A recent press release announced that America's largest organization of registered nurses (RNs) , the National Nurses Organizing Committee (NNOC), condemned the insurance industry's conditional offer to stop denying coverage to sick people in exchange for a huge government bailout. While this might seem like a confusing stance, what the NNOC objects to is the plan's caveat forcing all Americans to buy private insurance.
Many people see health, and available medical treatment as a basic human right. The insurance trade lobby America's Health Insurance Plans and Blue Cross Blue Shield have treated Americans so poorly for so long, that they hope their current proposal, ridiculous when taken at face value, will be accepted by increasingly desperate citizens. Many RNs vehemently oppose the plan. "That's not a sign of flexibility at all, it's blackmail," said Geri Jenkins, an RN and co-president of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee.
"They are only willing to scale back on their immoral denial of coverage for people who are sick, even those who have had minor illnesses, if they are given billions of dollars in payments from private individuals and government subsidies," said Jenkins.
According to the NNOC, the insurer's proposal "amply demonstrates what is so fundamentally wrong with our insurance-based system. Decisions on whether patients can receive healthcare coverage are not based on patient need, but on how much profit the private insurers can make."
The NNOC isn't simply naysaying. Unlike so many opinionated voices speaking against proposed legislation without offering anything constructive, the Committee points to proposed bill HR 676 as the real solution to our healthcare problems. The national bill by Rep. John Conyers would implement a single-payer system, expanding and improving Medicare to cover every citizen.
"In a more rational public debate on healthcare reform, we would be making it clear that all Americans should be guaranteed coverage and full access to needed medical care regardless of prior illness or ability to pay. Instead we are treated to a charade of policy makers continuing to seek proposals that protect the insurers' business priorities, rather than on what is best for the tens of millions of Americans enduring a collapsing and broken healthcare system," Jenkins said.