MARQUETTE - The Michigan Nurses Association is not pleased with the voting record of U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Crystal Falls, when it comes to health care, and the nurses are making their voices heard.
The group sponsored a traveling billboard that espoused what the MNA called Benishek's "deadly plan" for Medicare, with a tombstone showing Medicare's life spanning from 1965 to 2012.
The billboard truck spent most of Saturday driving through Marquette, Ishpeming and Negaunee.
Pictured is a moving billboard paid for by the Michigan Nurses Association. The billboard, the MNA said, was meant to raise awareness about the stance on Medicare by U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Crystal Falls, which they said was inappropriate. (Journal photo by Jackie Stark)
"We have an issue with Dan Benishek going against Medicare, but voting to save his own health care," said Carolyn Hietamaki, a registered nurse at Marquette General Hospital.
Hietamaki and two fellow RNs, Barbara Davis and Kris Michaelson, said Benishek's plan for Medicare would take vital services away from an at-risk elderly population that may not have other access to health care.
"We see people come in without insurance, and the whole over-60 group, we'll see the same kind of thing we see with the uninsured," said Davis, an emergency room nurse. "They'll be choosing food and housing and heat before they'll choose health care. Many will cut their medications in half or choose the least expensive ones to buy because they can't afford the rest."
The group said access to health care for all senior citizens was a "social justice issue."
According to Raffi Williams, a spokesman for the Benishek campaign, Benishek believes Medicare is an important program worth saving.
"Dr. Dan Benishek knows Barack Obama's health care law will devastate Medicare by gutting $500 billion from the program leaving our seniors worried about receiving care," Williams said. "As a doctor for nearly 30 years, Dr. Dan has been treating Medicare patients and fighting to help preserve and strengthen the program for this generation and future generations."
Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.