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CA Nurses Bring Healthcare Tour to Bakersfield Friday with Town Hall, as Court Ruling Looms

Press Release, 6/21/12

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Kern county stats show great need for healthcare overhaul— ranking 49 of 58 in health outcomes, 28% of adults uninsured, 18% unable to see a doctor due to cost


With the U.S. Supreme Court decision expected imminently on the fate of the 2010 healthcare law, nurses, physicians, and healthcare activists will begin a three-week tour of California cities Tuesday as a reminder that the healthcare crisis continues to worsen and genuine, comprehensive reform is still needed.

Numerous sources indicate that Kern County residents are facing decreasing access to care and worsening health outcomes as a result. More than 24 percent are in poor or fair health, more than 30 percent of children live in poverty, and the county suffered a loss of nearly $118 million dollars in funding to help low-income seniors and people with disabilities meet basic needs. (Sources  for statistics below)

Kicking off in San Diego on June 19, and ending on July 12 in Anaheim, the Medicare for All tour will crisscross the state with stops in nearly two dozen sites. It will feature town hall meetings where community members will be invited to tell their healthcare stories.

Prior to the town hall, the nurses will be donning Robin Hood hats to protest Wall Street excess and to call for a Robin Hood Tax on Wall Street speculation. At fifty cents per $100 of most trades, up to $350 billion could be raised each year for healthcare, jobs, education, and other basic needs. The San Diego protest at JPMorgan Chase is among events across the United States, from Boston to Portland, and part of a national campaign to enact a Robin Hood Tax.

The focus of the healthcare tour is a call to step up the drive for guaranteed, universal, cost-effective health reform once and for all by expanding and updating Medicare to cover everyone regardless of age.

WHERE:  Kern, Inyo and Mono Counties Central Labor Council

                200 West Jeffrey Street, Bakersfield

WHEN:    Friday, June 22, 2012

                Town Hall Meeting   6:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m.  


VISUALS: Health screenings with RNs and physicians. Passionate stories about healthcare crisis at town hall meetings.

 “Whether the Court strikes down all or part of the law, or upholds it, our healthcare crisis will be far from over, and we will still need real reform,” said Zenei Cortez, RN, co-president of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United. CNA is a cosponsor of the tour with Physicians for a National Health Program and Campaign for a Healthy California.

“Far too many Californians and Americans will continue to be uninsured, losing their employer-paid health insurance, facing bankruptcy due to medical bills, struggling to pay for health coverage while also enduring job loss or home foreclosure, skipping needed medical care because of cost, or battling with an insurer to authorize medical treatment or tests recommended by their doctor,” Cortez said.

“We have a proven solution with a model that works wonderfully for 40 million Americans already,” said Cortez. “It’s called Medicare. No one should have to wait until they turn 65 to be assured they will be able to receive the healthcare they need.”

Cities on the schedule include San Diego, June 19; Santa Ana, June 20; San Bernardino, June 21; Bakersfield, June 22; Fresno, June 25; Modesto, June 26; Stockton, June 27; Chico, June 28; San Rafael, June 29; San Jose, July 2; Oakland, July 3; San Francisco, July 4; Santa Cruz, July 5; San Luis Obispo, July 6; Los Angeles (Westwood), July 8; Glendale, July 9; Los Angeles (South Central), July 10; Santa Monica, July 11; and West Covina, July 12. See the full schedule.

At every stop, a public town hall meeting will take place at 6:30 at which people will be encouraged to share their personal experiences. Discussion will also be held about what’s next on healthcare following the court ruling, why Medicare for All is the best solution to the national and statewide healthcare emergency, and how to move forward on Medicare for All in California.

Sources:

Children in poverty: (%) Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE) 2006-10
Uninsured adults: Small Area Health Insurance Estimates (SAHIE) 2009
Adults who could not see doctor due to cost:  Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System 2004-10
Estimated Loss of Funds in County due to cuts to help low-income California seniors and people with disabilities meet  2008-09 -2011-12 Source: California Budget Project 2012

 

FACT SHEET

Why we need Medicare for All – our ongoing healthcare crisis at a glance


• The percentage of adults with no health insurance is the highest on record, 17.3 percent of adults as of the third quarter of 2011. Three years ago, in the third quarter of 2008, only 14.4 percent of adults lacked health insurance. (Gallup, Politico, Nov. 11, 2011). By January 2012, the percentage of unemployed was up to 17.7 percent. (http://fdlaction.firedoglake.com/2012/01/24/number-of-uninsured-americans-steadily-increasing/)

• Factoring out those 65 and over who are eligible for Medicare and young adults up to 26 now eligible to remain on their parent’s coverage as a result of the Affordable Care Act, the numbers of uninsured are even higher. 19.9 percent of 26-64 year olds are uninsured, up from 18.1 percent in mid-2010.

