Eric Aycox wasn't feeling well on Nov. 18, 2006, but he didn't have health insurance so he went to an emergency room, where he was sent home with a prescription for codeine and an antibiotic.

But he didn't have money to fill the prescriptions, and he later died of a bacterial infection that morphed into menigitis. He was only 44.

Yesterday, his mother, Joan Kos-loff, and his father, Frank Aycox, gathered with members of Healthcare for America Now, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, the Service Employees International Union, and the United Food and Commerical Workers, Local 1776, to protest and demand that Cigna Insurance Co. stop blocking health-care reform.

Yesterday's local protest was one of about 95 nationwide gatherings for a national day of action dubbed "Big Insurance: Sick of It."

About 400 supporters of health-care reform gathered yesterday at City Hall, some with signs reading, "Healthcare for all is a basic human right" and "Insure people, not profits," for a rally before marching to Cigna's Center City headquarters at 16th and Chestnut streets.

"I had put all this behind me," Kosloff said. "But I just decided, I'm going to come out because he" - Kosloff's son - "was a victim to not having health care."

"This is what not having national health care is. When you're not working and you're down and out and you can't afford health care and you get sick, you could die," Kosloff said.

Others shared Kosloff's viewpoint.

Stacie Ritter, a mother of twin girls who were diagnosed with childhood cancer, said she supports health-insurance reform because she doesn't want her girls to grow up being told they aren't worthy of obtaining health insurance. "I have to live in fear of denials of care for my children," Ritter said.

"Ive been living in fear . . . fear that they would lose their battle to the disease, fear of relapse, and fear of more denials from my insurance companies," Ritter told the crowd.

"The kind of health-care system we have in America today is inhumane and insane," said Carol Stein, a teacher at Community College of Philadelphia.

"Only part of our population is covered. It's a tragic situation."