Baucus 8 were charged last week with “disruption of Congress” and face a May 26 court date in Washington, D.C.

The Baucus 8 were outside the hearing room this morning wearing black t-shirts that on the front said “Put Single Payer On the Table” and on the back quoted Senator Baucus from last week’s hearing as saying “We Need More Police.”

Inside the hearing room this morning, as the hearing began, a group of about 30 nurses, dressed in red, stood up and turned their backs on Baucus.

On their backs, they wore signs that said “Nurses Say: Stop AHIP. Pass Single Payer.” (AHIP stands for America’s Health Insurance Plans – the health insurance industry lobby.)

After the 30 nurses were led out of the room, a group of doctors, nurses and advocates stood up and one by one, spoke directly to Senator Baucus.

“Today is Florence Nightingale’s birthday,” DeAnn McEwen, an registered nurse from California told Baucus. “Florence Nightingale said if there were none to hope for any better, there would never be any better. This country needs a single payer health care system.”

“People at the table have failed Americans for 30 years,” said Sue Cannon, a registered nurse from California. “We want single payer at the table. We want guaranteed health care so we can give the care we need, when we need to give it.”

“We request that single payer advocates be allowed at the table,” said Dr. Judy Dasovich of Springfield, Missouri. “Health care should be for patients not for profits.”

“It’s a sense of outrage that brings me to your Senate chambers today,” said Dr. Steven Fenichel of Ocean City, New Jersey. “These people were entrusted by the American people to serve the American people’s interests. And they are just serving the interests of the insurance companies and drug companies – the people be damned.”

Jerry Call, a member of Physicians for a National Health Program from South Thomaston, Maine told Baucus that “sixty percent of Americans and sixty percent of physicians want single payer.”

“Why aren’t sixty percent of the people up front not single payer representatives?” Call said.

All five were arrested and taken away for booking.

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