OAKLAND, Calif., June 26 The nation's largest organizationof registered nurses, the California Nurses Association/National NursesOrganizing Committee, today endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Sen.Barack Obama.
In announcing its endorsement, the 80,000-member CNA/NNOC (AFL-CIO), whichhas members in all 50 states, cited "a stark distinction between Sen. Obamaand Sen. John McCain on major fundamental issues facing the American peopletoday, especially in reforming our broken healthcare system, repairing ourcollapsing economy, and restoring workplace protections and rights forAmerican workers."
"From the shredding of our public safety net, to the transfer ofcritically needed domestic resources for an irresponsible war, to theabandonment of environmental and labor law safeguards over the past eightyears, the need for change in Washington is paramount," said MalindaMarkowitz, RN, on behalf of the CNA/NNOC Council of Presidents.
"We have been impressed with Sen. Obama's efforts to broaden, enrich, andrevive our democracy by bringing more Americans into our political process andgiving them a sense of hope and confidence for a more just, more humaneAmerica," Markowitz said.
The endorsement was voted upon by CNA/NNOC's 35-member board, alldirect-care RNs. It coincided with an endorsement of Obama today by theAFL-CIO; CNA/NNOC Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro is a national vicepresident of the AFL-CIO and a member of its Executive Council.
In its endorsement statement, CNA/NNOC also said:
"Our first concern is the disintegrating healthcare system. Theunconscionable rise in the number of uninsured and underinsured Americans, thepain and suffering of families who must choose between paying for neededmedical care or their mortgage, and the crime of a callous insurance industryrefusing to provide care patients need, is the hallmark of the past eightyears and a national shame."
"Yet Sen. McCain offers virtually no change in the failures of the Bushadministration. His prescription of tax credits for those who can most affordthem and further deregulation of an already barely regulated industry willonly perpetuate the disparities of a healthcare system which has abandoned somany."
"By contrast, Sen. Obama is at least grappling with ways to achieveuniversal coverage, to address the financial calamity of those confronting theprice-gouging healthcare industry, and to expand regulatory oversight over theinsurance companies."
"However, Sen. Obama's plan alone is insufficient. The only effectivesolution is a fundamental transformation with a single-payer, improvedMedicare-for-all system, similar to what exists in every other industrializednation."
"In his campaign, Sen. Obama has said that if he were starting fromscratch he would favor a single-payer approach. America's nurses know that weare starting from scratch. We have hit rock bottom in healthcare, the veryreason RNs from coast to coast are campaigning for single-payer reforms."
"It will be our intent to persuade Sen. Obama, and, in January, PresidentObama, that he should support and sign legislation establishing an Americansingle-payer system."
CNA/NNOC's endorsement statement also called attention to the assault onRN and other workers' rights.
"Under the Bush administration we have experienced an appallingevisceration of federal agencies American workers count on for labor lawrights and occupational safety and health. In the past eight years, thisadministration has shredded numerous public and workplace rights, and putcorporate interests in charge of our public agencies.
"Sen. McCain has made it clear that he would continue these policies, amajor reason why our economy is faltering and why the Gallup poll just foundfor the first time in its history that a majority of Americans are pessimisticabout the