Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Medicare for All

Nurses, Progressive Dems Seek Stepped Up Action for
Real, "Robust" Healthcare Reform

Single-Payer, Medicare for All, as Best Solution to Crisis

WASHINGTON - June 24 - With action heating up in
Washington for enactment of comprehensive healthcare
reform, the nation's largest RN union and professional
association joined with progressive Democratic Party
activists today in calling for the most "robust" reform
of all to repair the nation's healthcare crisis, by
enacting a single-payer system in the form of an
expanded and updated Medicare for all.

In a joint statement, the National Nurses Organizing
Committee/California Nurses Association and Progressive
Democrats of America announced they are stepping up
calls and other lobbying efforts to urge Congressional
leaders to include discussion of the single-payer
option in upcoming deliberations on the healthcare
reform legislation now advancing in Congress.

As President Obama holds several public healthcare
events, major committees in Congress unveil
legislation, and some liberal constituency groups set
to rally in Washington Thursday, NNOC/CNA and PDA said
that a single-payer/Medicare-for-all approach is "the
best way to achieve goals of universality, effective
cost controls, and improving the quality of care for
all Americans."

All other proposals, the groups said, suffer the same
limitations. They:

* Leave the insurance industry, with its emphasis
on generating profits and revenues rather than
providing care, in control of our health. * Fail to
assure financial security of American families by
not cracking down on insurance pricing practices. *
Avoid the strongest cost controls that are achieved
in a single-payer system with one shared risk pool
that covers everyone, elimination of the
administrative waste associated with private
insurers, and use of the power of the public entity
to negotiate lower costs. * Does not protect choice
of doctor, hospital, and other providers, as occurs
in a single-payer system, because insurers can
still limit choice to their own approved network of
doctors and providers.

Even the public option favored by the President and
leading Democrats would not achieve these goals, said
NNOC/CNA and PDA. Private insurers would still be able
to cherry pick healthier patients through their
aggressive marketing techniques, with sicker patients
likely being dumped into the public plan. The result is
the public plan would face higher costs and the
likelihood of having to cut or ration services to stay
financially afloat.

PDA and NNOC/CNA are asking people to continue to call
Congress and the White House to insist that single-
payer, and the single-payer bills in Congress, HR 676
in the House and S 703 in the Senate, be given equal
consideration in the legislative review process this
summer.

The two organizations have worked together since early
last year on a variety of healthcare projects,
including pressing the Democratic National Party to go
on record in "support of guaranteed healthcare for all"
at the national convention in Denver, campaigns on
behalf of single-payer candidates across the country in
the fall, and rallies and forums in cities throughout
the U.S.

"The time is ripe for real reform. For our personal
well-being and for the sake of our great nation, now is
the time to institute a real healthcare system instead
of tweaking the patchwork of corporate non-care that
now envelopes us," said NNOC/CNA Co-President Geri
Jenkins, RN.

Jenkins will be attending the ABC White House Town Hall
meeting with President Obama on healthcare reform
tonight, along with Patty Eakin, RN, President of the
Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied
Professionals and an NNOC/CNA board member.

"As long as a profit-motive is the centerpiece of our
system, as it is and will be with healthcare
corporations calling the shots, we entertain no notion
that a public option will be the fix that so many
Americans desperately need and want," Jenkins said.
"Medicare for all is the only solution to what ails
us."

"Regardless of the claims that the majority of people
want a 'public option,' what most people really want is
a system of healthcare that covers everybody, and they
believe the government can do a better job of it than
the healthcare corporations can. It's time for
Congress to stop nibbling around the edges of reform
and provide real leadership toward enacting healthcare
reform for the people, instead of yet another windfall
for wealthy corporations," said Tim Carpenter, national
director of PDA.

The Healthcare NOT Warfare campaign presses forward
with a "Week of Action for Medicare-for-All - H.R.
676." Participating organizations will make calls to
Congress asking representatives to provide leadership
in the healthcare debate. On July 30, the 44th
anniversary of Medicare will be celebrated with a rally
and lobby day in Washington, D.C. ### The California
Nurses Association, and its national arm, the National
Nurses Organizing Committee, is one of the nation's
premiere nurses' organizations and health care unions.
One of the fastest growing health care organizations in
the U.S., CNA/NNOC presently has 80,000 members in 50
states, representing nurses at scores of hospitals,
clinics, and home health agencies.

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