The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Deb Richter
Call 802-371-7764

Urgent Message to Single Payer Supporters of New England

Join us for Obama regional governor's health care summit in Vermont to Insist on Single Payer


Vermont Governor Jim Douglas and Massachusetts Governor Deval
Patrick have been asked by President Obama to host a regional New
England health care summit at the University of Vermont on March 17th.
We do not expect to be invited not do we expect single payer to be

At the recent White House summit on health reform the first person
to speak at the close of the forum was the head of the American Health
Insurers Plans. The rest of those in attendance were mostly lobbyists
from special interest groups. The single payer view was all but

In fact, no single payer advocate was invited until thousands of
messages reached the White House, including word that doctors were
going to protest on the sidewalk. At the end of the day prior to the
summit, the White House quickly invited a solitary physician to
represent the view of a large majority of physicians and a overwhelming
majority of Americans: we need single payer national health insurance

When it comes to the debate in Washington, DC,
single payer stands ignored, like the elephant in the room, in spite of
all of the evidence that it saves money, contains future spending, will
include everyone and will improve the economy. But with the last minute
invitation to the White House we learned an important lesson:

We can make a difference! Right now we are the marginalized
majority. We might expect this treatment from the Bush administration.
But it is unforgivable from President Obama. The majority of Americans
want a single payer health care system in the United States. The
majority of doctors want single payer. The President has promised an
open, transparent process, with all proposals considered. It is time to
insist that single payer be a part of this process.

We are organizing a peaceful and respectful protest in front of the
summit meeting at the University of Vermont Davis Center in Burlington,
Vermont at 12 noon. If there ever was a day to drop what you are doing
and come, this is it. There will be national and local media there. We
need hundreds of people to come from all over New England and New York.
We urge health professionals to come and bring your white coats and

NOTE: The Davis Center is on Main Street but its entrance faces into the campus.

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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 21,000 members and chapters across the United States.