Health Care for the 99 Percent


The Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement has focused a national spotlight on corporate greed and the outrageous wealth of the 1 percent in the United States.

The Chicago Single-Payer Action Network (CHISPAN) is in solidarity with OWS. For decades, those of us who believe health care is a human right, not a commodity, have fought the greedy insurance and pharmaceutical industries. These corporations consistently put profits over patient’s health care needs. Have a look at these eye-popping CEO salaries:
John Hammergren, McKesson – $145M
Ronald Williams, Aetna – $57M
H. Edward Hanway, CIGNA – 28.8 M
Bill Weldon, Johnson & Johnson – $28.7M
Daniel Vasella, Novartis – $27M
Miles White, Abbott – $25.6 M
Jeffrey Kindler, Pfizer $24.7M

The insurance giants UnitedHealth, WellPoint, Aetna, CIGNA, and Humana are getting rich in the throes of a deep, economic depression for the 99 percent of us. The combined earnings of those five companies were more than $11.7 billion in 2010, which was 17 percent more than they made in 2009. Since the end of 2008, their earnings have increased 51 percent. The 1 percent of Wall Street shareholders are laughing all the way to the bank, while over 50 million people are uninsured and millions more are underinsured. These businesses make profits by charging exorbitant amounts for coverage, denying health care, and overcharging for medication. They don’t care that people suffer or die. A study by the Commonwealth Fund shows that 84,000 people in America die every year because they lack access to health care. In the richest country in the world, that is a crime!

In 2011, the Occupy movement brought protest in to the streets, on to bridges, ports, and parks. Single payer activists have been a part of these protests.

Single-payer activists are no strangers to struggle. The year 2009 saw single payer activists all across the country stage a series of sit-ins at insurance company buildings. In Chicago, members of CHISPAN sat-in at the corporate headquarters of CIGNA. Seven were arrested. Check out the video of the “CIGNA 7.”

As long as health care resources are in the control of profit hungry insurance CEOs and stockholders, the medical misery of millions of people will continue.

We want to abolish the private insurance industry once and for all. We are committed to building a movement for health care justice and working with the Occupy movement and raising the demand for a health care system where profit has no place. Join us.



The Chicago Single-Payer Action Network (CSPAN) is a grassroots organization of activists fighting to make health care a human right. We are a diverse group of people from different political persuasions, but we share the belief that our current health care system is broken and that fundamental—not incremental—change is needed.

Gender, racial, and class disparities are endemic in the health care system.

We believe the only way to end this suffering and unnecessary death is by abolishing the private insurance industry. These corporations put profits before patients and are responsible for the health care crisis.

CSPAN proudly supports John Conyers’s bill, The United States National Health Care Act (H.R. 676). This bill eliminates the insurance companies and replaces them with a single-payer system where the government pays all medical bills: no co-pays, no deductibles, and no denial of care.

H.R. 676 makes health care a human right that can never be taken away.

CSPAN believes that protest and educating people are the way to win single-payer. We have organized pickets and demonstrations in front of insurance company buildings and the Democratic National Committee offices.

Successful educational events include a panel discussion with the American Medical Students Association (AMSA) at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a meeting on gender and racial disparities with Physicians For a National Health Program (PNHP) at Harold Washington College.

Join us today in the struggle to win health care as a human right.


Moments From Our Medicare Birthday Rally

The bullhorn rang out at lunch hour at the Thompson Center: “MEDICARE! Keeping seniors off cat food since 1965!”

Amid flyers, candy, party balloons, horns, and rousing sax music, we rallied at the Thompson Center, celebrating Medicare, America’s most popular social program. We rallied on July 27, three days before its 46th anniversary.

In this video, Tom Wilson and Quentin D. Young, our state’s Public Health Advocate, speak eloquently about the fight we still need to wage for single-payer.

Though the sun was brilliant that day, the dark cloud of the debt ceiling debate, which calls for deep cuts in Medicare, hung over our fight. But with ISPC, the Gray Panthers and the ISO in tow, we made our voices heard and connected with many on the street. People know something is still wrong with the health care system, can sense it in their bones, and in time, we will draw more people to fight for the only reform that will work.

At a time when more and more people are uninsured, underinsured and bearing the brunt of skyrocketing medical costs, the last thing we need is to get rid of Medicare. What the health care system really needs is a stronger, better-funded, expanded Medicare. That is exactly what we are fighting for. Join us!

On July 30, 1965, President Johnson signs Medicare into law as former President Harry Truman looks on.