NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – Doctors and nurses are joining the Occupy Wall Street movement on Sunday afternoon at Zuccotti Park to share their frustration over a lack of adequate healthcare for the 99 percent.

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Monica Miller reports

Laurie Wen, executive director of the local chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program, said they’re joining the protesters because they believe the private insurance companies are making their patients sick.

“Unchecked corporate greed is making our patients sick,” she said. “Social and economic inequalities are making our patients sick. And doctors and nurses are tired of practicing in a system that is so broken.”

Doctors and nurses—all dressed in their scrubs and white coats—will give volunteer medical exams to everyone after the protest, Wen said.

This will be the second installment of a weekly speak-out, which started in Washington Square Park last Saturday. At Sunday’s 4 p.m. rally, health professionals and patients will share personal stories on why they think America needs health care for all.

“It is a shame that the richest country in the world has 50 million people with no health insurance coverage,” Wen said.

Tell us what you think about this group joining the Occupy Wall Street movement in our comments section below.

Comments (77)
  1. Facts says:

    Laurie Wen is not a physician, and her group was previously called Mobilization for Healthcare for All.

  2. MARX ENGELS says:


    1. jim walch says:

      you can kick and scream all you want, mark, some sort of “socialized medicine” is on the way

    2. Winston Smith says:

      Unfortunately, “free Socialized medicine” DOESN’T “soak the rich”! They are, after all, rich. Who it DOES soak is the HEALTHY!
      No matter how hard you lean on the “rich” it’s still the middle classes who support the Government.
      Consider the fellow who has managed to avoid and major injuries or illnesses for most of his life and then sprains his wrist or has a bout of pneumonia. He goes to the doctor or hospital – is treated – signs his name and walks out with a grin because he didn’t have to pay a penny. That is until he gets home and figures out what he’s been paying in taxes his entire working life!
      In 2005 the US had a Personal Tax rate that was HALF some EU Nations and noticeably lower than most members of the highly Socialized EU! See:
      BTW, our Corporate Tax Rate was SECOND HIGHEST!

  3. Wall Street Trader Joe says:

    I couldn’t make it to med school so I ‘reinvented’ myself. Now I’m making more than most med doctors.

    1. Yay! says:

      Good job! Now take an English course and really show ’em!

      1. jim walch says:

        a crass, cheap shot

  4. It’s great to see good coverage of OWS, usually we have to settle for the analysis of some person who was never there or doesn’t know what they’re talking about. The truth is that many of the people who are up in arms are professionals, or had their lives together before the economy fell apart. In fact, people saying “get a job!” to these folks should remember – a lot of them are there because they can’t. What’s up with that? Democracy Now! also has had some good coverage of the ongoing protest.

  5. Wall Street Bond Trader says:

    They should be protesting in front of HMO and pharmaceutical offices not Wall Street….

    1. luvenlust says:


    2. jim walch says:

      i suggest the protests be expanded TO INCLUDE pharm officies and HMOs

  6. Corporate Greed Protester says:

    As long as CEOs and other high ranking executives of HMOs and pharmaceutical co’s are making $20 million or more a year, average people will never get affordable, quality, lifesaving health care. They can’t.

    1. jim walch says:

      couldn’t agree more!

  7. Jim S. says:

    Given the patient volume at the clinic I go to, I’d be amazed if any of the medical staff had time to run down to the OWS media circus. Gotta wonder how many of those people in hospital scrubs, etc. are working physicians, PA’s, etc. and how many are medical students, ‘researchers’, or others who don’t actually see patients. If they really wanted to help (assuming they ARE working physicians), how about they just start treating uninsured patients for free.

    1. Jeffrey Bruce says:

      Wow… What an idiot you are!!! Treat patients for free? How come everybody else is allowed to make a living – except doctors? They train harder and study longer than any other profession… If you want to get free medical care – then go ask your mother.

    2. Now that’s a dandy idea..Assuming that YOU really are a working person, Jim, would YOU work for free because your boss was charging people outrageous amounts of money for the product you provide? Sure you would.

      Did it occur to you for even a tiny second that these folks could be going down there to protest on their day off, lunch break or even after work (medical professionals work night shifts, too.)

