Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Schwarzenegger proposes inadequate health care plan

TESTIMONY: Here’s the truth --coming from the testimony of millions of Americans

“The insurance companies are the biggest barrier to healthcare in the United States.”

We’ve had over 100 hearings and we are heading for 1,000 more such hearings as we continue to encourage the movement for a national single payer healthcare system.

State by state by state we are seeing the big headlines every week or so announcing that this state or that state has finally resolved the healthcare crisis. Every time, as it turns out, each new state declaring progress on universal coverage has found a way to channel more money into the profits of the insurance and drug companies.

The corporate-sponsored media is jubilant, and plays it up big – every time!

Today it was Arnold Schwarzenneger’s “California Plan for Healthcare Would Cover All” headline as he revealed another such healthcare plan, and the national newspapers made it front page headlines. However, this new California plan does not provide for a 21st Century solution to the healthcare crisis such as those in the 37 or more countries in the world who have better healthcare than we do.

His plan is yet another small variation on the plans controlled by the same elements that have caused the healthcare crisis in the first place.

Listen to Roseann DeMoro, President of the California Nurses Association,

“In the market category fall most of the alternatives being swooned over today by the insurance companies and others invested in pure market-based solutions, the politicians who cater to them and those pundits who counsel us to lower our expectations. Among these proposals are laws to force individuals to purchase their own insurance; starting health savings accounts; and expanded mandates that employers provide benefits for their employees or pay into a pool for coverage for those without insurance.

Their common theme is a reliance on commercial mechanisms that created the present crisis by sacrificing quality and affordability and providing access for private profit. And all these solutions are doomed to repeat that cycle.”

After 15 years or more of struggling, it is back to the drawing board for the California single payer plan, in the face of the governator’s massive media blitz and his veto of real healthcare for all. They’ll be trying again to get this moving in the Assembly and also supporting us in the national single payer effort.

Opines Tom Garvey of The Center for Healthcare Policy, “the worst place to develop reform is on a statewide level… All that rhetoric about how “innovative” states are in healthcare financing is simply a smoke screen by politicians, insurers, and lobbyists. If states are so innovative and creative then why didn’t they solve another societal injustice: SLAVERY.” If we had left it to the states, we would still have slavery.

But we have a response to Mr Schwarzennegger and all of the other governors and politicians who are owned by the market forces who will benefit from this new infusion of the people’s tax money. Our solution is a national single payer or non-market system, a campaign to win the kind of national quality system for people in the U.S. that is enjoyed by the people of all other advanced nations . It is a battle that is similar to the civil rights struggle in that it must be won by a movement. The benefits of national healthcare for all will not come down like manna from on high.

Our Congressional Bill, H.R. 676, is not yet up for official hearings in the new Congress. The truth is, it is going to take a lot of work on our part to make Congress hold hearings for national healthcare. But you are the people in your community who can make it happen.

Your work is clear. Please plan one or more Healthcare Truth Hearings in your community. Bring the people together to testify about their experiences of the healthcare system and help them understand that there is an answer.

Get your member of Congress to sign onto H.R 676 immediately. Call, fax, write and go where he or she is appearing during their visits home. Be in touch with the Congressional leadership: in the House of Representatives – your own rep and also your two Senators. Ask them to sign on and to support hearings on our bill H.R. 676, national single payer healthcare for all. Remind them very clearly that this healthcare plan for all will be fiscally responsible. In fact, it will save the country a lot of money and we will come out with healthcare for all people – even the uninsured. No denials for pre-existing conditions or uncovered costs, no co-pays or deductibles, no supplemental insurance payments. Sliding scale funding so that 95 % of us will be paying less – through a payroll premium contribution. Only the richest of the rich will be paying a 10% premium, but not more than they can afford. Everybody will be covered for everything – no cheap cut-rate insurance policies for anyone. All children, all adults, all people of all religions, races, states of employment and age.

Our problem is not just a problem of the “uninsured.” Mr. Schwarzennegger and the other spendthrift Republican governors think that, by covering the uninsured, with increased taxpayer funding, they will have solved the problem. But most of us are virtually uninsured. We need a comprehensive single payer system for all. One of the Steelworker leaders said last week that he believes there are 100 million people who are either totally or partially uninsured and facing sudden disaster…and growing. Many of us who think we are fully insured find out quickly when we get sick or lose our job that we are basically uncovered. But you can change this picture!

1. Get Active. Become a part of the 1,000 Healthcare Truth Hearings being organized in your communities nationwide.

2. Get ready to hold serious discussions in your churches and other faith communities during the MLK, Jr. National Healthcare Month of April when we will be commemorating Dr. King and his message of peace and healthcare for all. We will have posters with Dr. King’s photo and his famous healthcare statement, "Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane." We will also have organizing materials for you to use in your congregation and in your community.

3. Help organize rallies and marches and other street heat in April to call attention to the fact that the insurance companies are the greatest barrier to healthcare for all in this country on the 6th and 7th of each month and during April.

. If you are an organizer or a community person who would like to get healthcare for all in this country, be in touch with us right away.


5.Join us. If you’ve been meaning to join Healthcare-NOW, go to the website above, click on Donate NOW and join us.

We can’t do it without you, and it may be the most important dollar you ever spent for your health and the health of our nation. This movement is growing rapidly and you can be a part of it. Welcome aboard.

Marilyn Clement, National Coordinator

Healthcare-NOW, 1-800-453-1305
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