Protesters take on Blue Cross

September 23, 2009 6:10:46 AM PDT
Protesters picketed the headquarters of insurance giant Blue Cross Blue Shield Tuesday as a part of a national campaign supported by various groups including ACORN.Drivers along Hwy 15-501 honked their horns in support of dozens of protestors, like Michelle Hoover. She said despite health insurance, she has big medical bills.

"Approximately $100,000 from three different hospitals," she said.

Hoover said since her insurance doesn't pay her bills, she decided to attend the demonstration.

The grassroots movement, Health Care Reform for America Now, is taking to the streets in major cities nationwide. But in the Triangle Tuesday, security stopped them short.

After brief confrontation, a letter to the company's CEO was hand delivered inside.

The protesters asked the Blue Cross CEO to make a pledge to make changes to the company's policies.

"This is a moral imperative when we think about how many people are suffering because of the lack of access to health care," said Lynice Williams with Health Care Reform for America Now.

The group has accused Blue Cross of denying coverage and spending hundreds of thousands to lobby against healthcare reform. The company is now the target of a billboard ad featuring blue crosses in a cemetery.

But the insurance giant told Eyewitness News Tuesday that its position on health care reform is being misrepresented by the protestors.

"There's a lot of mischaracterizations by various groups, it is unfortunate," said Lew Borman with Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Blue Cross said it supports reform, but it also supports the current employer-based system.

"Our CEO Bob Grecyzn said the other night when the President spoke, we agree with probably 80 percent of what he said," Borman said. "We do have an issue with a government run program."

People like Hoover are a part of that 20 percent, protestors said and that's why they'll keep pushing the issue.

"We feel a lot of that 20 other percent that they're not in support of," Williams said. "We've never been this close in history with the change of healthcare so this is the time."

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