News Release

Obama on Healthcare: “Let me Know”


During last night’s State of the Union address, President Obama stated: “But if anyone from either party has a better approach that will bring down premiums, bring down the deficit, cover the uninsured, strengthen Medicare for seniors, and stop insurance company abuses, let me know. Let me know. Let me know. I’m eager to see it.”

Flowers is a pediatrician with Physicians for a National Health Program. She has written an open letter to Obama that she is delivering to the White House today, stating that a single-payer, or expanded Medicare-for-all, plan would fulfill the criteria laid out by Obama.

Her letter states: “There was an opportunity this past year to create universal and financially-sustainable health care reform rather than expensive health insurance reform.

“As you well know, the United States spends the most per capita on health care in the world yet leaves millions of people out and receives poor return on those health care dollars in terms of health outcomes and efficiency. This poor value for our health care dollar is due to the waste of having so many insurance companies. At least a third of our health care dollars go towards activities that have nothing to do with health care such as marketing, administration and high executive salaries and bonuses. This represents over $400 billion per year which could be used to pay for health care for all of those Americans who are suffering and dying from preventable causes.”

In 2003, Obama stated: “I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer universal health care program. [applause] I see no reason why the United States of America, the wealthiest country in the history of the world, spending 14 percent of its gross national product on health care cannot provide basic health insurance to everybody. And that’s what Jim is talking about when he says everybody in, nobody out. A single payer health care plan, a universal health care plan. And that’s what I’d like to see.” See video.

When questioned at a town hall meeting on May 14, 2009, Obama stated in response to a question: “For those of you who don’t know … Medicare is sort of like a single-payer system, but only for people over 65. And the way it works is that you don’t have insurance companies as middlemen; the government goes directly and pays doctors or nurses. If I were starting a system from scratch, I think the idea of moving to a single-payer system could very well make sense, that’s the type of system you have in most industrialized countries around the world. The only problem is that we’re not starting from scratch.” See video.

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167