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

Donna Smith

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.

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

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.

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

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.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
Donna Smith

Donna Smith

Donna Smith is the former executive director of Progressive Democrats of America and currently a Medicare for All campaign surrogate for Sen. Bernie Sanders.

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