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Commentary :: Human Rights
BTL:Advocates for Single-Payer Fight to be Heard in U.S. Healthcare Debate
05 Jul 2009
BETWEEN THE LINES Syndicated Radio Newsmagazine
Advocates for Single-Payer Fight to be Heard in U.S. Healthcare Debate

Interview with Geri Jenkins, a registered nurse and co-president of the California Nurses Association, conducted by Scott Harris

As the U.S. Congress moves forward with debate over the shape of healthcare reform, a top agenda item of President Obama and more than 47 million Americans without health insurance, the single-payer option continues to be marginalized in the process. Single-payer, what many supporters like to describe as "Medicare for all," has two primary bills in the House and Senate. In the House, Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., is sponsoring HR 676, the United States National Health Insurance Act. In the Senate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is sponsoring S703, a bill to provide health care for every American.

One of the major players in the process is Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee. Until recently, Baucus has asserted that the single-payer option is off the table. But after a series of protests at the committee's hearings, where nurses and doctors supporting debate of single-payer were arrested, Baucus has softened his rhetoric, but not his opposition to the "Medicare for All" option.

While the medical industry and pharmaceutical companies spend millions of dollars to try to influence Congress and the public to retain America's private health insurance based system, grassroots activists continue to try to get a fair hearing for single-payer, the model used with great success by most industrial nations around the world to provide universal coverage. The central debate in Congress now centers on providing a government run or non-profit co-op health insurance option to compete with private insurers, but even that proposal is being opposed by many Republicans and conservative Democratic legislators. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Geri Jenkins, a registered nurse, and co-president of the California Nurses Association and the National Nurses Organizing Committee. Jenkins, who recently testified before the House Education and Labor Committee in support of single-payer, assesses the helath care debate in Congress and the role of citizens in determining the outcome.

Visit the website for more information on the single-payer option.

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"Between The Lines" is a half-hour syndicated radio news magazine that each week features a summary of under-reported news stories and interviews with activists and journalists who offer progressive perspectives on international, national and regional political, economic and social issues. Because "Between The Lines" is independent of all publications, media networks or political parties, we are able to bring a diversity of voices to the airwaves generally ignored or marginalized by the major media. For more information on this week's topics and to check out our text archive listing topics and guests presented in previous programs visit:
"Between the Lines," WPKN 89.5 FM's weekly radio news magazine can be heard Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. ET; Wednesdays at 8 a.m. ET and Saturdays at 2 p.m. ET (Wednesday's show airs at 7:30 a.m. ET during fundraising months of April and October).
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Weekly Summary" which features a RealAudio link to the week's program for Between The Lines, send an email to btlsummary-subscribe (at)
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Q&A" which features a RealAudio link and weekly transcript to one of the interviews featured on Between The Lines, send an email to btlqa-subscribe (at)
betweenthelines (at)
Distributed by Squeaky Wheel Productions
©2009 Between The Lines. All Rights Reserved.
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