Capitol Hill switchboards were flooded with more than 200,000 calls from people expressing support for health-care reform today as part of a push by President Obama's grassroots group Organizing for America and a coalition of allies.
In Pennsylvania, OFA and Health Care for America Now mobilized about 1,500 people across the state at 50 separate events, ranging from phone banks, to rallies, to candelight marches and banner drops across highway overpasses.
"We're trying to do what we can with the little we've got, letting our senators and members of Congress know there are people out here who want it passed," said Dave Skaluba, a volunteer with HCAN in Scranton.
In Northeast Pennsylvania alone, the group organized 18 separate demonstrations, including delivering hospital scrubs signed by people who said they had bad experiences with health insurance to the regional offices of Democratic Sens. Bob Casey and Arlen Specter.
The day of action came as congressional leaders work behind closed doors to reconcile competing version sof an overhaul of the health-care system.
"Right now, the insurance industry is doing whatever it takes to try to kill reform," said Marc Stier, executive director of Pennsylvania chapter of HCAN. " That's why organizations committed to health insurance reform have come together to make sure Congress knows we - their constituents - are counting on them to say 'no' to the insurance industry and 'yes' to delivering real reform."
The state's chapter of OFA concentrated on college-age students, running phone bank events at campuses across Pennsylvania.
"Young adults make up nearly one-third of the uninsured in this country...and they lose insurance coverage at twice the rate of older workers," said U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D.,Pa.). She is a prime author of provisions in the major pending health-care bills that would allow people to be covered until age 26 on their parents' insurance policies.