Thursday, January 20, 2011

Meet Nicholas Ruiz-- Unlike Rep. Sandy Adams, He Thinks All Americans Should Have The Same Kind Of Health Plan That Adams And Her Family Have


Over the course of the next few months, Blue America plans to help you get to know another courageous, fighting progressive from central Florida, Nicholas Ruiz III. A young father and university professor, Nicholas ran for Congress on the Green Party platform in 2010 and has since re-registered as a Democrat. He's already challenging extreme right-wing Republican freshman Sandy Adams for the right to represent FL-24, folks in Orange, Seminole, Volusia and Brevard counties who dumped one-term conservative Democrat Suzanne Kosmas in November. Kosmas was one of 39 Democrats to join with the Republicans voting against the historic Affordable Health Care for America Act on November 7, 2009. She and Sandy Adams saw eye to eye on that one-- tax-payer subsidized health care for them and their families-- but no health care reform for the people of Central Florida.

Along with our friends at Daily Kos, Blue America wants to make sure residents of FL-24 know about the vote yesterday and know that their newly elected congresswoman voted to take away their rights under the health care legislation-- while keeping her own. Up top is the radio ad we'd like to run-- please contribute here for that ad and a similar one in New Jersey, as well as for the congressional campaigns of Nicholas in Florida and Ed Potosnak in New Jersey. Hell, if we bring in enough contributions, we can run them all over the country! After all, every single Republican-- 242 of 'em-- plus 3 super-reactionary Blue Dogs who think just like them-- voted for repeal yesterday. Here's the text of the ad:
Equal protection, it’s the American way, but when it comes to health care protections Congresswoman Sandy Adams thinks she deserves better than you. Congresswoman Adams gets affordable health care with protections against insurance companies cutting her and her family off. No life time limits, no annual caps, no preexisting conditions. But yesterday Adams voted to deny you and your family these same protections. That’s not equal, that’s not fair. And that’s not all. Yesterday Congresswoman Adams voted to raise health insurance premiums, take away prescription drug benefits for seniors and lower doctors salaries. That will make it tougher for you to get affordable health care. Call Congresswoman Sandy Adams at 202-225-3121 and tell her: health care protections that are good enough for Congress should be good enough for all of us.

This week the House Energy and Commerce Committee issued a study on the impact of repealing the health care reform law in the 24th district and what the consequences would be for the people there:
* Allowing insurance companies to deny coverage to 129,000 to 333,000 individuals, including 9,000 to 39,000 children, with pre-existing conditions.

* Rescinding consumer protections for 463,000 individuals who have health insurance through their employer or the market for private insurance.

* Eliminating health care tax credits for up to 19,800 small businesses and 176,000 families.

* Increasing prescription drug costs for 11,700 seniors who hit the Part D drug “donut hole” and denying new preventive care benefits to 122,000 seniors.

* Increasing the costs of early retiree coverage for up to 11,100 early retirees.

* Eliminating new health care coverage options for 3,800 uninsured young adults.

* Increasing the number of people without health insurance by 78,000 individuals.

* Increasing the costs to hospitals of providing uncompensated care by $7 million annually.

That's just in Sandy Adams' district. And yesterday, as she threatened she would, Adams voted to repeal the health care reform legislation anyway. Earlier she had voted against a Democratic amendment to force Members of Congress to disclose if they were personally taking tax payer funded health care for themselves and their families. Adams, who is, doesn't feel that's any of her constituents' business and that they have no right to know.

Last November Democrats didn't have much of a choice. Kosmas was against health care reform and Adams was even more against it! In 2012, Democrats and independents will have someone with a starkly different approach to consider. Nicholas sent me the following when Blue America began the endorsement process a couple of weeks ago. We like it-- a lot.
We must decide, once and for all, what sort of society defines America. We have already decided that law enforcement (i.e. the police department) is a guaranteed service for all, regardless of social or economic status. We have also decided that the fire department is a guaranteed service. Our society, rightfully so, honors both of these public features. They are freely available to all, regardless of the size of one's wallet.

Why should healthcare be any different?

