FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Green Party of the United States
Clinton and Democrats are Obstacles to Real Health Care Reform
WASHINGTON - February 26 - Green Party leaders called on Congress to reject health care reform plans that maintained corporate-based insurance and HMO coverage, and urged passage of a
single-payer national health insurance program.
"America is ready for single-payer," said Maria Allwine, former Green candidate for Maryland State Senate and U.S. Senate and member of the Maryland Universal Health Care Action Network . "We're not ready for another Republican or Democratic proposal that guarantees profits for HMOs and insurance firms, while doing little for America's 46 million uninsured and millions more under-insured. We appeal to Congress, the American people, unions, and health-care providers to reject corporate-friendly managed-care plans and demand national health insurance."
Greens were especially critical of Sen. Hillary Clinton's (D-N.Y.) continuing role in obstructing needed health care reforms.
"Hillary Clinton should be banished from the room when health coverage is discussed," said Rebecca Rotzler, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States and Deputy Mayor of New Paltz, New York. "Ms. Clinton's favoritism towards major insurance companies undermined real health care reform when her husband's administration crafted its managed-care monstrosity in 1993. She and other Democrats remain at the top of the list of recipients of contributions from insurance and pharmaceutical lobbies [http://www.opensecrets.org]."
In the 2006 race for the U.S. Senate, New York Green candidate Howie Hawkins sharply criticized Ms. Clinton for pandering to private health insurance companies and endorsing a Massachusetts bill mandating that consumers buy inadequate private health insurance. Greens running for office in New York, Massachusetts, and numerous other states promoted state-based plans to provide all residents with health care services through publicly-funded coverage.
Greens noted that Democrats and Republicans alike were responding to the growing health care crisis in recent years by siding with corporate insurers and rejecting the principle that federal or state governments should provide coverage, despite poll numbers showing growing majority support for single-payer. During the Clinton-Gore Administration, the Democratic Party deleted national health insurance from its national platform; national health insurance had been a Democratic promise since 1948.
In November, 2003, Republicans in Congress passed a complex Prescription Drug bill that mostly benefits drug firms and advances the long-time Republican ambition to replace Medicare with private coverage <http://www.gp.org/press/pr_11_21_03.html>. More recently, President Bush has cut $28 million from Medicaid to pay for the Iraq War.
Greens noted that profits for the private health insurance industry now consume as much as 30¢ of every health dollar, and that pay for insurance and HMO executives is now in the multimillion-dollar stratosphere, e.g., $29,061,599 for Stephen Wiggins, CEO of Oxford Health Plans, Inc.; $11,568,410 for Wilson Taylor, Chairman and CEO of CIGNA Corporation <http://www.harp.org/hmoexecs.htm>.
According to a 2000 study by Harvard Medical School and the Canadian Institute for Health Information <http://www.hms.harvard.edu/news/releases/0820woolhimmel.html>, U.S. pays 31 cents on every dollar for administrative costs; Canada, under its single-payer system, pays half this amount. Greens further noted that taxpayers and health care providers are already paying health care costs for the uninsured.
"We urge unions and other civil groups to demand single-payer, instead of falling into lockstep with Democrats, or we'll repeat the health care reform debacle of 1993," said John Battista, M.D., former Green candidate for state representative in Connecticut and co-author of his state's single-payer legislation in 1999 (the Connecticut Health Care Security Act). "It's time to reject vaguely defined corporate-friendly 'affordable' health care plans."
"Single-payer will provide quality health coverage for every American regardless of income, ability to pay, residence, age, or prior medical condition at a cost that's far less than working Americans currently pay for private coverage, while providing full choice of physician and hospital," added Dr. Battista. "That's why the Green Party supports single-payer."