Legal charges against the “Baucus 13” were settled in a series of court hearings held earlier this week. The 13 were charged with disruption of congress after they attempted to speak on behalf of single payer healthcare reform at two Senate Finance Committee hearings on healthcare in May.

Senator Baucus, the chair of the Finance Committee, had refused repeated requests to call witnesses who could speak on behalf of single-payer at the May public hearings and had publicly stated that single payer healthcare reform was “off the table”.

The protesters demanded that Senator Baucus put single payer on the table. They were immediately arrested by the Capitol Police. The arrestees included five doctors, two nurses, an advocate for the homeless, a labor organizer and leaders of other organizations promoting universal, single payer healthcare for all Americans. Eight were arrested at the May 5 hearing and five more on May 12. The May 12 hearing also witnessed dozens of nurses—members of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee—in hospital scrubs standing in silent protest for several minutes.

The arrests sparked a public outcry and widespread media attention. In the weeks after the incident, single-payer advocates were invited to testify before the Senate Health, Education and Labor (HELP) Committee as well as the House Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce and HELP Committees. Senator Baucus was forced to concede that it was a mistake to rule out a single-payer plan because doing so, “alienated a large, vocal constituency and left Mr. Obama’s proposal of a public health plan to compete with private insurers as the most liberal position.” (NY Times, 6/24/09).

All members of the Baucus 13 vowed to continue their fight to establish healthcare as a human right for all Americans. “If Senator Baucus thinks this is over, he is sadly mistaken,” said Dr. Margaret Flowers, a Maryland physician. “This is just the beginning. We will not stop until every American has the right to healthcare.”

19 Comments

  1. sandy on July 4, 2009 at 6:15 am

    These people remain my heroes. Why aren’t the heads of insurance companies jailed, since they are running ponzi schemes. I pay a premium every month and they give me nothing in return.



    • Jeanne on July 8, 2009 at 4:38 pm

      I agree, Sandy. Health insurance executives take home BILLIONS of dollars, all ill-gotten gains. They happily take premiums while people are healthy, and bide their time until people are most vulnerable- when illness or injury strikes. Then, they reject, reject, reject and drop people from the plans regardless of all the years and all the premiums paid, even when they know that to do so results in the death of the subscriber. They are the WORST kind of criminal, as they are committing premeditated murder and profiting off it as well.

      Over half of all bankruptcies are caused by the health insurance industry’s ploys. Why do we allow these “executive-murderers” to live amongst us?

      It must be stopped. Keep writing/faxing/calling/e-mailing our government. Make sure they stop denying us the healthcare that THEY have access to. If they deny us single-payer healthcare, then they are in bed with the insurance industry and placing the interest of those murderers over American lives, bloodying their own hands as well.



      • paul ames on July 8, 2009 at 5:44 pm

        I suggest that everyone petition Obama to give all 13 a full pardon, a place at the conversation table and dinner at the White House on his dime, travel included, with a full crawl on his belly apology to each and everyone of them and do it live on every one of the corporate networks.



  2. Eliza Jane Dodd on July 5, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    BRAVO Dr. Margaret Flowers !!! BRAVO and SANTOS SANTOS SANTOS ! You are a SAINT ! Thank you and GOD BLESS it is people like you I keep trying to live with out medical attention ! ALL THE ANGLES IN HEAVEN LOVE YOU !



  3. John Gorman on July 7, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    I say: “Let a 1000 Margaret Flowers Blossom”.



  4. John Gorman on July 7, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    An inquiry: So what was the deal – an ACD or hard time in the big house?



    • Healthcare-NOW! on July 9, 2009 at 11:08 am

      Probation and 40 hours of community service for the few who live in DC.



      • John Gorman on July 9, 2009 at 6:09 pm

        This is a stiff penalty. My wife and I and about 20 others, including friends from ActUp, were arrested at a demonstration in NYC. We staged a “die-in” on Broadway mid-day mid-week in support of single-payer. We spent about 8 hours in a lock up and then copped to an “Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal”, which requires 6 months of good behavior and then the charge disappears. One always expects to be penalized for civil disobedience, so I don’t shed a tear for Margaret et al., I merely laud their smart tactics and bravery.



