BREAKING: 5 More RNs, MDs Arrested at Baucus Finance Cmte. in Florence Nightingale Protest

by: National Nurses Movement

Tue May 12, 2009 at 14:57

With Max Baucus' Senate Finance Committee continuing to shut out the voices of single payer advocates while rolling out the red carpet for the insurance giants and other health care corporations, five more were arrested today and dozens of other nurses stood before the committee in a dramatic silent protest.

Today's action -- the second in a week that led to 8 arrests -- coincided with the anniversary of the birth of Nightingale. It also marked the kickoff of two days of actions by nurses from around the country who are pressing for a legislative agenda for quality nursing care and a single standard of quality care for all.

Here's AP.  Here's a link to a photo of the nurses being arrested.  The Wash Times covers it here and here's Patricia Murphy.

National Nurses Movement :: BREAKING: 5 More RNs, MDs Arrested at Baucus Finance Cmte. in Florence Nightingale Protest
Action!  Fax Mad Max and tell him single-payer deserves a voice in the debate!

All told, this is the most media coverage single-payer healthcare has received since SiCKO was released in 2007-ironic given that it comes from an attempt by Washington insiders to keep America's caregivers out and stifle discussion of their healthcare plan.

"What a disgrace that RNs and physicians are shut out and arrested while the insurance industry is given a seat at the table. We would expect that from the Bush administration, not in the time the Obama administration," said NNOC/CNA Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro. "The Baucus Committee can arrest nurses, but they can not silence the voices of RNs who will continue to speak from their hearts on behalf of their patients who want and deserve real reform."

Standing up in the audience and speaking before she was arrested, Sue Cannon RN, said, "don't guarantee drug profits, guarantee health care. We're entrusted to care for our patients, and we can't do that without single payer, guaranteed healthcare. We need no more Blue Crosses and double crosses."

"In honor of Florence Nightingale, patients need access to healthcare. We need to protect our patients, we need single payer now," said NNOC/CNA Board member DeAnn McEwen, RN.

Also raising their voices and accepting arrest were Steve Fenichel and Judy Dasovich, two physician members of the Physicians for a National Health Program, and  Jerry Call of PNHP and Health Care Now.

Some 40 other RNs staged a silent protest -- standing before the committee in red nursing scrubs and turning their backs to show signs reading "Nurses and Patients First. Stop AHIP. Pass Single Payer." AHIP, America's Health Insurance Plans, is the private insurance industry lobby arm that is given a regular voice by the Baucus Committee, which is in the forefront of discussion on a health plan.

The protests, before a sea of reporters and cameras marked a continuing escalation of voices of protest --  last week eight were arrested -- in an ongoing spectacle in which the committee has bent over backwards to accommodate the insurers, the drug companies, the coalitions representing America's largest corporate interests, even the rightwing Heritage Foundation and conservative think tanks. All while excluding the doctors and nurses who favor single payer and have the most direct, hands on experience with our failed insurance based healthcare system.

Noting the shut out, Call said to the committee, "60 percent of the chairs at the table should be for single payer advocates because 60 percent of the people want single payer" reform.

That's a system in which choice of doctor and other providers is guaranteed, with comprehensive benefits, real cost controls, and an end to insurance industry denials of care.

And more pix here.

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