2.6 Million New American Jobs and a Working Healthcare System…Who Knew?

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CommonDreams.org

2.6 Million New American Jobs and a Working Healthcare System…Who Knew?

The nation's most trusted healthcare professionals published their long-awaited study this week that shows 2.6 million new jobs created following the implementation of a single payer - publicly funded, privately delivered -- healthcare system.  The National Nurses Organizing Committee and California Nurses Association study also found that establishing a national single-payer style healthcare system would provide a major stimulus for the U.S. economy by infusing $317 billion in new business and public revenues, with another $100 billion in wages into the U.S. economy.

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Wow.  While the new Obama  healthcare transition team works on how to expand and protect the for-profit health insurance industry and mandate that uninsured Americans purchase coverage, nurses stayed on the side of patient advocacy and honoring the President-elect's vision of healthcare as a basic human right .  For many years, many leaders, including Obama, have told Americans that single-payer is the right thing to do but that it is not politically feasible.  It's too hard to make those pesky special interests take a back seat to human rights, they muse.

Single payer = 2.6 million jobs -- $317 billion in new business and public revenues -- $100 billion in wages

Nurses went to work and asked more questions to answer the call the Obama team put out to "think big" and send us the ideas you have.  It's a ground-up sort of listening effort, the transition team promised.  The nurses have long battled for single-payer healthcare reform on the basis of patient care, patient safety and the moral imperative that their profession demands.  So taking on the task of giving this President the information he needs to back up what he knows is right was a natural undertaking.

So, now in light of these study results, if there remain those who argue a single payer system is not politically feasible, it will certainly be because of a specific and direct desire to keep the profit motive in healthcare and not the desire for a healthier and more secure nation.

Single payer = 2.6 million jobs -- $317 billion in new business and public revenues -- $100 billion in wages

Just this week, we learned from news reports out of New York that United HealthGroup, the darlings of the AARP insurance system, have been bilking their policy holders out of millions of dollars as they used tainted figures to pay claims and left patients to pay out-of-pocket costs higher than they should.  United HealthGroup will be fined $50 million but they aren't the only insurance giant bilking the public.  A representative of the American Medical Association even admitted this case was only the tip of the iceberg.  Insurance companies are not there for the good of the insured - they are there to make big bucks. 

So, why in the world would any President interested in the human right to healthcare want citizens to suffer under these unscrupulous and greedy companies?  The reality is, it will take courage and great leadership to truly address the special interests that play in healthcare funds just like they did and do in hedge funds and sub-prime mortgages and other risky financial instruments.  As the nurses studied how to make the system better and revitalize the economy in the process, the financial giants are embracing the health insurance giants and developing all sorts of financial tools to capture the amazing gift of forced consumption of their products that passage of a flawed healthcare reform measure would deliver.

Single payer = 2.6 million jobs -- $317 billion in new business and public revenues -- $100 billion in wages

It's hard to imagine the big players on Wall Street would be giving so generously to the inaugural celebration, as reported in the Wall Street Journal  this week, unless they remained perfectly confident of the promises made to them.  Healthcare reform is being drafted and planned and vetted through carefully edited listening instruments aimed at enrichment of

the power brokers who will sell the insurance and the financial tools from which they will profit wildly.  The costs of this sort of effort will be enormous - subsidies from taxpayers to purchase private, for-profit insurance?  That's a chunk of change.  Another chuck of our change going to people who don't operate in our best interests.

But single payer reform, the nurses explained to the listening Obama team members, would make a huge and positive economic impact for all Americans... well, perhaps except for the CEOs of those insurance and financial industry giants salivating so anxiously as they watch their multi-billion dollar bail-out take shape framed as healthcare reform. But there is another way. 

"Through direct and supplemental expenditures, healthcare is already a uniquely dominant force in the U.S. economy," said Don DeMoro, lead author of the study and director of the Institute for Health and Socio-Economic Policy, the NNOC/CNA research arm.

"However, so much more is possible. If we were to expand our present Medicare system to cover all Americans, the economic stimulus alone would create an immense engine that would help drive our national economy for decades to come," DeMoro said.

Single payer = 2.6 million jobs -- $317 billion in new business and public revenues -- $100 billion in wages

So, the nurses cared enough to look at the whole reform picture, and they have found an amazing and exciting result.  Doing the right thing for one another will also be doing the right thing for our nation.  We need not sacrifice our human rights any longer in order to keep a flawed and dangerous insurance industry making huge profits. 

And the really good news?  The nurses were welcomed as healthcare policy "stakeholders" by the Obama team and the study is in their hands.  Surely, the chance to do what is right and what is just will prove an attractive choice for a President who has seen what injustice has done to so many people and who tells us he understands.

Read the whole study Here.

Donna Smith

Donna Smith is the Executive Director of Health Care for All Colorado and the Health Care for All Colorado Foundation. 

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