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Poll: Is 'Universal Health Care' Feasible?

This week, the JOURNAL followed the California Nurses Association (CNA), a union calling for change in America’s health care system. CNA Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro said:

“There shouldn’t be a double standard. There should be an excellence in care that applies to all people. We, as the public, pay for Dick Cheney’s care. Why is the government not providing the same type of care to all Americans?"

There are fundamental disagreements about federal action to try and create a national system for universal health care, including the basic question of whether such a system is even feasible. We invite you to discuss in the space below.


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I think that we should pull back are troops from the war in Afganistan.

The issue is not health care, it's government control.
Health care needs to be fixed - allow health insurance purchasing across state lines to add competition. Tort reform to get lawyers out of health care decisions. Support neighborhood clinics for routine care, to return hospitals and ER's to their primary mission, etc. etc. But the current bill is all about control. Read the bill. Government will control doctors salaries, end of life decisions, who gets what treatments, on and on. If it was about health care, they would be beating the drums about all the positives to come of it. Instead they disparage anyone opposed to it, and make back door deals to get it passed. Give it the light of day, and open debate on the details. Let it pass or fail on its merits. The first big step would be to end the special care for elected officials and make their participation in the new health care plan mandatory.
Not one elected official has brought that up. Wonder why?

Naysayers like Don B. are correct that there is a basic dissonance between the prevalent hierarchical sadism of this society and any collective or socialist solution.

Concerned Citizen correctly points out that many institutions are feasible only because a socialist model has been adopted. CC may also notice the institutionalized poverty intensifying in the schools and libraries. It actually also exists in firefighting and policing and other services, though it is because the tax money used for these needs is used in perverted ways. Example: My little town near Charlotte has about 2,000 people, but 14 police officers, coverage by 4 county police, 2 state police as well as sheriff's department deputies on call. This is far more than one officer per 50 households, but we find a shortage of policing when services are needed. (There has recently been a sexcapade scandal in the town department involving at least 5 officers.) Our officers attend all types of retreats to be trained in "Homeland Security" and regularly convene to give one another rewards and promotions. They are a society apart from the populace. And now the town council says we need more police. Are they going to have motorcades to and from Bojangles? I have heard about this tendency of "police worship" in many jurisdictions. Notice all the "policing" shows on TV? My policewomen are not so young and starved out, and the men don't wear eye make-up, but they emulate, and copulate on the job. I feel safe from bin Laden. My blueboys are totally in tune with sadistic hierarchy. (They contiue to protect the "big houses" first and kow-tow in deference to moneyed interests- for this is their actual mission)

Socialism in medicine makes more sense than in policing or schooling, but it would contradict the milieu and spoil sadistic fun. (I suggest the strong adherents join Wackenhut to guard our Kabul embassy, and give us a break. I've heard that socialistic health care is included in the job. (and you can dance, drug and drink all night while terrorizing your non-white comrades in your jock strap- Whoopee!- shoot into the air, we'll buy more bullets.)

The milieu and the indoctrination contradicts it, but if a socialistic structure can be used to extract tax money and lessen the overhead of the wealthy and powerful, it will be done under another name. Call it Anti-socialism!

Spreading misinformation is what special interests who don't want universal healthcare do.
There are many public services that are socialized, such as the post office, fire department, police department, the library, and for the most part K-12 education. Everyone needs to have access to be well. It is not about entitlement. We are a new family with a 6 month old. We are not rich, not poor, just below middle class. We are willing to pay into a system for universal healthcare. I hope it is managed well. Why do some people fear the dismantling of an industry that's purely for profit in regards to health. How many more stories do we need to hear about people losing their insurance or of being denied healthcare for pre-existing conditions. Below is the story of a friend who is fighting cancer. Both lost their health insurance because they lost their job. We should not worry about being in this position. As Americans, we can do better.

Let's all be honest in this debate. Government involvement in anything leads to waste and increased taxes to cover the waste. When has the government EVER been able to run an efficient operation? The fact is this whole plan is a being crammed down our throat as quickly as possible so that no one will read the fine print. The reason our good Comrade Obama keeps distracting everyone from the actual bill is because even he has not read it. If he has read it why does he not fight the questions with chapter and verse instead of his usual general statements about what he wants it to be. THE TRUTH IS THIS WHOLE THING IS ANOTHER 6,000 EARMARK TARP PLAN THAT WILL COST MY CHILDREN AND THEIR CHILDREN TRILLIONS UPON TRILLIONS AND HAVE US ALL IN FRONT OF A BOARD OF BEAUROCRATS ASKING IF WE CAN HAVE ANOTHER PILL. NO THANKS

Thank you so much for this opportunity. It is very frustrating to watch Americans go through so much agony over whether they should take the leap and finally institute a universal health care system.

Well, the American people are very clear about what they want, but the lawmakers seem to be totally beholden to the insurance companies who are not going to let go of their gold mine without a monumental fight -- which is what is occurring now.

I am an American ex-pat who moved to Canada as a very young woman. Right now I am near retirement age. In my 30s I was diagnosed with MS and I want to tell you, I thank my lucky stars I live in Canada. I am very happy living in British Columbia; I love it here. But if I were to change my mind for some reason and think about moving back, I would have to forget about it. The famous pre-existing condition.

Many Canadians enjoy travelling to the US, especially in the winter months. There are not many of us foolish enough to venture south without purchasing extra insurance coverage for the duration. We are covered by our Canadian insurance for any doctor's visit, hospital stay or medical emergency that may befall us. BUT the cost of medical care in the United States far exceeds what it would cost up here, and our universal plan only covers what it would cost if we were at home. The extra insurance is to cover the difference.

Now that I am older and not so healthy, if I want to visit your fair country, I have to answer a few questions over the phone, one of which is whether I have a preexisting condition. Upon answering yes, I am offered extra insurance at about $120 Canadian per year with certain conditions on the number and length of visits.

As other respondents have pointed out, Canadians are pretty united on what we think of our health care system, and our politicians know it. Even the reactionary ones.

We are hoping that Americans win this struggle -- you have the right to a fair and equitable health care system that is there for everyone when they need it. And we all do eventually.

Canadians are cheering you on and hope we will be able to celebrate your victory. Just tell the insurance companies to fold up their tents and don't even think of crossing that border!

what really twists my hide about all this is that conservatives are using arguments that appear (to an idiot) to be in favor of taxpayers and small busineses but in fact it is people like who I used to be( a low income guy with health issues, self employed and working two part time jobs) that could really have benefitted form UHC. Im one of those who has multiple medical problems and I fought to maintain employment (not easy) and paid for my own doctors and meds becuase the only time I was offered insurance, they wanted $360 per month and they wouldnt even cover any of my conditions.
Now I suspect I would be one of those that some conservatives are saying "choose to be uninsured" becuase yes, in fact, I did choose not to pay 360 dollars a month for useless insurance.
The rich pharma and insurance cos will win again and the hard working poor will be screwed again.
Why is anyone believeing the ridiculous things the conservatives are saying. things about govt killing seniors and such. what is wrong with people?
The conservatives are enemies of the taxpayer.
The closer we get to single payer, the less overall money we have to spend on healthcare. right now it goes to profits. money money money. yeesh!


I keep thinking about your comment that the people who need health care the most are the ones who can not afford to pay their representatives in Washington to get the legislation needed for better health care.

There is something fundamentally wrong with a system that allows paid lobbyists to put words in the mouths of public politicians.

We the people must find and elect new representatives who will listen to, and fight for, the public rather than special interest groups.

Keep educating us.

I believe we should have UHC, because deadbeat, greedy corporations (you know the ones that outsource); balk if we ask for benefits and raises and claim we're killing them. Meanwhile the same Bosses are enjoying an incredible standard of living not ever witnessed in this country before. At the same time a lot of their workers are struggling everyday to just keep the lights on. Probably the savings the companies got on cheap labor overseas and dropping peoples coverage would explain the huge gap between the rich and the poor. Basically if employers don't give health care were do you get it? I know people say it raises taxes. We pay taxes for all kinds of stupid things like corporate bailouts, car registration stickers, car inspection stickers and auto insurance among other things, so find something and replace it with UHC so people can have their teeth worked on.

UHC may work in Canada because they are accustomed to waitn months for a transplant and the middle class just pays their taxes like sheeps.

Doctors and the fraud problem: DH doesn't seem to know it exists. The first time I saw a doctor as a grownup he did very little, charged a bundle, and put a wierd disease on the form. "Why did you write this?" I asked. "So the insurance companies won't question it," he said. In other words he overcharged, and then misstated. And some doctors do much much worse.
I don't want to say the insurance companies are angels, but I want to be protected from the doctors too. (Oh, and I was paying out-of-pocket. But the doctor was too self-absorbed to notice.)

