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Wisconsin Democrats flee state to block passage of anti-union bill

A group of Wisconsin lawmakers blocked passage of a sweeping anti-union bill Thursday by ignoring orders to attend a vote. Instead, they left the state to force Republicans to negotiate over the proposal. —Associated Press, 02/17/11 More »

Cold Day in Hell Arrives for Patients

When I saw the cut to the low income energy assistance programs proposed by President Obama in his budget, I knew that meant more energy/utility shut-off notices for people already struggling all over the United States. The cold day in hell has arrived for many patients and many caregivers who already find their budgets bursting from the costs of healthcare insurance, co-pays, deductibles, and out-of-pocket medical expenses, and their bank accounts strained from the loss of income and unemployment that has marked recent months for millions and millions of people. —GuaranteedHealthcare.org, 02/16/11 More »

Student nurses protest in Dublin

Over 3,000 student nurses and midwifes have taken part in a rally at the Department of Health in Dublin today in protest at Government plans to phase-out and ultimately eliminate payments for their mandatory 36-week placement in hospitals. —Irish Times, 02/16/11 More »

Hospitals remove beds from corridors after nurses protest

Hospitals reduced the number of beds in their internal medicine departments on Tuesday, so none of them would have more than 120-percent occupancy.

The Health Ministry’s policy change resulted from protests last month by the Nurses Union, which threatened not to admit any patients to the departments if they had to lie on beds in corridors, and that they would walk out of their jobs if this occurred. —Jerusalem Post, 02/16/11 More »

More Than 10,000 Protest Move By Wisconsin’s “Dictator” Governor to Destroy Public-Sector Unions

More than 10,000 Wisconsinites marched on the state Capitol Tuesday, as crowds rallied in cities around the state, students walked out of high schools and public employees lined roadways holding aloft banners declaring their determination to battle an attempt by Republican Governor Scott Walker to strip state workers of their collective bargaining rights and pack state government positions with political patronage appointees.   —The Nation, 02/15/11 More »

Saving Social Security

By Senator Bernie Sanders - Social Security is the most successful social program in American history. It shouldn't be privatized; its benefits shouldn't be cut; and the retirement age shouldn't be raised.

 Before Social Security was established 75 years ago, more than half of our elderly population lived in poverty. Because of Social Security, the poverty figure for seniors today is less than 10%. —Los Angeles TImes, 02/14/11 More »

A ‘Dictator’ Governor Sets Out to Cut Wages, Slash Benefits and Destroy Public Unions

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's proposal to strip public employees of most collective bargaining rights, cut pay and gut benefits without any negotiation [1] the most radical assault yet by the current crop of Republican governors on the rights of workers has inspired outrage in a historically progressive and pro-labor state. —The Nation, 02/13/11 More »

Gov. Peter Shumlin: The man who’d bring single-payer health care to Vermont

Peter Shumlin, the newly elected governor of Vermont, has a plan for health-care reform: Rather than repeal it, he wants to supercharge it. His state will set up an exchange, and then, as soon as possible, apply for a waiver that allows it to turn the program into a single-payer system. —Washington Post, 02/10/11 More »

Student nurses set for protest

Ireland - Student nurses and midwives are to press ahead with lunchtime protests over Government plans to cut their pay as industrial trouble-shooters hear their case. —Irish Times, 02/08/11 More »

Obama’s Social Security Talk Is Turning Voters Off, Pollsters Say

President Barack Obama's apparent willingness to consider cuts in Social Security benefits may be winning him points with Washington elites, but it's killing him with voters, who see the program as inviolate and may start to wonder what the Democratic Party stands for, if not for Social Security. —Huffington Post, 01/19/11 More »

Instead of Repealing Health ‘Reform,’ Congress Should Reform the ‘Reform’ to Make it Stronger

Survey research suggests that, while Americans are overwhelmingly supportive of health-care reform, they are not sure the reform cobbled together by President Obama and the last Congress is the proper fix. According to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, the country is divided three ways 33 percent for complete repeal of the measure adopted last year, 35 percent for partial repeal and 30 percent for no repeal. —The Nation, 01/19/11 More »

