For Immediate Release
Contact: Nancy Webber, 518-782-9400, ext. 223; Joely Johnson, ext. 224
Healthcare professionals, union leaders, consumer activists
ALBANY, NY, June 27, 2007
attend advance screening of SiCKO, urge adoption of “Medicare for All”
– Nearly 200 registered nurses, doctors, and leaders from both the labor and consumer advocacy community attended a special advance screening of Michael Moore’s new film, SiCKO,
this evening at the Spectrum Theatre.
The invitation-only event was designed to build grassroots support for a national healthcare program and was arranged by Michael Moore and the Weinstein Company at the request of the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA). The sponsoring organizations support a single-payer, national healthcare financing system, sometimes called “expanded and improved Medicare for all.”
That proposal is before Congress in the form of Bill HR676, which has 74 cosponsors in the House of Representatives.
“Health care is a basic human right,” said Tina Gerardi, RN, NYSNA chief executive officer. “To make sure that every American has access to care, we must abandon a system controlled by for-profit, private insurance companies. We need a single-payer plan that covers everyone.”
“Private health insurance, which usually is obtained only if employers offer it, has dominated access to American medical care for three generations – and this system has failed,” said Andy Coates, MD, secretary of the Capital Region Chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program. “The resources wasted on supporting private, profit-driven health insurance companies could be used to cover all necessary medical care for everyone – primary care, specialty care, hospital care, dental care, mental health care, home care, rehabilitation, nursing home care and prescription drugs. A single-payer national health program is the only proposal that is both practical and just.”
“The American healthcare system is not safe. The Institute of Medicine estimates that 18,000 Americans die each year because they can’t afford health insurance,” said Richard Propp, MD, chair of the Capital District Alliance for Universal Healthcare. “The system also is financially unsafe. Each year 500,000 people declare bankruptcy due to medical bills. Premium costs are skyrocketing, producing record profits for private insurance companies. We need to create a healthcare system where patients, not profits, come first.”
“As is documented in SiCKO,
private health insurance is at the heart of what is wrong with the American health care system,” stated Mark Dunlea, associate director of Hunger Action Network of New York State.
“Providing quality health care for all while controlling costs starts by ending – not expanding – our wasteful system of private health insurance. We need Senators Clinton and Schumer to join many New York Congressional members like Michael McNulty in sponsoring a Medicare for All national health care system. We also need Governor Spitzer to incorporate a single-payer approach into the universal health care proposal for New York that he expects to release next spring,”
This year’s state budget includes $200,000 for a cost-benefit analysis of various approaches to a state universal healthcare system, including single payer. High health care bills are one of the major reasons why more than 2 million New Yorkers annually utilize emergency food programs. Upstate, 58% of bankruptcies are related to high health care bills.
“The cost of health insurance has become problematic for many working Americans and a major stumbling block in settling union contract negotiations,” said Mike Keenan, president of the Troy Area Labor Council and a vice president of the Capital District Area Labor Federation, AFL-CIO. “HR 676 would save billions of dollars by eliminating the high overhead and profits of the private health insurance industry and HMOs. The transition to single-payer national health care would apply these savings to expanded and improved coverage for all.” The Capital District Area Labor Federation has unanimously endorsed HR676.
Additional sponsors of the SiCKO
event include Healthcare-Now and the Solidarity Committee of the Capital District.
With more than 34,000 members, NYSNA is the oldest and largest state nurses’ association in the nation. It is an influential union for RNs, representing nurses in New York and New Jersey. Offering a wide range of services to its members, NYSNA fosters high standards of nursing education and practice and works to advance the profession through legislative activity. It is a constituent of the American Nurses Association and of the United American Nurses, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO.