Unite in Call for National Health Insurance – “Medicare for All”
New Congress to Introduce Plan and Hold Hearings
January 23, 2007 (12:00 a.m. EST)
Oliver Fein, MD 917-859-5140 (cell)
Nick Skala 312-782-6006
Charles Idelson(CNA) 415-559-8991 (cell)
Kay Tillow 502-636-1551
Washington, DC – The 75,000-member California Nurses Association and the 14,000-member Physicians for a National Health Program will announce their opposition to President Bush’s feeble health reform proposal at the National Press Club on Wednesday, January 24 at 1:00 p.m. The groups will call on Congress to pass single-payer legislation that will provide real coverage to all Americans.
“There are only two real choices in the present healthcare debate, plans that continue to push the defective products of the private insurance industry, and the one plan that would expand Medicare to all Americans (HR 676) . Caregivers know that this patient-based model is the most effective and humane approach,” said Deborah Burger, RN, president of the California Nurses/National Nurses Organizing Committee.
“Bush’s reform plan – fiddling with the tax system and peddling skimpy private health plans – will fail miserably. Like other plans that rely on private insurers – e.g. the Massachusetts reform and the Schwarzenegger, AHIP, and Wyden proposals – it would leave millions without coverage and continue to squander $300 billion annually on private insurance marketing, bill collectors, and other useless bureaucratic activities.” said Dr. Oliver Fein, Professor of Medicine at Cornell University and Director of Physicians for a National Health Program. “Moreover, none of these plans would upgrade coverage for the tens of millions who are currently under-insured. Three-quarters of Americans bankrupted by medical bills last year had health insurance. Only national health insurance can cover all the 47 million uninsured and improve coverage for all other Americans at an affordable cost.”
“Private health insurers succeed by bankrupting and impoverishing families like mine,” said Nathan Wilkes, a computer network engineer whose three year old son, Thomas, has hemophilia. “My employers’ premiums have skyrocketed since Thomas was born. The only private coverage available to our company today has a million dollar cap, which Thomas will exceed in a few months. The only health proposal that doesn’t bankrupt families unfortunate enough to face serious illness is single payer national health insurance.”
National health insurance has been adopted by every other industrialized country in the world.
“America’s industrialized competitors all have national health care systems that cover everyone and are more efficient than our broken, fragmented system,” said Kay Tillow of the Kentucky Nurses Professional Organization. Over 225 unions have endorsed a national health insurance program for the US (HR 676), including 17 state AFL-CIO’s. “Labor support is growing rapidly. Premiums have been skyrocketing and the employer-based system is collapsing. Single payer is the only plan that will cover everyone and effectively control costs.”
Rep. Conyers and Rep. Kucinich will introduce “The National Health Insurance Act: Medicare for All (HR 676)” into the new Congress this week. The bill garnered nearly 80 co-sponsors in the last Congress, more than any other reform proposal, and at least three of the newest members of Congress made support for single payer national health insurance a key issue in their campaigns.
“Private health insurers are obligated only to their shareholders. But nurses and doctors have an obligation to our patients – both the patients we have today and the ones we will have tomorrow. We know that only guaranteed, lifelong, coverage for every American under a national health program can heal our wounded health system and restore compassion and humanity to medicine,” said Dr. Fein. “We call on our colleagues from medicine, nursing, public health, and other branches of medicine to join us in our insistence that health care is a public service, not a business.”
Physicians for a National Health Program (www.pnhp.org) is an organization of 14,000 physicians that support single payer national health insurance. PNHP is headquartered in Chicago and has physician-spokespeople across the US. For contacts in your area, call 312-782-6006 or write firstname.lastname@example.org
The California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee (www.calnurses.org) is the fastest- growing professional RN organization in the nation representing over 75,000 direct-care registered nurses in 170 facilities.