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9 Mar, 2010 22:20

Americans continue to protest for healthcare

While the major lobbying group for the US healthcare industry held its annual meeting at the Washington, DC Ritz-Carlton, angry protester outside demanded the reform they have been promised.

Hundreds of protestors took to the streets of Washington DC on Tuesday demanding action be taken to pass the President's healthcare bill.

Protesters marched across town to the Ritz Carlton, a place they labeled a ‘Corporate Crime Scene’.

That’s because inside, a major lobbying group for American Health Insurance Companies is holding its annual conference. They discuss items on the agenda like healthcare reform: where are we now and where are we headed.

Though protesters hoped to break in and interrupt the conference, police blocked the doors, keeping them outside.

The demonstrators threatened to arrest the executives for crimes against healthcare.

Former governor of Vermont Howard Dean was a keynote speaker. He’s an outspoken supporter of the public option and says he hasn’t given up on having it included in the bill.

“The CBO has said [the public option] will save us one hundred billion dollars and reduce the deficit by one hundred billion dollars. I don’t think any reasonable person can criticize the congressional budget office,” Dean said.

“The insurance companies make their money from denying people care and we need to stop talking about insurance. We need to start talking about care,” one of the protesters told RT.

For some protesters, like John Mackey, this matter is not political but personal.

“I got MS and about four years ago it started getting bad. I couldn’t keep up with my bills. I lost pretty much everything. They raised my health insurance 55%,” said Mackey, who subsequently lost his health insurance.

Mackey adds he’s worked his whole life and wishes he could work now.

“They get this impression of someone living this life. I had a life. I was a competitive marathon runner and made a lot of money. I’ll take it back any day. This is not what I wanted at 50-years-old,” he says.

But what’s ahead for him and others – still a question with an unknown answer, with plenty of people fighting hard on both sides of the issue.