Bush has spoken twice about health during his entire 60 months as governor. Both times to Health-trade organizations. Fully 39.1% of poor Texas children have no health care. 10,000 Texans have died of AIDS while Bush has been governor, and Texas has the 4th highest rate of HIV in the nation.
April 11 2000 New York Times front page article
TREATMENT CONTINUES AGAINST JAILED PROTESTERS
HELP NEEDED > see below > > > > >
ACT UP Joins First Street
March of RNC
Demands Health Care Coverage For All, Condemns Greedy Repub Proposals
Saturday, July 29 11AM Arch Street, between 6th & 7th, at Franklin Square
ACT UP protested today alongside thousands of doctors, nurses, and other activists in an historic march to demand single payer health coverage for every person in the United States. Their demand directly opposes the health policies of Texas Governor George W. Bush.
In Texas, which ranks fourth in the US in AIDS cases, a quarter of all state residents are uninsured, and Bush has a long track record of neglect for people with AIDS. Spending on prisons has increased at double the rate of spending on health care.
"Bush would rather put people with HIV in prison than provide treatment," said John Bell of ACT UP Philadelphia, a speaker at today's march. "And in his seven years as Governor, he has never uttered the word AIDS, a tradition he has carried over to the campaign trail."
Instead of fighting to help the uninsured, Bush is on record supporting the profit-driven, care-denying drug companies and insurance firms. His proposed prescription plan for Medicare stands to line the pockets of drug companies and HMOs.
He is almost certain to appoint Deborah Steelman, his top healthcare advisor, to the powerful position as head of the Health Care Financing Administration, which runs Medicare and Medicaid. Steelman is a leading insurance and drug company lobbyist. Her firm, Steelman Enterprises, received $3 million in one year from insurance firms and drug companies and has contributed substantially to the Bush campaign. (http://www.citizen.org/congress/fda/health/steelman.htm)
Said ACT UP's Bill Thorne, "Bush's top health advisor isn't some doctor or the dean of the Harvard School of Public Health-- she's a drug company flack. That speaks for itself."
Pharmaceutical and insurance companies will also profit if the Republican-sponsored Medicare prescription drug bill, now in the senate, becomes law. The plan has few protections against 'cherry-picking' ? the profit-driven practice of extending coverage to the healthy but excluding the sickest and most expensive patients to insure.
Says ACT UP Philadelphia's Thamon Pierce, "This Republican Medicare plan will enrich insurance companies and reward them for denying benefits to the sickest people. The ill health in our communities is the living legacy of these misplaced priorities, from Reagan and GW's dad through the Clinton Administration's half-hearted sham of a universal health care plan."
Activists also point to the Republican effort to block extending Medicaid coverage to all people with HIV/AIDS as an indication of what they can expect from a Republican president. Right now, only severely ill people with AIDS qualify for Medicaid; Republicans in Congress have repeatedly stopped Vice President Gore's efforts to extend the coverage to allow people with less severe disease to access drugs and services that can preserve their health.
Finally, Bush's track record on AIDS in Texas has caused grave concern among people with HIV across the US. Despite the high number of AIDS cases, state programs are chronically underfunded. Texas State Representative Glen Maxey, founder of Texas AIDS Treatment Data Network and AIDS Services of Austin, has stated that Bush is "Absent, nonexistent, AWOL." on AIDS.
* Although infection rates in Hispanic communities are soaring, the state has dramatically decreased its funding to AIDS organizations in the Hispanic community.
* Despite the rise in HIV infections, state spending on HIV services has stayed level for eight of the last nine years, resulting in a per-capita cut in services.
* There is a federal waiver to rescue the frequently bankrupt AIDS Drug Assistance Program in Texas, which provides life-saving AIDS drugs to low income Texans. This would not require state funds but does require the signature of Governor Bush. The waiver remains unsigned. The program suffers from restricted, tiered access and an extremely low income cut off that leaves families with no access to medicine.
ACT UP DEMANDS:
Universal, single payer healthcare system for all US residents.
Medicaid benefit expansion to all people with HIV. Standardized public sector Medicare prescription benefit that reins in drug prices and prevents cherry picking of the healthy
Generic AIDS drugs for Africa and other poor countries, and cancel the debt of the world's poorest and most AIDS affected nations (see press advisory for events focusing on international campaign)
BACKGROUND: Bush & Republicans Block Common Sense, Affordable Medicaid Expansion, Costing Lives
Over 43 million Americans are uninsured and millions are underinsured. 50% of adults and 90% of children living HIV with rely on Medicaid for health care. 30% of people with AIDS are uninsured. HIV rates are rising among groups that have been traditionally underserved. Women, youth, people of color, low income individuals and injection drug users have significantly less access to comprehensive health care. Many people newly infected with HIV will be eligible for Medicaid, but not until they are sick enough to meet the disability requirements.