      Doctors, lawyers, and other professionals are joining the OWS movement because they believe in the concept of-now I know this is a new one for you, so bear with justice…a concept which is inherent in, not antithetical to, a working democracy.

  8. The Realist says:

    It seems that O.W.S. executives are collecting “wealth” (i.e. donations) and NOT sharing with the “little people”!! Does that sound slightly familiar??

    1. Terisa says:

      Leaving out discussion about the reliability of info from Rupert Murdoch’s NYP, the article does not point out that OWS’ Finance committee operates under its General Assembly, which votes on disbursement of funds. Minutes of GA meetings are readily available, even to Murdoch’s yellow “journalists”. It is a reflection of the bias of the NYP that they didn’t bother looking for that information.

      1. The Realist says:

        How much money is hidden from the General Assembly and pocketed by the top executives?

  9. plainreviews says:

    Americans blame the federal government more for the nation’s economic plight than they do the primary target of the Occupy Wall Street protests — big financial institutions. If you don’t know why people are protesting on wall street, this article gives a very good explanation on it.

    1. ted says:

      they are protesting wall st because they are morons

      go to the white house,go to the senate,go to the house…that is where the problems were caused and whatever solutions must come from

      btw..who is paying the taxes for all this money that is collected and spent

      cause after all…OWS wants EVERYONE to PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE

      1. jim walch says:

        un-thoughtful and un-helpful, ted.

  10. This is such an interesting time in our history. I think it’s great that the physicians and nurses have joined in! Here’s a poem I wrote:

    1. drs_r_the_1% says:


      but some doctors needed to leave….their houses in the hamptons were in the way of some people’s views…so a bunch of them jumped in some Lexus’,Porsches and lamborghinis and went and told these losers that they didn’t need a view

  11. John Walker says:

    I understand the problems that you Americans have with your healthcare system, and yes it is an affront to civilised country like the US that so many are without healthcare.
    This without doubt costs lives when people die needlessly simply because they cannot afford it. So tell me who is held responsible for those deaths.who has been prosecuted for the deaths of the poor. or does it not matter.
    The scary thing is though is that given the chance our Tory government would do the same thing to our NHS here in the UK

    1. My_whole_family_is_in_the_1% says:

      their poor…who cares?

      1. jim walch says:

        did you mean “they are”?



    1. drs_r_the_1% says:


      doctors could make less

    2. LegalCat says:

      Yes, that’s definitely the problem: doctors are being held responsible for their mistakes. If they could make mistakes with no consequences whatsoever, they could charge less money for their services. Or, of course, they could keep on charging the same amount they do right now and just end up with more money, but there’s undoubtedly some really good reason why they’d choose the former alternative over the latter that just isn’t obvious to me because I’m not a Republican.

      1. Winston Smith says:

        Ain’t it purty: BLACK and WHITE! It’s either “let the doctors butcher their patients without personal any consequence” or “Award tens or hundreds of millions for errors and unforeseen events” These huge awards, by the way, drive the cost of Malpractice Insurance into obscene figures. And who, ultimately, pays these exorbitant premiums? His other patients and their Health Insurance companies in increased medical costs.

  13. Honest Abe says:

    What’s the first thing hospitals/doctors operate on? Your wallet!
    No coverage? Then tough it out and consider the options.

  14. TheRichRule says:

    In 2008, a year that saw the collapse of stock market, the implosion of pension funds, 401(k)s, and college endowments, the destruction of millions of jobs, and the worst recession since the 1930s, the top 25 hedge fund managers received $11.6 billion in compensation. However, there are 94.6 million nonsupervisory workers today who earn less than the average work did in 1973. Unemployment for 19 to 29 year olds is reported at eighteen (18%) percent. I’m sure that’s much higher than that.

    It’s the fault of Congress to let Corporate America send jobs that were created here to foreign lands. Every time I call a service center (Citicorp, for example), I get someone on the other line from the Caribbean or India. And I’m not knocking either the Caribbean or India.

    Our laws “must” be changed. If a product is sold here, then some percentage (like 50%) should be made here. Corporate America must be given an ultimatum to bring our job back to the USA–or have their products/services banned. If that’s not a solution, then these companies should not be given any tax credits (or any other incentives) to send our jobs overseas.

