Registered Nurses use the "nursing process" to assess and treat patients. We collect data and apply our judgment skills to help them survive. When we ask a patient how they are doing, their favorite flower or about their children, we are not just being pleasant. We are noting their skin tone, speech, pain level, emotional response and many other indicators of their overall condition.
Applying the nursing process to the ailing patient called California, we note symptoms of decreasing access, increasing costs and a insufficient care, all leading to a diagnosis of healthcare crisis. This patient is faring poorly and getting worse.
Some politicians think this means we should increase the role of the insurance industry to deal with this problem. Unfortunately, treating these symptoms with more insurance would be like treating a lung cancer patient with cigarette smoke.
The good news? There is a cure that will work. It is called SB 840 and was written by a hero of the healthcare movement, Senator Sheila Kuehl. Yesterday Senator Kuehl reintroduced this bill, which was vetoed last year by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Having promised to bring about healthcare reform this year, Schwarzenegger will soon have to decide if he's a man of his word when SB 840 lands on his desk again.
SB 840 is a "Medicare for All" bill, also known as SinglePayer healthcare--the system that every other developed nation enjoys. Unlike our current employer-based system that props up big insurance corporations, under SinglePayer systems, everyone is in, benefits are better, and costs are controlled. Patients choose from among private doctors and hospitals, which are paid out of a statewide pool. No more private insurers making money from denying care.
We know one very important fact: a SinglePayer system is the only cure for the current market-based system that has turned our health into a commodity subjected to "insurance products" that cost more and deliver less every year.
A SinglePayer plan is the only way to assure genuinely universal care, not universal insurance with a windfall to health plans.
It is the only way to avoid a multi-tiered system with a "care gap," to assure comprehensive benefits, and to guarantee patient choice of physician and hospital.
It is the only effective way to control premium and out-of-pocket costs and to end an insurance bureaucracy that wastes 30% of every healthcare dollar of marketing, overhead, profits, administration--and political donations.
California's nurses are proud to stand with Senator Kuehl, other caregivers, patients, labor groups, businesses and anyone else who wants fight for the right cure for California's health crisis. We hope you will join the movement.