The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Charles Idelson 415-559-8991 or
Shum Preston 415-412-0825

Nurses, Doctors Arrested But Insurers Get a Seat at the Table

Five More Caregivers Arrested at Baucus Finance Committee on "Florence Nightingale Day Protests" for Guaranteed, Single-Payer Healthcare


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 reading "Nurses Say: Patients First.
Stop AHIP. Pass Single-Payer." AHIP, America's Health
Insurance Plans, is 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

"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," said NNOC/CNA
Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro. "The Baucus Committee can
arrest nurses, but they cannot silence the voices of RNs who
will continue to speak from their hearts on behalf of their
patients who want and deserve real reform."

Standing up in the audience and speaking before
she was arrested, Sue Cannon, RN, said, "don't guarantee drug
profits, guarantee healthcare. We're entrusted to care for our
patients, and we can't do that without single-payer, guaranteed
healthcare. We need no more Blue Crosses and double

"In honor of Florence Nightingale, patients need
access to healthcare. We need to protect our patients, we need
single-payer now," said NNOC/CNA Board member DeAnn McEwen,

It was the second consecutive week of protests and
arrests at the Finance Committee. Eight were arrested last week
for speaking out on behalf of single-payer/guaranteed

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.

Upcoming events:

Welcome Reception
- 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
, Union Station East

Wednesday, May 13 - RN Day of

Conference on RN
Ratios, Rights, and Representation:
9 a.m. - 12
, Washington Court Hotel, 525 New Jersey Ave

March and Rally on RN
Legislation and Guaranteed Healthcare:
March 12:15
from Washington Court Hotel
12:30 - 2 p.m.,
Upper Senate Park, Washington D.C.

National Nurses United, with close to 185,000 members in every state, is the largest union and professional association of registered nurses in US history.

(240) 235-2000