    Congress should be made up of a government of the people, by the people and for the people. Today, it’s a millionaire’s club. That’s got to change, or more of us will fall into poverty.

    Furthermore, off-shoring U.S. jobs onto foreign lands should be a National Security issue–too boot. Corporate America shipped millions of U.S. jobs outside of the U.S. over the past 30 years. That in itself weakens this country because tax receipts fall, and, in return, puts stress on our federal (and local) budgets. Think about it.

    1. jim walch says:


      Hear, Hear!

  15. jay Pee says:

    Leave us medical professionals alone.

    I went to school for a long time to get where I am.

    Many come to me constantly for free advise. When your sick and we save your life you sing a different song.

    These docs and nurses should be ashamed of themselves.

    1. Jimmy Zizmor says:

      jay Pee, you sound like a proctologist, can you have a look at this boil near my rectum?

    2. jim walch says:

      be ashamed of themselves for WHAT’. I went to school for a long time too (MD< MS, BS) and I stand 100% behind those brave souls "on the barricades".

  16. george sauers says:

    I agree that a country with the values of the United States should not have a single person uninsured. However, I disagree that privated insurer’s are entirely to blame. In fact, private insurer’s have been very responsive to the quality, access, and efficiency needs of their growing membership. Corporations and the Federal and State governments instead of cutting healthcare spending need to invest in the health of it’s citizenship since the health and welfare is the foundation for any economic recovery and growth.

  17. samson says:

    The average physician in NYC makes $245,000 per year. The average Orthopedist makes $470,000, Radiologist- $390,000, Surgeon -$560,000, Dermatologist – $370,000, Internal Med- $195,000, Psychiatrist – $238,000, Cardiologist – $394,000

    There are some that make much more and some that make less but most of them do very well for themselves. Medical schools do cost a small fortune but with salaries in the hundreds of thousands, it doesn’t take that long to pay it off and begin reaping the rewards.

    Most of the Doctors spend half the time with patients then they did 10 years ago because they are more concerned about maintaining their lifestyles and less about patient care.

    1. TheRichRule says:

      Well, the average CEO (and their cronies) walks away million upon millions. Some even grab close to a billion from the middle class. Doctors make chump change compared to the Corporate Elite.

      1. Stop the Blood Letting says:

        You are WRONG about the average CEO. The average Physician earns MORE than the average CEO. Check you facts; check US Census data.

        1. joe public says:

          you both are morons, I would like to know where exactly you get those numbers from. It does cost a small fortune to go to school, no to mention the the multitude of years that are spent in training. In addition, there is always the looming fear of litigation. Where do you get off thinking all doctors are millionaires. Also, do you realize that nearly 40& of income is taken away in taxes. We are no where near the top 1% but, pay a significant percentage of your taxes. Check your facts.

          1. Stop the Blood Letting says:

            No YOU are Wrong! Again, Doctors are paid on average MORE than CEO’s. Most CEO’s are not milliionaires either. Also, many other professionals spend a small fortune to go to school and get many years of training, BUT are not paid nearly as much as you are. I am surprised you were smart enough to get into Med School.

            1. jue public says:

              Would you like to step outside, di__breath?

    2. The Realist says:

      Are you suggesting that they are overpaid. If so, then please specify the CORRECT salary for somebody with that level of training.

    3. jim walch says:

      Where did your numbers come from? additionally, living and practicing in nyc is pretty damned expensive. let’s don’t look at just one side of the picture.

  18. Robert Feeley says:

    Operation “Occupy the Skyboxes” takes the movement to NFL cities starting today:

  19. Judith says:

    THE AMA and MEDICAL doctors have been co-conspiring for years! Just look at the Anti-trust law suits that Chiropractors had to file to help people have the right to choose health care, that TOOK 11 YEARS TO WIN.

    AND the AMA and MEDICAL doctors STILL co-conspire with TV shows like Law and Order and 2 and 1/2 men to downplay & poo poo this most excellent health care in our midst. (Sure there is deceit and rip-offs there too, just like any profession). BUT

    The AMA and DOCTORS and INS CO’S have it all figured out. I am happy this group is “doing something”, but PLEASE, SPARE ME!!! for ONE!