Our health care WAS affordable UNTIL 2 things happened:

1. We went to managed care instead of our older system of "reasonable and customary charges".

This first change was foisted on us with the idea that it would lower costs. Well it did not. As soon as this happened they started going up! Ask any health care providers billing dept. that was working b4 and after the changes. This was to prepare us in my opinion for Government to GRAB even more control over us and our $$$ by breaking the system and then providing "the solution".

2. We had the large influx of ILLEGAL ALIENS (that means against the law folks!). California's own statistics show that over 67% of our health care costs are DIRECTLY attributable to ILLEGAL ALIENS , not uninsured AMERICAN CITIZENS.

I have been fortunate to have not listened to the established medical field and have used herbal and alternatives such as accupuncture for years. Outside of the REQUIRED checkups for Life and "health" insurance, I have not seen a doctor NOR had prescribed drugs including antibiotics since 1986!!!

Why should I pay for anyone else? My idea IF I were to support such EXTORTION would be that the FEDS have nothing to do with it. Look what they did to social insecurity. (If they had actually put the money into the most modest investments, we wouldn't be having the social insecurity debates we have now.)

1. ONly American Citizens get care.

2. Crossing the border does NOT make you a citizen. Get in line and work five (5) years and THEN benefits.

3. IF you are perpetually on welfare, you get BASIC care, sorry no advanced procedures for you.

4. One should have the choice of BASIC, INTERMEDIATE, and ADVANCED care pending extra $$$ paid.

5. One should be able to OPT OUT.

6. Cnetral payer system - I get the bill from the provider(s). I check them and decide/argue with them over costs - I have $ xxx,xxx,xxx.xx amount to spend over my lifetime depending on care package selected. Then once we agree, Provider sends bill again, then I sign and send to payer who pays and deducts from my "account". End of story.

7. If I wish to spend my $$$ on natural herbs, accupuncture - even if [[erson is "not accredited", that's my decision. Period!

The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys. - job las teen vegas - average penis teen

I hope some of you have been watching the 4-part series on PBS "Unnatural Causes" by California Newsreel and Vital Pictures. Primary finding: Ill health and chronic disease are mostly caused by stresses associated with poverty and socioeconomic inequality in the United States. When combined with European longitudinal studies indicating an epiphenomena of chronic conditions in succeeding generations (descendants of ill-treated and deprived persons)we begin to understand why adjustments and reforms are in order. Piecemeal solutions are of little use when improvements for some mean denial for others. Still, one can sympathize when treating physicians in "Unnatural Causes" wish aloud they could prescribe a secure home, affluence and community ties for their suffering patients.
So many well meaning posters marvel how we can maintain injustice and unfairness, lack of opportunity in our privileged nation. They forget how capitalism subjugates and ranks the majority of people. George Bush showed how "market faith" can never be compassionate. There is the cruel hand of price and the greedy hand of corruption, both seemingly invisible, working together hand over fist to take from the weak and the unaware the things they need and deserve. A much larger change than socialized medicine must come, a human faced system that cuts both corporate business and interfering government down to size and severs the ties between them.
In my community this would mean complete sidewalks and multi-use trails, collectively sponsored preventive medicine, community and professional organic food production, housing of-by-for the people, and more direct democracy in the workplace as well as in new governmental access (tax designation, community plebiscites on crucial issues, citizen crime prevention and open-free education). I think that says it all, because organized people always seem ready to tackle the big frustrations like arms reduction and global warming.

good afternoon from camp luna linda --

30 yrs ago R.Nader wrote a book which inspired a lot of people --

the conference in DC 2007 brought together many who were inspired --

the person responsible for reducing the price of aids drugs in africa was there --

the person that filed the first claim against a major corporation on behalf of 11 burmese villagers was there --

the FDA watchdog -- watching the FDA since toxic shock syndrom was there (remember when tampons were killing women?) --

the whistlew blower protector currently protecting the paul woolfowitz whistleblower was there --

and dennis kucinich was there --

what resounated with me from D.K. was his use of the word "thoughform" --

our ideas and intentions are as important as our actions --

single-payor health care --

Stephanie Woolhandler MD was there representing PHYSICIANS FOR A NATIONAL HEALTHCARE PLAN --

if you have any questions go to -- agenda XII -- Displacing Corporations; Expanding the Commons --
Removing Corporations from Health Insurance Provision -- Stephanie Woolhandler M.D. --

thank-you for your consideration

"We have far more problems than we deserve, We have far more solutions than we apply" Ralph Nader

The devil is in the details.

Preventative medicine, if free to all, may be fiscally sound. Our government spending a million dollars on someone that recklessly, without a helmet, road a motorcycle & had an accident might be asking to much of our health care system.

So, there may be a level of health care that all citizens should receive, and there may be a level of health care that is to expensive for our health care system to provide for free.

Establishing a priority, such as children & mothers 1st, then wage earners 2nd, then...however much the country can afford.

Can it work? Sure! Just get some managers, instead of "ear-mark" politicians involved & we could get a realistic idea of the cost\effect relationships.

Leave it to Congress & the country will go broke & damage our health care system! Appoint the brains at MicroSoft, Hathaway, Apple, etc. to develop policies & procedures & national health care will work!

Billy Bob, Florida

Getting rid of the CEO'S of hospitals, the NON HEALTH CARE PROVIDING PERSONNEL and taking the HMO;s out of the loop would save nearly 50% of the health care bill in total.
The government would have area supervisors covering 5 to 10 hospital all staffed with support staff.
The Doctors and Nurses who actually provide the care would be paid more!
No more paper pusher collecting personal information to sell to insurance companys so all your other insurance vost go up too.
Pay the peuple who privode the care stop feeding the hangers on.

All government services should be on a sliding scale based on ability to pay eg. only those qualifying for SSI should get a FICA check and all who can should pay public school tuition. Likewise, Medicare/Medicaid should pay all medical bills with strict price controls and the citizen's deductable/copay should be assessed on their IRS tax filing based on family income.

I really don't understand why Americans are so worried about "socialized medicine". It isn't like a fully public health care system is the thin edge of the Commie wedge. We've had public health care in Canada for decades and it is very good for most things. The very richest Canadians often go to the US if they want a shorter wait time or boutique service, but in the case of one fo the richest women in Canada, Belinda Stronach, she had all her cancer treatment and most of the follow up here in Canada using the public system, going to the States only once (if I recall right) for a final esthetic procedure for the breast. If people who can afford to own their own doctors outright use our system for most if not all things, how bad can it be.

I always find it a little sad when I hear about people in the States not getting treatment or the right treatment due to money, or losing their house due to costs of illness. Just doesn't happen here, and thank God.

By the way, those of you on the left may find it amusing that our right wing politicians often tell us our system doesn't work or that we should have a more US-style system, which they tell us is better. SOme people here even believe it, I suppose they've never heard of being "uninsured".

    I saw this story a couple of weeks ago. Thoroughly impressed and happy to see it voiced.
    I participate in a ministry in St. Louis that is a community organization called Mission: St. Louis. It is connected to my church. On Tuesday we walked the street in search of touching base with the people of a neighborhood that MSTL is dedicated to serving. We did a mix of talking and listening and evangelism. Anyways, we started asking the question if people thought that they had proper access to healthcare. Some wouldn't even be sure of what we were asking them. The issue of going to an ER w/o health insurance didn't occur to some. Medicaid not covering all health expenses was a common issue. Neighborhood clinics that are nearly free only accept patients a total of 2 times a year for follow-up care. That in my opinion is insufficient. I, myself, do not have health insurance, and see others walking around without the knowledge of how dire their finances would be if they needed serious attention without a lot of money to provide. It's a necessity, and not something one should have to think about.
    I have had to do my research to make sure my health is taken care of when I need it, but I have to fight for it. Despite my funds or coverage, it is my right to have quality healthcare. I hope this organization of nurses is catalyst to changing the way our country takes care of its people. They're the right ones in the right place to do. I thank them, and thank you for covering the story.

You may have selected the "fundamental disagreements" link at a link at the top of this web page. If so, then please note that I submitted submitted the following input at the resulting web site ... and please see the note below about real choices.

"Create a National Health Care System"

Please improve the accuracy of your text by making the following changes.

CURRENT: "Create a National Health Care System"
NEW: "Create a National Health Insurance System"

CURRENT: It’s time to try ... a national, government- run health care system.
NEW: It’s time to try ... a non-profit national health insurance system

CURRENT: ... everyone would be entitled to coverage, ...
NEW: ... everyone would receive all medically-necessary care

CURRENT: ... the government would get the bill.
NEW: ... the National Health Insurance Program, a public agency, would get the bill

Please consider the following addition to that same area of the web page:

Real choice is the freedom to choose physicians, hospitals, careers and employers, not over-priced health insurance plans that are part of a very inefficient method of financing health care.

If I need to give explanations for the need for these changes or information about any of the details, please contact me.

