Organization Calls For Quality Affordable Healthcare For All Americans

NBC News Channel 40 – Tuesday, July 8, 2008

By Jennifer Husko

TRENTON — A national grassroots effort kicks off for an American solution that will guarantee family healthcare based on "need" and not "ability" to pay. One organization is calling on our next elected president and congress to make healthcare legislation the first order of business in 2009.

Tuesday afternoon in Trenton and in 52 other cities across the country, a new national campaign, "Health Care for America Now", has begun bringing together millions of Americans in demanding affordable healthcare.

"It's time we had an American solution... that provides quality and affordable healthcare for everyone," said Ev Liebman, Director of New Jersey Citizen Action.

"Working Americans are being choked... yet still nothing gets done," said Rex Reid, Political Representative, AFSCME Council 1.

"As a doctor, I come across patients everyday who can't access care... because they can't afford it," said Dr. Snehal Bhatt, New Jersey Vice President, Committee of Interns and Residents/SEIU.

So this grassroots effort is calling on legislators and citizens to answer just one question...which side are you on? The side where patients are at the mercy of private insurance companies or on the side where every patient has an equal and affordable choice for insurance?

"Few of us anymore can count on quality affordable healthcare when we need it in our communities," said Jeanne Oterson, Public Policy Director, Health Professionals and Allied Employees.

"No one should have to choose between paying for medicine... or putting food on the table... no one should have to choose between going to the doctor... or paying their electric bill," explained Dr. Bhatt.

So what they propose is a guarantee of standard comprehensive benefits that meet patients' needs with no exclusions.

"Justice demands healthcare be provided based on need and not simply a person's ability to pay," said Reverend Bruce Davidson, Director, Lutheran Office of Government Ministries.

So they are calling on our new president that will be elected this fall and congress to make affordable healthcare the very first priority in 2009.

"We will be demanding of our elected representatives and candidates in this year's election... that they tell us what side they're on so we can tell information to voters... so they can make decisions when going to the polls," said Liebman.

The campaign will host events in 42 other cities across the nation and between now and election day, the group will ask every legislator and each American to make a choice.

Earlier today Governor Corzine signed a bill expanding a government health insurance program that is the first step in requiring that all New Jerseyans have health insurance by 2011.

"Health Care for America Now" supports the states efforts and is pushing for more to happen on the federal level.

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