State Senator Sheila Kuehl yesterday re-introduced SB 840, her historic bill to move California to a “Medicare for All” health plan. These kinds of SinglePayer health systems exist in every other developed nation in the world and are the only solution to the problems of access and cost of healthcare—problems caused by the wasteful private insurance bureaucracy. Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill last year; this year he has promised to bring about healthcare reform and, when SB 840 lands on his desk again, he will have to consider if he is serious about his promise.
The California Nurses Association is the lead sponsor of SB 840, and a strong advocate of H.R.676, the national bill sponsored by Rep. John Conyers. Nurses are motivated to fight for SinglePayer healthcare because so much of their time is spent fighting insurance corporations on behalf of their patients.
Deborah Burger, RN, President of the California Nurses Association explains why nurses support SinglePayer in her testimony from the SB840 hearing yesterday, and why nurses will continue to fight for it every way they know how, including in a new advertising campaign We are at a historic moment in this movement, and California’s progress should provide hope to people across the country that we can cure this healthcare tragedy that is touching so many of us.
Registered Nurses use what’s called the “nursing process” to assess and treat patients. We are educated to collect objective and subjective data, synthesize that data, and apply our judgment skills to help patients survive both their health problems and the treatment for those problems. When we ask a patient how they are doing, what their favorite flower is or if they have children, we are not just being pleasant. We are noting their skin tone, their speech, their pain level, their emotional response and many other indicators of their overall condition. We are doing a comprehensive assessment of their health, although it may not be apparent to them.
Applying the nursing process to the ailing patient called California, we note symptoms of less access, increasing costs and a less healthy population leading to a diagnosis of healthcare crisis.
The good news is that there is a cure. It is called SB 840, authored by Senator Sheila Kuehl.
It is probably no accident that the same legislator who fought to protect patients in hospitals and authored California's groudbreaking nurse-to-patient ratios is also the author of SB 840, a SinglePayer, or “Medicare for All” system, where everyone is in, benefits are better, and costs are controlled. We are very proud, as the principal sponsor of SB 840, to work again with Senator Kuehl.
The California Nurses Association and nurses around the country have fought insurance companies, HMO’s, patient-care gatekeepers, hospital corporate chains, and everyone else who wants to put us in the position of letting our patients suffer from inadequate care.
We know one very important fact: a SinglePayer system is the only cure for the current market-based system that has turned our health into a commodity subjected to “insurance products” that cost more and deliver less every year.
Treating these symptoms with more insurance would be like treating a patient with lung cancer or asthma with cigarette smoke.
A SinglePayer plan is the only way to assure genuinely universal care – not universal insurance with a windfall to health plans.
It is the only way to avoid a multi-tiered system, assure better, more comprehensive benefits, and guarantee patient choice of physician and hospital.
It is the only effective way to adequately control premium and out-of-pocket costs and to end an insurance bureaucracy that wastes 30% of every healthcare dollar because it quite simply takes the insurance middle man out of the middle.
Therefore, CNA RNs are proud to stand with Senator Kuehl, other advocates and other legislators who will fight for the right cure for California’s health crisis.