Bob Haiducek
Bob the Health and Health Care Advocate

Sharon: Universal health care is not only "possible" but necessary for the economic health of the nation. You work in a vast "middlemen" industry that does not deliver healthcare, costs 28-30 cents out of every healthcare dollar (Compare that with Medicare), but actually profits directly from raising premiums, co-pays, and rationing delivery of all sorts of medical care, including preventative. In the event universal healthcare arrives, you and you co-workers could retrain for jobs in a real system that saved by actually delivering what everyone, young and old, needs. That will bring greater career satisfaction, and will mean you will really make a positive difference for your community and our nation. My own insurer has raised my premiums four times in just 22 months. The next increase will bring the total increases to over 100%. I pay a few thousand more annually beyond that. The only way my premiums will remain affordable is if 1) I die soon or 2) I win the lottery. That's not a system; it's a scam!

I am sitting here watching C-span in utter bewilderment. Massachusetts is accessing their complicated, expensive and prejudicial law which mandates people buy health insurance from private, for profit companies. The word "affordable" is bandied about, but no specifics are mentioned. Under some circumstances, the state will subsidise those who earn 300% less than poverty.A truly co nvoluted effort to try to prove something broken can work if you use enough red tape. How stupid. All we need is to expand Medicare to all. We, as citizens, are already paying for full Universal Coverage, no deductible or co-pay, we're just not getting it. Eight times the deaths of 9/11 are happening every year due to lack of medical care. The U.S. is 37th in ranking in health care,right with Slovenia and Cuba. As long as the private medical Insurance Industry is allowed to call the tune, nothing will change. It is not the Government's right to force citizens to buy an overpriced product. Single -payer is what we need. Ask someone from Canada, France, England, Italy, Australia, Japan or any other civilized nation

I am sitting here watching C-span in utter bewilderment. Massachusetts is accessing their complicated, expensive and prejudicial law which mandates people buy health insurance from private, for profit companies. The word "affordable" is bandied about, but no specifics are mentioned. Under some circumstances, the state will subsidise those who earn 300% less than poverty.A truly co nvoluted effort to try to prove something broken can work if you use enough red tape. How stupid. All we need is to expand Medicare to all. We, as citizens, are already paying for full Universal Coverage, no deductible or co-pay, we're just not getting it. Eight times the deaths of 9/11 are happening every year due to lack of medical care. The U.S. is 37th in ranking in health care,right with Slovenia and Cuba. As long as the private medical Insurance Industry is allowed to call the tune, nothing will change. It is not the Government's right to force citizens to buy an overpriced product. Single -payer is what we need. Ask someone from Canada, France, England, Italy, Australia, Japan or any other civilized nation

The comments here are excellent ... one of the best set of comments I've seen in 4 years of detailed research about the Health Care for All movement for non-profit single-payer national health insurance ("single-payer").

Paul, I look forward to receiving my copy of your video. You provided an excellent summary list about costs. I agree very much that single-payer implemented in the U.S. will provide an excellent foundation from which to best not only address the 25% excess in administrative costs (25-30% administration instead of under 5% that it should be), but also address other cost-reduction topics.

Yes, Paul, not only will there be plenty of jobs available for the displaced workers, but the huge savings we'll experience in health care costs gives plenty of financial support for people transitioning to whatever new job they get. U.S. House Resolution 676, the single-payer legislation, provides for transition support money. However, as you wrote, we "need to make enough noise" as I indicate below ...

Art: Thanks for sharing about Spain and the peace of mind there. I don't like the word "never" regarding the U.S. getting non-profit financing of health care. There is too much at stake here.. Therefore, so I will continue to spend full-time and overtime asking people to help get it. I recognize the following:

  • Politicians want our votes.

  • Politicians are very oriented to responding to constituents, their voters.

  • As long as voters communicate in very large numbers, the politicians will respond.

  • Citizens educating citizens can and will get the necessary education accomplished and single-payer system in place.

  • I asked my wife multiple times for a year about moving back to Canada, where we lived for 4.5 years. Then in December 2007 I asked about France. Looks like I'm stuck here.

  • Our health care premiums have gone up close to 600% in 6 years. We could be in the poor house if that happens again in the coming six years.

To All: Write! E-mail! Phone! As you wish! Just please do it!

I am American. I have lived in Spain 7 years. Accessible, affordable single payer Healthcare is a constitutional right here. The healthcare system works quite well here. Yes, it gives you peace of mind knowing you don´t have to worry about receiving appropriate healthcare for you and your family. Unfortunately, it will never succeed in the U.S. since the politicians are bought and sold by the pharmeceutical and insurance companies. Ralph Nader is the only candidate who really cares about realistically making the current dismal situation in the U.S. better.

I am an emergency physician with almost three decades of experiencing the multiple absurdities and perverse incentives of our health care system. The underlying problem is COST. Access is just a symptom. Why does it cost so much?
1) Administrative waste, in particular the utilization of multiple insurance companies that are more motivated by profits than health. (25%)
2) Fear of malpractice among practicing physicians from who we demand perfection. (5%).
3) Developing technologies that physicians must use in order to avoid liability claims.
4) Chaos in medical records that prevent an easy flow of information among providers (5%).
5) The mass marketing of prescription drugs that are no more effective than older medications with proven safety records.
6) Futile treatment of patients towards the end of life that actually prolong suffering.
7) A reimbursement system that pays specialist 2-3 TIMES what primary care doctors get paid, resulting in a growing scarcity of primary care providers.

Moving towards a single payer system is not ONLY about getting rid of the 25% waste inherent in our existing system of multiple third party payers. It also puts somebody in charge so we can move towards NATIONAL malpractice reform, a universal electronic medical record, the establishment of a "medical home" for all patients, legislating changes in the laws pertaining to advertising drugs, and educating the public about end of life care.

What are we going to do with all those people who lose their jobs? We can reemploy them for the same amount of money within the health care system, assisting primary care providers with patient education, follow up, home visits and even home care. Avoiding even a handful of admissions to hospitals by better follow-up will actually save us money.

We could even offer free medical and nurse practitioner education to those who are willing to accept 4-5 years of public service and some sort of salary cap of "only" $300,000... or some other arbitray amount that is more than enough to live the good life (but much less than many of the specialists are now making).

We can do all of this, but this is a political problem. Lobbyists have convinced our lawmakers that embracing anything that resembles a single payer system is political suicide. We need to make enough noise to convince them that, though we are worried the government will botch it, we can not continue to have a health care system that is more about fear and money than health.

I have produced a video about this that has been accepted to the Boston International Film Festival. More information and a trailer at

For-profit nursing home facts and a story are what I thought of when I saw your comments, Purple Girl. I learned that, on average, the care is better at the public ones over private. Sadly, the story fits with the facts. I learned that at least one for-profit facility deliberately takes certain actions or not, depending on the person. For example, they might not secure a person properly in their bed so that they will fall out and go to the hospital or die ... to make room for another patient who pays more.

What you wrote and what I wrote is happening every moment of every day. This is a very heavy weight on my mind, and I will continue to work on getting citizens to take the actions that are required to get what we need: non-profit single-payer national health insurance. See

Having worked in Long term Care I have seen the disparity in services related to payment Status. medicare & private Pay patients are actively sought after, however medicaid are often intentionally avoided. HMO's who have conned elderly out of their medicare benefits work as 'gatekeepers' from acquiring necessary services- even thoe which would result in a higher level of independence. Profit margins play a role at every level- patient acceptance, care ,rehab and discharge potential.The facilities milk the systems while the private insurance limits covered services.A level field would negate such abuses from both sides of the care industry.Every Patient would be 'creeated equal' all services would be avilable to benefit the patients True return to independence potential.
This Profitteering mentality by Service providers and insurance payors is one o fth emain reasons I left the industry- I was disgusted!

Peace of mind comes with Health Care for All with non-profit single-payer national health insurance.

ALL the other industrialized countries have Health Care for All with non-profit financing of health care, bringing peace of mind regarding that topic.

Based on my life’s experiences and my knowledge from detailed study, I have a very deep appreciation for what “peace of mind” means regarding health care. Most residents in every other industrialized country in the world know what I am writing about when I write "peace of mind". Those countries have health care is a human right; it needs to be here also via single-payer.

Here's where I got my appreciation:

  • travels in other countries

  • business trips in other countries

    medical emergencies in other countries
  • medical emergency (mine) in southern Germany
  • medical emergency (my 3 year old son) in northern Germany
  • medical emergency of my wife's cousin in England
  • medical emergencies of additional American citizens in Israel, Canada, etc.
  • ... and more, but I must stop now and save space
    discussions about this subject with people from other countries
  • Canadian friends who I contacted since we moved back to the States
  • American citizen friend who has lived in Germany for decades
  • An example of my personal contacts: November 2007 at the International Youth Hostel in Chicago: one-on-one contacts with people from Hungary, Australia, England (2), Singapore, and Canada. EVERY one of these people are amazed (just like Ian Macgregor) that the U.S. has not established Health Care for All with non-profit national financing of health care!
  • Although I wasn't there at the table, I related to what that table-full of American citizens said to Michael Moore very roughly half-way (as I recall) into the movie SiCKO; during those 2 segments of the movie those Americans expressed peace of mind regarding health care.
  • my detailed studies of this for the last four years with many tears shed; this is truly an insane crime and insult that we citizens are inflicting on ourselves

Inefficient Actions or Efficient Actions. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, are consuming their time on rallies and protests and "telling medical horror stories" and holding vigils and taking a variety of other actions. Those actions are good, but not the most efficient way to make progress. In fact, we have made ZERO progress for at least six months, as seen by the Graphs of Progress at the Single-Payer Support Monitor.

