The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Charles Idelson, 510-273-2246 or Tim
Carpenter, 413-320-2015

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

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


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

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

"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

"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.

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.

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