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Pennsylvania, New Jersey Rally Seeks 'Bridge' To Health Care Reform

News Dev Site — Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Hundreds of health care advocates and activists from Pennsylvania and New Jersey participated Saturday in a health care rally and march at the Ben Franklin Bridge, demanding national health care reform and targeting insurance companies.

"A Bridge to Health Care" included speakers addressing participants on the Philadelphia side and Camden, N.J., side of the Delaware River before participants from each side met in the middle of the bridge for a brief ceremony.

"We are working to mobilize people in their communities to lobby their senators and congressional reps to stand up to the insurance companies and other special interests," said Ev Liebman, New Jersey Citizen Action's director of organizing and advocacy, in a statement.

"We are on the bridge today to symbolize that Americans trying to get and/or keep their health care have to walk an all too narrow bridge," Liebman said. "Many never make it to the bridge and have no health care at all. Many have fallen off, losing their health care with their jobs. Many are finding the bridge more slippery and icy as health care costs rise [at] four times the rate of wages. And the insurance companies are constantly shaking the ropes, making it more difficult for all of us all the time."

Liebman added that "fixing our broken health care system is not a one person or one State's problem." She called on Congress and President Barack Obama to implement "real health reform this year."

Organizers included New Jersey Citizen Action, the New Jersey and Pennsylvania Health Care for America Now Campaigns, a national grassroots campaign of more than 850 organizations in 46 states representing 30 million people advocating affordable health care.

In addition to Liebman, speakers at the New Jersey rally included Angel Fuentes, Camden City Council president; Dave Hopkins, Burlington County for Change, New Jersey County for Change coordinator; Cathy Stanford, staff representative of the, Rutgers AAUP-AFT; Jackie Cornell-Bechelli, field director of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of New Jersey, and Pastor Giselle C. Coutinho of Bridge of Peace Community Church in Camden, N.J.

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