Members of the U.S. Congress have been hearing horror stories for years and have been given many pages of documented horror stories, and they have not moved. If we citizens do not have our #1 focus on the kind of communication actions suggested at, then the members of the U.S. Congress will not respond. It's as simple as that.

If you have time and priority, rally at health insurance companies and other less efficient actions. But first and always do what will get single-payer: make it perfectly clear to our U.S. Representatives that we want non-profit single-payer national health insurance in the U.S. How? Fulfill the Obama Requirement and Promise. Do the suggestions at the Notes and Votes campaign; select "Bob the Health and Health Care Advocate", below.

Let's do it!

As an American who lived in Canada for 4.5 years with a young family, I dream of proclaiming Ian Macgregor's words all over this land of ours. I very sincerely hope that nobody reacts negatively at this forum to what Ian wrote. Every word of it is outstanding.

Make Democracy Work When in the world are we going to make our democracy work and write/call/e-mail our U.S. Representative (Congressperson) and get this critical task done? If you read all of my posts at this forum (or go to the Education part of the 99oh9 web site), you can see videos of 5 other countries who have non-profit financing of health care ... and you can learn how to get what Canada has ... non-profit single-payer national health insurance. It will be administered by a public agency that will be insulated from the day-to-day influences of politicians at the federal and state levels. The agency will use the United States existing ten Medicare regions that are already in place! We will reduce BOTH private bureaucracy and government bureaucracy! There are so many weak excuses about this not being feasible in the U.S. that the American public are accepting and believing "hook, line and sinker" that it makes me sick.

Take Action Please, fellow citizens, read Ian's words over and over and take action! We need to do this! I and a few others ... with reviews and feedback given by health policy experts ... have invested a few thousand hours at the factual, informative, instructional web site to help you make this happen for you and your family. What in the heck did the New York Times poll of last year mean when 95% of Americans responded that they cared about those who have NO health insurance? I know from my work experiences, including doing a year of hospital patient registration (a position that will largely not be needed) that most people are good people. But, as Ian appropriately indicated, we are NOT taking action!



Then what? Peace of mind!


Then what? LOSE BIG TIME. --- Except for Ralph Nader, EVERY U.S. Presidential candidate proposal (McCain, Clinton, Obama) ... and all the other proposals (Hacker plan, Wyden plan, etc.) will make this situation worse. I, for one, don't want it to get worse. Anyone going to join me?

    What is the result?
  • More bankruptcies, home foreclosures, divorces
  • Increasing number of unnecessary deaths, which are already huge
  • Increasing number of spaghetti dinner fund-raisers conducted which don't make a dent in medical bills
  • ... I am running out of space, so just imagine the longer list ... or use the Education section of the 99oh9 web site and you will see more about the positive impacts on what single-payer will provide and what negatives it will eliminate

Take care of yourself, Bob

As a Canadian, who's benefitted from universal healthcare most of his life, I'm amazed that the self-proclaimed "greatest country on earth" can't deliver something so fundamental as basic healthcare. Personally, I have never met a single Canadian who would replace our system, whatever its shortcomings, with yours -- I'm sure they exist but I've never met them.
Not that our history (or the history of any other country other than your own) is ever important enough or relevant enough for any of you to deign to examine but, if you examined the arguments put forward way, way back in the 30's and 40's against implementing our system you'd probably be struck by how many of those same arguments are being employed in your own discussions.
Save yourself a lot of time and money. On the whole, our system works. To the extent that it doesn't is mainly due to two things: 1. the fact that Canada sits next to the largest for-profit healthcare system in the world which causes a brain-drain (the rich can pay) AND 2. some people in power in our country over the years have been philosophically opposed to any and all government programs so they've actively worked to undermine the system in really sneaky ways in order to try to convince us that government programs don't work when, administered properly, they can and do. Also, understand that "free market" arguments are spurious due to the fact that very few commodities are actually traded in a free market environment. Far from it. Wealth is far too concentrated for that. Most prices are set using oligopolistic models and that includes healthcare.
If you want to get it done, might I suggest you simply stop trying to reinvent the wheel, use our system as a template, implement if and tweak it using best practices methodology after examining other universal systems. Voila! Instant “best healthcare system in the world”. You could even begin to harmonize it with other systems to make it more affordable and more universal.
Thinking it is not possible is just a sign that your nation, as a whole, is too soft and weak to meet its challenges anymore.

“Well, I'm up in T.O.
keepin' jive alive,
And out on the corner
it's half past five.
But the subways are empty
And so are the cafes.

Except for the Farmer's Market
And I still can hear him say:
You're all just pissin'
in the wind
You don't know it but you are.

And there ain't nothin'
like a friend
Who can tell you
you're just pissin'
in the wind.”

Neil Young from “Ambulance Blues”

Thanks for the comments. My statement about disparity in skills advancement is based on my own experience. I wanted to obtain certification in critical care and was told a BSN degree was necessary to do so.
I agree that for advance practice nurses, a degree is absolutely essential.I have spoken with some Diploma nurses who have gone back for their BSN degrees (just as a formality for job security)and they admitted that it really didn't improve their bedside care, but was mostly academic and administrative in nature.

I absolutely agree that there have been improvements in technology in medicine by leaps and bounds, however, without an adequately staffed hospital, quality in care will gravely suffer and will drastically affect outcomes.

As for the nursing shortage, again, I disagree. Bedside nursing has become more and more stressful. Much more is expected of nurses with less staff and resources.
I have known of numerous nurses who have left in order to seek out a different profession. The most commonly sighted reason I have found was unsafe working conditions.

As for men in nursing, I have found precious few who remain in poorly staffed areas. Most gravitate to critical care where the nurse/patient ratio is better, or to administrative positions.

The change to single-payer can be best achieved and managed through making contacts to the U.S. Congress and getting education.

Wow ... Thanks for your excellent post, MLM.

As you wrote ...
Health Care is a Human Right.

I don't know if you know this background about the U.S. official attitude (apparently across all U.S. administrations and perhaps the U.S. Congress) ...

The United Nations Commission on Human Rights established a resolution about health care for all that was renewed multiple times.

    That resolution includes:
  • 1) the need to achieve the full realization of the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health
  • 2) assistance to developing countries on this topic
  • 3) the need to recognize the particular needs of persons with disabilities related to mental disorders,
  • 4) the need to place a gender perspective at the center of all policies and programs affecting women's health.

Over 50 nations (out of 53) consistently voted FOR the resolution.

One nation voted AGAINST the resolution multiple times: the United States. I have the impression from my research on this that we never voted for it.

This is just one specific action as a result of what I call the "Disease in the Belt-Way"

As you wrote ...The time to change this is now.


We constituents of U.S. Representatives need to write, call and/or e-mail our U.S. Representatives; they have a strong strong focus on helping and responding to constituents (the voters!).

Let's make single-payer a reality! Go to Notes and Votes and take action. This campaign includes not only writing notes, but also making calls ... and alternatively sending e-mails instead of notes.

In parallel with making contacts, we can make sure we are educated.

Bob the Health and Health Care Advocate
(note: the United Nations Human Rights Council replaced the Commission on Human Rights, and the U.S. decided to not sit on that council.)

We the people need to claim health care as OUR right.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Our country was founded on the principal that all human beings are of equal value. Nothing is more important to life liberty and the ability to pursue happiness than health.

Now that’s a “Right to Life” issue that we can all get behind.

Let’s stop this dated “so last century” socialism thinking. Those are left over fears of the Cold War … IT ENDED … get over it.

What is needed is a Single Rick Pool system that includes everyone. WE must take the profiteering OUT of the picture.

Insurance companies have this paradigm, get as many people who have no need of insurance to pay thousands of dollars for nothing. Then if they do need it make is so difficult that they will just give up with out a fight.

Several years ago sat in on a panel discussion with high-level insurance and drug company executives. They thought they were talking to an elite group Hi Tech professionals. My cobra was expiring at the time. The arrogance they displayed is something I will never forget. “take the profit motive out of it and all research will end... what we really have to come to terms with in this country is limiting care.” Their view was, don’t waist expensive procedures on those that are not worthy (translate that as can't afford it.) The Insurance Industry is in business to deny care, NOT provide care.

The time to change this is now. Health Care is a Human Right.

This bottom-line is scary.

