‘We nurses are on the front line’

Mary Jane Shanklin, RN

This testimony was given at a forum of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.

I’m a proud union member of National Nurses United. You know, the folks wearing red scrubs that show up everywhere giving out Medicare for All signs? That’s us! We helped make Bernie and Medicare for All household words, and we are proud allies of the Poor People’s Campaign. Because we nurses are on the front line.

We are the ones holding the hands of poor people everywhere who are dying in our ER’s and our ICU’s of treatable illnesses. People can’t afford to get insurance or go to the doctor, so their high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes and mental illnesses are untreated, and folks are dying unnecessarily. And the nurses are really, really tired
of seeing this. It is so hard on everyone,
so discouraging, so depressing that we are outraged and are fighting back.

   Did you know that in Kansas we have a host of issues that are getting worse and worse because our legislature will not expand Medicaid?


Kansas farmers are committing suicide at a far greater rate than the national average, and all the urban average. It is happening worldwide. Why? Because farmers are stressed out.

The are usually in debt up to their eyeballs trying to pay for all the equipment it takes to run a farm: tractors, combines, planters, balers, cattle haulers. They are in the most dangerous line of work there is, yet many can’t afford health insurance.


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