Protesters storm Detroit office of insurance giant to demand meeting
Dozens of protesters went to the Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) Detroit headquarters Tuesday to demand a meeting with their CEO, Daniel Loepp. Michigan People’s Campaign (MPC) has been fighting to protect those who would lose health insurance coverage if the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is repealed. MPC wants Loepp to publicly oppose the Republican plan that would give tax breaks to people like him while taking away coverage for as many as 24 million Americans. But as they approached the entrance to the building, guards hurried to lock the front doors and keep us outside.
As employees leaving the for the day were rerouted to the rear exit, protesters braved the cold and held a rally in the front. They chanted “Trumpcare is wealth care!” and carried signs with messages like “No billionaire left behind.”
For anyone who forgot what health insurance was like before the ACA, Joyce Peralta who is a leader with MPC reminded them of what happened when her husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2001. After 2 years of covering their medical bills, UnitedHealthcare kicked them off their plan. “We were victims of profits over people.” Peralta said. “They were glad to take our thousand dollars a month until we started costing them money.”
Besides being one of the nation’s largest health insurance corporations, BCBS has influence over the Republicans behind the proposed health care reform. Their corporate PAC has made campaign contributions to representatives Dave Trott, Fred Upton and House Speaker Paul Ryan. Loepp stands to reap millions in tax breaks under the plan and MPC hopes he will weigh that against the 24 millions expected to lose coverage and follow the lead of AARP, the American Nurses Association, the American College of Physicians and the American Medical Association to oppose ACA repeal.