For Immediate Release
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167
Healthcare: * Single Payer Efforts Excluded, Nurses Arrested * Analyzing "Voluntary Efforts"
WASHINGTON - ROSE ANN DeMORO, CHARLES IDELSON [now in D.C.]
Rose Ann DeMoro is president of the National Nurses Organizing Committee/California Nurses Association. Idelson and Preston are spokespersons for NNOC/CNA, which just released a statement: "Registered nurses, physicians and healthcare activists delivered an emphatic protest before the Senate Finance Committee for its failure to open discussion on healthcare reform to nurses, doctors and other advocates of single-payer, guaranteed healthcare for all, while continuing to provide a red carpet to big insurance companies and other healthcare industry interests.
"Five were arrested -- two RNs, members of the National Nurses Organizing Committee/California Nurses Association, two physicians, members of Physicians for a National Health Program, and a patient activist with PNHP and Health Care Now -- after vocally challenging the committee for what they called a stacked process against real debate.
"Marking the anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, some 40 other RNs staged a silent protest -- standing before the committee in red nursing scrubs and turning their backs to show signs [critical of] America's Health Insurance Plans, the private insurance industry lobby arm that is given a regular voice by the Committee, chaired by Sen. Max Baucus, which is in the forefront of discussion on a health plan.
"What a disgrace that RNs and physicians are shut out and arrested while the insurance industry is given a seat at the table. We would expect that from the Bush administration, not in the time of the Obama administration. ... Tuesday morning's protest was also the kickoff of two national days of actions by RNs from across the U.S., coinciding with National Nurses Week."
Shaffer is co-director of the Center for Policy Analysis, focusing on health policy. She said today: "Even the Republican Party is ready to 'throw the health insurance industry under the bus,' according to strategist Frank Luntz -- while taking every opportunity to block all reform proposals.
"To avert genuine cost control, the industry is promising to voluntarily hold down prices, per a letter from the America's Health Insurance Plans, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America; as well as the AMA, the Hospital Association, the Advanced Medical Technology Association, and the Service Employees International Union. Voluntary efforts have been effective in the past at staving off real health reform, but each time have failed to truly reduce costs. ...
"But the Congressional Budget Office has testified that it will not give much credit to these proposals for savings on costs."
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