Local nurses spoke at Mad As Hell Doctors town hall Sept. 16. Photos: Kathlyn Stone
Doctors aren’t the only ones who are “mad as hell” about health care.
Nurses across the country have been speaking up about what they see as injustice and waste in the for-profit health care system in America.
The California Nurses Association has been one of the leading advocates of single payer, or guaranteed healthcare for all. The association and its national arm, the National Nurses Organizing Committee, were instrumental in this week’s AFL-CIO endorsement of single payer.
At the AFL-CIO Convention in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, California Nurses Association Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro spoke of the recent death of Crystal Lee Sutton, the union organizer depicted in the film “Norma Rae” who died last week after a long battle with cancer and a three-year battle with her insurance company.
“No one should spend the last days of their life fighting with their insurance company,” said DeMoro. “We should not make choices of who gets healthcare based on their ethnicity, gender, or economic status. But I am addressing the labor movement, not Wall Street. And we all know what is the right thing – the moral thing – single-payer healthcare.”
The union gave its unanimous endorsement.
When the Mad As Hell Doctors, traveling from Oregon to Washington, D.C, stopped in St. Paul on Sept. 16, for a health care rally for single payer, they found enthusiastic support from Minnesota nurses.
Minnesota nurses join the Mad As Hell Doctors at Sept. 16 rally supporting single payer
Nurse Tom Kelly signs letter urging legislators to support Minnesota Health Plan, a single payer bill.
Eileen Weber, an emergency room nurse (center in photo above), encouraged people who are fed up with the status quo to contact their legislators and tell them to support single payer plans that have been introduced both in Congress and in the state legislature. She also urged them to support the Kucinich Amendment, passed last month and attached to the House health reform bill, HR 3200. The amendment would remove federal barriers preventing states from enacting their own single payer programs. Weber said the insurance industry will try to have the amendment removed.
Mad As Hell Doctor Paul Hochfeld and Billionairre for Wealthcare Scapegoat
Minnesota nurse Tom Kelly signed a poster-sized letter to legislators, urging them to support the Minnesota Health Plan, legislation sponsored by Sen. John Marty and Rep. David Bly that would a create a statewide single payer system.
There were no disrupters at this town hall but the rally drew Richard Mellon Scapegoat, a Phoenix, AZ-based member of the anti-health reform group “Billionaires for Wealthcare,” who was vacationing in the area.
During his turn at the mic (held by Mad As Hell Doctor Paul Hochfeld), Scapegoat said, “If we ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” Scapegoat and fellow Billionaires dropped in at the teabaggers’ Sept. 12 march in Washington, D.C. to thank them for supporting billionaires against their own interests. (See it on YouTube) “If God loved the poor people he wouldn’t let them get sick,” said Scapegoat. “God loves the rich people.”