Massachusetts Physicians say Reform in Their State is No Model for The Nation

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Rachel Nardin, M.D.
Steffie Woolhandler, M.D., M.P.H.
Mark Almberg, Physicians for a National Health Program, (312) 782-6006, mark@pnhp.org

Massachusetts Physicians say Reform in Their State is No Model for The Nation

Nearly 200 sign ad urging single-payer health care reform

WASHINGTON - In a half-page advertisement appearing in Wednesday's (tomorrow's)
Boston Globe, 196 Massachusetts physicians and physicians-in-training
call the state's 2006 health reform plan "bad medicine" and warn
against adopting the state's plan nationwide. The health bill recently
passed by the U.S. House of Representatives is closely modeled after
the Massachusetts reform.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Massachusetts reform has
left hundreds of thousands uninsured. The doctors' ad, which takes the
form of a letter to their patients, warns that the state's plan is
already failing. Health costs have escalated rapidly since the reform's
implementation. According to the Boston Globe, the state's largest
insurer will hit small businesses with average premium increases of 15
percent to 18 percent as of January 1.

As an alternative to Massachusetts-style reform, the letter proposes
a single-payer health care plan - Medicare for All. Such reform would
cover everyone and control costs through massive savings on bureaucracy
as well as improved health planning.

"Physician voices have been conspicuously absent from the national
debate on health care reform," said Dr. Rachel Nardin, a neurologist at
Harvard Medical School and one of the letter's lead signers. "This
letter is a chance to let our patients know that the current plans for
reform will fail to control costs or to give American families real
access to the health care they need."

Another lead signer of the letter, Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, a
primary care doctor who is a professor of medicine at Harvard, noted,
"This reform has left many of my patients worse off than before.
Co-payments and deductibles are sky high and premiums are unaffordable.
A middle-class woman who's 56 is forced to lay out at least $4,800 for
a policy so skimpy that it pays nothing until she has paid another
$2,000 in deductibles. Meanwhile, the state has drained funds from
safety net hospitals and clinics to fund the reform, threatening the
survival of the institutions that care for the hundreds of thousands
who remain uninsured."

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A PDF of the ad with its 196 signers can be found here:
http://pnhp.org/sites/default/files/docs/2009/Mass-Ad-Boston-Globe.pdf

The full text of the original letter can be found here: www.pnhp.org/ma

For detailed price quotes on insurance available under the Massachusetts reform, see http://tinyurl.com/nv9vqb

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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.

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