Health Care Summit: Single Payer Excluded?

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Health Care Summit: Single Payer Excluded?

WASHINGTON -  
RUSSELL MOKHIBER

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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STEFFIE WOOLHANDLER
DAVID HIMMELSTEIN
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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A nationwide consortium, the Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA) represents an unprecedented effort to bring other voices to the mass-media table often dominated by a few major think tanks. IPA works to broaden public discourse in mainstream media, while building communication with alternative media outlets and grassroots activists.

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