Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Campaign for Guaranteed Healthcare for All Begins in Illinois with New Single-Payer Bill

/PRNewswire/ -- Registered nurses, doctors, medical students, and dozens of labor and healthcare community activists will join with Rep. Mary Flowers and other Illinois legislators TODAY to introduce state legislation for a single-payer, Medicare-for-all style system. HB 311, the Healthcare for All Illinois Act, would guarantee healthcare for every state resident.

A broad coalition of healthcare activists, including the National Nurses Organizing Committee, Physicians for a National Health Program, Healthcare for All-Illinois, and American Medical Students Association, will gather in Springfield for a press conference and hearing on the bill.

"Illinois can once again be a symbol of hope and progress for our nation," said Brenda Langford, RN, a registered nurse at the Cook County Bureau of Health Services. "Nurses are tired of watching our patients suffer from denial of care and lack of access to coverage. We see far too much of this at Cook County hospitals--and that's why we support guaranteed healthcare through a single-payer system."

"Our time for genuine solutions to the healthcare crisis is now," said Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of the National Nurses Organizing Committee, principal sponsor of the bill. "We know that guaranteed healthcare systems around the world do a better job of caring for patients, at a lower cost, and we know that inefficient and wasteful health insurance companies have helped push our nation into recession. HB 311 would fix these problems in Illinois, while offering every patient the care they deserve."

DeMoro and Langford both noted the growing urgency for HB311, especially as the state's economy continues to plummet. A recent NNOC study shows single-payer not only saves lives and people's health, it is also an economic stimulus.

Nationally, the study found, implementation of a single-payer system would create 2.6 million new jobs, infuse $317 billion in new business and public revenues, and inject another $100 billion in wages into the U.S. economy. The jobs, through increased spending on healthcare delivery, ripple through the economy, creating employment in retail, manufacturing, and other sectors in addition to healthcare.

The campaign for HB311 coincides with similar efforts nationally on behalf of a Medicare for all bill, HR 676, in Congress, and a national debate on the best path to single-payer.

A centerpiece of the effort for both the Illinois and national bills will be public education on how single-payer is the most comprehensive, cost-effective reform.

HB 311 establishes a state-administered system to provide comprehensive coverage to all Illinois residents, delivered by our current mostly private network of physicians, hospitals, doctors' offices, and other providers. Coverage would no longer be tied to job status or health condition or subject to ever-rising premiums, co-pays, and deductibles.

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