The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Margaret Flowers, M.D., (410) 591-0892,
Mark Almberg, (312) 782-6006,

'Don't undermine Medicare,' Panel to Tell Lawmakers

Economists and health professionals to testify at congressional briefing Thursday to sound alarm on Deficit Commission proposals to weaken or gut Medicare program


Economists and health professionals will testify at a congressional briefing Thursday to sound alarm on Deficit Commission proposals to weaken or gut Medicare program

A congressional briefing to examine proposals being floated by members of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform and others to weaken the Medicare program, including hiking the age of eligibility to 67 or 70, increasing co-pays and deductibles, using means testing to reduce benefits, or replacing the program altogether with private vouchers.

The panelists will discuss the strengths of the present Medicare program, including its role in reducing poverty and health disparities, and why it should be strengthened. They will also argue that improving and extending the Medicare program to cover everyone is the most practicable way to provide truly universal, comprehensive and affordable care with effective cost control.

When: Thursday, Sept. 23, 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Longworth House Office Building, Room 1334, Washington

Tsung-Mei Cheng, distinguished health economist and expert on comparative health systems at Princeton University
Olveen Carrasquillo, M.D., nationally recognized authority on health disparities, minority health, health services research, health policy, access to care and national health insurance, board member, Physicians for a National Health Program
Michele Evermore, legislative advocate, National Nurses United
The Honorable Raul M. Grijalva (Honorary Host), co-chair Congressional Progressive Caucus
The Honorable Lynn Woolsey (Honorary Host), co-chair Congressional Progressive Caucus

With more than 50 million uninsured Americans, 45,000 deaths a year due to lack of health insurance, and 62 percent of personal bankruptcies linked to medical debt, it is clear that programs like Medicare serve a vital function and that even more thoroughgoing health care reform is needed and must be part of any economic recovery plan.

Sponsored by the Leadership Conference for Guaranteed Health Care, a coalition of doctors, nurses and other health care providers; labor unions; nonprofit agencies; reform advocates and faith-based organizations working to achieve comprehensive, high quality, and affordable health care coverage for everybody in the United States. The coalition specifically advocates for a publicly funded and privately delivered national health care system structured around a single-payer financing mechanism. Co-sponsors of this event include Physicians for a National Health Program, National Nurses United, Healthcare-Now, Progressive Democrats of America, All Unions Committee for Single Payer-H.R. 676, Labor Campaign for Single Payer, RESULTS, Prosperity Agenda, Code Pink, Gray Panthers, Social Security Works and Economic Experts of Color.

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.