National Nurses United

Registered Nurse October 2008

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LETTER FROM THE COUNCIL OF PRESIDENTS what a great month. In September, we hosted almost 800 nurse leaders from all over the country and Canada and Australia at our 2008 Staff Nurse Assembly. It was a wonderful four days of talk, laughter, camaraderie, planning, and action! We discussed what we can do about threats to nursing practice, patient advocacy, and nurse unionization. We learned more about how passing single-payer can turn around this sorry disgrace of a healthcare system. We marched across the Golden Gate Bridge in support of expanding Medicare for all and also rallied at the front doors of California Pacific Medical Center, a Sutter Health hospital in San Francisco that's the lone holdout in negotiations with our Sutter RNs, to let it know that we nurses support one another and will not back down. And we heard from some of the country's most respected union leaders about how we can help rebuild the labor movement and how this November's election will shape our lives and health—not only our physical and mental health but the health of the entire nation—for generations to come. We're not exaggerating. This November's election is probably the choice of a lifetime, and we're urging you to support Barack Obama. He hasn't proposed everything we'd like to hear, namely single-payer, but he represents a vision of healthcare that's obviously so much closer to our own than his opponent, John McCain. Obama during the second presidential debate stated that he believes healthcare is a right. Insurance rejections and medical bills are not just an abstract exercise for Obama. He speaks often of how, when REGISTERED NURSE,™ (ISSN 1932-8966) The Journal of Patient Advocacy, October 2008 Volume 104/8 is published by the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, 2000 Franklin Street, Oakland, CA 94612-2908. It provides news of organizational activities and reports on developments of concern to all registered nurses across the nation. It also carries general coverage and commentary on matters of nursing practice, community and public health, and healthcare policy. It is published monthly except for combined issues in January and February, and July and August. Periodicals postage paid at Oakland, California. POSTMASTER: send address changes to Registered Nurse, 2000 ™ Franklin Street, Oakland, CA 94612-2908. To send a media release or announcement, fax (510) 6630629. Registered Nurse™ is carried on the CNA/NNOC website at his mother was dying of ovarian cancer at age 53, she was "more worried about paying her medical bills than getting well." Obama wants to crack down on insurance companies, expand coverage and guarantee coverage for children, cut premiums, and let the government bargain with pharmaceutical companies to lower the costs of prescription drugs. McCain is running completely in the opposite direction. He wants to tax the value of healthcare benefits employees receive through their employers. The measly tax credit he would offer us to offset these taxes would not begin to cover what we'd have to start paying. He's basically encouraging employers to drop their healthcare benefits and throwing us to the wolves—the individual insurance market. He also wants to cut $1.3 trillion out of Medicare and Medicaid over the next decade, at a time when these programs need to be strengthened. In these dire economic times, our lowincome families and seniors are struggling to just put food on the table and pay their electricity and heating bills. He can support a bailout for Wall Street, but not a bailout for ordinary Americans. Registered nurses have tremendous power to influence their coworkers, family, and friends. RNs are trusted above all other professions by the public because they know we are looking out for their best interests. We are patient advocates, and eventually everyone will be a patient. So please get out there and help swing this election so we can nurse this country back to good health. Deborah Burger, RN | Geri Jenkins, RN Malinda Markowitz, RN | Zenei Triunfo-Cortez, RN CNA/NNOC Council of Presidents For permission to reprint articles, write to Editorial Office. To subscribe, send $40 ($45 foreign) to Subscription Department. California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee also produces California Nurse, which it will ™ continue to publish periodically. PLEASE CONTACT US WITH YOUR STORY IDEAS They can be about practice or management trends you've observed, or simply something new you've encountered in the profession. They can be about one nurse, unit, or hospital, or about the wider landscape of healthcare policy from an RN's perspective. They can be humorous, or a matter of life and death. If you're a writer and would like to contribute an article, please let us know. Our contact information is in the masthead. executive editor Rose Ann DeMoro editor Lucia Hwang graphic design Jonathan Wieder communications director Charles Idelson contributors Hedy Dumpel, RN, JD Donna Smith photography Jaclyn Higgs Lauren Reid

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