The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Mark Almberg, (312) 782-6006,

Single-Payer Advocate Speaks to Blue Dogs on Health Reform


Dr. Robert Stone, a leader of Physicians for a National Health
Program, an organization of 16,000 physicians who advocate for
single-payer national health insurance, spoke to the Health Care Task
Force of the Democratic Blue Dog Coalition on Capitol Hill Thursday.

In his remarks, Stone emphasized how single-payer health reform, as embodied in the U.S. National Health Care Act, H.R. 676, is the most fiscally responsible way of addressing the nation's health care woes.

Stone said that by replacing the for-profit, private health
insurance companies with a single-payer program aEUR" an improved
Medicare for All aEUR" the United States would save more than $400
billion in administrative costs annually. He also said that single
payer is only reform proposal that includes effective cost-containment

"In fact, the strongest argument for Medicare for All is that it
is the most efficient reform proposal with the greatest ability to
control costs" Stone said. "That is exactly why so many members of
the "medical-industrial complex" oppose such a plan, because, as
the Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman has said, "Remember
that what the rest of us call health care costs, they call income."

"In short, single payer is the only plan that pays for itself and
covers everyone. It's fiscally conservative and socially
responsible," Stone said.

The Blue Dog Coalition's Health Care Task Force was launched in
March at the time of President Obama's White House summit on health
care reform. It is chaired by Rep. Mike Ross of Arkansas, and its
members include Rep. Jim Cooper of Tennessee, Rep. John Barrow of
Georgia, Rep. Earl Pomeroy of North Dakota and Rep. Baron Hill of
Indiana, among others. Like the Blue Dog caucus itself, the task force
emphasizes fiscal conservatism.

Rep. Hill helped arrange the invitation for Stone to speak to the group.

Several members of the Blue Dog caucus were co-sponsors of the single-payer bill, H.R. 676, in the 110th Congress.

Stone is the director and co-founder of Hoosiers for a Commonsense
Health Plan (HCHP) and the state coordinator of Indiana for Physicians
for a National Health Program. He has been an emergency department
physician at Bloomington (Ind.) Hospital since 1983, and was the
medical director of the Community Health Access Program Clinic in
Bloomington from 2005 to 2007, until it was transformed into the
Volunteers in Medicine Clinic. He continues to volunteer at the new
clinic. He is assistant clinical professor of emergency medicine at
Indiana University School of Medicine.

Born and raised in Evansville, Ind., Stone graduated from Dartmouth
College and the University of Colorado Medical School. He is a Diplomat
of the American Board of Emergency Medicine.

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.