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Vol. 74/No. 25      June 28, 2010

Real face of health-care ‘reform’
Nurses in Minnesota have brought to public attention the real face of health-care “reform” in the United States. More than 12,000 walked off the job June 10 to protest the dangerous understaffing of nurses in hospitals that threatens patients’ lives. They are in a contract fight for a fixed ratio of nurses to patients and no cuts in health benefits and pensions.

While hospital corporations are loading more work on fewer employees President Barack Obama claims his health-care “reform” widens access to medical care. In reality, it perpetuates the deterioration in quality and availability of care for working people.

The scope of cuts to medical care is already devastating. Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami recently ended kidney dialysis treatment for 175 patients who cannot afford insurance. Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta shut down its dialysis clinic last October. Fifteen acute-care hospitals have closed in New Jersey since 1997. Since March 2009 at least three major hospitals have closed in New York City, laying off 6,000 workers.

As the worldwide economic depression unfolds, the capitalist class is driven to boost its profits by speeding up production lines, cutting jobs, and reducing the social wage workers won in previous decades. This goes hand in hand with increasing restrictions on workers’ rights. When California nurses sought to join their Minnesota sisters and brothers in the June 10 strike, a judge issued an injunction against them.

All working people should support the nurses’ fight and oppose the cutbacks in health care. Under the capitalist market system all goods and services are commodities, produced to maximize the profits of the bosses, not to meet human needs.

The Cuban Revolution has demonstrated what can be done when workers take control of the wealth they produce. After the 1959 revolution, Cuban working people took political power out of the hands of the wealthy ruling families. The revolutionary government’s control over state property was used to provide health care, education, and other social needs to workers and farmers. Cuba sent doctors and nurses to provide medical assistance to many countries around the world in a show of international solidarity. Health care in Cuba is no longer a commodity, it’s a right.
Related articles:
Nurses in Minnesota protest cutbacks in 1-day walkout  
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