The Time for Humane Healthcare for All is Now

By Charlotte Zabawa RN

Retired Nurse and MNA Member

I am Charlotte Zabawa, and I am a retired registered nurse and a member of the Minnesota Nurses Association and a member of the SCVWA Indivisible. For many years, I’ve devoted my volunteer time to moving us closer to a humane healthcare system that cares for everyone when they need it, not just when they can afford it. I spent most of my career as a post-partum nurse, and I can tell you how desperately we need to fix our broken healthcare system.

Babies don’t wait to be born until their parents can afford the deductible. Moms don’t wait to go into labor until they have cash for the copay.

My obligation as a nurse is to care for moms, in their first hours after giving birth and their new babies in the first moments of their lives. It was the greatest privilege of my life. BUT I have seen how the stress and worry about medical bills have robbed families of that joy. That’s not right.

Imagine if we had a health care system that didn’t punish people for getting sick or needing care. Imagine if a trip to the hospital meant focusing 100% on healing. Imagine if the birth of a premature baby didn’t mean risking bankruptcy for the family. Even with all the strides we made with the ACA, the worry about bills and debt and bankruptcy are still very real for patients, even those with so called “good insurance”.

Imagine if we had a health care system that valued the inherent worth and dignity of every person, and not just their ability to pay a premium? We could have that with a single payer healthcare system.

Some people tell me That’s not realistic, it’s not politically feasible.” WE can’t afford it. I have to admit, I’m getting pretty tired of hearing these arguments.

WE CAN DO IT. We can do it in Minnesota with a humane health care plan like Senator Marty’s Minnesota Health Plan. We can do it nationally with Representative John Conyers’s HR676, Medicare for All bill.

AND Not only CAN we afford it, single payer healthcare for all will save us money, as individuals, and families, and as taxpayers. And even more importantly, it will save lives.

It will take hard work , BUT WE CAN DO IT . It won’t be easy and it won’t be quick, but I believe with all my heart that a humane healthcare system for all is within our reach, closer than it’s been in decades. It starts with conversations with our neighbors, family and our communities in Minnesota.

Now that I’m retired I can advocate for single payer healthcare full time. As scary as this new political landscape is, I am grateful for the designers of Trumpcare for making the argument for single payer for us.

Since the American Health Care Act boldly and blatantly threatened to TAKE CARE away from 24 million people and drive UP costs for millions more, people who never thought about healthcare reform are organizing in their communities.

The energy in my community, the St. Croix Valley, here at this beautiful gathering, and around the state is like nothing I’ve ever seen. I have met so many new activists who were moved to get involved because they have had enough of the greed of the insurance companies that put profits above the lives of their customers. They’ve had enough of fearing financial ruin just because they got sick and needed care. They’ve had enough, and I’ve had enough. WE AN DO IT

Thank you


(Delivered as a speech to the Indivisible healthcare rally 4/27/17)