NEW YORK — October 26, 2011. On Wednesday a large group of doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, and Occupy Wall Street protesters marched from Zuccotti Park to the offices of insurance giant Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, past Medicaid managed care provider WellCare, and on to the site of St. Vincents Hospital which closed its doors last April — leaving Manhattan’s West Side with no hospital below 57th Street.
Carrying signs demanding “Healthcare for the 99%,” “Get Wall Street Out Of Our Healthcare,” “Medicare For All,” “Single Payer Now,” and “Heal America: Tax Wall Street,” a procession that included people in wheelchairs as well as lab coats, wound its way up Broadway, through a darkened Washington Square, across 12th Street and onto Seventh Avenue — where a rally was held outside the shuttered St. Vincents.
Demands for a hospital and accountability from local politicians reverberated in the West Village on Wednesday night, given voice by community organizer Yetta Kurland and repeated by a “mic check” composed of physicians, nurses and community members.
Their message: healthcare is a human right, and if we can build a hospital in Iraq, why not in New York?