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UPMC, AGH Nurses Meet With Obama to Talk Health Care

UPMC, AGH Nurses Meet With Obama to Talk Health Care

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

September 14, 2009

WASHINGTON — The morning after addressing Congress, President Barack Obama seemed energized as he met a UPMC Shadyside oncology nurse whose tale he was using as part of a call for nurses’ support in the health care debate.

Theresa Brown described the president as “ebullient” as he embarked on an aggressive push yesterday to build on his speech to swing the health care reform debate and prod Congress to pass a bill to provide universal health insurance.

About 150 nurses gathered yesterday in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, including Ms. Brown and 17 nurses who drove down from Allegheny General Hospital on a day’s notice.

Mr. Obama quoted from a blog post by Ms. Brown, who wrote about a patient who spent much of his dying months worrying about how to pay for his leukemia treatments.

More Health Reform News

“That’s why we need health care reform,” Mr. Obama said, quoting Ms. Brown.

It’s too early to tell if Mr. Obama’s prime-time speech halted the upsurge of criticism of his health reform plans. But Pittsburgh’s nursing contingent expressed support for Mr. Obama’s goals because uninsured patients strain hospitals’ finances by leaving large unpaid bills.

Several of the nurses also support Mr. Obama’s plans to bring additional Wcompetition to the insurance market through a health insurance exchange, in which the uninsured can choose from a menu of competing options.

Cathy Stoddart, a kidney transplant nurse at AGH, said that Highmark’s near-monopoly on the Western Pennsylvania insurance market makes it difficult to negotiate.

“If there’s competition, maybe our hospital won’t have to fight for decent rates” of reimbursement, she said.

Ms. Stoddart, the policy and politics chair for the National Nurse Alliance, a part of the Service Employees International Union, got a call from the White House on Wednesday inviting her to bring a group down. She brought 15 union members and two managers from the hospital — Judith Zedreck, chief nursing officer, and Angela Costa, who manages the neuro intensive care unit — to show their support for health care reform.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 5 years ago


    I'm looking forward to President Obama's healthcare plan. I say that because I am a nurse who is working and cannot get health insurance. My recent diagnosis of systemic lupus puts me as high risk.This makes the premiums of insurance are far more than I can afford.Because I am working I don't qualify for any medical benefits,even with a share of cost.Since I'm only 54 .I don't qualify for medicare.I know that a time will come when I won't be able to work,then I will qualify, until then MD office visits range from 150.00 to350.00 each,not to mention RX costs. I work full time and have the past 28 years.Not having insurance is very frightening and will affect my health care in the future.

  • Me_-_sept__2006_max50


    over 5 years ago


    I believe healthcare reform is needed but not under the guiseof government control. The government needs to be the government and butt out of health care and private industry. There needs to be competition among insurance companies but not government regulation. The government has been trying to regulate healthcare for over 20 years. They need to figure it out and move on to the next project.

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