"Senators McCain, Clinton, Obama, Wyden and Bennett all have proposals that would significantly expand the role of ... private insurers in financing health care for the nation. The momentum behind these proposals continues to build. Why would we ever give this industry more control over our health care financing when we can replace it with our own public insurance program that would (be the best solution)? Spending (most of our) health dollars on health care seems like the right thing to do." [I added the bolding and the words in parentheses.]
Source: See "Best Daily Update" here:

PAY ATTENTION PLEASE! See those bolded words again (significantly expand ...) We must act! As I've written in a previous post, below, I like to focus on the positive. However, we must be aware of the negative, because things are getting worse and worse without citizen actions. What does worse and worse mean? ... go to my Single-Payer Education section and go to Benefits, then "What Single-Payer Eliminates" ... Examples: bankruptcies, unnecessary deaths, emotional and financial stress (which often leads to divorce), competitive disadvantages of businesses.

This is crazy! We must take responsibility here! Citizens must take action. The best is to have a specific plan that includes of writing personally-compose notes and making phone calls to our U.S. Representatives.

(To the staff of Bill Moyers Journal: pending any need to respond to anyone, I think that I am feeling done with this set of posts, as I pray fervently every day to a response to my efforts by having a massive number of notes and calls occur to move the U.S. Congress.)

Need an Accurate Statement on Administrative Costs.

From the program's video: "The nurses base their argument on a surprising fact: From every dollar that insured Americans spend on health care, insurance companies keep thirty cents, none of which goes to actual health care. Instead, it pays for executive salaries, shareholder dividends, advertising and marketing, and other "overhead"."

That statement is not correct. That figure of thirty cents on the dollar probably came from a study with a calculated estimated of 31% by Woolhandler, Campbell and Himmelstein. That 31% is not all attributed directly to the health insurance companies' operations. It includes all health system administration that must deal with the for-profit health insurance companies, such as large billing staffs in physicians' offices and hospitals.

There is a tendency by some individuals and organizations to work to make the health insurance companies be the "bad guys." The above inaccurate statement seems to be an example of putting all the blame on the insurance companies.

We, the citizens/voters in our society, should be blaming ourselves. We need to take responsibility. We need to get ourselves educated and educate others about the very positive aspects of going to what every other industrialized country has: non-profit financing of Health Care for All.

Don't get me wrong here >> we do need to be braced well for the continued use of our health care premiums being spent on media campaigns that will be used to control our minds on this issue as the for-profit health insurance companies largely reach the end of their exisitence.

But, if we don't take action now to GET non-profit single-payer national health insurance, then how can we expect to either GET it or KEEP it?

By the way ... part of the education of ourselves and others is to feel comfortable that preparations are made for the employees who are in current administrative positions.

By the way, H.R. 676, the proposed single-payer legislation in the U.S. House, proposes specific financial support of unemployment coverage for those who will need to make a transition to a new job.

Semaj, we can get non-profit single-payer national health insurance.

Referring to

    On the one hand ...
  • the Current Chart and the Graphs of Progress show little support from Congress.

    See: Single-Payer Support Monitor (Monitor Political Support).

    But ...
  • ... we've answered the polls and the results are clearly documented in the Chart of American's support, ... and we have organizations that are endorsers/supporters that represent over 25 million citizens, ... and we submitted our petitions and told our stories

    See: Single-Payer Support Monitor (Monitor Popular Support)

  • And ... we individually can take take action and be examples for millions of citizens to take action in a massive way, like Barack Obama suggested in his Requirement and Promise (See the note to James Elder below on May 12 at 4:18 pm).

So please help make single-payer a reality!

Tell MANY others to please do the same!

Oops ... I provided more detail with a bulleted format, but I see now that part of that was also already provided by the Journal's staff about preventable deaaths.

This commentary is all very sad to see - there is no question of the justice and morality of a single-payer system. There is no way in a million years that the corporate candidates from the Democratic and Republican parties are going to get us there. There is no ethical choice but to try with every ounce of our beings to break down the corporate stranglehold over our government by voting AGAINST corporate candidates. Ralph Nader had been a proponent of single-payer health care and a driving force behind various movements towards that goal, especially in California. I am saddened that Mr. Moyers, who was urged by Ralph Nader to run for president in this election, and praised for his ethics, honesty and experience, has somehow chosen to ignore the fact that Nader is running for president. If you want a dose of reality, go to or to and start reading. Then get out on the street and support the cause in the only way that ever changes anything - organizing people.


From the program: "The U.S. has more preventable deaths than any other industrialized nation. In fact, more than 20,000 Americans die needlessly every year ... because they don't have health insurance."

The number of 22,000 per year (the actual number related to not having health insurance) is a relatively low number compared to the number that relates to preventable deaths.

Data related to preventable deaths was studied for the U.S. and 18 other countries:

    based on 1997-1998 data, the U.S. was 15th
    based on 2002-2003 data, the U.S. was 19th.

In other words, the U.S. poor health outcomes have been getting worse!

What if U.S. citizens all had access to health care like all the other industrialized countries? Having people actually get to the doctor would be a major contribution to the U.S. health care performance.

    If the U.S. performance was only the average of the 18 other countries, then 75,000 lives under age 75 would potentially be saved ... that's an average of 205 every day of the year! **
    If the U.S. performance that was as good as the top 3 (France, Japan and Australia), then 101,000 lives under age 75 would potentially be saved ... that's an average of 277 every day of the year! **

** as calculated by the researchers who did the most recent study

For more details with sources see

No wonder the American Cancer Society is decided to NOT advertise on steps that U.S. citizens can take to prevent cancer! They decided that the biggest step to take is to have the people in the U.S. get access to health care! Their entire advertising budget is currently focused on health care access!

I don't want to pay for Dick Cheney's healthcare anymore. Let the ba****d die next time!

To James Elder: Sorry, but there is no basis on which to think Barack Obama is the man to get this out of committee and going forward, even though he supported single-payer five years ago. However ...

There is ONE exception to this. On April 3, 2007 Barack Obama communicated exactly what voters MUST do, and he PROMISED that it will work!

See the Obama Requirement and Promise here ...

Universal health care is certainly possible. It has been done in many countries to a surprising degree of competency. I think most Americans need to get out their own back yard to take a hard look at how health care is implemented in countries such as Canada, England, France, Germany, Japan, and Taiwan. The biggest problem as stated several times by the nurses in this video is, profit driven insurance companies should have no business in providing health care.

Barb, I have been practicing for 30+ years in Critical Care (Neonatal, Trauma, Thoracic) as well as ER and have seen improvement by leaps and bounds. I am unaware of any Nurse that has been denied equal opportunity ( Other than some disability issues ). Some of the best nurses I know have been AD Nurses but became BSN's to become advanced practitioners. There is good reason Nurses disagree and that is because the see things differently. Canadian Nurses flocked to our University Hospital. A big cause of the Nursing shortage is the fact it is woman dominated profession and most women still espire to raise a family. Hence they leave the profession unless their husband cannot provide Health Insurance.
The problem with our system is reimbursement along with it being heavy on the administrative side. We BEDSIDE Nurses.

In my humble opinion,Socialised Medicine may have it's faults but none so grave as For Profit Medicine.

Thanks for this timely subject matter. I've been in the nursing profession for 32 years and have seen the gradual deterioration of the American health care system to what it is today. Back in the 70's, I was very idealistic in the potential of my profession. As our national organizations began to direct their foci toward yielding to the inevitable consequences of for-profit medicine, that idealism waned.

What transpired was a fractionalization of nurses, rather than unification. Obtaining a degree became the sacred cow that would save us and our patients. Unfortunately, this goal has not improved quality of care. Having a mandatory, safe nurse/patient ratio is an excellent first step, because it simply has not happened on a voluntary basis. The other thing, is equal opportunity for improving our skills and knowledge, such as allowing certification in specific fields for all nurses, not just those with BSN degrees.
We need to unify and support one another, not succumb to rampant individualization

I certainly believe that universal health care is feasible. However, I would like to point out some inaccuracies in this story. It was stated that “Cadillac healthcare” is for “all government employees — members of Congress, workers at the Justice Department, and Interior, and the EPA — a total of more that two million people on the federal payroll.” However, this is not true. My mother was a US Senate employee for over 25 years and still has the same coverage now that she is retired. I am fortunate enough to work for a company who values providing it’s workers with excellent health insurance coverage, and the coverage I have is actually much better than the coverage my mother has. For example, the employees where I work have no deductable, whereas my mother currently has a $300.00 deductable. Another example in the differences between my mother’s health insurance and mine is that she recently had a PET scan which she must pay $800.00 for ($300.00 is her deductable). I would pay nothing for the same procedure.

A second inaccuracy was stating that someone with Dick Cheney’s condition “would be uninsurable for having a preexisting condition.” Where I live in Ohio you cannot be denied coverage on a group health plan for having a preexisting condition. Instead what they can do is not cover anything that has to do with the preexisting condition for one year, but only if you have had a lapse in coverage. Being uninsurable varies from state to state.

