IT'S TIME TO ESTABLISH A POPULAR GRASSROOTS MOVEMENT FOR UNIVERSAL
As the economy slows down, and more Americans are facing the potential financial burdens of inadequate health insurance coverage or no coverage at all, it is urgent that a common plan be formulated to initiate a popular campaign that can finally move society to take action in support of universal health care.
As we have seen, the road to health care reform has had many turns, including many dead ends. Various campaigns and many initiatives have been tried; we traveled in many different directions but have not found the way. Although our vision and determination to make quality health care a right of every citizen is just and unwavering, we have been unable to formulate a plan and unleash a campaign that could move society to take action in support of universal health care. In contrast to past movements for social justice, our efforts to find an effective approach have eluded us for over half a century. Let no one be in doubt
- there has been no predominant social movement for universal health care, merely sporadic and episodic campaigns and demands for health care justice, allowed to ignite, flame brightly, sputter, and die out.
The vital approach begins with our willingness to recognize and accept the lessons of past movements for social justice, equality and rights which require that those who support reform must finally agree to seek common ground, unite, plan and act together and move in the same direction in building a uniform popular movement for universal health care. It is only through strategically using combined talents and resources and a central plan that the isolated cries for health care reform can enlist the support and mighty roar of many Americans from coast to coast, thus initiating a true movement.
The whole answer, the whole truth, is no different from before. Our struggle for rights in health care is a part of America's unfinished work; it should be perpetuated in accordance with the nation's long historic journey for justice, and demands - as with past movements - that those whose rights are being denied must take part.
We are trying to determine if you might be interested in being involved in this new effort to seek common ground in order to build a nationwide grassroots movement for universal health care.
Philip Pollner, M.D.
Nancy Wooten, Ph.D.
Don McCanne, M.D.
Those who are interested please respond by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
call Dr. Pollner at 302-266-7373 evenings (EST).
Please forward this message to friends, colleagues and to the leadership
of organizations that might share our vision.
Jul 5, '01
The physicians named in this grassroots movement are all successful, well respected, and nationally known in their fields and for their work in the single-payer movement. Doctor's incomes would change little, though the disparity in income between specialists would shrink. The need for "wallet biopsy" before treatment would be eliminated; time currently wasted on administrative duties could be channeled into providing care; and clinical decisions would no longer be dictated by insurance company policy. They would have more control and say-so than they do in the current system. Universal healthcare will not "hurt" doctors. Physicians are poorly served by the current system. The financial pressures placed on physicians by most managed care organizations have undermined the trust at the heart of the patient-physician relationship. Pressured by HMOs to increase profits, physicians are encouraged to spend as little time as possible with patients and often to undertreat them by not referring them to specialists. Cost-cutting measures allow critical health decisions to be made not by qualified medical professions, but by HMO administrators and managers. Why is it so surprising that doctors would be for a national health program? Why the paranoia? Why would doctors want to hang-on to our present system? Many want major reform!
Just some of the Medical endorsements include:
American Public Health Association (30,000 doctors)
American Association of Community Psychiatrists
Massachusetts Academy of Family Practice Physicians
American Medical Women's Association(13,000 doctors)
Alameda-Contra Costa Medical Society
American Medical Student's Association-marched on Washington
D.C. Medical Society
National Medical Association (6'000 doctors)
American College of Physicians (Illinois Chapter)
Long Island Dermatological Society
Isalamic Medical Association
American College of Surgeons
American Nurses Association
American Medical Association-D.C. and Maryland Chapters
California Nurses Association
Last edit by fiestynurse on Jul 5, '01
Jul 6, '01
My first argument for Universal Coverage is one of fairness. Most of those without insurance are the working poor. They are also denied the tax subsidy people with employer-provided health insurance receive-the cost of the insurance is not treated as income by the IRS. It is hard to defend such a program. In every industrialized society, health care is considered a fundamental element of citizenship, one of the social rights Europeans and Canadians enjoy. To leave many of the poorest Americans bereft of health insurance is to deny them equal citizenship. Yes, I do believe that health care is a right. Fairness is important, but this argument alone is not likely to persuade everyone.
My second argument has to do with work incentives. The problem with programs restricted to poor people, like Medicaid, is that they contain work disincentives--if you make too much money you are ineligible and therefore might choose to work less in order to keep your health insurance. Universal coverage solves this problem because you receive the benefits regardless of how hard you work. There are no disincentives to work. One of the reasons the European middle class eventually decided to support universal health insurance and pensions was their realization that it promoted work.
Finally, there are the costs of the current system. having over 44 million uninsured people is very expensive. These costs are less tangible to voters than a slight tax increase, but they are very real. They include the cost of treating more serious diseases since the uninsured are less likely to get regular check-ups; and economic costs--uninsured people with health problems are less likely to be efficient workers. Universal health insurance ought to be considered an investment in our collective well-being. As a nurse I value human life and health. Just like our public education system gaurantees everyone an education--why can't we also gaurantee everyone adequate health care?
Thats all for now--Bet you know I have more to say!!
Last edit by fiestynurse on Jul 6, '01
Jul 8, '01
Sunday July 8,2001
Portland Press Herald, Portland Maine
INTERVIEW with Howard R. Buckley: As policymakers struggle with managed care, the CEO of Portland's Mercy Hospital champions universal health care for all Mainers.
Very interesting interview. To read it all point your browser to:
After 7/8/01 can be found under Business Sunday archives.
Last edit by CaronRN58 on Jul 8, '01