More than 100 radical leftists from across the nation, including top leaders of the feminist, socialist, labor, and victimhood movements, descended upon St. Louis on Saturday for the 2009 Healthcare-Now.org National Strategy Conference.
Never heard of the group? Consider that attendees at the conference were disappointed in the health care bill recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives because (1) it didn’t go far enough in the direction of a public option and (2) it didn’t provide health insurance coverage for abortions. In other words, it was a far-left crowd.
I managed to “crash” the opening session of the two-day conference, held at the Sheraton Westport Lakeside Chalet. As far as conference organizers were concerned, I was a freelance journalist who happened to be in the area, whose work has appeared in several national publications, and who doesn’t carry business cards as his token effort to save trees. Much to my surprise, I turned out to be the only journalist in a room saturated with individuals who appeared stuck in the Woodstock era.
The session began with a microphone being passed from person to person for introductions of 30 seconds or less. What followed was a mix of teary-eyed, first-hand accounts from people who said they or someone they knew had been denied health care. Most often repeated among the intros were four single-payer talking points:
1. Health care is a human right (multiple times).
2. Health insurance isn’t health care.
3. Corporate greed is at the root of the nation’s health care woes.
4. Adoption of single-payer health care is a moral imperative.
Unfortunately, I had to step out and take a fake “phone call” just as the microphone approached my row. But thanks to the sound system in the Alpine II meeting room, I was still able to listen from the hallway.
After a short video tribute to Marilyn Clement, the recently deceased founder of Healthcare-Now.org, six liberal heavyweights were allotted 7 minutes each to address conference attendees from their slightly elevated head table.
Healthcare-Now.org leader Quentin Young, a Chicago physician of 61 years and Hyde Park neighbor of President Barack Obama, began the session. Though he used less than five minutes of his time, he made it clear that for-profit insurances companies — whom he described as “obscene, greedy” and “an enemy of the people” — collectively represent his number one target for extinction.
Dr. Young passed the microphone to Jerry Tucker, a steering committee member for Labor for Single Payer, director of the Healthcare Justice Education Fund, former member of the UAW International Union Executive Committee, and a co-founder of the Center for Labor Renewal (which sounds like the name of a union spa in the Upper Peninsula).