  20. Saltine says:

    Funny how at EVERY doctor’s office there are a slew of Pharmie reps offering CA$H incentives not only to the doctors, but also nurse practitioners and nurses, to prescribe highly toxic, unneccessary meds.

    We now have a zombie populace, brought to you in no small part by Merk/Eli LiLy/Glaxo.

    These “healthcare professionals” at OWS are merely put-up jobs by the Obama Admininstration to keep the occupiers’ protests far far away from the White House and the re-election campaign 2012.

    1. jim walch says:

      Lord! I’ve not read so much fact-lacking spleen vented in a long time!

  21. freddy says:



    WHAT DR in NYC drives a HYUNDAI????

    1. jim walch says:

      Freddy, once you got some facts behind you, you’d do well at OWS

  22. jokey_smurf says:

    Here’s an IDEA

    Instead of DRs bitchung about health care how about:

    1) Lower YOUR RATES…


  23. Ellen says:

    IN Boston they hacked into the Police Website and posted passwords on the internet, and in Alabama did the very same thing and not only posted passwords but social security numbers as well. If they keep this up then any support for these groups storming Wall Street will soon go down the toilet.

  24. Bill says:

    I have never heard so much BS from so many
    There are a few with good reasons to bitch at the BAnks, The unions are doing well , stop giving money to the political groups and save your people thousands, invest in your drug programs and not elected officals
    Schools are charging more because the teachers want more , Some where it has to stop, if you raise a persons salery someone will have to pay for it. That will be us.
    All this I want does not grow on trees, some one will pay for it , Downside Goverment put money back into building America

    1. Adele Lightner says:

      A teacher’s lessons will follow you a life time, and it deserves good pay. However, making sure the teacher is productive is a must.
      Actors, CEO’s, etc. contantly ask for more, why should teachers be excluded.

      1. Jokey_smurf says:

        yes like the 50 teachers that the department of education just busted.

        NYC teachers are a frigging joke

        1. Dale Auburn says:

          You’re saying that ALL teachers are “a joke” because of the 50 who were busted? What is your basis for such a generalization?

          1. jokey_smurf says:

            based on what the schools are turning out…in EVERY STATE

            they can’t read a map

            they can’t read

            and they SURE as HELL can’t add,subtract or make change

    2. Maybe if your teachers were paid more you could write a coherent, properly spelled and punctuated sentence…

      Just a thought.

  25. Barbara Passarge says:

    Insurance Companies are greedy and they continue to raise premiums for the insured while decreasing payments to the provider. They dictate the maximum healthcare benefits you can get in healthcare.

    Physicians and hospitals are slaves to the insurance companies because they have to be contracted with them in order to stay in business. Get rid of American Healthcare Insurance Companies, they do not care about your health, they care about profit.

    1. Winston Smith says:

      And you think that a bunch of Fat Cat Bureaucrats solidly entrenched in their DC Ivory Tower without oversight (like the rest alphabet soup of Federal Agencies) and NO competition would do better?

  26. common sense says:

    The above comment is plain ignorant. Do not begrudge doctors and nurses salaries, look at corporate greed.
    Doctors and nurses are some of the hardest working people. Is it right for the health care corporations top tier CEOs, CFOs, board members to earn millions in salary, and receive millions in stock options? At the same time cut employee benefits, salary freezes, cut 401Ks?, cut staff? The top tier of the healthcare industry is not on the front line saving people’s life’s daily. If a CEO is doing a bad job and gets fired, he or she leaves with a golden parachute, an average worker leaves with nothing. Where is corporate responsibility?

    1. jokey_smurf says:


  27. light says:

    Thank GOD that at least there’s a handfull of doctors and nurses with a back bone! now if we could only get the other 99% to get a back bone inplant we might be able to let the Pharma. Corporation know that hiding Natural remedies
    discoveries and create designer drugs for every sneeze they hear would come to a halt! may be we stand a chance in fixing the HEALTH SYSTEM.. everythng starts with a dream.

  28. Lu Kennedy says:

    Of course they want every American to have good health insurance, because health insurance guarantees they are paid.

