Health care reform rally

A demonstrator fires up the crowd during the health care rally on Tuesday, Sept. 22. (Keith Cousins/Lariat Staff)

Keith Cousins

On Tuesday September 22 at 11:30 AM, hosted a rally at United Health Care in Santa Ana to promote health care reform. The rally brought over 100 demonstrators to the headquarters of United Health Care.

“We want a public option and we want insurance companies to stop blocking health care reform,” organizer Judy Kaufman said.

The public options for health care as well as insurance reform were stressed repeatedly at the rally, both by attendees and speakers.

“It’s not a party issue, it’s a social issue,” attendee Fred Ponzlove said. “People are dying on a regular basis because they do not have insurance.”

“You have to take the profit making out of it because we are profiting from people’s ill health,” Ponzlove said. “It’s counter productive and no other country does it that way.”

Representatives from California School Employees Association (CSEA) were in attendance supporting health care reform. The CSEA represents about 230,000 “classified school employees” who perform a wide variety of jobs on community college campuses throughout California including security, food services and office work.

“Health care is a top issue with CSEA,” organizer Kenny Wilson said. “It is a right every single person should have, the public option is very important.”

Wilson also stressed that insurance companies are a large part of the health care crisis.

“The way the insurance companies are working it right now its for profit and until we change that and until we get out of this habit of paying for something that they are going to deny us when we need it, we are never going to have true health care reform,” Wilson said.

Susan Wong, a nurse at a community college in south Orange County attended the rally and spoke to the attendees about her experiences with health care.

“The biggest challenge of my job is not the triage or following the doctors orders,” Wong said. “The biggest challenge is when I have to find health care for people.”

Wong said that the majority of the students she works with only have part-time jobs in addition to school and as a result they do not have health insurance. This leaves them at a loss when it comes to paying for antibiotics and critical tests to identify potential problems.

“These problems always start out small but when they can’t pay for antibiotics or tests, the problems increase and they end up in the hospital which increases the cost dramatically,” Wong said.

The rally culminated with presenting United Health Care representatives with a memorandum demanding they stop denying health care to people and stop fighting health care reform.

Health Care reform is of critical importance to Saddleback College students. Thoughts from students, as well as faculty on the health care crisis will appear in the September 30 issue of the Lariat.

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