Nurses Criticize Benishek Over Medicare

Upper Peninsula nurses are trying to send a message to the U.P.’s representative in congress.

They want Congressman Dan Benishek to re–think his ideas about Medicare.

The Michigan Nurses Association has paid for a moving billboard to travel the state.

The billboard protests Benishek’s views and votes on Medicare.

It rolled through Marquette on Saturday.

Local nurses say Benishek opposes Medicare in its current form.

Barbara Davis, a registered nurse who worked at Dickinson County Healthcare System in Iron Mountain for many years, says Benishek supports using vouchers and the idea of buying insurance on the open market across state lines.

Davis says this would be very expensive for anyone on a fixed income, whether they have a pension or not and whether they receive Social Security or not.

She says many seniors are already struggling to pay for housing, their utilities and their food, and she’s concerned that many would have no health care without Medicare.

Carolyn Hietamaki, a registered nurse at Marquette General, says older patients she’s seen who have Medicare seek treatment for their medical issues sooner that they would otherwise.

She says those treatments are less expensive than ER visits.

Hietamaki says if Medicare were replaced with vouchers, many of the older patients she sees wouldn’t come in for treatment until they have much more severe injuries and health care problems.

After making the rounds through Marquette early Saturday afternoon, the moving billboard made its way to Ishpeming and Negaunee later in the day.

The Michigan Nurses Association has a website with an online petition regarding Benishek and Medicare.

Congressman Benishek also provided ABC 10 with a response.

You can find a story we produced about that response here.