From PDA via Healthcare-NOW!

“The October 20 ‘Healthcare for All’ rally at the capital rotunda in Harrisburg, Pa., was a huge success,” said Tim Carpenter, PDA National Director. “Anywhere from 700 to 1200 supporters turned out during the course of the event.”

The rally was organized in support of Pennsylvania’s single-payer healthcare legislation and was co-sponsored by many state and national organizations advocating for healthcare system overhaul, including the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals (PASNAP), the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, Healthcare for All Pennsylvania, Progressive Democrats of America, Healthcare-Now, Physicians for a National Health Program, the Western PA Coalition for Single-Payer Healthcare, and the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO.

Donna Smith, American SiCKO, and Wendell Potter, former CIGNA executive turned whistleblower (pictured above) were among the many speakers at the event and have become “unlikely friends,” according to Smith. During Potter’s tenure, Donna and her husband Larry were bankrupted due to medical crisis even though they carried health insurance coverage, disability insurance and a small healthcare savings account.

Donna told Wendell, “I forgive you.”

Wendell worked as an executive in the private, for-profit insurance industry (for Humana and then CIGNA) until May of 2008 when he finally decided he could not play a part in the suffering that resulted from so many of the practices of the industry.

The crowd of hundreds cheered, as Wendell teared up, embraced Donna and said, “God bless you.”

Keith Martin at the IFA webnews site reported:

Advocates of state or federal sponsored universal health care, including two Pennsylvania state legislators, gathered at the State Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa., to promote their solution to the nation’s coverage crisis.

State Sen. Jim Ferlo (D-Pittsburgh) and State Rep. Kathy Manderino (D- Philadelphia/Montgomery) were among the speakers at a rally Oct. 20 to call for action, including increasing attention paid to two bills they have sponsored to bring a single-payer system to Pennsylvania.

“We need real solutions to solve our current healthcare crisis,” Ferlo said. “The single- payer strategy is the only way to remove the waste in the system and provide universal coverage.”

Ferlo has introduced the Family and Business Healthcare Security Act (SB 400), which would employ a pair of new taxes to pay for universal coverage. A 3% personal income tax for individuals and a 10% payroll tax on businesses would be levied. The new taxes, along with existing Medicaid/Medicare, tobacco settlement funds and other existing health care dollars would pay for the single-payer approach under his proposed legislation.

Ferlo said among the goals in his bill are quality medical, dental and mental health care for every Pennsylvania resident, the establishment of a Health Care Trust owned and controlled by residents as the single payer for health care, eliminating “the existing wasteful and inefficient system of multiple third party payers” and relieving employers from the responsibility of selecting, pricing and administering health insurance.

“We have organized a very diverse group that allows us to demonstrate wide-spread support for the single payer concept,” Ferlo said in a statement. “The last step is to bring our story and solutions to other elected officials so that they can understand and appreciate that a single payer system is the best path to take.”

Manderino’s proposed legislation (HB 1600) would create the Pennsylvania Health Care Plan, a statewide, comprehensive health care system providing comprehensive coverage to all state residents. Like Ferlo’s plan, Manderino’s bill also would create a state health care trust fund, within the state treasury office, and the same individual and business taxes to help fund the new program.

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