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National healthcare backers to rally in Philly, Princeton

Small business owners, doctors and others who don't think Obama's reforms and subsidies go far enough will gather in Philadelphia on Saturday and Princeton on Sunday to push a single-payer healthcare system.

Walter Tsou, former Philadelphia health commissioner and former head of the American Public Health Association, along with hospital union leaders, will address a noon rally tomorrow outside health insurer Cigna Corp.'s Two Liberty Place headquarters, at 16th and Market Streets.

On Sunday, U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D., Mich.), sponsor of H.B. 676 calling for a single-payer system, will speak at Princeton Theological Seminary's Mackay Center in a program starting at 1:30 p.m., cosponsored by the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Also speaking in Princeton will be Michael Paluszek, president of Princeton Satellite Systems. "I have an insurance plan for my employees. It's expensive and complex," said Paluszek, who employs 50. "Every year the plans change, with more fees. The cost for employees with families is prohibitive...I think that universal health care should be paid for by a progressive income tax paid for by all taxpayers." More in today's PhillyDeals column here, scroll to second item.

Rally organizer Jeff M. told me he hadn't talked to the Cigna people in advance of the rally. Cigna spokeswoman Gloria Barone-Rosanio reminded me the same crowd rallied last year; they do a great job getting environmentalists to support union causes, and vice versa, she said. Cigna opposes a single-payer system (it's an existential threat, more or less) but says it's open toward Obama's goal of expanding healthcare for the uninsured.