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With the approaching Supreme Court showdown on the President Obama’s 2010 health care law (the Affordable Care Act, modeled, of course, on Mitt Romney’s law in Massachusetts), the U.S. healthcare system remains a dysfunctional mess, as nurses bear witness to every day.
In late March, the Court will devote six hours over three days to oral arguments on the legal challenges to the law — the most time the Court has given a case in 56 years. The testimony will likely be accompanied by a possible record 100 “friend of the court” briefs, Kaiser Health News reported February 16.
While the ACA had some undeniable positive elements, such as permitting young adults up to age 26 to remain on their parents health plan, and a few limitations on insurance industry abuses, such as barring them from denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions, our health care nightmare is far from over.
And, as nurses have reported repeatedly the past year, the economic crisis has great aggravated the suffering with broad declines in health status that are directly linked to job loss, unpayable medical bills, and families having to choose between paying for food, housing, clothing or healthcare.
As to the law itself, despite its name the ACA has done little to actually make healthcare affordable. Read more…
Read California Healthline’s roundup of last Wednesday’s successful vote on SB 810:
Friday, May 06, 2011
Senate Health Committee Moves Single-Payer Bill
by David Gorn
Many dozens of single-payer supporters crammed the Senate Committee on Health chambers on Wednesday for hearing on a bill that would set up a single-payer health system in California.
The supporters were respectful and emphatic as they all stepped, one by one, up to the microphone to voice their support for such a model. After all of the advocates took their turn and returned to their seats, Senate Health Committee Chair Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina) wanted to know if there were any more speakers, so he politely asked if there was anyone else in the audience who was in favor of the bill.
And a sea of hands went up, as nearly everyone in the audience spontaneously and quietly raised their hands.
That has been the history of single-payer legislation in California, with enthusiastic, almost fervid, support of it by many citizens and organizations in the state, but a tepid, almost embarrassed, reception by many lawmakers.
Here’s how Wednesday’s vote on SB 810 broke down:
YES – Ed Hernandez, Elaine Alquist, Kevin de Leon, Mark DeSaulnier, Lois Wolk
NO – Joel Anderson, Sam Blakeslee, Tony Strickland
Sen. Read more…
Facing possible extinction for the first time in four years, the single payer bill SB 810 pulled through, passing the Senate Health Committee on Wednesday on a 5-3 vote, state Sen. Mark Leno’s office reported. Up until a couple of days ago, committee chair Sen. Ed Hernandez had been undecided, putting the bill in jeopardy. But intense pressure from single payer advocates across the state and a massive phone campaign finally secured a “yes” vote from Hernandez. In addition, hundreds of single payer supporters descended upon the Capitol in Sacramento to attend the hearing.
Leno’s office released the following statement after the vote:
“California is being overrun by out-of-control health care costs, which has a significant impact on the state budget, businesses and families,” said Senator Leno, D-San Francisco. “Our single payer plan not only guarantees universal coverage for all Californians, but also contains health care costs, which is essential to solving our state budget crisis in the long term.”
SB 810 creates a private-public partnership to provide every California resident medical, dental, vision, hospitalization and prescription drug benefits and allows patients to choose their own doctors and hospitals. This single payer, “Medicare for All” type of program works by pooling together the money that government, employers and individuals already spend on health care and putting it to better use by cutting out the for-profit middle man.
The California Nurses Association is reporting that State Sen. Ed Hernandez has decided to vote in favor of SB 810 at tomorrow’s Senate Health Committee hearing. Up until now, Hernandez, the committee’s chair, had been undecided. This is terrific news. Obviously, the efforts from single payer advocates around California urging voters to call his office helped him make up his mind. This bill needs to get out of committee to survive and reach the entire Senate floor.
To thank Sen. Hernandez, his contact information is below:
Ed Hernandez (District 24 – Los Angeles)State Capitol, Room 4085, Sacramento, CA 95814 Telephone: (916) 651-4024; Fax: (916) 445-0485 Email: email@example.com 149 South Mednik Avenue, Suite 202, Los Angeles, CA 90022 Telephone: (323) 881-0100 14403 E. Pacific Avenue, #327, Baldwin Park, CA 91706 Telephone: (626) 337-2760
However, State Sen. Michael Rubio is still leaning toward voting “no.” He believes the federal health reform law is good enough for Californians. He needs to hear from voters, especially his constituents who live in the Central Valley, that we can do better.
Michael Rubio (District 16 – Fresno, Kings, Tulare, Kern)State Capitol, Room 2066, Sacramento, CA 95814 Telephone: (916) 651-4016; Fax: (916) 327-5989 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
2550 Mariposa Hall, Suite 2016, Fresno, CA 93721 Telephone: (559) 264-3070 1800 30th Street, Suite 350, Bakersfield, CA 93301 Telephone: (661) 395-2620
Pressure is building on two Democratic state Senators on the Senate Health Committee to get them to change their minds on the single payer health care bill, SB 810. The bill is scheduled for a hearing before the committee this Wednesday after being postponed from last week. Committee chairperson Sen. Ed Hernandez (Los Angeles) is publicly saying he has not decided how he will vote on the bill, while Sen. Michael Rubio (Fresno) has said he will vote “no.” If Hernandez also votes no, SB 810 will have died in the state Senate for the first time after having successfully passed the chamber the last three years. Last year, SB 810, sponsored by San Francisco-area state Sen. Mike Leno, passed the state Senate, but died in the Assembly.