The Shameful Attack on Public Employees

In 1968, 1,300 sanitation workers in Memphis went on strike. The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. came to support them. That was where he lost his life. Eventually Memphis heard the grievances of its sanitation workers. And in subsequent years millions of public employees across the nation have benefited from the job protections they've earned. —Huffington Post, 01/05/11 More »

Healthcare reform pays big dividends

Health care reform was a big job in 2009, and it paid very well for some executives: Nine of 12 CEOs of health care trade associations made $1 million or more. Lobbyists at the associations received compensation ranging from $250,000 to more than $1 million. —Politico, 01/05/11 More »

Pentagon Health Plan Won’t Cover Brain-Damage Therapy for Troops

Sarah Wade, 36, and her husband, Ted Wade, 33, are seen in front of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 18, 2010. Ted suffered a traumatic brain injury, along with multiple other injuries, while riding in a Humvee in Iraq in 2004. Although Ted gets health insurance through the Defense Department, Sarah says "it doesn't cover what it needs to" and that he needs "more options, and less bureaucracy." The Wades live in Chapel Hill, N.C., but regularly travel to Washington for medical appointments and meetings. (Coburn Dukehart/NPR) —NPR, 12/20/10 More »

What Does the Tax Cut Deal Mean for Medicare, Social Security and Health Care Reform? Part 1

When President Obama struck a deal with conservatives on tax cuts, his opponents set the stage for 2012. With this legislation, the conservative agenda of the Bush administration once again becomes national policy. The goal: to redistribute wealth upward--even if that means letting the deficit balloon. —www.healthbeatblog.org, 12/15/10 More »

Nurses Top Honesty and Ethics List for 11th Year

Nurses continue to outrank other professions in Gallup's annual Honesty and Ethics survey. Eighty-one percent of Americans say nurses have "very high" or "high" honesty and ethical standards, a significantly greater percentage than for the next-highest-rated professions, military officers and pharmacists. Americans rate car salespeople, lobbyists, and members of Congress as having the lowest honesty and ethics, with the last two getting a majority of "low" or "very low" ratings. —Gallup, 12/03/10 More »

Nurses union becomes potent political force

Politicians and political strategists looking ahead to the next election cycle are taking notice of an increasingly potent political force on the state and national scene - one that's overwhelmingly female and dressed in scrubs. The Oakland-based California Nurses Association has made its mark by delivering some powerful political punches with a combination of entertaining theater and savvy strategizing. —San Francisco Chronicle, 11/24/10 More »

Growing National Nurses United union steps up strikes in aggressive new strategy

The nurses at the Washington Hospital Center were all set to wear red scrubs - the union color - on Monday in preparation for a strike the day before Thanksgiving. But those scrubs can be put away, at least for now, because the union canceled the one-day strike, and management put controversial pay cuts on hold, as both sides are to resume talks after the holiday —Washington Post, 11/20/10 More »

Insurers Gave U.S. Chamber $86 Million Used to Oppose Obama’s Health Law

Health insurers last year gave the U.S. Chamber of Commerce $86.2 million that was used to oppose the health-care overhaul law, according to tax records and people familiar with the donation. The insurance lobby, whose members include Minnetonka, Minnesota-based UnitedHealth Group Inc. and Cigna Corp. of Philadelphia, gave the money to the Chamber in 2009 as Democrats increased criticism of the industry, according to a person who requested anonymity because laws don't require identifying funding sources. —Bloomberg News, 11/17/10 More »

Trumka on Social Security: Don’t Raise Retirement Age

Among the many skeptics President Obama will have to win over to enact recommendations outlined by leaders of his bipartisan deficit reduction commission: one of the Democratic Party's key allies, AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka. Trumka was visiting National Journal as commission co-chairs Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson were unveiling their ideas Wednesday. —National Journal, 11/11/10 More »

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