  5. Tom on July 8, 2009 at 11:30 am

    Health Insurance companies have caused more harm to Americans than any terrorist organization.. Yet they are welcomed with open arms by people in government like Sen. Baucus..This will only end when political whores like Baucus are sent packing.. Then, maybe, this country will get the only true solution to our healthcare nightmare and that is a single payer system.



  6. Diane on July 8, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    ***PATIENTS are out of PATIENCE***

    While Congress continues to deliberate, based primarily on testimony of insurance companies, many people continue to die for want of health care coverage!

    Some people cannot afford it, others are not ‘qualified,’ many do the best they can with far too many policy exclusions, and the list of inadequacies goes on.

    Statistics show that approximately 46 million Americans are uninsured, and recent studies show that at least 22,000 of us die annually due to lack of insurance coverage.*

    I wholeheartedly agree with Dr. Flowers’ comment about not stopping until every American has the right to health care! And I implore everyone to push their legislators for support of this crucial legislation: single-payer universal health coverage.

    *Websites for these organizations contain statistical references:
    – Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences
    – Families USA
    – Urban Institute
    (I don’t have URLs handy, apologies)



  7. Myra Jones on July 8, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    How dare a Senator who has been hired and whose salary is being paid by the voters arrest voters for demanding their rights? Baucus ought to be publicly chastised and be forced to recuse himself from the committee chairmanship because of conflict of interest. He has received $1 1/3 million dollars from the insurance industry, and he is obviously dancing with the one who brung him to the party (as Molly Ivins used to say),



  8. Eric Ganguly on July 8, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    I strongly believe taht a single-payer health care system is the most appropriate for our country on the basis that it is the most humane and economical system available and is available in countries like Canada, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Having a strong desire to become a Foreign Service Officer, I would have to explain to foreign publics that the United States is a defender of human rights. Well, that would be a very hard sell if we continue to have this horrible for-profit system in place that we have which must be removed at all political costs. The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares that universal access to healthcare is a fundamental right, yet most US Presidents and Congress continue to ignore this fundamental right, just like how a recent preseident flaunted international law with a certain detention camp, but that is another story. I would say this support both HR 676 and S 703 and get both the president and congress behind it, the future of our country and our international standing depend on it.



  9. Janet P on July 8, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    Max Baucus is not a true representative of the people…he is in bed with the insurance companies and to me that is cause for impeachment.



    • Sally G on July 14, 2009 at 4:52 pm

      Hats off to the Montanans who are giving him such a hard time about it—we on the East Coast talk about our liberalism, but they are fighting him on his home turf. I’m sure his actions will be remembered in his next election; I just hope his damage can be minimized until then.



  10. Laur on July 8, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    Why can’t Congress conduct a transparent investigation of the finances of all the major health insurance companies to see where the money is going? Or why not a class action lawsuit against the insurance companies which would include all the people who are being denied coverage even when insured? Shouldn’t we all be suing these insurance companies, and WHY ARE WE NOT?!!! If any of you are lawyers and can help, will you please?



  11. Bill McLaughlin on July 9, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    When dissent is suppressed in foreign nations we are horrified. When those expressing a view held by a large number of Americans are arrested at the direction of the insurance industry’s representative, it’s no big deal, Hardly worthy of mention on our fair and balanced “news” networks, preferring to spend every hour on every channel on Michael J.



    • Sally G on July 14, 2009 at 4:49 pm

      Don’t you remember? The “fair and balanced” requirement was quietly done away with some time ago. There is no longer a legal requirement for such, and if you watched Bill Moyers’ Journal this past week, you saw insurance company executives respond to a request for a commitment to stop the recission practice: basically, it’s not “the law of the land”, so we won’t do it. Broadcast executives are no different: responsibility or morality are of less importance than the letter of the law.



  12. Floyd Clark on July 9, 2009 at 11:54 pm

    These people will not listen to discussion of a Single Payer Plan because they have things going the way they want, and they are not interested in the welfare of the U.S. citizens.



  13. Gail on July 14, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    How much profit is ethically acceptable for “Joe Stockholder” to make off my illness?