• The number getting health coverage from their employer continues to fall, now down to 44.5 percent in the third quarter of 2011 (Gallup, Politico, Nov.11, 2011).

• Total number of uninsured Americans: 49.9 million in 2010, up from 49 million in 2009 (U.S. Census Bureau, CNN/Money, Sept. 13, 2011). An additional 29 million Americans were underinsured in 2009, up from 16 million in 2003, an increase of 80 percent (Health Affairs, September, 2011)

• About half of unemployed and underemployed U.S. residents do not have health insurance and 56 percent are delaying necessary care because of concerns about cost.  Among those who said that they or another family member have delayed medical care because they could not afford it: 63 percent skipped dental care or checkups; 46 percent skipped a recommended test of treatment; 40 percent did not fill a prescription; and 18 percent reported problems receiving mental health services. (NPR/Kaiser Family Foundation survey, Dec. 12, 2011)

• Between 2003 and 2010, premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance increased by a nationwide average of 50 percent—62 percent of Americans now live in a state in which health insurance premiums equal 20 percent or more of median earning for adults younger than 65. In 2003, 13 states had annual premiums comprising less than 14 percent of the median income. In 2010, there were none. Average annual premiums for family coverage were $13,871, with the average annual employee share at $3,721 in 2010, up from $2,283 in 2003. (Commonwealth Fund, Washington Post, Nov. 16, 2011; San Francisco Chronicle, Nov. 17, 2011)

• Under a study of high-income countries, sicker adults in the U.S. stood out for having cost and access problems. More than one of four (27 percent) were unable to pay or encountered serious problems paying medical bills in the past year, compared with between 1 percent and 14 percent of adults in the other countries. In the U.S., 42 percent reported not visiting a doctor, not filling a prescription, or not getting recommended care. This is twice the rate for every other country but Australia, New Zealand, and Germany. (Commonwealth Fund, Nov. 9, 2011)

• On life expectancy, between 2000 and 2007, more than 80 percent of U.S. counties fell in standing against the average of the 10 nations with the best life expectancies in the world. Some U.S. counties are more than 50 calendar years behind – meaning they have a life expectancy today that nations with the best health outcomes had in 1957. Five counties in Mississippi have the lowest life expectancies for women, all below 74.5 years, putting them behind Honduras, El Salvador, and Peru. Four of those counties have the lowest life expectancies for men, all below 67 years, behind Brazil, Latvia, and the Philippines. Nationwide, women fare more poorly than men. Women in 1,373 counties – about 40 percent of U.S. counties – fell more than five years behind the nations with the best life expectancies. Men in about half as many counties – 661 total – fell that far.  Black men and women have lower life expectancies than white men and women in all counties. (Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, June 15, 2011)

• In a global survey of inequality in healthcare for children, the United States ranked just 22nd in material well-being for children, behind even economically struggling Greece. (Unicef study, December, 2010)

• Between 2003 and 2007, the average maternal mortality rate – defined by deaths that occur within 42 days of childbirth – rose to 13 deaths per 100,000 live births, approximately double the low of 6.6 deaths per 100,000 live births recorded in 1987. Today, the United States ranks 41st in the world for maternal mortality, one of the worst records among developed countries. "Near misses,"complications so severe that a woman nearly dies, increased between 1998 and 2005 to become common – at one woman every 15 minutes. African-American women are three to four times more likely to die of pregnancy-related death than white women. States in which poverty rates exceeded 18 percent had a 77 percent higher rate of maternal mortality than states with lower rates of poverty. Over the last seven years, federal spending for maternal and child health programs has been reduced by 10 percent. (Guardian, UK, July 5, 2011)

• More than one in four U.S. emergency departments were closed in the past two decades, forcing the nation’s poor and elderly to seek care in fewer, more crowded facilities. The number of emergency rooms in metropolitan and suburban areas fell 27 percent to 1,779 in 2009 from 2,446 in 1990. (Bloomberg News, May 17, 2011)

• Illness and medical bills are linked to 62 percent of all U.S. personal bankruptcies. The proportion of bankruptcies attributed to medical bills rose by nearly 50 percent between 2001 and 2007 (Physicians for a National Health Program, 2009).

• In California, the only state that makes such data public, the seven largest private insurers rejected 26 percent of claims in 2010. Typically, the rejections came from payment disputes between the insurers and providers, such as doctors and hospitals, but often that resulted in patients and families getting stuck with massive bills in a system that does little to control costs. Outright care denials are all too common from insurers, which have developed a laundry list of lingo to justify denial of care, such as transplants, even when recommended by the patient's physician. (California Nurses Association/Institute for Health and Socio Economic Policy, Jan. 28, 2011)

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