The following is from the Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action:
SEATTLE (Oct. 19, 2016) — Supporters of equitable health care rallied Tuesday outside Seattle and Portland Zoom+Care clinics, demanding that the healthcare chain start accepting and caring for Medicare and Medicaid patients and active duty military members and their families covered by Tricare. Zoom+ has been accused of cherry-picking young and healthy patients to increase the profits of its private equity investor, Endeavour Capital.
Chanting “Zoom+Care — when you pick and choose, it’s those who need you most that lose,” rally participants distributed fliers explaining the need for Zoom+ to provide healthcare for all.
As Zoom+ continues to add clinics in the Portland and Seattle areas, its “model of exclusivity” is deepening existing inequities in access to healthcare, protestors note.
“It’s just not right,” said Andrea Lemoins of Portland Jobs with Justice. “With dozens of clinics in Portland, Zoom+ is the neighborhood clinic for a lot of us. But too many of us don’t have access because we are service members, or because we are poor, elderly or disabled.”
Robby Stern, president of Seattle-based Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action, noted Zoom+Care’s intended expansion to 16 King County clinics.
“Zoom+Care’s profit-driven practice of cherry-picking the young and healthy while leaving the cost of the older and less healthy population to the remainder of the nonprofit community clinics and nonprofit providers will undermine an already stressed healthcare system,” Stern said. “Zoom’s refusal to accept Tricare, Medicare and Medicaid is simply unacceptable.”
In Seattle, participants led by the Seattle Labor Chorus Flying Squad sang “Hit the road, Zoom Care, and don’t you come back no more, no more, no more, no more …” and, in keeping with the Halloween spirit, chanted “Zoom is a trick without a treat, all about profit like Wall Street.”
Linda McVeigh, executive director of Seattle’s Country Doctor Community Health Centers, explained that providers such as Zoom+ “who cherry-pick the young and healthy increase the burden on community clinics like Country Doctor whose mission is to provide care for everyone who needs it. We also worry that the convenience clinic model undermines true continuity of care — it’s the wrong direction for healthcare.”
During the Portland rally people dressed as zombies — or “zoombies” — joined superhero Dr. Justice in battling supervillain Dr. Zoom. “Dr. Zoom, your days of treating your employees like expendable zombies are over!” Dr. Justice declared. “Your days of pedaling this model of exclusion and leaving out those who are most in need are over. It’s time for you to be a responsible member of this community!”