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Nurses Urge Congress to Stop Cuts in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid

Press Release Press Release, 7/12/11

Contact Information | Media Center

For Immediate Release
July 12, 2011

National Call-in Days, Thursday-Friday to Senate
 
Nurses across the U.S. plan to flood members of the Senate Thursday and Friday with calls demanding they hold the line and oppose cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid that have been proposed during the current negotiations over the debt ceiling debate.
 
With the calls, National Nurses United, the country’s largest union and professional organization of registered nurses with 170,000 members, will be joining with others, including senior organizations, who are also asking for calls to Senate members.  
 
NNU leaders said today they are appalled at the proposals coming from leaders of both parties that they say would worsen an already serious crisis in health and living standards for tens of millions of Americans struggling with the effects of the ongoing economic crash.
 
The latest proposal floated by President Obama of raising the Medicare eligibility age to 67 could have calamitous consequences, warns NNU Co-President Deborah Burger, RN.
 
“Nurses are extremely worried and angry about the president’s plan to increase the Medicare eligibility age, for our patients who are just barely managing to get by financially until they qualify for healthcare coverage at age 65, and for nurses as well,” said Burger.  She noted the huge increase in out of pocket healthcare costs that are already hurting millions of Americans, many of whom delay needed care, or have to choose between paying for food, housing, or medical bills.
 
The Pew Center for the States last week reported that insurance premiums have gone up an average of 16 percent nationally just since the health law was signed last year. Even many RNs, said Burger are finding they have to return to work “once retired because they couldn’t afford the premiums, co pays and deductibles.”
 
Cutting access to Medicare could be the difference between life and death for many, she warned.
 
Similarly, cuts to Social Security, which is financially stable and contributes nothing to the federal deficit, and Medicaid, which could endanger millions of other Americans, should be off the table, say the RNs.
 
“Our country faces a deficit because its leaders — of both parties — refuse to increase taxes on the wealthiest Americans and large corporations,” said Burger.   
 
NNU has an alternative. As part of its Main Street Contract for the American People, the organization is calling for a Wall Street financial transaction tax. The modest financial tax would raise hundreds of billions of dollars that can be used to reinvest in America. Details at www.MainStreetContract.org.

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