Health New England is due for a dubious honor tomorrow: Billionaires for Wealthcare plans to stop by the insurance company’s Springfield office to deliver a thank-you card for “its participation in the vital work of American Health Insurance Plans (AHIP).
“Their lobby in Washington helps to keep American health care the most profitable health care system in the world,” the Billionaires said in a release announcing the event. “We firmly believe that every American deserves the very best health care they can possibly afford.”
Billionaires for Wealthcare is a self-described “grassroots network of health insurance CEOs, HMO lobbyists, talk-show hosts, and others profiting off of our broken health care system,” with the motto: “If we ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” In truth, it’s a guerilla-theater group that earlier this year made the rounds of the various town hall meetings and anti-tax “teabag” parties—where, it’s been reported, their satirical message has sometimes been lost on the crowd.
At tomorrow’s event, the Billionaires will be met by a group of in-on-the-joke counter-protesters (organized through Jobs with Justice) who will champion the cause of single-payer healthcare. They’ll also continue to publicly press U.S. Rep. Richie Neal to support the “Medicare for All” bill, sponsored by Rep. John Conyers (D-Michigan). The Valley’s other congressman, John Olver, is a co-sponsor of that bill, but Neal has not signed on.
The face-off is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 29, at noon at Monarch Place, on Main Street in downtown Springfield.