OAKLAND, Calif., Sept. 9 The nation's largest union and professional association of registered nurses tonight welcomed the renewed call by President Obama for comprehensive healthcare reform.
"But sadly, the President's prescription for reform still falls short of the full reform that is needed to solve our ever escalating healthcare crisis," said Deborah Burger, RN, co-President of the 86,000-member California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee.
"The President made a renewed call for a public option, but a public option should at least be a 'Congressional option' at least as good as the benefits Congress members get.
"The biggest problem with his approach, however, is not the public option, it's the private option. Private insurers are the principal cause of skyrocketing healthcare costs, and the disgraceful denials of care for people with insurance.
"Nothing in this plan will end insurance denials - and insurance companies are denying nearly one-fourth of all claims in California alone, according to data the insurers themselves report to the state.
"Second, we heard again pledges to end the health insecurity faced by so many American families; yet the promise of effective cost controls remains elusive. Insurance premiums, co-pays and deductibles will continue to skyrocket with little in this plan to end their price gouging practices.
"President Obama said tonight 'We are the only advanced democracy on Earth - the only wealthy nation - that allows such hardships for millions of its people.' That's true. The reason is that all those other countries have a national healthcare system, such as our Medicare program, and don't barter human lives for profit. Ultimately that is the most effective way to actually guarantee healthcare for all Americans, control costs, and improve quality. That would be the change we could all believe in."
CNA/NNOC represents 86,000 registered nurses in all 50 states, and is working toward unification with the Massachusetts Nurses Association and United American Nurses to build a new 150,000 member national nurses organization.
SOURCE California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee