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Press release from California Nurses Association

June 14, 2000

California's Largest RN Group Endorses Ralph Nader
CNA Cites Nader's Advocacy of a National Health Care Plan

The California Nurses Association today endorsed longtime consumer champion Ralph Nader for President of the United States.

The announcement was made at a press conference in Washington D.C. where Nader was joined by CNA's President Kay McVay, RN, and Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro. With 31,000 members in over 100 hospitals, clinics and home health agencies, CNA is the largest organization of registered nurses in California. At the heart of CNA's endorsement, said McVay, is Nader's "outspoken stance on behalf of an overhaul of the nation's health care system, and strong advocacy of nurses' and patients' rights."

"Registered Nurses and R.N. - Ralph Nader - have a lot in common," said McVay, standing before a banner reading, "RNs for R.N. - Nader for President."

"Both embrace a principled stand of advocacy for patients and consumers. Both have a history of challenging the corporate might of the insurance and hospital industry. Both have a history of fighting for public health and safety."

"At a time when nearly 45 million Americans are uninsured," McVay said, "Ralph Nader is the only candidate for President to stand for universal health care, including a national health insurance plan that guarantees access to full health care services for every man, woman and child in the United States."

"As HMOs establish new gatekeeping barriers, as hospital chains have cut services and closed hospitals and emergency rooms, Ralph Nader has worked tirelessly with nurses and patients, with CNA, and with other consumer groups, to bring comprehensive health care services to everyone, regardless of age, employment status, or ability to pay," said McVay.

"He has devoted his life to improving the human condition - and seeking ways to assure availability of safe, quality, therapeutic health care for all is central to that goal," McVay said. "Ralph Nader," DeMoro added, "understands the absolute right of patients to have nurses and doctors who are not constrained by corporate control of medicine.

DeMoro said Nader "has been as consistent and powerful a proponent for nurses as he has been for patients and the public interest." Nader and CNA have worked together for years on behalf of sweeping health care reform and patient protection measures, she noted.

Four years ago, Nader campaigned throughout California on behalf of Prop. 216, the Patient Protection Act, co-sponsored by CNA and Nader-ally Harvey Rosenfeld. Though that measure lost, it was the model of many HMO reform measures since adopted in California and other states, and most of its provisions have now become law.

CNA's Board of Directors hope the endorsement will help bring Nader's message to millions, and influence the public policy debate on badly needed health care reform, DeMoro said. "In the next few months, we have a rare opportunity to fundamentally change the course of politics as usual in this country. Nader is a unique political leader in his ability to inspire civic involvement, not cynicism, and we believe his message will help encourage more people, especially the disenchanted, to participate in the political process and vote," she said.

Like CNA, "Nader has grown increasingly inpatient with the distortion of our health care system by private interests willing to sacrifice public health for private gain. He has become a leading national critic of the cutthroat policies of the HMOs, and a compassionate advocate for patients harmed by corporate health care industry abuses," DeMoro noted.

Nurses, said McVay, "have seen too many people die needlessly, too many people suffer, and too many families destroyed by inadequate access to care, or routine denial of services. We believe that quality health care is a fundamental human right."

"What makes Ralph Nader stand apart is his uncompromising commitment to a comprehensive program for universal health care for all, and his unwillingness to play politics on health care while peoples' lives hang in the balance. He is the real thing, and he deserves the support of caregivers," McVay said.

Contact: Charles Idelson, 510-273-2246, (pg) 415-559-8991

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