The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

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

White House Cherry-Picking Doctors for Meeting


Dr. Margaret Flowers and Dr. Paul Hochfeld will lead a delegation of physicians to the White House on Monday to seek a place at a meeting between President Obama and an estimated 50 doctors who have been invited by the White House to show their support for his health insurance plan.

also via Mark Almberg
Dr. Margaret Flowers, a Maryland pediatrician and congressional fellow for Physicians for a National Health Program, said today: "The current health reform being written in Congress, particularly that being put together in the Senate Finance Committee (which is literally being written by the former vice president of WellPoint, a large insurer), will not be universal and will not control health costs. It will not stop medical bankruptcies and foreclosures due to medical debt. It will not end the suffering and preventable deaths. It will not produce a health care system that uses our health care dollars wisely."

She continued: "We have a simple solution that will end the suffering and save lives: expanded and improved Medicare for All. Most Americans and most physicians support such a measure, but this solution is being excluded. The White House is once again excluding those who advocate for real health reform."

Hochfeld, an Oregon emergency medicine physician, producer of the film "Health, Money and Fear" and a member of "Mad as Hell Doctors," said today: "In a brash move, the White House is again demonstrating the exclusion of those who advocate for real health reform. ... At the end of August, in response to the heated Town Halls and the opposition to health reform, Physicians for a National Health Program and the Leadership Conference for Guaranteed Health Care sent letters to President Obama requesting a meeting. As the legislation that Congress was putting together was falling apart, we asked, again, to work with the president for real health reform. It would be a win for the people in America and a win for the president. Yet, he refused to meet with us.

"In early September, a group of physicians representing the Oregon Chapter of PNHP, known as the Mad As Hell Doctors, also wrote to the president. On September 8 they left Oregon in a Care-a-van, stopping in towns along the way to speak out for single payer and hear what people had to say. They asked for a meeting with the president upon their arrival in Washington. Again, the president refused. Thousands of people sent letters to the White House asking the president to meet with the Mad As Hell Docs, and yet, again, he refused. The only response they received was a request to stop sending so many emails.

"On September 30, the Mad As Hell Docs arrived in Washington, D.C. and held a rally in Lafayette Park in front of the White House. Doctors from across the country attended. They told the crowd why they believed, based on their years of practicing medicine and the stories they heard during their tour about the unimaginable suffering and deaths, that single payer is the solution. Their voices were not heard in the White House -- or were they?"

A nationwide consortium, the Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA) represents an unprecedented effort to bring other voices to the mass-media table often dominated by a few major think tanks. IPA works to broaden public discourse in mainstream media, while building communication with alternative media outlets and grassroots activists.