Currently, individuals must have an AIDS diagnosis before qualifying for Medicaid benefits. During the last two years, the Republican party has blocked plans led by Vice President Gore to extend Medicaid coverage to people living with HIV. Advocates report that the results have included reduced work time, increased medical and social services costs, and damage to public health.
In spite of the inflated cost of pharmaceuticals, early treatment options save money since healthier individuals living with HIV utilize fewer expensive emergency room services and in-patient care.
"The Republican party's blockade of medicine for people with AIDS is costing lives," said ACT UP's Barry Busch. "George Bush has remained silent on the issue of expanding Medicaid benefits to all people with HIV. People with AIDS need Bush to commit to this common sense policy that will save lives and save tax dollars."
ACT UP HANGS BANNER FOR
Gigantic Banner on Billboard July 31, 2000 (23rd and Spring Streets, Philadelphia, PA)
(Philadelphia) On the opening day of the RNC, July 31, 2000, ACT UP members dropped a giant 30 by 75 foot banner from a highly visible location. The activists demand that George W. Bush take a stand against high drug prices that result in the deaths of millions of people with HIV in Africa and worldwide. They demand that Bush publicly support the production of low-cost, generic AIDS drugs in developing nations. The actual event was secret until just before it took place.
The banner covered the entire billboard, next to the Schuykill River and I 676, and caused a gaper delay with rush out traffic.
ACT UP is widely credited with forcing significant change in U.S. trade policy after the group targeted the Administration with a series of zaps and major demonstrations. These actions included numerous disruptions of the first several months of Vice President Al Gore campaign appearances. After several months of announcements from the Clinton, Gore, and US Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky, President Clinton issued an Executive Order this Spring. The order halted the US Government routine practice of levying sanctions against sub-Saharan nations that pursue WTO-legal options to manufacture generic versions of expensive patented medicines, as well as shopping around the globe to import drugs at the best world price.
Within 100 days in office, a drug-industry backed Bush Administration will reverse the executive order. With 23 million African lives at stake, AIDS drugs for Africa must become a campaign issue for Bush as well as Gore, stated ACT UP's Paul Davis.
At the July 2000 International AIDS Conference in South Africa, the Brazilian Government announced plans to assist poor countries with local manufacture of generic medicines. After a series of high profile meetings between generic manufacturers and Ministers of Health, cautious plans to pursue local manufacture or importation of generic medicine were widely reported. "The US Government has historically used its economic might to bully poor countries to adopt patent laws far stricter than WTO rules. Without the protection offered by the Clinton Executive Order on intellectual property and medications for poor countries, the glimmer of hope springing from the Durban AIDS Conference will be destroyed," said Davis.
According to published reports, Bush is plans to appoint Deborah Steelman, his top healthcare advisor, to a powerful position as Secretary of Health. Steelman is a leading insurance and drug company lobbyist. Her firm, Steelman Enterprises, received $3 million in one year from insurance firms and drug companies and has contributed substantially to the Bush campaign. "Bush's top aides are drug company flunkies," said ACT UP's Bill Thorne. "Do we really want these people in charge of our health?"
Facts about George W. Bush's record on AIDS:
Texas ranks fourth in AIDS cases, right behind California, New York and Florida.
Although infection rates in Hispanic communities are soaring, the state has dramatically decreased its funding to AIDS organizations in the Hispanic community.
Despite the rise in HIV infections, Texas spending on HIV services has stayed level for eight of the last nine years, resulting in a per-capita cut.
Bush ignores a federal waiver to rescue the frequently bankrupt AIDS Drug Assistance Program in Texas, which provides life-saving AIDS drugs to low income Texans. The waiver does not require state funds, but does require the signature of Governor Bush. The waiver remains unsigned. The program also suffers from restricted, tiered access and an extremely low income cut off that leaves families with no access to treatment for AIDS.
ACT UP DEMANDS:
The Bush campaign must publicly commit to preserving and expanding the Clinton Executive Order. The order must be expanded to all least developed and developing nations. The US Government must not use its economic might to punish poor countries for pursuing sustainable, self-sufficient solutions to the AIDS Crisis.
The US Government must not exceed WTO patent rules on access to pharmaceuticals.
The US Government must facilitate generic AIDS drugs for Africa and other poor countries by working to globalize manufacture and distribution of generic medicines in least developed and developing nations. Licensure to WHO of medicines the US Govt. retains right to is a start. Donation programs, while positive when not riddled with conditions, are not substitutes.
The US Government must cancel the debt of the world's poorest and most AIDS affected nations, without imposing onerous conditions. HIPC must be expanded and accelerated.
HUNDREDS OF PROTESTERS ARRESTED AT DAY OF ACTION AGAINST CRIMINAL INJUSTICE SYSTEM!
PLEASE CALL TO DEMAND RELEASE OF PRISONERS!
