While doing a little light reading tonight, I learned what one of the Minnesota Nurses’ Association’s highest priorities for 2010 was. Here’s their stated goals for 2010:

Member and staff time, as well as substantial financial resources, will be committed to advancing the following areas of priority.

  • Position MNA for negotiations from strength across Minnesota
  • Organize to increase MNA membership and participation and promote MNA mission and strategic goals through political activism and collective action.
  • Educate and mobilize members around health care reform, and pursue short and long-term strategies to achieve a single-payer health care system with guaranteed health care for all.
  • Ensure the integrity of nursing practice and advance safe patient staffing standards and principles through collective action, collective bargaining, legislative initiative, grassroots organizing, political action and education consistent with the MNA Strategic Plan and the objectives of National Nurses United (NNU).

If anyone thinks that these progressives have quit fighting for their dream (our nightmare) of a single-payer healthcare system, they’d better rethink things. That’s been the progressives’ goal for three-fourth’s of a century. Insinuated in the MNA’s goals is that these nurses know what’s best in terms of what’s a viable economic model. There’s no question that nurses ar professionals in terms of providing care. Likewise, there’s no question that they’re totally wrong about single-payer. In 2008, I studied single-payer. The most damning statements about single-payer, ironically, came from single-payer advocates. Here’s was AMSA said at the time:

Although there are some advantages and some disadvantages to each system, universal health care confers the greatest number of advantages. They include:

  1. Every individual would receive necessary medical coverage, regardless of age, health, employment, or socio-economic status.
  2. Health care spending would decline because centralized billing procedures would reduce administrative overhead. Consequently, a larger percentage of the cost of health care would actually be spent on patient treatment.
  3. Increased access to preventive care and the ability of government to purchase prescription medications in bulk would also help drive down health care costs. However, the corresponding drop in revenue for pharmaceutical companies could lead to a reduction in overall research and development, slowing down technological advancement.
  4. Patients can choose their physician and physicians can choose the most appropriate treatment for their patients.
  5. There would be a removal of profit-motive in health care. The driving force behind the health industry would be patient care and not profit maximization.

This sentence should scare anyone whose family a) has a history of heart problems, b) has aging parents or c) is prone to cancer:

“The corresponding drop in revenue for pharmaceutical companies could lead to a reduction in overall research and development, slowing down technological advancement.”

Single-payer advocates admit that the explosion of wonder drugs from the 80s and 90s would slow to the trickle of the single-payer system. This sentence essentially admits that this advocacy group is delusional:

There would be a removal of profit-motive in health care. The driving force behind the health industry would be patient care and not profit maximization.

Without “a profit-motive in health care”, there won’t be high quality health care from border to border or from coast to coast. Removing the incentive removes the product. Yes, I’ll state that categorically. Free market capitalism at its finest is simply betting on human nature. Socialism is betting that central planners can hoodwink people into betting against human nature.

That might work for brief periods of time but those lapses quickly get corrected. It appears that the MNA is almost as interested in driving the progressives’ political agenda as it’s interested in caring for patients or advocating for sane health care policies. If the MNA doesn’t want their credibility tarnished, they’d better return to caring for people rather than being another wing of the DFL. Blindly carrying the DFL’s water won’t help that union’s image.

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3 Responses to “Single-Payer: MNA’s Mission”

  • Mary says:

    The MNA has been blindly carrying the DFL’s water for decades. One of the many reasons I left a really good job that I really liked as a nurse in one of the Twin Cities contract hospitals in 1995. I needed to get away from the MNA once I realized they were spending my dues money on political campaigns, and NOT for candidates I would choose. That money was also paying lobbyists who supported tax payer funded abortions and anti-second amendment rights legislation. My what you find out when you belong to a “bargaining unit” (MNA euphamism for UNION) and finally take the time to read the newsletter carefully and figure out what they are up to. Of course, when the bios are printed for those running for office for the organization, there was never any information given about political philosophy. It was always just what each person would do to help promote nursing and safe patient care.

    You will recall that last summer the MNA was promoting nurses salaries, pensions, and safe staffing patterns during their intense bargaining with the hospitals. I was very disappointed to see that when they settled the contract, the MNA dropped one of their demands — the demand for safe staffing patterns. I was however not surprised. Nurses better watch what they wish for with single payer system. Too many patients and too few nurses. There is already a shortage. Job satisfaction will plummet. Just as in the 1990’s — the good ones will leave, and others will not go into the field. Patient care will deteriotate. I am sad to see what the MNA has done to nursing. I am glad to no longer be associated with them.

  • Mary says:

    Oh, and one more thing. In a single payer system, what will happen to the nice salary and benefits that nurses now receive? As a retired nurse, I believe nurses should get a good salary and benefits. I do not believe that will remain in a single payer system as hospitals will be reimbursed less for care of patients and care will be rationed. I heard this multiple times from patients who came from countries that had single payer systems to the unit on which I worked. They all spoke of the salaries, the poor care, and the rationing.

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