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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Flash Mob for Healthcare Reform

Next week on Tuesday, March 9th, 2010 we will have a large March in Washington DC supporting Healthcare Reform. Many organizations and individuals that are rallying for the Healthcare Reform Bill will be congregating at Dupont Circle at 10:30am and begin marching at 11:20am toward The Ritz Carlton on 22nd Street. The America's Health insurance Plans (AHIP), is holding a conference there.

Prior to Marching, I am encouraging a large group of artists, activists, poets, dancers, students, musicians and patients to form a flash mob supporting healthcare reform. Our plan is simple. We will blend in as regular people; then begin pulling off jackets to reveal our patients' robes underneath. Indeed, we all are regular people, and every person is a patient in the end. Music will begin swelling. This is the song. It was written by Paul Hanna after hearing me speak on NPR in November. These are the lyrics:

You see my loved ones lying, He’s dying
You see my loved ones lying, she’s dying…
Can’t you move and help, “we're not authorized”
Don’t you see there’s no time, he’s losing the life in his eyes.
“Ok, let me see what I can do. Please have a seat, and I’ll get back to you in a few.”
Don’t you see, my loved ones lying, their dying.
You see my loved ones lying, he’s dying…
Close your eyes and imagine your best friend, the one you love.
Waiting for this and that to pass, before help comes.
Seeing them lying there, no help no care.
Hey you, hey you. Wake up.
This ain't no holiday, x3
You see my loved ones dying, not smiling.
It’s been so long, since the two of use meet, yeah.
Take my home, take my car, take everything.
Just please help my love.
Take my heart take my home, take everything….
Just please help my love.
Written for Regina Holiday. Mural master.

So we dance and sway to this music as 10 "patient" dancers move around the crowd with gymnastic ribbons. They will be red ribbons that spin around the patients. The ribbons will have ICD-9 codes written on them: the billing codes that insurers use. These ribbons will represent the red tape that denies us care. The ribbons can also represent the freedom we wish to have. Note the ribbons snap and spin. We are not tightly bound. We are being released. We are free to receive help, we are free to claim access to care and access to our medical records.

This is art and medical advocacy combined. This is the power of a visual image. I hope you can join us.


  1. Try Ben Harper's "BETTER WAY" -Mark Lodes, a friend of Melanie Shouse

  2. Melanie Shouse speaks to us from beyond the grave. Her voice rallies together those women who have battled, fought against Breast Cancer. Her words echo in the ears of every man, woman, & child who know the sound of suffering, at the hands of illness, & under the giant crushing feet of the insurance company that denied care, delayed, treatment & coverage when it was needed most.
    Melanie’s powerful words can be found online. She & others wrote a plan called “THE SAINT LOUIS CITIZEN’S PLAN FOR REAL HEALTH CARE REFORM.” Join Melanie, march with her, walk with her, ye breast cancer advocates, bring your pink ribbons, & rally around the memory of Melanie, she did not have to die from breast cancer. Our nation let her down.
    Thanks to the mighty power of the internet, & the freedoms bestowed upon us by our constitution, & first amendments rights, Melanie’s voice, words, & plan remain right out in the open, for all to see in plain daylight. Use the google. It is all there. She knew the personal pain & suffering that so many people who get sick know:
    EVEN IF YOU HAVE “GOOD” HEALTH CARE COVERAGE when you GET SICK, you are going to LOSE OUT! You’ll be cut from care, denied coverage, denied treatment, & sentenced to a painful & slow death from a “pre-existing condition.” Melanie paid the highest price that any person can pay for insurance. We let her down. Melanie bought “coverage” but still paid dearly, she could not afford to catch & beat BREAST CANCER even with her coverage.
    Melanie was the 1 in 30 women who die from it in our country, but Melanie Shouse was not killed by breast cancer alone. She was killed by the out of control costs of health care coverage, & the insurance company that pulled the plug on her treatment. Melanie’s death was quickened by the delay in testing, & denied care. Sadly she lost primarily because of her poverty, & because insurance companies have colluded with providers to raise costs to levels beyond reach. This is why Melanie Shouse was a staunch advocate for the Public Option. I ask you this breast cancer advocates, what woman do you know with breast cancer whose life is worth so little that she should be sentenced to death because she could not afford a mammogram at the first sign of trouble? NO WOMAN SHOULD FACE THIS KIND OF A DEATHIN OUR LAND OF PLENTY! NO WOMAN SHOULD DIE FOR LACK OF THE ABILITY TO PAY FOR CARE OR TREATMENT THAT CAN SAVE HER LIFE!
    Melanie Shouse speaks to us from beyond her grave. She knew that the only way to really control cost in medicine is to fell the mighty bully Goliath with the only weapon David has: One small stone. The Public Option is that stone. Melanie coined the phrase. She helped write the plan that became the one discussed in current national debate, it is a great compromise between complete overhaul, & a entirely new system, you get to select your option, the current insurance you have, or the public option. You get to vote, either for or against the insurance companies.
    Melanie knew the only way to fell the corrupt Goliath, he would continue to walk all over the little guy if unchecked. Goliath robs sick, takes their money, home, & family treasures, & leaves them un-covered with a pre-existing condition, denied care, treatments, & tests that would have saved their lives. Goliath must be stopped. Goliath is a greedy bully. He raises his rates & robs the poor even when the world economy is in the middle of the worst recession in 70 years. There is no other BULLY as big & bad as Goliath. No other industry dares raise rates 30 to 70% in an economic recession, normal businesses would collapse under such strain.
    Only the Big Insurance Monopoly can do such a thing. There is a reason why 60% of bankruptcies are caused in part by medical debt.

  3. Hi,
    I like the lyrics of this song..Nice composition. Thanks for sharing ..