Social justice in a lawful commonwealth of society demands that when a person is attacked or threatened by crime or fire, the public will come to his or her aid. And when a person is attacked or threatened by disease, should the public not do the same?

We already employ an integral non-profit, for profit and single payer scaffolding to provide healthcare services. There is no reason to believe that all of these systems may not continue to work side by side in a free society. However, it is difficult to imagine that we can continue to allow profiteering to masquerade as uncontrollable healthcare costs that must consume such a large piece of our national income. Costs will have to be controlled through regulation. What is most important now is to take that final step and declare universal access to comprehensive healthcare as a standard public service, in the same way that fire and police services are a social norm everywhere. When will America realize that it is her ethical, logical, common sense and spiritual duty to provide universal healthcare services to her people?

America must no longer accept the false narrative of scarcity and withholding when it comes to healthcare. Social justice demands that all of our people receive universal access to all of these vital basic services. It is no great nation that denies these basic human services to people. In fact, anything less is uncivilized.

Put a progressive Democrat in Congress.

And yesterday Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius released a new analysis showing that, without the Affordable Care Act, up to 7.8 million non-elderly Florida residents who have some type of pre-existing health condition, like heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis or cancer, would be at risk of losing health insurance when they need it most, or be denied coverage altogether. This isn't something Sandy Adams has to worry about. We subsidize her healthcare.

“The Affordable Care Act is stopping insurance companies from discriminating against Americans with pre-existing conditions and is giving us all more freedom and control over our health care decisions,” said Secretary Sebelius. “The new law is already helping to free Americans from the fear that an insurer will drop, limit or cap their coverage when they need it most. And Americans living with pre-existing conditions are being freed from discrimination in order to get the health coverage they need.”

The new Chairman of Florida's Democratic Party, Rod Smith, is also on the same page as Nicholas on this-- and that's important because if progressives-- Nicholas and any others that run in the state-- are going to have a chance to win, they'll need Rod's backing when the Blue Dogs, like the three who voted to repeal healthcare with the GOP today-- come demanding that the Democrats nominate conservative characters like themselves. Listening to Rod today gives us hope that he'll be backing real Democrats in this cycle:
"Today, House Republicans took a vote that can be viewed at best as a partisan gesture to the extreme right wing of their party and at worst can be considered an affront to millions of middle class Americans. The repeal of the Affordable Care Act, as approved by House Republicans, would have two primary consequences: Americans would be stripped of patient protections and health insurance would become more unaffordable for families and for America as a whole.

"The Republican-approved repeal legislation enables insurance companies to take away individuals’ insurance coverage when they get sick or deny it to them in the first place; it takes Americans’ health care decisions out of the hands of their doctor and puts them into the hands of their insurance provider; it enables insurance companies to raise premiums suddenly and without justification; and it increases America’s deficit by $1 trillion over the next twenty years.

"Unfortunately, Florida’s Republican Members of Congress were among those who are trying to get rid of those critical benefits-- taking away Americans’ health care freedoms. They have reneged on their promise to stand up for the Sunshine State and their actions would saddle Florida’s children with unnecessary and burdensome national debt. I am extremely disappointed by the Republicans’ vote to take these protections from Florida’s families, and I applaud Florida’s Democratic leaders in Congress for doing what is necessary to protect the Affordable Care Act, protect America’s fiscal future, and protect Americans’ health care freedoms.”

Here's the joint Blue America/Daily Kos Act Blue fund-raising page for this project. We've included slots for progressive Democrats Ed Potosnak (NJ) and Nicholas. It'll cost around $2,500 for each district in which we run the ads. Can you help?

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At 8:35 AM, Anonymous Carter said...

Progressives, for the most part, seem impervious to what kind of candidate can win in a district. I know nothing about Nicholas Ruiz but my experiences in Florida tell me that a man with a ponytail is going to have a difficult time winning, right off the bat. Also, Florida election outcomes are pretty much fixed by the statewide Republican Party machine, ie. they're able to alter vote counting, district boundaries, access to voting et al, to make all but the most Democratic areas go for the Repubs. Till progressives fix the underlying structures of Florida politics, we're in deep doo doo. EXAMPLE: Look at Florida recount under Gore-Bush 2000.


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