SANTA MONICA, California - August 28 - As patient advocates prepare for an historic showdown over universal health care today in the California Assembly, a consumer group announced a new online game today allowing players to destroy insurer greed and join supporters of a California Health Plan open to all residents of the state.
The first-person shooter game, "Nurse Avenger," is available at http://www.calhealthplan.org. On the Web site players can sign up to help fight for universal health care -- called the California Health Plan -- and send a fax to legislators urging them to pass SB 840.
In the fast-paced game, the player is awarded points for fighting mobster-styled insurance company and HMO and insurance reps trying to kill a patient in a hospital bed. Special weapons include: Waste Whacker (HMOs and health insurers waste 25 percent of our money on overhead and profit), Salary Sucker, Voice Mail Avenger and a Purchasing Power Mega Weapon. To unleash a special attack, players click on a "Nurse Avenger" icon when it appears on the screen. If the player defeats all the HMO bosses, he or she "saves" the state $8 billion -- the predicted annual savings to the state of SB 840.
"We've taken the fight for reform to the video game generation to recruit more universal health care warriors," said Jerry Flanagan of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR). "Health care is increasingly priced out of reach for 20- somethings. Under the California Health Plan, the billions of dollars now wasted on insurance middlemen, CEO pay, record corporate profits, overhead and advertising would be used to provide good, affordable care for all who need it."
Insurers have spent $3.7 million in campaign contributions in California since 2005. Gov. Schwarzenegger, who alone has received $765,000 from health insurers, has said he will veto the bill.
SB 840 calls for replacing the private, uncompetitive and unregulated health insurance market with a public insurance program that would utilize the 25 percent of revenue currently wasted on overhead by private insurers to provide better health care for all Californians. Compared to private insurers, public health insurance programs typically spend only 2 to 3 percent on overhead.
For more information about why California needs universal health care and how everyone can be insured and still cut $8 billion from what is currently being spent, go to http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/healthcare/cal-medicare.
To view a list of the $3.7 million in political contributions from insurers and top company executives, go to http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ HealthInsurance05-06.xls.