Activists in Philadelphia call for single payer health care system

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 Protestors outside Independence Blue Cross call for a singer payer system for healthcare (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Protestors outside Independence Blue Cross call for a singer payer system for healthcare (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

With the Senate debating whether to repeal the Affordable Care Act, protesters in Philadelphia came out to support a plan hardly anyone in Washington is discussing.  

About two dozen people made the call for a single-payer health care system during the Center City protest outside the headquarters of Independence Blue Cross.  

Zachary Hershman of the group Put People First said a single payer system would keep health care costs from growing so quickly.

“Last year the average rate increase in Pennsylvania was 32.5 percent.  Pennsylvanians are already struggling to afford the cost of health insurance, we can’t afford the cost to go up this year.”

Protester Nijmie Dzurinko said the current system is expensive and flawed. “We believe that single payer is one of the ways we should move forward,” said Dzurinko.

As for Blue Cross response, the company issued the following statement: 

“Despite all the challenges surrounding the Affordable Care Act over the past few years and the exit of other insurers across the country and in Southeastern Pennsylvania, Independence has continued to offer coverage, working to provide affordable choices for consumers.

We appreciate the uncertainty caused by the current political environment and the impact it may have on people who bought coverage on the Marketplace. It is our hope that government leaders commit to stabilizing the market and funding the cost-sharing reductions that provide financial assistance to working and middle class families so our customers can continue to benefit from the security of knowing their coverage will be available to them.

Consumers have concerns and need clarity and we need certainty that will allow us to make timely and appropriate business decisions for 2018. We urge lawmakers to come together and find a workable, bipartisan solution.”

The group is trying to get a big turnout when the state holds a meeting about rate hikes in Richboro, Bucks County at the end of August.

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