Having already presented a Chutzpah of the Week award to Howard Dean for asking "Where's the reform?" in the health care bill that was debated in the Senate, I may be accused by some of being redundant in offering another award for the same reason. However, until a bill actually makes it from the Congress to the President's desk (and, for that matter, until the President actually signs what is given to him), this question cannot be asked too often (or loudly) enough. I was reminded of this while reading John Nichols' 2009 "MVP" (for Most Valuable Progressives) list from the January 11, 2010 issue of The Nation, now posted on that magazine's Web site. Within my own state the burden of the where's-the-reform question has been assumed by Nichols' Most Valuable Union, the California Nurses Association. Here are his grounds for awarding them:
Fiercely independent and combative--a magazine they fund for activist nurses is dubbed Revolution--CNA inserted itself into the 2009 healthcare debate as a steady proponent of a single-payer system along the Medicare for All lines supported by such groups as Physicians for a National Health Plan. When Congressional Democrats equivocated and pulled punches, CNA called them out and explained how big insurance companies might come out ahead under many of the "reform" proposals. CNA also came up with innovative ways to highlight the public health threat posed by barriers to care--for instance, when everyone was getting scared about the H1N1 virus, the union proposed suspending co-pays and deductibles as well as other financial barriers that prevent giving quick treatment to all swine flu victims. CNA ended the year by pulling together independent nurses' groups from across the country into National Nurses United, which veteran CNA executive director Rose Ann DeMoro promised to build into "The RN Super Union."
Things do not look good for the CNA getting the single-payer system they advocate so strongly; but they definitely deserve a Chutzpah of the Week award for sticking to their guns!