FYI: US Senators do not pay the same amount for their health insurance as the average US Senate employee – senators pay much less.

Regardless of these inaccuracies, government workers do have decent health care coverage. And like CNA, I believe all Americans should have health care coverage. If a small company like mine, who has a very minimal profit, if any, can afford the coverage we offer our workers than so can other companies, as well as the US government.

A Nurse told me she was laughed at when applying for unemployment. Nurses get virtually everything they want. This is because of the SEVERE shortage of them. The need for unionization is a puzzle. A competent caring nurse can write her or his own ticket. The Nurse Patient Ratio issue has a big downside in that this leads to patients being turned away. I worked in a Hospital that had to accept these patients that where refused admission to another hospital. Nurse Patient Ratios should be low but laws should not be passed to say a nurse can only care for a few patients at a time. It is better than taking people just out of High School to fill the gaps and it is counter productive to patient advocacy. Patient Advocacy is often merely a catch phrase to argue these positions. Your Doctor remains your greatest Advocate.
In Closing, Universal Health Care is kind of like our energy crisis. It will take decades to achieve and in steps. The Hillary plan is a non starter and I also wonder if the Nursing groups would except it if it meant a decrease in coverage for them, which it surely would. Some of the profit motive does need to be taken out and stronger regulation of Health Insurance Companies is need. Hospitals are expected to eat the cost of the uninsured and noncitizens (Medicaid), the insurance industry should share this burden, as the tax payer already does.

Ken's post (May 11 @ 1:15am in the morning) drew my attention.
May I remind you Ken that "Soylent Green is people" in case you hadn't heard and that you may soon be eating Edgar G. Robinson, "See!" You will also be 60 one day, and trying to "defend your life." Here comes the compactor truck: Jump in!
You see Ken, what I can't understand is how you could show such insight into classism in your third paragraph after succumbing to ageism in the second.
Now let me defend my life a little:
1.I sacrificed my career during the Viet Nam era in hopes of restoring democracy and forestalling empire.
2. I further lessened my prospects in the environmental movement during the late 70s and 80s.
3.I resisted corporate globalism to the present and now work on a stipend from a not for profit travelling the country and addressing numbskulls like you.
4.I have no healthcare, no house, no car, no retirement except SS, and no investments beyond friendships, campaigns, my time and energy. I usually sleep on a couch or recliner in strangers homes and eat from their kitchens.
I am a Baby Boomer, Ken. In fact , most baby boomers are poor and in debt over their heads because this country has run down a steep hill as far as working people's standard of living since Reagan began fullblown federal faschism, where us underdogs are left to fight over the same dry bones.

If nurses still care enough to advocate for non-corporate universal healthcare I believe it is possible without undue tax burdens. An improvement in the general state of health would actually be a saving, and go far in improving the general life quality.
Ken, I can imagine you shuffling your bills, knowing the tax rebate and your refund won't catch you up. Listen to this though:
We can change the law to enable every taxpayer to designate the money they pay as income tax. If you think defense and intelligence are important, put it all toward those things. If you want to give it all for food stamps or medical research you can do that too. We call it "Income Tax Designation." Don't surrender hope to hate, Ken, work for structural change. The enemy of working people is corporate hyper-Capitalism, here as well as China or Mexico. The United States can be a leader in needed reform if people like Ken will only focus their efforts and resist. Otherwise you'll soon be gnawing on some of that tough old Charleton Heston taffy (contaminated with Alzheimer's). Best wishes to Ken and his family from

I only wish our mainstream media would address these issues in a thoughtful way. Ben (of Ben and Jerry) has a very graphic description of where our tax dollars go. We need a military, but not the Roman model via Cheney/BushCo, this will ultimately bankrupt the country and play directly into BinLaden's plan. None of the current candidates have an answer to this issue and never will if they go to the same trough as the health care industry does. If our elected representatives cannot have a vision of this country that reflects the best of our ideals, then get rid of them and start over with people who have the best interests of all citizens in mind.

Universal health care is simply the natural caring for oneself, as universal is naturally One. The rest of nature exits without a health care plan, why don't we? Self health is really the best plan for one or all.


Missing from this debate is the effect UH will have on our national debt. Can it be accomplished in our current state of financial affairs (high debt, collapsing dollar)? Or are we already beyond such luxuries? Yes, I know, the war is a financial distraction, but fixing that now doesnt erase the charges already on the credit card.

Baby Boomers? Sorry, but they are on their own and must fend for themselves. Boomers by and of themselves are no any reason to move to UH. Why? Greed. The current boomer retirement generation is the first generation in American history to maintain their lifestyles on someone else's credit card. They are the first generation in history to dump the largest load of debt that they cultivated while attempting to maintain their lifestyles onto their successor generation. They are the first generation that will leave their kids in a worse financial state than they themselves lived in. Their kids are facing a declining standard of living (by competing with China on price) in a sell-out that creates the corporate wealth that funds the boomer's 20% annual growth in their stock portfolio. In their time, buying a house was a $20,000 to $40,000 expenditure on property that ultimately has increased in value 5-fold, whereas their kids cant achieve a house without a $200,000 to $400,000 mortgage, and thats IF the value of the property hasnt declined already. They tell us they deserve all these financial windfalls because "they fought for this country". Im sorry, but the boomers entering retirement right now belong to the greediest, most self-absorbed generation in the history of this country. We are not going to be able to deliver to them what is already promised via the various social programs we have now, nor should it. They already HAD their party.

The other thing that disturbed me about the piece was the "black and white" comparison of benefits between private sector and government employment. Quite shocking. It worries me that benefits of government employment is already "sweeter" than benefits from private sector employment. While the cause of the widening gulf between the two is more from a decline on the private sector side as companies became more multi-national and began exerting unprecedented leverage against their employees, there is a real risk associated with making government employment more attractive in a capitalist system. The boondoggle of the Dept of Homeland Security exemplifies the danger that comes from creating government jobs with better benefits that arent truly necessary. Pretty soon, there wont be enough private sector jobs to pay for all those government jobs. And maybe Im wrong here, but I do see nursing as almost a "government job". Alot of the money in the healthcare system comes from a government source, be it direct from Medicare, or indirect, such as those companies whose ads are all over the TV that are selling the mobility scooters (one of countless private sector companies in the "healthcare system" that is "privatizing" public Medicare dollars), or is the result of brazen theft such as the pharmaceutical industry's looting of the treasury via the prescription drug bill. Far too many of these "private sector paychecks" in healthcare trace back to government sources. Simply because the current system is rigged to deliver dispropotionally to the CEO and investor class and is in need of change doesnt mean we need to overreact.

Universal Health Care is one of the most important issues of our generation. Your piece on the CNA/NOCC and their fight across the nation to organize nurses and fight for a single payer health care system was excellent.
As a member of CNA/NOCC, I know,firt hand, the work they do in supporting nurses and fighting for nurses rights. It is an unfortunate fact that nurses need representation. I would really like to say I am a professional and don't want to belong to a union. That would be great if I were treated that way by nursing/hospital administration and were given respect as a human being,and a professional. Let me tell you, it doesn't happen. I have worked across the country for 32 years,in various roles, and it has never changed. If left to the hospital administrations, nurses would be used,abused, and thrown out when they were not of any use any more. Sounds harsh but is true.
Most nurses are called to the profession. There is a sincere desire to help heal the sick. Nursing isn't a profession one chooses for money or prestige. Only recently have salaries started to be close to what is deserved.
The important issue here,though, is patient care. We all want to provide quality patient care. Nurses are patient advocates. You showed CNA/NOCC fighting,and winning, against Gov. Schwarzenneger for safe patient ratios. This is to limit the number of patients a nurse can safely care for at a time. He was against the bill. With the help of CNA we won.It is always about quality patient care. A nurse shouldn't be faced with having to take care of 12 or 14 sick people and have to decide which call bell to answer or which patient to ignore in order to help another. Do you want your loved one cared for by a nurse working a double shift and having 10 other patients? It is about patient safety and quality care.
It is the moral responsibility of our nation to provide health care for all. As the wealthiest country in the world we must take care of each other.
There is a nursing shortage and it is about to get worse when the baby boomers retire. We need to take care of the sick in America and have professional nurses to provide the care.
CNA/NOCC is doing a great job in organizing nurses around the country to protect patient rights, provide protection for the nurses so they can give quality care. I see this happening and am a proud member of the organization.
Thank you for sharing their work with the country.

There’s another side of Rose Ann DeMoro and CNA that your program didn’t fully reveal.

Ms. DeMoro refers to what is going on with the health insurance industry as: “…a war on our soil against the American people.” Another battle is being fought by CNA. This time it's over union representation and registered nurses–a war declared by the California Nurses Association on the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). (See: It's a shame that the unfortunate victims are registered nurses, 85% of whom do not have the benefit of a union voice.

