Nine advocates for Medicare for All were arrested at 10:45am today at a sit-in outside Wellpoint offices in New York. The protesters sat down in the lobby after Wellpoint executives refused to hear their demands that the company stop blocking healthcare reform and instead direct the millions spent on lobbying towards delivering healthcare for all critically ill patients. Doctors and nurses were among the 50 other protesters who picketed outside the Wellpoint office building in lower Manhattan. (View 9 minutes of interviews at youtube link.) This action was organized by Mobilization for Healthcare for All, a coalition of ... local and national groups in support of Medicare for All, also known as Single-Payer healthcare. As healthcare industry money and influence has continued to dominate Congress, anger among ordinary citizens has escalated. Civil disobedience actions targeting health insurers have taken place in dozens of cities across the U.S. over the past four weeks. The protesters say they are demanding real reform that goes to the heart of the problem: the need to eliminate the private health insurance industry and replace it with an expanded and improved Medicare for All system. Wellpoint was a specific target in New York today due to the role of its former V.P. of Public Policy, Liz Fowler, who currently serves as Senior Aide to Senator Max Baucus and played a major role in the writing of the Senate Finance Committee healthcare legislation. “The legislation written by Ms. Fowler delivers large tax-payer subsidies to the insurance companies, while leaving Americans uninsured and underinsured. This shows how Wellpoint and the health insurance industry as a whole have taken over healthcare reform at the expense of the American people,” said Katie Robbins, Assistant National Coordinator for Healthcare-NOW! Adam Miller, an American citizen who grew up in Canada, was among those arrested today. “I grew up in a country where everyone --young, old, rich, poor—is covered. It’s their right.” Adam says, “Now, as a resident of New York City, I am for the first time in my life without medical coverage. Even if I could afford to buy health insurance, my coverage is far from guaranteed, because they’re in the business of making a profit, not providing health care. The more claims they deny, the more money they make.” “I’m here to represent the medical student community in the fight for single payer,” said Cameron Gibson, medical student at SUNY, Brooklyn, who was arrested today. “I think it is immoral that we allow insurance industry to make a profit off of health, and that we don’t treat it as a human right.” This marks the third major civil disobedience action in New York in one month, following successful sit-ins at Aetna Insurance on September 29th, and UnitedHealth Group on October 15th. Actions will take place in nineteen cities: New York, NY; Newark, NJ; Sunrise, FL; Warwick, RI; Rochester, NY; Detroit, MI; Seattle, WA; Glendale, CA; San Francisco, CA; Louisville, KY; Baltimore, MD; Philadelphia, PA; San Diego, CA; Augusta, GA; Atlanta, GA; Albuquerque, NM; Portland, OR; Columbus, OH; and Virginia Beach, VA. Footage of previous actions can be viewed at: http://mobilizeforhealthcare.org/