We are calling for your support for AIDS activists, who were targeted as community leaders at yesterday's protests in Philadelphia against the criminal injustice system. 2 ACT UP Philadelphia members were singled out and collared by police, charged with "inciting a riot" and placed in solitary confinement. In addition, people with HIV were arrested and been denied access to medication. Please call the phone numbers listed below.
Wednesday August 2, 2000 5:30 p.m. Spread the word! Please distribute as widely as possible!
August 1st saw thousands of activists join forces in a day of action against the criminal injustice system during the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia. Activists used direct-action civil disobedience to demand an end to the death penalty, the prison industrial complex, the criminalization of youth and to demand justice for Mumia Abu-Jamal. They were confronted with police brutality and intimidation many of the same tactics the police commonly use against people of color, poor and working class communities and which this day of action was called to protest.
New information from Philly (Thursday night) indicates that two AIDS activists from ACT UP/Philadelphia are being held on at least 1 million dollars bail. They have been charged with at least one felony count (incitement to riot) and are being held in solitary confinement. There are new reports of HIV+ detainees being denied access to their medication, and at least one case of a person being denied access to anticonvulsant meds. A video clip from the arrest of one of the ACT UP members -- grabbed by police while walking on the sidewalk, alone, talking on a cellphone -- and latest reports can be seen on the most-excellent website: www.phillyimc.org (see VIDEO section).
Over 450 of these non-violent activists were arrested and are now being held in two jail locations in Philadelphia. They are slowly being processed, and reports are still being received of brutality against them, including; isolation of people suspected of being "organizers," beatings, and denial of needed medication. Seven witnesses saw one woman dragged naked and bleeding. Nearly all are participating in jail solidarity, which means that they are demanding to be discharged together. We are trying to raise money to bail out non-violent protesters in Philadelphia who were arrested during the GOP convention. Bail has generally been set for $15,000 - $30,000 each. For four protesters identified by police as "leaders", bail has been set at $1 million!
This level of bail is completely unprecedented, intended to detain protesters until after the Democratic Convention (3 weeks from now) and totally punitive. Arrestees are being subjected to physical torture, are being denied access to medication for diabetes, HIV and other conditions, and have been refused access to their attorney.
They are being held in jail on exorbitant bail in retribution for their exercising constitutional rights to freedom of speech and assembly during the Republican Convention. These activists URGENTLY need your SUPPORT!! Call these officials and let them know that you demand the release of those inside the jails.
Mayor Street's office at 215-686-2181
District Attorney Lynn Abraham: 215-686-8000
Mayor's Chief of Staff 215-686-7508
Councilman Nutter 215-685-3416--ask for help
Councilman Blackwell 215-685-3418--ask for help
The Roundhouse Jail 215-686-1776, 215-685-8574
Some things you could ask: Why are the demonstrators being held? Why on such high bail? Even people who give names and contact info are receiving high bails that they cannot possibly meet.... Point out that this is an outrage. Further questions: Why haven't they been arraigned? Please note: 30% of demonstrators have given their names and are still in jail. They haven't received due process--we haven't heard from them, so they haven't been given their right to a phone call Legal observers are telling us that people are being denyed bathroom privileges, medicine, and food--what can you say about this?
If you can contribute to the bail fund, please send needed money.
DONATIONS & LOANS:
Because of the torture and the denial of access to medications, it is extremely important that bail be raised. The organizers and the arrestees are committed to seeing the charges through, and we are soliciting loans/donations with the full intention of returning the money. We do need some straight-out donations since in Philly the court takes 30% of the bail money as a "service charge" (outrageous but true.) Donations ARE tax-deductible.
The nature of bail: to be released, we must post 10% of the bail amount...70% will be returned 31 days after the case is completely over. The nature of loans to the bail fund: If requested, total amount will be returned to lender. (Of course donations are preferred to loans.)
Make your tax-deductible check out to "ISMCH" (our Fiscal Sponsor),
The Institute of Social Medicine and Community Health, and mail it to:
Phila, PA 19107-0683___ Thanks!
If your money is specifically for Act Up members please specify that on the check and by sending an e-mail to:
ACT UP Philadelphia treasurer Rebecca Ewing, firstname.lastname@example.org
Questions? call Jen Flynn at (718) 940-3964 , or e-mail her at email@example.com
see continuing stories and updates > > >
- For more information on the RNC civil disobedience arrests, keep a close eye on www.phillyimc.org
- For more information on the conditions prisoners in the Philly jails are facing right now, see: www.thepartysover.org
For more information on ACT UP's efforts to help developing nations access AIDS drugs, see: http://www.actupny.org/reports/durban-access.html and http://aids.org/healthgap/ and http:://durban2000march.org/.
For information on our history of dogging VP Al Gore on the campaign trail, see: http://www.actupny.org/actions/gorezaps.html
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