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  March 24, 2017

"Wealthcare" Defeated: Health Care For All Back on the Agenda

National Nurses United co-director Jean Ross says only Medicare for All can provide care for millions who still remain uninsured under the Affordable Care Act
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Jean Ross is a registered Nurse for over 40 years in Minnesota and Co-President National Nurses United.


SHARMINI PERIES: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Sharmini Peries, coming to you from Baltimore.

After a nail biting few weeks on the Hill, the Trump-Ryan healthcare bill that some dubbed wealth-care, was withdrawn by the Republicans. It became clear that the Republicans did not have the adequate number of votes they needed to pass the American Healthcare Act. But that did not stop Trump from quickly blaming the Democrats. Let's have a look.

DONALD TRUMP: No, I think we have to let Obamacare go its way for a little while, and we'll see how things go. I'd love to see it do well, but it can't. I mean it can't. It's not a question of, "Gee I hope it does well, I would love it to do well. I want great healthcare for the people of this nation."

But it can't do well. It's imploding, and soon will explode. And it's not going to be pretty. So, the Democrats don't want to see that, so they're going to reach out when they're ready, and whenever they're ready, we're ready.

SHARMINI PERIES: Both conservative and moderate Republicans were opposed to the bill. Some, because they say it goes too far in dismantling the existing programs, and others because it does not go far enough. In a desperate measure to save the bill, House Majority Leader, Paul Ryan, agreed to the concessions demanded by the conservative freedom caucus, by eliminating numerous minimum coverage standards that insurers needed to fulfil.

Joining us now to discuss this situation is Jean Ross, a Registered Nurse for over 40 years in Minnesota, and Co-President of the National Nurses United, Jean good to have you with us.

JEAN ROSS: Thank you, glad to be here.

SHARMINI PERIES: Jean, so the nurses fought very hard to defeat the American Healthcare Act, of Trump and Ryan. You must be excited.

JEAN ROSS: We're very, very pleased. It was a terrible bill. It's worse than what we have now; even though what we have now is what we know we need in this country -- Medicare for all. So, yes we were very pleased.

SHARMINI PERIES: Right, so what were the few issues that were just not palatable, even for the Republicans?

JEAN ROSS: Well, I think, you know if you look at what we have now -- The Affordable Care Act -- that even left out how many millions? Something like 28 million that were still uninsured. This one made that even worse -- another 24 million. And it put money that should go to the care of the nations' public, into the pockets of the very, very wealthy who didn't need it at all.

So, we know the only thing that's going to work is a Medicare system for all -- one that doesn't just insure everybody, but actually dictates that we all get care.

SHARMINI PERIES: So, and other House Democrats, although they're in the minority, they might be celebrating. This is a victory for the Democrats. A huge defeat for the Republicans, no matter what side of the Republican camp you're on. This is a big defeat for Trump, Ryan, and the Republicans who came into power with such rigor.

So, what do you think they'll do next?

JEAN ROSS: Well, if they're smart, they'll listen to us, and the majority of the people in this country, and push a real healthcare bill. If you're talking about either of the parties, there's a lot of blame to go around. We need a system that doesn't require profits, for people who are already wealthy. We need a system that insures care for everybody in this country.

So, once any party does that, we will be behind them.

SHARMINI PERIES: And this is also an opportunity to reintroduce some of the discussions that the nurses have been very compassionate, and passionate about, which is healthcare for all. Is this an opportunity to reintroduce some of those principles?

JEAN ROSS: Absolutely. It's the only thing that's going to work. It's no coincidence that we no longer have the best healthcare system in the world. Other countries have passed us by, and it's clearly because they have a Medicare for all type system.

If you insist on cementing a theory, a way of doing business into place that insures profits first, and healthcare second, or third, down the line -- you are always going to end up with what we have now. That system is no longer viable.

SHARMINI PERIES: Right. Now, the problem that the American Healthcare Act of Trump and Ryan, was having -- was really the cost of things, which was going to increase; but also the number of people covered under their Act was going to be far less. And they were saying 12 million less people would be covered under the new Act.

Now, that may be water under the bridge at this point. But at the same time, I don't think they're going to let go of some of these issues that they were fighting for hard for the last seven years, that easily. Are the nurses gearing up to continue to fight this?

JEAN ROSS: Oh, well, we never give up. I mean, we will continue to do this until we get into place a Medicare for all system. We just have to. I mean you can... we care actually, about people, go figure; but if people really do care about finances and money, then they have to look at a Medicare for all system also -- because it is the only one that's going to save us enough money to make it viable for this country. It works in other countries. It will work for us.

SHARMINI PERIES: All right, Jean, I thank you so much for joining us today and we'll be back to you next week, I'm sure; as the Republican Party pick up the pieces from this great loss.

JEAN ROSS: Okay, thank you.

SHARMINI PERIES: That's a great loss for the Republican Party but not obviously for the Americans. I thank you all for joining us here at The Real News Network.




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