The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Healthcare Reform and the 'Marginalization of the Majority'


America's Health Insurance Plans, the main Washington lobbying group for the health insurance corporations, is holding its annual meeting Wednesday at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in downtown Washington.

Editor of Corporate Crime Reporter, Mokhiber organized a protest Wednesday outside the meeting. He recently wrote the piece "March 11: Burn Your Health Insurance Bill Day" and is launching a new group, Single Payer Action.

See American News Project's video of a Tuesday protest.

MacDonald is communications director with FAIR, the media watch group, which recently released the study "Media Blackout on Single-Payer Healthcare: Proponents of popular policy shut out of debate."

On Thursday, the first of several regional White House Forums on Health Care Reform is taking place at the Ford Conference Center in Dearborn, Mich.

Ross is an internist at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center, in Toledo, Ohio, and has many patients in Michigan. He is also a past president of Physicians for a National Health Program, a national organization of 15,000 doctors who support single-payer national health insurance. Ross will be participating in a rally and news conference outside the forum under the banner "marginalization of majority opinion." Almberg is communications director for PNHP.

In a statement, PNHP wrote: "While acknowledging that a very small number of single-payer supporters have been invited to the forum, physicians wearing their white coats and other health reform advocates will assert that national health insurance is being accorded a minor, marginalized role at the forum, even though surveys show two-thirds of Americans and 59 percent of U.S. physicians support it. They will also present forum conveners with letters signed by members of Detroit-area churches in support of H.R. 676, the U.S. National Health Care Act, a single-payer bill sponsored by Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.).

"Rally participants will demand that the single-payer model be 'on the table' as a full-fledged option and given pride of place, given its proven effectiveness in providing universal, comprehensive care; its ability to contain costs; and the fact that its annual savings in administrative costs -- $400 billion -- will mean that it will require no increase in health spending."

Cholger is a staffer with the United Steel Workers in Detroit. He said today: "Single payer makes sense because it basically takes the insurance companies out of the formula. We're wasting a big part of every healthcare dollar on overhead because of them. Medicare operates at only 3 percent overhead, so 97 percent goes to actual healthcare. The insurance companies and their inefficiencies are hurting our economy as a whole. When you buy a car, more money goes to healthcare than to steel."

The Detroit Free Press reports that "Regional White House Forums on Health Reform will also be held in California, Iowa, North Carolina and Vermont throughout March and early April."
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