About a dozen people were arrested this afternoon after refusing to leave House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office on Seventh Street in San Francisco, the protesters and a Pelosi spokesman said.
The group had gathered to demand that Pelosi make a bigger push in Congress for single-payer health care, said Michael Lyon, a member of the Gray Panthers who participated.
Lyon said the group represented a number of organizations including Direct Action for Single Payer, the California Alliance for Retired Americans, the Gray Panthers and others.
He said Pelosi failed to ensure that an amendment be included in the House health care reform bill that would have allowed states to have single-payer health care.
In a phone interview, Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill did not discuss that specific amendment but said Pelosi supports the idea of single-payer health care.
“We’re trying to get the strongest bill, the bill that will create competition and that will ensure quality, affordable health care,” Hammill said.
“There is a recognition that a single-payer system would not be able to survive a final conference report despite strong support for it in the House, including the Speaker,” he said.
Lyon said a few protesters were allowed to speak briefly with a Pelosi staffer this afternoon. At some point they were asked to leave and refused.
About 12 members of the group were arrested around 2:30 p.m. by the Federal Protective Service, which provides security at the building, Hammill said.
Lyon said they were cited and released.