The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Nurses Challenge Rep. Blake Farenthold to Duel of Healthcare Facts Sunday, July 30

“On behalf of Texas patients, we challenge Rep. Farenthold to step outside and settle this healthcare debate Medicare-for-All style,” say nurses


The registered nurses of Corpus Christi are challenging Texas 27th congressional district Rep. Blake Farenthold to step outside (of his office) and take part in a duel of healthcare facts this Sunday at 3 p.m., National Nurses United/National Nurses Organizing Committee (NNU/NNOC) announced today.

Rep. Farenthold recently reacted to several Republican women senators' no vote on the GOP healthcare bill by saying their opposition would have caused him to "step outside and settle this Aaron Burr-style" had they been south Texas men. Early Friday morning, the GOP bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act was defeated in the Senate.

"If Rep. Farenthold wants a duel, given the suffering we see every day in this broken healthcare system, nurses will be at his office Sunday for a duel of critical thinking," said NNU/NNOC member Sylvia Higgins, RN. "Currently, 4.3 million Texans are uninsured, and an additional 2.5 million Texans would have lost coverage under the dangerous GOP bill. Now that the GOP bill is effectively dead, any politician who truly represents the people would internalize the real facts about healthcare and begin advocating for a single-payer Medicare-for-All healthcare system--because that's what our patients deserve."

What: Nurses Challenge Rep. Farenthold to Duel (of Healthcare Facts)
When: Sunday, July 30, 3 p.m.
Where: 101 N Shoreline Blvd #300, Corpus Christi, TX 78401

Nurses will be joined on Sunday by the Corpus Christi American Federation of Teachers, the Progressive Center of Corpus Christi, and other community groups. The "duel" will feature NNU/NNOC member Cynthia Martinez, RN walking 10 paces and then turning around to hit Farenthold (present or not) with the facts, including:

  • 29 million Americans are currently uninsured and millions more are underinsured. The GOP healthcare bill would have resulted in 23 million additional uninsured patients.
  • In Rep. Farenthold's district alone (Texas 27th district), 62,700 additional people would have lost coverage by 2026 under the GOP healthcare bill.
  • In Rep. Farenthold's district alone, 10 percent of children are already uninsured--a number nurses say would be unconscionable to purposely increase by voting yes on dangerous healthcare legislation.
  • 60 percent of Americans say they believe it is the government's job to ensure all Americans have healthcare coverage.
  • The support for single payer/Medicare for All is growing, and Rep. Farenthold needs to listen to the will of the people and start advocating for guaranteed healthcare as a human right.

"As a mother/baby nurse, I care for the entire community, from all walks of life," said Martinez. "We see the effects of our broken healthcare system when women come in with limited or no prenatal care, either because they don't have insurance or because they can't afford their copays and deductibles. When mothers have underlying medical conditions that could have been treated with preventative care, it not only threatens the health of the mother, but it also makes babies very sick."

"We need single payer/Medicare for All, and we need Rep. Farenthold to advocate for it. He works for us, and he is supposed to be doing what is best for the community. If we were to mandate for our elected officials to have the same healthcare coverage as every other citizen of this nation, would he want what the GOP healthcare bill had proposed for himself and his family? If the answer is no, it's not what he should want for the American people."

Nurses say rather than blaming women senators for the failure of this legislation, elected officials like Rep. Farenthold should understand that the legislation failed because it is simply not what the people want.

"Many of us nurses are also women, and we are capable, strong, and intelligent," said Martinez. "We call on Rep. Farenthold to come out Sunday and really listen to the nurses who are on the front lines of this healthcare crisis every day. We know what will truly protect our patients, and it's Medicare for all."

National Nurses United is the largest union of registered nurses in the country, with over 150,000 members nationwide.

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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