Doctors' Group: Obama Plan Leaves Millions Uninsured, Boosts Private Insurers

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Mark Almberg, PNHP, (312) 782-6006, cell: (312) 622-0996, mark@pnhp.org

Doctors' Group: Obama Plan Leaves Millions Uninsured, Boosts Private Insurers

WASHINGTON - President
Obama's health care proposal, preserving as it does a central role for
the for-profit, private health insurance industry, is incapable of
achieving the kind of universal, comprehensive and affordable reform
the country needs, a spokesman for a national doctors' group said
Wednesday.

"Regrettably,
the president's proposal is built on some of the worst aspects of the
Senate bill," said Dr. Quentin Young, national coordinator of
Physicians for a National Health Program, an organization of 17,000
doctors who support single-payer, Medicare-for-All approach to reform.
Young's statement comes on the eve of the president's bipartisan summit
in Washington.

"For
example, the president's proposal would ship hundreds of billions of
taxpayer dollars to the private health insurance industry in the form
of subsidies," Young said. "And to help finance this, it would impose a
new tax on health benefits of workers, especially those in high-cost
states.

"Its
individual mandate would force millions of middle-income uninsured
Americans to buy insurers' skimpy products - insurance policies full of
gaps like ever-rising co-pays, deductibles and premiums. Such policies
already leave middle-class American families vulnerable to economic
hardship and medical bankruptcy in the event of a serious illness like
cancer," continued Young, citing a recent study.

"Even
so, at least 23 million people would remain uninsured," he said. "We
know that being uninsured raises your chance of dying by about 40
percent," he continued, citing another recent study. "That translates into about 23,000 unnecessary deaths each year. As physicians, we find this completely unacceptable."

"In
short," Young said, "this proposal is an insurance company bonanza, not
good, evidence-based health reform. The president would do better by
abandoning the insurance and drug companies and instead taking up the
single-payer approach." His group has estimated that such an approach
could save hundreds of billions of dollars annually by simplifying health administration.

"By
building on and improving the already popular Medicare program, we
could put our patients' interests first," he said. "Were President
Obama to do so, he would meet with strong public support, including
from the medical community."

Although the physicians' group requested an invitation
to Thursday's summit at Blair House, no reply from the White House has
been forthcoming, Young said. Similarly, requests from Reps. Dennis
Kucinich of Ohio, Anthony Weiner of New York and Peter Welch of Vermont
president that single-payer advocates be included in the meeting have
apparently gone unanswered.

Outside the Blair House on Thursday, a grassroots "Sidewalk Summit for Medicare for All" will underscore popular support for the measure.

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Physicians for a National Health Program is a single issue organization advocating a universal, comprehensive single-payer national health program. PNHP has more than 15,000 members and chapters across the United States.

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