Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Click moments

If you haven't had your "click moment" on single payer yet, maybe these will help.

On CommonDreams.org, Donna Smith, of the California Nurses Association and PDA's Healthcare Not Warfare campaign, writes about her husband's heart attack, and how he was denied a blood test because of an unpaid $7 bill with a medical testing company.

And Wendell Potter, a former PR executive for CIGNA Corp., saw the light on a country fairground:

While visiting my folks in northeast Tennessee where I grew up, I read in the local paper about a health "expedition" being held that weekend a few miles up U.S. 23 in Wise, Va. Doctors, nurses and other medical professionals were volunteering their time to provide free medical care to people who lived in the area...I decided to check it out...Nothing could have prepared me for what I saw when I reached the Wise County Fairgrounds... Hundreds of people had camped out all night in the parking lot to be assured of seeing a doctor or dentist when the gates opened. By the time I got there, long lines of people stretched from every animal stall and tent where the volunteers were treating patients...That scene was so visually and emotionally stunning it was all I could do to hold back tears. How could it be that citizens of the richest nation in the world were being treated this way?

Potter is now the senior fellow on health care for the Center for Media and Democracy, and he recently testified before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation in support of bills requiring more transparency in insurance rate-setting. His testimony is an eye-opening, nuts-and-bolts view of how corporation's fiduciary responsibility to maximize profits for shareholders leads to purging the very sick from insurance rolls, dropping employee coverage, and demanding arbitary rate increases that have no relation to the cost of providing care, leaving the US with "a Wall Street-run system that has proven itself an untrustworthy partner to its customers, to the doctors and hospitals who deliver care, and to the state and federal governments that attempt to regulate it."

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