Tag Archives: healthcare reform

Let’s Talk About Healthcare, and I Don’t Mean the ACA.

Let’s Talk About Healthcare, and I Don’t Mean the ACA.

Let’s talk about healthcare. I don’t mean debating the Affordable Care Act. I mean health care, as in: If everyone needs health care, guarantee that everybody gets it.

I know, when it comes to healthcare, it’s easy to get into a debate for or against Obamacare. But we nurses see the world through a different lens: our patients.
Share this video of nurses summing up why everyone in the U.S. needs guaranteed healthcare.

Good health care is a fundamental resource that keeps America’s big engine running. Every day, as we do our best to care for our patients, nurses see people with chronic disease like asthma or diabetes who can’t afford insurance costs or medication. Maybe they’re absent from work, tired, and distracted from trying to manage their health on a shoestring. They run the risk of hospitalization. They struggle for a distant unreachable shore hoping something will help. They can’t get ahead because their health keeps dragging them down. And yet the answer isn’t on the horizon, the answer is in our pockets, in our hands. It’s our taxes. We pay them and we ought to benefit from them.

There’s one thing that every American does. Every working American (OK, except the Wall Street crowd) pays taxes. But what do we pay taxes for? Increasingly, we wonder where our money is going, how our money is serving our communities, and how our tax money is helping us and our families.

There are dozens of arguments about what our tax dollars should be doing. But what if we spent a portion of our tax dollars on the one thing that would position every American, young and old, on the road to success? That one thing is good health. You need it to go to school, get to your job, excel at what you do, and dream big dreams that will make our country great again.

We must do better and nurses have a solution. The United States ranks first in costs but 37th in health outcomes in the world. We do even worse for infant morality and life expectancy. So nurses are proposing another way. We’re saying that our taxes should help pay for our healthcare. It works for seniors, it works for Congress members, and it will work for all of us.

This week, we launched an online campaign, asking voters to demand this from Congress. See the press release here.

http://nationalnursesunited.org/page/m/6c0b0162/ac438ff/71f1ddf8/16ae293a/824323334/VEsA/

We’re talking about something that already exists for some, right here in the United States of America, and what can easily exist for everyone. A tax-funded national healthcare system would negotiate prices for prescription drugs, medical devices and services, specialists and more, effectively lowering the cost of delivering care. Taxpayers don’t have to worry about paying for someone else’s care. You’ll be paying for your own care, your family’s care, without raising taxes at all.

Since the tax subsidies to buy insurance under the ACA mostly move money around to pay for private insurance for some that don’t have it, and which allows the insurers to take 20 cents off the dollar, it would be more efficient to uses taxes to pay for everybody’s healthcare directly, eliminating the middleman and the shell game.

chart

We are reaching inside the box to think outside the box; we are charting a third way. It’s time to rediscover healthcare as care rather than insurance for the first time in a long time, and let the taxes we already pay deliver what every American needs.

Please share this post with your colleagues and online communities!

Thank you,
Deborah Burger, RN
NNU Co-President

The Health Reform Law Illustrated

As a companion to their recently released comic book, M.I.T. health care economist Jon Gruber and illustrator Nathan Schreiber teamed up with the Center for American Progress to produce an three-minute animated explanation of how the health reform law works:

Originally posted at the Washington Post’s WonkBlog. Read more…

More from last Wednesday’s Senate Health Committee vote

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.

Read more…

SB 810 Passes Senate Health Committee

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.

Read more…

Hernandez To Vote “Yes” on SB 810

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: senator.hernandez@senate.ca.gov
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. Read more…

California State Senators Urged to Back SB 810

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.

Read more…

Vermont Clears Another Hurdle; Is California’s SB 810 In Trouble?

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. Read more…

NNU: Let’s stop pretending it was a government takeover of healthcare

Our pal Deborah Burger, RN, is co-president of National Nurses United, the nation’s largest and fastest-growing union and professional association of RNs, with 160,000 members around the country. Healthcare reform? She’s written a great piece about what we need to do now.”It’s time to move on. Let’s end the fiction that the current law was a government takeover. Let’s stop replaying the fruitless debate of the past two years over the false issues the right loves to exploit.And let’s find ways to address the continuing health problems plaguing so many by working instead:To really reign in skyrocketing costs, that are primarily driven by the very same profiteering private companies whose executives are being paid so much, and guarantee healthcare for all Americans, best done by expanding the most cost effective, real universal program — it’s called Medicare — to cover everyone.”Get fired up (again). READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE at National Nurses United. Read more…