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Greens Challenge Baucus & Insurance Defenders to Debate Single-Payer Advocates
WASHINGTON - June 4 - Green Party leaders challenged Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and other defenders of health care reform based on private insurance to debate advocates of Single-Payer national health care in a public forum.
Greens also challenged the major media to broadcast the debate.
"Americans deserve to hear a debate on the merits of
Single-Payer/Medicare For All versus the merits of a health care system
dominated by for-profit insurance companies and HMOs," said Angel
Torres, co-chair of the Green Party of Maricopa County (http://www.maricopagreens.org
"Greens are prepared to defend Single-Payer publicly. We also challenge groups like Physicians for a National Health Program, the Healthcare-Now Coalition, Single-Payer Action, and the California Nurses Association to represent the Single-Payer side. Single-Payer supporters have been fighting to get public attention, especially for Rep. John Conyers' Single-Payer bill, HR 676," said Mr. Torres.
Greens participated in national Day of Action for Single-Payer events throughout the US on May 30 (http://www.gp.org/press/pr-
Sen. Baucus, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, has called Single-Payer "off the table" and barred Single-Payer advocates from participating in committee roundtables on health care reform that took place in May.
In Pennsylvania, Democratic politicians are trying to discourage state Single-Payer advocates (http://www.Healthcare4allPA.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Democrats and
Republicans accepted over $46 million in insurance industry donations
in 2008 (http://www.opensecrets.org/
Greens blast misleading TV ads
Green Party health care activists warned that private insurance defenders are placing ads to mislead the public about health care reform, even to the point of confusing private insurance-based plans favored by President Obama and Democratic leaders with Single-Payer.
Recent TV ads have featured Rick Scott, chair of Conservatives for Patients' Rights, who was fired from his position as CEO of Columbia/HCA in 1997 after he was caught trying defraud the federal and state governments for hundreds of millions of taxpayers' dollars in false Medicare and Medicaid payments, the largest Medicare/Medicaid fraud in history. The company had to pay back $1.7 billion, but Mr. Scott, instead of facing prosecution, received $10 million in severance pay and $300 million worth of stock.
"The last thing private insurance lobbies want is open and honest
discussion about Single-Payer. Sen. Baucus has remained steadfast in
rejecting Single-Payer and excluding advocates from future hearings.
But we're hopeful that Sen. Ted Kennedy will invite pro-Single-Payer
physicians to an upcoming June 10 and 11 hearing hosted by the Senate
Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, which Sen. Kennedy
chairs," said Jody Grage, treasurer of the Green Party of the United
States. (See http://www.opednews.com/
Greens argue that for-profit health insurance adds high costs (administrative overhead, demand for profit) but no value (medical treatment). All other industrial nations guarantee their citizens health care; no one in Canada, which has a Single-Payer system, faces financial ruin because of illness or injury.
Single-Payer, based on Medicare (administrative costs: about 3%),
eliminates the inefficiency of private coverage, drastically cutting
costs while covering all Americans ("everyone in, no one out") and
allowing full choice of physician and hospital. Greens said that the
reforms favored by President Obama and many Democrats don't curb
inefficiency, because they leave the insurance/HMO gatekeepers in
Green leaders noted that polls have shown widespread popular support
for a national health care program that guarantees universal coverage (http://www.wpasinglepayer.