Anti-insurance co. protesters arrested at CIGNA office

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Pro-health reform demonstrators face Glendale Police as they attempt to gain access to the CIGNA offices in Glendale on Wednesday. Seven people were arrested for trespassing. (Raul Roa/News-Press)

DOWNTOWN — Police arrested seven protesters at the California headquarters of CIGNA Insurance on Wednesday after they refused to leave the lobby of the Glendale building while chanting slogans like “Patients, not profits. Medicare for all.”

The group of insurance-industry critics was part of a larger demonstration in front of the building on Brand Boulevard, where more than 40 protesters paced the sidewalk waving signs and denouncing private insurers as focused solely on profits.

“We are so upset about the private insurance system destroying the medical profession,” said Matt Hendrickson, an emergency physician at a Fresno hospital.

Hendrickson was one of the seven demonstrators who walked into the CIGNA building and refused to leave until they had an opportunity to speak with a company representative about their concerns. None responded.

Police later arrested the group for trespassing, unlawful assembly and refusal to disperse.

CIGNA dismissed the protest as unproductive and argued it was pushing for health-care overhaul plans that would change the way care is distributed.

“Getting arrested in an office — what does that do to furthering that goal?” said Chris Curran, a spokesman for CIGNA. “It’s just not constructive. That’s why the industry has put together constructive proposal that will expand access, control costs and improve the quality of care.”


Written by Zain Shauk

October 28, 2009 at 1:51 pm

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