Remember those UC Irvine students who visited the Newport Center office of Rep. John Campbell (R-Newport Beach) on Tuesday afternoon?
As the video above shows, the future doctors, lawyers and researchers from UCI's law and medical schools are singing traditional Christmas carols with new lyrics pertinent to the current healthcare reform debate from the sidewalk in front of an office building.
What the video doesn't show is the Irvine Co.'s private security goons denying the local students access to their public servant.
Perhaps that's putting it too strong. Let's let Courtney Reynolds, a graduate student in the UCI School of Medicine's School of Social Ecology and member of the local chapter of Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM), a worldwide, student-run organization that works to increase access to basic medical technologies and to promote research for neglected diseases, explain:
"Our group of students from UCI's chapter of UAEM were not allowed to carol in Campbell's office, as the building is owned by the Irvine Co. and considered private property," she writes in an email. "We contacted the office by email on Dec. 10 and by phone on Dec. 14 to advise them of our plans and request a formal meeting."
You read that right: these future doctors and lawyers and medical researchers politely informed Campbell's office they would be swinging by to sing him Christmas carols, albeit with lyrics that may not be beholden to the pharmacuetical companies that stuff the congressman's stockings. But the Chicago 7 these kids ain't.
Go on, Courtney:
"Less than three hours before we were due to arrive, a short email was sent to one of our members requesting that we call them immediately," Reynolds writes, the "them" referring to the congressman's office. "We didn't receive this email in time, and were met by Irvine Co. security when we arrived."
OK, so "the Irvine Co.'s private security goons denying the local students access to their public servant" WAS too strong. It's more like a public servant got jack-booted private thugs to shoo away nice, clean-cut university students--and probably the sons and daughters of Republicans, come to think of it--like they were Donald Bren paternity suits.
OK, so "a public servant got jack-booted private thugs to shoo away ..." is probably too strong. The UAEMers don't even think Campbell was there. Whether he broke away from GOP negotiations aimed at preserving the inequitable health-care status quo to kill the caroling or an office drone took the initiative, it's an illusion this public official is accountable to his constituents.
Fortunately for Campbell, he had the good sense to locate his district office on private Irvine Co. property. He don't need no stinkin' public law enforcement badges! Demonstrators, concerned residents or anyone else the congressman does not want to face can immediately be told to vamoose by the Irvine Co'.s suede-denim secret police. (Sorry, Jello.)
Best of all, these preemptive strikes can be launched even after a handful of nice young people politely ask for a meeting days ahead of time.
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It's a Bill of Rights win-win!
What the UAEM members wanted to get across to Campbell was their displeasure with the "disingenuous" generic biologics bill being slipped into more broad healthcare reform packages before Congress. The bill known as Sec. 2575, HR3692, "Licensure Pathway for Biosimilar Biological Products," is bad legislation, according to the group. (It may also be bad, according to Campbell. The kids don't know; he won't meet with them.)
"In essence, the amendment will provide 12 years of patent exclusivity and allow applications for extended protection if companies make trivial changes to their biologic drugs (such as changing how often it's dosed, etc.)," Reynolds explained. "These measures will keep the price of biologic medications (which includes Herceptin for breast cancer, Enbrel for rheumatoid arthritis and other important drugs) artifically high and block generic competition."
Competition--you know, like in the good ol' free market Campbell and the Irvine Co. claim to champion.