The U.S Supreme Court decision, Citizen's United, allows corporations to spend unlimited money to influence public election resulting in corporate interests taking precedence over the interests of the public. Citizen's United threatens both public health and our democracy: for the people, by the people.
Unfortunately, in the U.S., corporations have a long history of making public health a non priority as they promote the sale and use of unsafe and often dangerous products. Citizen's United is the biggest threat yet to the well being of our citizens. Eliminating asbestos and lead paint, motor vehicle safety standards, tobacco warning labels, food and pharmaceutical safety are all things that would not have occurred in the presence of Citizen's United. Corporations are already in the wallets of our politicians as demonstrated by the passage of H.R. 933, which protects corporations from liability associated with selling products without adequately investigating their safety. Do we really want them to have more influence? As a nurse working in N.H., I have applauded those hospitals that have banned free lunches from pharmaceutical companies. As consumers, we expect our health care providers to make decisions based on our best interest not on the incentives they receive from drug companies. Shouldn't we expect the same from our legislators?
HCR-2 is a resolution currently in the New Hampshire legislature to support a constitutional amendment to re-establish the authority of the states and Congress to regulate campaign spending. In the interest of public safety and of our democracy, let's demand that our legislators pass this resolution. It is the first step in returning to a government for the people.
Barbara McElroy, RN, CRNI, OCN