  29. Adele Lightner says:

    I congratulate all of you for your courage against a system that seems totally broken.
    I came to this country in 1967 and got care through the military. I worked for a University in AZ and got great healthcare, and other places that offered great healthcare as well.
    THE PROTESTERS ARE RIGHT, HEALTHCARE IS A HUMAN RIGHT, and should not be intereupted by greedy corporations and their CEO’s.
    This country seems to only give good care to the elite, and our government, whose healthcare is paid for with our tax money. If they can get the greatest healthcare from our taxes, than why can’t wee.

  30. Adele Lightner says:

    It is so true, and it’s so wonderful to see how there are physicians, nurses, and other healthcare providers, take part in this movement.
    People always ask me “why did you move from Germany”, because we have such a wonderful healthcare system there (and please readers, don’t call it a socialized system, it is not). But, due to the influence of German students having studied in the US the care has let down a lot. I used to get 3 prescriptions on one pad, and only paid .50 Pfennig for them. Today, as my sister says, she pays for each individual one. But, the care is still better there than in the US; AND YES, THAT IN THE supposed RICHEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD. Good health care seems only for the elite, or our government officials, whose care is paid for by our tax contributions. SHAME ON YOU US, AND I take my head off for all of you protesters because our children, grandchildren and theirs will thank you for it.

  31. Counter Mypoint says:

    Yeah, maybe its time we put doctors on a flat salary that pays 40 hours work and nothing more. How about $80000 for every doctor in America and every nurse at $40000. We don’t need greedy medical professionals. Need to serve the 99%.

    1. steve says:

      problem is medical professionals usually have very large debt from all the specialized schooling they need to complete, so 80K and 40K would never be enough. the other issue is cost of living in many major cities. in this country one size usually does not fit all, it’s too diverse and with so many people.

      1. carlos perez says:

        Medical training and any other type of education should not cost gargantuan amounts but the again this is part of the 1% that knows very well that only they can send their kids to an expensive school and not have them go into financial ruin from school debt. EVERYTHING has turned into a money maker for the rich and an obstacle for the poor and this certainly includes school debt. If it didn’t cost so much to go to medical school a doctor making 80k would be more than happy…unless the doctor is greedy and then he would have to go cure Wall Street.

        1. steve says:

          medical training is expensive no matter what, it requires a lot of time and resources, one way or another it has to be paid for. whether we all chip in as a country, or make it a commodity to be traded. I think the argument that’s being made by this protest is that everything has been made into a commodity, and these medical professionals are saying that it is now affecting how well they can treat their patients.

      2. Lu Kennedy says:

        So why are they occupying wall street instead of occupying the colleges that charge such a high price for an education?

        Cost of living affects everyone, not just doctors and nurses. And I thought the goal of occupy wall street was for things to not be so diverse, because that diversity is unfair.

    2. Jeff says:

      How naive. Do you want health care to be as poorly run as the post office? People travel to the USA for health care from all over the world. It is one of the last thing that we do well (remember manufacturing?). the do-gooders will ruin that too. Most doctors work 60-100 hours per week. Impose restrictions and then pray you don’t get sick.

      1. John says:

        Speaking of naive, take a look at what is going on in most doctors’ offices in America and you will see that most of the staff is wasting most of their time shuffling insurance paperwork. Go to a doctor’s office in a civilized country with a single payer national health program and you see doctors and nurses delivering high quality efficient health care, not shuffling paper. We need health care, not health insurance.

        1. steve says:

          that’s true, I spend so much time calling about insurance papers and whether or not a doctor is in network, or out of network, filling out insurance forms, trying to understand what percent of what procedure is covered and priced down for the in network or out of network. what’s the copay, and for what. I can’t imagine what happens in a doctors office. in an ER, you’ll have doctors who are in different networks, so there’s differential billing that takes place. Then you have different facilities within the hospital, also with differential billing practices. it’s actually quite insane.

        2. Jim S says:

          I once got treatment in one of the ‘civilized’ countries you’re talking about (Italy). Initially, I was really thrilled – I got a laceration stitched up in recored time, with no waiting. However what I found out later is that this national healh care system works great if there’s nothing much wrong with you. If you need something serious (and expensive) like open heart surgery, you’d better hope you can last beyond the next election, because that’s how long it’ll take for you to get to the top of the waiting list for the procedure. No thanks. I’ll take the ‘uncivilized’ health care system here any day.

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