The liberal grassroots advocacy group, Democracy for America, has sent out an alert to its membership calling on them to flood Hernandez and Rubio’s offices with phone calls:
“On Tuesday the Vermont Senate passed a bill that puts the Green Mountain State on the path to a single-payer health care system, and next week California’s Senate Health Committee has the same opportunity on May 4th. However, two Democratic senators could keep it from passing.
It looks like California and Vermont could go on two different trajectories in America’s battle for healthcare equality. On Tuesday, the Vermont Senate approved by 21-9 health reform legislation that would create a single payer system in the state. Once the bill is reconciled by both chambers of the Vermont legislature, it will land on Gov. Peter Shumlin’s desk. Shumlin is a strong supporter of single payer.
Meanwhile, in our state of California, SB 810 could be in jeopardy. Wednesday’s scheduled hearing in the state Senate Health Committee was postponed to May 4. According to single payer advocacy group, Single Payer Central, two Democratic members on the committee – chairman Ed Hernandez and member Michael Rubio – are apparently wavering on the bill:
“The Senate Health Committee was scheduled to discuss SB 810 on Wednesday, April 27 at 1:30pm. The Health Committee meeting has now been postponed to Wednesday, May 4th at 1:30pm.
The vote on SB 810 is in jeopardy of not passing because of two members of the Health Committee, Democratic State Senators Michael Rubio from Bakersfield, who is not in support, and the Chair of the Health Committee, Ed Hernandez, who is not sure what he thinks. Read more…
My Heavens! When the moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with mars then peace will guide the planets and love will see the stars! WELL NOT ANY MORE! Thanks to an overactive galactic phenom called “precession”…everything has changed.
Well not everything…just our astrological signs. Dan shows up to the show a former Cancer and he claims he’s now a two-door full-throttle Scorpio. WHO ARE YOU NOW BABY?!
Hey, we have a great show coming up. Our good friend RN DeAnn McEwen joins us. DeAnn is an ICU nurse at Long Beach Medical Center and a member of the CNA/NNU Council of Presidents. She shares with us her view of “Obamacare” and why it is not the bill those of us who wanted single payer health care for all would have chosen.
Why single payer? DeAnn says, “If an RN believes in the premise that all persons have the right to access basic health care, and to be treated with respect and dignity, then his or her behavior will be more likely to be congruent with this belief.” What’s next for health care? Listen and find out.AND it’s time to make someone out there laugh! Casey and Dan make random acts of kindness look better all the time. Read more…
If they ever hand out a prize for Hypocritical Freshman Congressperson of the Year, Andy Harris would win first place. In an amazing display of audacity, Harris, a Republican elected Nov. 2 to a Maryland congressional seat on an anti-healthcare reform platform, complained during an orientation meeting about having to wait 28 days before receiving the government-subsidized healthcare plan available to all federal employees. What’s even more incredible, is that Harris is an anesthesiologist. So one would think he would have some empathy for the millions of people who go without insurance much longer than a mere month.After the Politico story came out, Harris received a much deserved public trashing. He immediately tried to clarify his remarks, claiming he wasn’t talking about himself, but about federal employees in general. Nevertheless, Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley of New York was so incensed by Harris’ cluelessness, and anti-health reform legislators in general, that he is demanding that lawmakers who want to repeal reform should drop their own taxpayer-funded coverage. (So far, two lawmakers have taken Crowley up on his challenge)When the fight over healthcare reform took center stage in Congress last year, I kept wondering when someone would point out how ironic it is that millions of working-class taxpayers who don’t get health insurance on the job are subsidizing the health care of lawmakers who would deny health coverage to those same taxpayers. Read more…
Confused and disillusioned about health care Reform? Well, join the rest of us. Our go-to expert CNA/NNU’s Donna Smith visits with Casey and Dan and doesn’t hold out much hope for anything resembling a single-payer or a public option.Later in the show, “Is Anybody Out There Laughing?“…oh my, we got some work to do pilgrims! America is not laughing as much as we need to be, so Casey and Dan are out to change that one call at a time.Don’t forget on March 28 Dr. Gail Altschuler will be with us taking your questions about weight loss and health. Call this week with your questions for the doctor and we will answer them on the air. Call 1.800.977.1863 or email email@example.com.READ MORE>
Michael Lighty, the Director of Public Policy for the California Nurses Association, joins Casey to speak about healthcare reform and advocating for single-payer bills state-by-state. If you think real healthcare reform is important, you won’t want to miss his strategy. Click here to listen to the segment by going to the Nurse Talk CNA On Demand page. Read more…