In recent years, CNA has been attempting to undermine any and all efforts of SEIU to unite nurses. This past March, CNA sabotaged the union election for 8,300 nurses and hospital workers in Ohio who had worked three years for the chance to have a free and fair vote. (See: Since that time, CNA has been mailing decertification cards to union nurses across the country. Just this week, despite their false promises, CNA failed to lure nurses in Las Vegas away from SEIU. Unfortunately, the results of the representation election remain in balance at the same time nurses and their co-workers are negotiating a new contract to raise quality care standards.

It’s time to quit fighting. SEIU President Andy Stern has repeatedly extended an offer to sign a mutual no-raid agreement with CNA, at any time or place--but Rose Ann DeMoro has yet to take him up on the offer.

Instead, she’d rather hurt already-unionized nurses for her own gain.

Why aren't the doctors out there with them? Why did the doctors allow the insurance corporation to assume the practice of medicine? Why did the doctors allow themselves to become enslaved to the insurance corporation?
I commend the nurses for challenging these giants who certainly do not represent our humanity. But do not understand why the doctors do not show the same concern for the welfare of another person.

The often repeated number of 47 million uninsured Americans is more like the permanent uninsured. Double it to get tha number of uninsured at any given time. Then add some number of "under insured" to scale the problem further. What one counts and how one counts the "under insured" produces too many numbers for today's Sesame Street journalism. But all one need do is reflect on the tradeoffs one is making (or one's friends) to get an idea of the scale. Insurance was supposed to spread risk not impose it.

CNA is a powerful force, hospitals can not run without Nurses. The problem is that there are not enough Nurses. Horrible Nurses are treated the same as good ones and excellent Nurses must cover for them. Of the ones we have, I know many excellent Nurses that I would trust with my life. I also know ones I would not let care for my dog. Also, the majority of Nurses I know work for health care benefits for their family. Universal Health Care will eliminate their desire to continue Nursing. A large number of Nurses I worked with (and they where good) left Canada because of Socialized Medicine. We, also, would need to change national priorities countries with socialized systems are not patrolling the world by Land, Sea, and Air.
My Danish cousin is a doctor and cannot afford a house. Socialized Medicine is rationing and people in these countries are often simply told you are going to die. They do not do much in the way of "elective surgery" Much of Americas unhealthiness is from personal choices. Obesity is a big one (face it a lot of Obesity is avoidable)
Drug companies fail to provide basic needs. Much erectile dysfunction is from heart disease and Viagra has been a boom for Cardiologist. They are running uncontrolled experiments on the American population. They create drugs with many side effects then create drugs to reduce side effects. Pain killers then GI drugs to mask side effects is an example. A major difference in most populations is that they take a less prescription drugs. Like the rest of the industrialized world
Less control by the Insurance Industry is needed and Doctors orders need to be more respected. The end of discrimination toward people with preexisting conditions needs to end, also.
A big first step would be not be giving everyone the health care that congress has, but rather give congress the health care the general population has. Things would change fast then our leaders would quickly get an education on the topic. You know have a policy that does not cover your illness then it becomes a preexisting condition so you can't change coverage.

There are chapters of physcians for a national health program , and healthcare-now . in florida . Write your representatives state and national , find out their position on HR676 , and let them know your watching . Thank You

The bill in congress right now HR676 , provides training for employee's of the health insurers . With all the baby boomers now starting to retire , every job in health care and related business's will have a large demand for help . It's a win win deal for all americans . I also think Barack Obama is the man to get this out of committee ,and going forward . Support HR 676 !

Great program. Is there a way to contribute to the CNA's efforts? is there a similar movement in Florida? if not, can one get started? is there a Friends of the CNA organization?
I applaud these folks who not only do a wonderful service to the American public in their everyday jobs, but now they are taking on an issue that too many politicians are afraid to address...and they have it right when they say the Insurance Companies need out of the health care business. I am beginning to believe that if we could control the Oil, Drug, and Insurance companies in this country, we could make it better for all Americans.

It's economically feasible, but not politically feasible, as long as people who happily drive on socialized roads recoil in horror from the thought of socialized medicine.

Health care is going to come only if we have a President who will stand up for workers. Unions and working people should know Obama is for them. The Teamsters union endorses Obama. Here is what Jimmy Hoffa, the head of the Teamster’s union says: “Senator Obama understands the challenges working people face every day,” Mr. Hoffa said. “He is the candidate in the best position to lead our movement to restore the American dream for working people in this country.” The American Federation of Government employees union just announced they are also for Obama. Many other unions are for Obama too, like the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters, UNITE HERE, Transport Workers Union, UFCW, SEIU, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, and Utility Workers.

All these unions know American workers need more than a band aid like a summer tax “holiday”. Hillary Clinton and John McCain's "tax relief" for summer gas taxes are nothing more than another gimmick. They do not even provide enough relief in the short term. They will save the average American about $50 bucks all Summer, or a lot less than a quarter of the $400 tax rebate we are getting from Bush, who has been a disaster for American workers. And economists don’t like the Clinton/McCain the gas tax break. They say it may cause more people to buy gas, raising the price to offset the tax break so the whole stunt doesn’t even work.

The whole half-backed gas tax "relief" thing is just pandering for our votes. I give Obama credit for not going along with this typical Washington baloney. He knows we need real energy reform to reduce our reliance on foreign oil and ease demand so prices will drop. Playing around with short-term tax “holidays” to win votes shows what Hillary and McCain are about.

Let me address another myth that Senator Obama is a scary liberal. In fact, on average Obama is one of the more conservative Democrats in the Senate. Obama is rated more conservative than Hillary Clinton, and Obama is less liberal than McCain is conservative (only 9 points away from a perfect score versus Obama being 20 points away).

And most importantly Obama is the only one who won’t totally sell us out. Obama doesn’t take lobbyists money in his campaign. Hillary and McCain do. Obama is the one who will stand up to lobbyists and corporate interests to finally bring some change to Washington.

Obama is not perfect, but he’s all right. We’ve had two decades of Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton and Washington politics are stale and old. It’s time for a change. This is the argument Clinton made, by the way, when he got elected President in 1992. Clinton was right in 1992. Obama is right now. By the way, Bill Clinton was younger when he was elected President in 1992 than Obama is now.

Two prominent politicians from West Virginia also endorse Obama. Sen. Jay Rockefeller and Rep. Nick Rahall endorse Barack Obama. Rahall said "I view my role as a superdelegate as one that takes the long-range view of what is in the best interest of our party and our country.”
Rockefeller said "I spent a lot of time thinking about this election, and ultimately concluded we needed a president like Barack Obama who is authentic, smart and tough and can unite this country to put working families first."

No offense, but what a ridiculous question. Of course it is possible because it has been implemented in almost every western democratic government in the world except for the United States. The real question should be will the people in the US that hold the real economic and political power allow the United States to implement universal health care. The answer to that question is obviously "NO" unless the average American is willing to fight for this.

So, the question becomes is which candidate will the best one to lead the fight for changing the health care system in America. You can rule John McCain out immediately. Despite his "maverick" and "I don't work with lobbyist" image, the reality is just the opposite. He will tow the line of the health care industry and he will continue to make back room deals with lobbyist out of sight from the voting public as he has done for the past 30 years. Based on her past record on this issue you can rule out Hillary Clinton. She absolutely knows what she is proposing as her "universal" health care plan will never see the light of day politically. She is doing what her and Bill Clinton do so very well - pandering for votes by oversimplifying issues into political slogans. So, the only candidate that sees the reality of the hurdles and the extent of the fight for universal health care is Barack Obama. Americans got to quit looking for simple answers where there are no simple answers. The day of oversimplifying everything into a political slogan is over once George Bush leaves office and once Hillary Clinton realizes that she will not be the next president.

I write about professional nursing, patient safety and advocacy and healthcare policy, and so I am particularly grateful that universal healthcare and nursing were both addressed by Bill Moyers Journal. I am also appreciative of the thoughtful comments here.

The public has been confused about the differences between universal health insurance coverage and universal health CARE. Media conflates these, as do politicians. It's an important distinction, as the former only mandates the purchase of a for-profit policy which allows the subscriber to apply (it does not guarantee) reimbursement for selected health care expenses. The latter mandates that selected health care services be affordable and accessible to everyone.

Because the for-profit healthcare insurance industry is enormous and is the source of employment for many, any transition to universal health care will need to be implemented over a long enough period of time to allow for industry employees to be retrained and to have other sources of employment be available to them. In light of the nursing and physician shortage, it would be feasible to target programs to re-educate in these fields, as well as to target other employment shortage areas with grants and educational support for transitioning insurance workers.

Nurses and the nursing profession have a multitude of critical practice issues, and a fundamental problem is that nurses have been effectively divided and work against their own interests.

How so?

