Health care advocates attempted to deliver two “Sicko” movie tickets along with a letter to Aetna CEO Ronald Williams, but were thwarted by a security guard who was unable to offer them any sort of guarantee, aside from his word, that Williams would receive it.
After a short rally Thursday, in which several speakers criticized the insurance giant for its $451.3 million second quarter profit, four of the advocates marched inside Aetna headquarters in Hartford to hand-deliver the tickets to Williams.
Once inside, Beverley Brakeman, executive director of Citizens for Economic Opportunity, called up to Williams’ office to see if someone could come down and receive the letter on his behalf, but somehow she was transferred to Aetna’s customer service line. Then the security guard received a call and told Brakeman that someone from Williams’ office would come down to receive it, so she hung up.
About 15-minutes later, Brakeman asked the security guard to call back and see if the person they sent was headed down. The security guard informed them that the person they intended to send got caught up with some work and would be unable to make it down to the lobby.
So Brakeman read the
letter to Williams out loud in the lobby.
“Despite your assertion that ‘for profit health plans averaged about a 6 percent profit margin after taxes’,” she said referring to Williams’ July 11, 2007 editorial in the Hartford Courant. “We would again suggest, at the risk of being redundant, that any profit margin is too much when 400,000 people in Connecticut are uninsured—an thousands more are underinsured.”
The letter pointed out that advocates were pleased to see Aetna’s newly appointed President Mark Bertolini had gone to see the movie Sicko, however they were still concerned he used the words “trivialize” and “oversimplify” to describe parts of the film, which largely focuses on health insurance company profits.
The letter suggested that if Aetna wants to be the number one health insurer “they are not ready nor willing to look at the negative role their profit margins, administrative costs, and CEO pay have had on our nation’s health care crisis.”
In order to guarantee delivery of the letter and movie tickets Brakeman and the advocates decided to send it certified mail.
The letter was also signed by the Working Families Party and concerned universal health care advocates from across the state. The Working Families Party said it will continue to protest Aetna’s quarterly profits. Click here to read about its protest of Aetna’s first quarter profits.