In a country where millions go without health insurance because of venal public servants, and poor pharmaceutical company executives struggling to pay
April 28, 2007

In a country where millions go without health insurance because of venal public servants, and poor pharmaceutical company executives struggling to pay for that fifth mortgage in Belize or scraping by to purchase that second corporate jet, thankfully we have Working America fighting the good fight.

Working America, the 1.5 million-member community affiliate of the the AFL-CIO, provides a voice for those who've been denied the right to union membership on the job. Individuals are allowed to join this community, which is comprised of those of us who don't have stock options in Haliburton or stay up nights excited about the next day's bank merger.

So when they asked me to join their fight against Big Pharma, in the latter's attempt to make the cost of prescriptions unbearable for working Americans, I simply said where do I sign up?

Working America very simply provides its members, who are located everywhere from Ohio to Oregon and Missouri to Minnesota, essential information on "good jobs, a just economy, affordable health care, quality education, retirement security and globalization." And interestly enough, the majority of Working America members identify themselves as politically moderate or conservative, as one-third are "born again" Christians and one-third own guns. Sorry to disappoint, Mr. Limbaugh.

So it is a good day for all of us that such an accomplished organization has decided the time has come to make their voice heard on the ever-burgeoning health care crisis in this country. More specifically, through their Health Care Hustlers Campaign, Working America allowed <em>we the people</em> to get involved, by going to their site and sharing our health care horror stories, and just as importantly, which greedy industry and/or company was to blame.

The votes were counted, and unlike some in our political system, we didn't try and purge even one. The consensus winner, once the tally was completed, was Big Pharma. You may know them as the quality folks responsible for driving up the price of prescriptions throughout the 50 states with their lobbyist-bought ban on allowing the government to negotiate lower prices for Medicare recipients. Or perhaps for the longtime U.S. ban on allowing Americans to import their prescription drugs from Canada, where they often are half the price of what they cost here.

So what does all this mean? Well, Working America is putting its community where its mouth is. The Health Care Hustle Campaign is not only bringing together the voices of working people exploited by Big Pharma to fight for change, but is specifically targeting the bad actors that have destroyed our health care system.

First on the list, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, who has implemented a policy of reducing supplies of its drugs to Canadian wholesalers and pharmacies that sell life-saving medicines to Americans who make the cross-border trip because they are left with no other choice.

And who said that Corporate America doesn't have a heart?

In any case, Wyeth received a nice visit from some friends at its annual meeting at the Hyatt Hotel in Morristown, New Jersey. Including the Canadian Moose, which the executives may catch a glimpse of on their way from the seaweed rap to the deep-tissue massage. But hey, they can run to the jacuzzi, but they can't hide.

Our friend the Canadian Moose, as well as other activists, reminded those at The Hyatt, as well as across America, that our system does not have to be this way. It can serve the interests of the American people instead of the American aristocracy.

Let the Wyeth's be warned. American workers demand that we this broken system and replace it with one that serves all of us.

Full Disclosure: I am being sponsored by Working America, a community affiliate of the AFL-CIO. More disclosure, I could not be more passionate about this project.

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