The vast majority of nurses practice as employees. Nursing service "leaders" are no such thing. THey are nurses hired by nurse employers to direct and control nurses, their practice and resources. They exhibit loyalty to the employer over loyalty to nurses and to patients. Indeed, the American Organization of Nurse Executives is a subsidiary of the American Hospital Association. After the American Nurses Association - the national organization charged with representing the interests of nurses and nursing - established a collective bargaining arm several decades ago, many nurse employers forbade or strongly discouraged nursing managers and administrators from joining, supporting or participating in the ANA. THat served to drastically undermine its power, control and influence.

THe unions which do represent nurses in collective bargaining do not ever represent the interests of nurses in management and administration. THe Caligornia Nurses Association is itself run by a social worker who has no nursing credentials (Rose Ann DeMoro). It was formed by her in direct competition with the ANA's California constituent group. So again, the ANA has been undercut.

It is important that nurses have autonomy, control and legitimacy over nursing practice. But until all nurses are represented effectively under a single professional nursing umbrella, the status quo will not change.

What I advocate is a transition to self-governed nursing organizations such as a professional practice group, where nurses select their own leaders, contract directly with traditional nurse employers to provide nursing services and oversight, and which use unions in a transformative role - that of expert contract negotiators and representative agents. THis would make nursing leaders accountable to the right constituencies: nurse colleagues, patients and then contracted healthcare organizations. It would put all nurses together and would create the avenues needed for nurses to contract with local nursing educational programs, bring on board faculty in joint appointment, raise nursing faculty salaries, make nursing research much more widely available to clinical nurses, and would break down the high and so far impervious silos between clinical, managerial, academic and research nurses.

It would also lead to higher nurse satisfaction, a reduction in workplace violence against nurses, and it would work to ease the nursing shortage by being able to attract students who are intelligent, who exhibit classic virtues, and who are interested in practicing in a helping profession which emphasized health and empowered patients.

Hello...socialism...socialism...too bad many politicans and others only relate socialism to communism. I live in a so-called social-democractic country in Scandianvia and the health care system works here for all people. Of course, there are some abusing the system but that is only minor in comparing the overall benefits for all its citizens. Thirty-cents of a dollar to the you can see where corporate and executive greed is all about. I suggest you all watch Frontline´s presentation and see how health care works in other countries. I just read that in the State of Minnesota, that there is lots of trouble for the nursing homes...over half have closed because financial problems...all you Americans need to wake-up and start shaking-up the system and the politicans like the California nurses are doing.

Great Journal, Bill. This was an especially meaningful program to come home to, after a 12 hour shift in the ICU. It's Nurse's Week, and we're coming up on May 12th--Florence Nightingale's Birthday.

She observed, "The progressive world is necessarily divided into two classes — those who take the best of what there is and enjoy it — those who wish for something better and try to create it. Without these two classes the world would be badly off. They are the very conditions of progress, both the one and the other. Were there none who were discontented with what they have, the world would never reach anything better."

The CNA/NNOC nurses are most definitely discontented with the current "system" that rations 47 million of us out of healthcare. We're reaching for single-payer. The other industrialized countries have better infant mortality rates, better life expectancies, and better access to physicians for medically necessary care. It's called single-payer. Nurses support HR 676!

Is that a rhetorical question?


Dr. Rocky White describes himself as a “rock-ribbed conservative evangelical Christian.” He has revised and updated Dr. Robert LeBow’s classic book advocating single-payer healthcare. It’s called Health Care Meltdown: Confronting the Myths and Fixing Our Failing System. A recent poll was just published in JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association shows that 59 percent of practicing physicians today believe that we need to have a national health program. Also, the American College of Physicians has endorsed a single-payer system.


The CNA makes me proud to be a nurse. Nurses are the consummate advocates for the patient. I have been a retired nurse for 5 years now. I spent the last 25 years of my career advocating for the poor, the underserved, and uninsured at a time when the healthcare system began to fragmentize. My position was eliminated because I fought tooth and nail for my patients. I managed to stay in the same healthcare system for 1 more year to qualify for full retirement benefits. It was more like doing social work. I have been saying for years that we do not have a healthcare system, it is completely fragmentized. I often have to fight to get the care that I need. I know how to work the system but the average healthcare consumer is at a loss. By the way, we never hear from the media about celebrating Nurses Week which usually coinsides with Mothers Day. I couldn't even find it in any of my calendars. You can change that and celebrate Nurses, the unsung heroes of patient advocacy. Thanks for the CNA piece.

Imagine if firefighters or police were run by for-profit corporations. Does the free-market work in every situation? Obviously not, and it's failing miserably in healthcare.

Regarding the Bill Moyer news article on national healthcare which I just viewed a several minutes ago, I am very curious why "the left" continuously focus' on the Federal Government (the tax payers - you & me) paying for healthcare?

With the size of the CNA as mentioned in this news article, why doesn't the CNA simply join forces and create their own Heathcare CO-OP? They are "professionals" in their field are they not? With the money that they would "give-up" to pay for national healthcare, they could collectively "pool" this money and create their own heathcare system without the concern of meeting shareholder demands (seriously folks).

As was reported, 64% of the nation has an interest in national heathcare. With this amount of interest and with this "CO-OP" system operational, they should be able to expand rapidly and get nationwide participation in a short period of time.

Now, with the concern of equal benefits for all, this "CNA CO-OP Heathcare System" could offer equal healthcare benefits regardless of investment. The membership fee (or "tax") would be charged to members based upon their yearly income (as shown on their W-2).

As compassionate as these nurses are, they could also allow members to join with no payments based upon their income and work (or lack of work) status.

You cannot deny that the simple architecture that I describe above is essentially how a "national healthcare plan" would be run by our Federal Government with the exceptions that the "CNA CO-OP Healthcare System" would be run as a non-for-profit organization (much like our government?) and would also allow individuals a choice.

With responsible leadership, I'm sure that the amount of money spent on healthcare vs. the cash taken in would be a considerably higher percentage than if the Federal Government ran the program.

Why does "the left" continuously focus on the Federal Government (paid for by the tax payers - you & me) paying for healthcare? I just do not understand it.

P.S. Just think about the government running your heathcare program the next time you are standing in line getting your driver's license renewed!

The California plan for universal single-payer health care SB 840 includes funds for retraining those workers that would be displaced.

I think the national one, Hr 676, does also.

Sharon and all your colleagues, please consider nursing. There is a shortage and we would gladly welcome you.

Wow, Powerful piece Bill. I hope that a powerful organization like the CNA can really take the power out of the insurance companies and give the American People what they need. Together with President Obama, we will demand this, because too many people suffer needlessly while their loved ones (or themselves) waste away due to a corrupt system. GO NURSES!!!

We can change our system if we really want to. Switzerland did it in 1994. If you haven't seen this yet, check out the program "Sick Around the World," on Frontline's website. Watch it online:
Then check out the interviews, especially the one with renowned health care economists Uwe Reinhardt and Tseng-mei Cheng. Only by arming ourselves with information can we be equipped to force change. The powers that be count on us staying clueless and misinformed.

Loss of jobs takes place every day. A government of the people, by the people, and for the people, and not for corporations (socialism for the rich, as George Bernard Shaw opined over a hundred years ago), will make sure there is not only a universal health care plan, but also a safety net for its people. The industries and corporations that don't pay taxes now will pay them. Right now Norway, with its excellent system of government and looking out for the people, is now looked upon by the financial industry as one of the best places to invest because of its stability, the value of its monetary system, and its oversight of its corporations. There are many places to look for methods and manners of supporting universal health care. There would not be as many jobs lost as is feared, because government would need experienced people to handle everythng needed to keep and maintain records, and likely there would be even more jobs in research and in other social contracts. Also, the country can then stay out of wars, and stop enriching corporations and companies that profit by war. All of these things will only come about when there are more women in government, which is why Hillary Clinton should be the next president.

Walter Cronkite once noted that America's health care system is neither healthy, caring, nor a system. As was plainly said on this brave and insightful program, America harbors instead a health care for profit industry. That must totally and immediately be dismantled, because universal health care is a moral imperative. That already has been achieved, and practiced effectively, efficiently, and popularly throughout the rest of the more civilized world. In contemptible contrast, the United States stands virtually alone by shamefully failing to provide this basic human right to its own citizens. Nobody has a right to any job if that comes at the expense of another person's right to medical care. Every business, especially a cartel of entwined and domineering businesses, must ultimately serve a moral, not merely a monetary end, or else become like cancer and kill the host. Either America offers equal health care for all, or we die as a nation. If protecting our economy entails, and indeed feeds on exploiting the most vulnerable among us, the sick and the poor, then our economy cannot nor should not survive.

I'm not sure if universal health care is possible, because it means dismantling the system as we know it. Thousands of people (including me) will lose their jobs if the insurance companies that exist today are essentially put out of business. That will have a heavy impact on the economy, unless there is some type of scaled program that slowly phases in the new system and phases out the old. If a universal program is put in place, it's creators need to take serious consideration into the economic impact of dismantling a very large industry.

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