News Release

Health Care Summit: Single Payer Excluded?


Editor of Corporate Crime Reporter, Mokhiber just wrote the piece “Obama to Single Payer Advocates: Drop Dead,” which states: “President Obama’s White House made crystal clear this week: a Canadian-style, Medicare-for-all, single payer health insurance system is off the table. Obama doesn’t even want to discuss it.

“Take the case of Congressman John Conyers (D-Michigan). Conyers is the leading advocate for single payer health insurance in Congress. Last week, Conyers attended a Congressional Black Caucus meeting with President Obama at the White House.

“During the meeting, Congressman Conyers, sponsor of the single payer bill in the House (HR 676), asked President Obama for an invite to the president’s March 5 health care summit at the White House.

“Conyers said he would bring along with him two doctors — Dr. Marcia Angell and Dr. Quentin Young …

“Obama would have none of it. … Obama has become the industry’s chief enforcer of its key demand: single payer health insurance is off the table. Earlier this week, Obama named his health reform leadership team — Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius and Nancy-Ann DeParle.

“Single payer advocates were not happy.

“Since leaving Medicare, DeParle cashed in as a director at major for-profit health care corporations, including Medco Health Solutions, Cerner, Boston Scientific, DaVita and Triad Hospitals.”

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Woolhandler and Himmelstein are associate professors of medicine at Harvard University and the co-founders of Physicians for a National Health Program. Himmelstein said today: “We’re telling the Obama people their plan costs much more than what they are saying. The cost containment they’re claiming for their plan won’t work, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Obama is saying computers are going to save massive amounts of money. The Congressional Budget Office says there’s no evidence for that at all. … We could get real efficiencies, but only if we get the insurance companies out of the system. We do $400 billion each year in useless billing-related paperwork in health care, and there’s no way of getting rid of that unless you get rid of the private health insurance companies.

“Many people are looking to the Massachusetts plan as a model, but it’s extremely problematic. In fact, there are lots of uninsured people left in Massachusetts despite massive spending.

“A huge part of the problem is that the politicians reflect their funders. Max Baucus, who’s the driving force in the Senate at this point, is one of the biggest recipients of HMO dollars in this country. He got $200,000 in donations. The only people who got more were John McCain and Hillary Clinton.

“What we need is simple national health insurance: People pay taxes to government, and the government provides a social insurance program that covers everybody for all medically necessary care and pays the hospitals and doctors and nurses and nursing homes that provide that care. It’s a program like Canada’s, though we spend twice what Canada does per person and ought to be able provide even better care than they do in Canada. There are things we say are not appropriate for the market, like the fire department and the police department. Medical care ought to be one of those.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167