See the ACTION ALERT at the end of this comment, for a simple, immediate action each of us can take to demand the most meaningful health care reform possible: a quick link to a letter to our congressional representatives demanding a YES vote on Rep. Weiner’s single-payer amendment.
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In response to Pres. Obama’s health care proposals, as a nurse and as a citizen, I stand with my colleagues in the California Nurses Association. In a press release last night, the CNA had this to say:
“ ... The nation's largest union and professional association of registered nurses tonight welcomed the renewed call by President Obama for comprehensive healthcare reform.
“But sadly, the President's prescription for reform still falls short of the full reform that is needed to solve our ever escalating healthcare crisis," said Deborah Burger, RN, co-President of the 86,000-member California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee.
" … President Obama said tonight, 'We are the only advanced democracy on Earth – the only wealthy nation – that allows such hardships for millions of its people.' That's true. The reason is that all those other countries have a national healthcare system, such as our Medicare program, and don't barter human lives for profit. Ultimately that is the most effective way to actually guarantee healthcare for all Americans, control costs, and improve quality. That would be the change we could all believe in."
Likewise, this morning on Democracy Now!, Dr. Quentin Young, the national coordinator for Physicians for a National Health Program, had this response to the President’s proposals:
"He gets an A-plus for diagnosis. He gets a D-minus for treatment. As he said himself, this public option, which is the line in the sand, is a false dichotomy. Perhaps five percent of the potential users would be in it. That leaves 95 percent out. It has already been emphasized, the problem with the American health system is crystal clear: it’s the private insurance companies. And if the Obama proposal is as I heard it, actually enhances the insurance presence, all these 45 million uninsured will be held up, with the government and other kinds of subsidies, to go into the private insurance market and all that that implies, with denial of care, pre-existing disease exclusions. We know the terrible pitfall we’re in now. And the answer continues to be clear-cut, like Medicare is: single payer for all.
"And the good news is that there’s going to be a chance for the Congress to express itself in the House. Speaker Pelosi has assured Anthony Weiner, … a Democrat from Brooklyn, that his motion to substitute single payer for the administration’s bill will come to a vote. And this … is precisely the time to let our Congress people know we don’t want them to be bought and sold by the insurance lobby, we want them to vote for single payer, so we can join the rest of the world of democratic industrial countries and have healthcare for all the people and end this nightmare of denial and bankruptcy and suffering."
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Urge your rep to vote 'Yes' for single payer!
This fall presents a historic opportunity for members of Congress to go on the record in support of single-payer legislation.
Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) is introducing a substitute amendment to the House leadership’s bill, H.R. 3200, that would delete the language of that bill and substitute the provisions of H.R. 676, the single-payer, Medicare-for-All bill sponsored by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.). House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has promised a full floor vote on Weiner’s amendment in the weeks or months ahead.
The Weiner amendment, unlike the House leadership’s bill, assures universal, comprehensive, and high-quality coverage, free choice of doctor and hospital, and no co-pays or deductibles through a publicly financed system similar to Medicare. Because of the massive savings on private insurance overhead and paperwork, the Weiner amendment would entail no increase in U.S. health spending, in contrast to the House bill’s $1 trillion price tag over 10 years.
Write your representative today in support of the Weiner amendment. If you can, arrange a meeting with your congressperson; you can find tips on how to do so here and talking points here. Finally, please write to Rep. Weiner so he knows that he has our support in his fight for real health reform.
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My friend Kris Krug went down to document the event and came back rather moved by the experience by seeing friends yelling at each other with no resolve and also the fact that we as humans haven't developed a method to resolve these absurd conflicts predicated by race, religion, and territory.
Personally, I think we can do better. Respect, forgiveness, kindness, friendliness and ecumenicality for starters.
Here are Kris' remarks:
It makes me sad that in 2008 there is a such an immovable mountain of a conflict whose central tenants seem to be based on racism and religious intolerance. On both sides. All sides.
I feel sad and my head hangs a lil lower every time I hear about an escalation of the violence in the middle east. I like to be positive and optimistic in general and am frustrated not only in the terrible things that are taking place in terms of violence, but also that we don’t seem to even have the institutions in which we can seek forgiveness and resolution. I’m disappointed in all of us.
Here's KK's post: Anti-Israel Protest @ US Embassy in Vancouver and video of the protests. The reaction from Sean Orr and Jonthan Narvey suggest a microcosm of how to resolve conflicts - ergo: have a chat and a beverage and start find finding things in common.
Sean Orr and I trading accusations of supporting fascists, until we realized who each other were. Afterwards, deciding to grab a coffee sometime to discuss our political ideas and things webby. I’ve got quite a bit of respect for the guy since his and Krug’s bit of genuine heroism the other day in the dark side-streets of Gastown. I must confess I find Orr’s alignment with the pro-Hamas crowd disconcerting and not particularly consistent with his standing up for justice on the streets of Vancouver. Perhaps I’ll end up winning him over to my side some day.
And this is why, despite my constant disappointment with our leaders and the tyranny of our economic system, I am proud to be Canadian. I completely and fundamentally think Jonathan's support of Israel is racist, imperialistic, and in opposition to world law; but as I stuttered to him in the pounding hail, I'd fight for his right to speak them. We talked a little bit about the fight and about art, then I crossed back over and joined in a chant or two of "End the Occupation Now" before returning home.
This podcast interview between travel writer and activist Rick Steves and Lord Alderdice called "Road Maps to Peace" provides some practical methods of resolving conflicts between cultures who have harmed each other for generations. Here's the description:
Rick speaks with Lord Alderdice from Belfast, one of the key political figures who helped resolve Northern Ireland's long-standing "troubles" between its Catholic and Protestant citizens. He shares his approach for addressing the tensions facing the United States and its allies today in overcoming terrorism and in designing road maps for peace.