Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Choice

The debate for improving our health care system is nationwide. Many, like Governor Schwarzenegger and Mitt Romney, have devised plans that make all Americans have health insurance. This is corporate-based, profit-driven health care. Just a different version of what we already have that does not work; that does not provide the medical care we need to be a healthy, productive, competitive society. The only difference will be that insurance companies will make more profit because they will have more enrollees.

Individuals that cannot afford the high price of premiums and yet do not fit into the economic range of those that can receive adequate government subsidies might be forced to break the law and not have any insurance at all. Others might opt to try to buy policies that are insurance in name only with unthinkably high deductibles, high co-pays, and outrageous limitations of coverage. All of these individuals will still put off care until they need to go to the Emergency Department and in the end everyone else will still have to pay for their care.

You cannot say you have Universal Health care for your citizens if millions of them still cannot receive appropriate care due to insurance policy inadequacies.

What's the other choice?

Single-payer, single standard of care, universal health care.

This is patient-centered (not profit-centered.) Everybody pays into a single agency and this agency pays out to the providers.

Every doctor gets paid for every patient treated. Every hospital gets paid for every patient cared for. And every citizen gets the health care they deserve.

Ask any doctor or hospital how much time and money they spend trying to collect debts; how much they overcharge paying patients to cover for those who cannot pay. It is a huge problem. Single-payer solves this economic problem. Ask any Emergency Department nurse how many patients they see that should go to a primary care doctor for colds, flu, and minor injuries. Single-payer will free up EDs to take care of true emergencies. Also ask the ED nurse how many patients they see that could have averted their medical crisis had they received preventative care like the diabetic who comes to the ED in renal failure or the patient with high blood pressure who comes in with a devastating stroke. These high cost emergencies (high financially and high in terms of human suffering) could be averted with preventative care that would be covered under a single-payer system. And again this would free up Emergency Departments even more to be ready to handle your heart attack or catastrophic injury where waiting time can be the difference between life and death.

Given this, the choice is not hard at all. If we want to fix our health care problems, we do not need mandates for all to buy insurance, but we do need a single-payer system.

In California support Senator Shiela Kuehl's bill (SB 840 California OneCare) and nationwide support Congressman John Conyers' bill providing Medicare for All.

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Blogger RN4MERCY said...

The Professional Nursing Imperative: A Call to Action-Social, Political, Economic, Advocacy--Reclaiming the Historical and Traditional Domain of Nursing Practice to rebuild the public health and safety infrastructure.

We must identify and work to remove barriers to "Safe, Therapeutic, Effective and Competent Health Care for All!"

I've had the honor and the privilege of meeting nurses from across the state and across the nation recently; many of whom participated in providing direct patient care in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The real disaster that was exposed is the shameful lack of access to basic, medically necessary health care. Many of the stories are tragic; yet as individual nurses they made a significant and heartwarming difference to the patients and communities in which they volunteered to serve.

RNs worked bravely against a myriad of odds to care for the most vulnerable and needy victims of our government's lack of planning and coordination for the provision of care. What the nurses bring forward to the table is a desire to continue the relief work within a strategic collective of like-minded RNs, and a firm committment to work on a true disaster response and recovery plan, Health Care for All, as members of the Registered Nurse Response Network-RNRN.

The inspiration, planning and implementation of the RNRN Disaster Relief and Recovery Program begins with the vision for healthcare that is the strategic, effective organizational imperative of
The California Nurses Foundation, and CNA/NNOC members.

It begins with a progressive world view: empathy for others and acting responsibly on that empathy...being both responsible for yourself and socially responsible as well, in the words of George Lakoff. "Progressives say, "We're all in this together" while conservatives say, "You're on your own." It's important to note that he's not framing the discussion with partisan political boundaries.


In keeping with the philosophy, mission statement and Code for Registered Nurses of the California Nurses Association (CNA) to:

Assume responsible leadership in our community, in our field, and to work together with other organizations to the end that all people have the best possible nursing care and health protection

Work actively through our professional organizations—regional, state, national and international—to promote the professional and educational advancement and welfare of professional nurses and to foster high standards of nursing practice

Promote, advance and ensure safe, therapeutic and effective health care for all

Establish and maintain conditions of employment conducive to high quality nursing care

Collaborate with health professionals, allied health workers, health advocacy organizations, and health care consumers in protecting and promoting the advancement of human rights related to accessibility and quality of care;

If readers feel called to action, we invite them to take a class, join RNRN, and/or provide tax deductible financial support. Visit the web at

By all means, as responsible citizens engage in political and economic social advocacy by supporting HR676 (Conyers) nationally, and SB840 (Kuehl) in California. We're RNs, the public trusts us to do the right thing as their nurses; it's inherent in the social contract between our patients and the profession of nursing!

1:44 PM  

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