Occupy Wall Street Protesters Rally For Health Care Reform

By Erica Ferrari
NY1 News, Oct. 23, 2011

Nurses and doctors joined the Occupy Wall Street protesters Sunday to rally for health care reform, and tourists continued to funnel in and out of Zuccotti Park to witness the demonstrations for themselves. [PNHP note: See video with several PNHP doctors here.]

The event in Zuccotti Park featured speakers demanding significant health care reform across the country.

"If we eliminated some of the profits of pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, medical device companies, we could provide healthcare to everyone and do it really well," said Dr. Mary O'Brian of St. Luke's Columbia Student Health Service.

"The insurance companies don't wanna provide care because every time they provide care it's less profit for them. That's their inherent motto, that's the fiduciary duty is to deny people care," said rally participant Dr. Stephen Auerbach.

On Wednesday, healthcare workers say they plan to march from Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield's headquarters downtown up to the former site of St. Vincent's hospital, which closed down last year after filing for bankruptcy.

Meantime, protesters Saturday joined a rally in Union Square against police brutality, and organizers held a teach-in and a march.

They said blacks and Latinos are being brutalized by police officers, and they also spoke out against the police department's controversial "stop and frisk" policy.

NYPD officials have long said the policy helps reduce crime in the city.

No arrests were reported in the rally.

Meanwhile, with protests now going for more than a month, the Occupy Wall Street encampment at Zuccotti Park is becoming something of a tourist attraction.

More and more visitors from across the country stopped by to take pictures and videos, ask questions and even walk among the protesters.

"Turn back the clock maybe 35 years ago, I was doing the very same thing against the war in Vietnam,” said one tourist.

“This was of great interest to us. I mean, I feel like we're in sympathy with what they're doing," said another.

Protesters say they welcome the out-of-towners because they're helping to spread the message back home.

Doctors, nurses join Occupy Wall Street

Fox News, Oct. 23, 2011

The Occupy Wall Street protesters used health care reform as a rallying cry and had support in Queens on Sunday.

Nurses and doctors from the groups Physicians for a National Health Program and the National Physicians Alliance joined the protesters in Zucotti Park.

The groups combined to speak out on the need for reform on health care. [PNHP note: Click here to get to the 4-minute video segment featuring doctors and medical students at the Wall Street action; the health care segment is accessible via the smaller video box on the right (the one showing PNHP's Dr. Mary O'Brien in her white coat) immediately below the larger video still shot.]

In Queens, many immigrant and workers rights organizations gathered in Jackson Heights and marched from 69th to 83rd Street to launch the founding of I.M.A. (International Migrants Alliance) in the U.S.

The organizations say they’re standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the Occupy Wall Street movement.

The Queens protesters called for the immediate legalization for the undocumented and for an end to deportations.