The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Bill Bronston, MD,  916-944-0100,

Keith McCallin, PA, 484-390-3763,

Paul Song, MD, 310-310-1992,

California Doctors Aim to Educate 100,000 Patients & Their Physicians to Support Single Payer

Doctors’ state strategy meeting to follow on Sunday, May 20 at the Hyatt LAX.

Sacramento, CA

A group of California doctors have placed a first-of-its-kind 8-page publication in today's Sacramento News and Review with the aim of educating patients - and their physicians - about why a single payer plan, also known as "Improved Medicare for All," is needed in California and nationally. The California chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) fundraised over $20,000 from local members to print 100,000 copies of the pull-out ad, which they are urging patients to use to "talk to their doctors about single payer."

"We don't have the deep pockets of the insurance industry or the pharmaceutical industry, which Californians may recall spent $109 million two years ago to defeat a ballot measure to reduce drug prices, but we are determined to get the facts about single payer out in Sacramento and across the country," said Dr. Paul Song, a radiation oncologist, President of the California Chapter of PNHP and a co-author of the publication. Dr. Song frequently volunteers his time to speak on health reform to physician and other groups.

"Drug companies spent $280 million last year to stop Congress from regulating drug prices like other nations, and $6.1 billion annually advertising their products directly to consumers, frequently ending with the tag line "talk to your doctor," continued Dr. Song. "We want patients to talk to their doctors about how single payer could dramatically reduce drug costs and allow patients to choose their physicians without co-pays, deductibles, and outrageous out-of-network bills," Dr. Song said.

The ad includes articles by four California physicians describing how single payer would put doctors back in charge of patient care, reduce bureaucracy, and provide comprehensive care with no out-of-pocket costs. A recent study by economist Robert Pollin found that single payer legislation in California (SB 562) would cover everyone and cost $37 billion less than what Californians are already spending on health care. The Public Policy Director of National Nurses United, Michael Lighty, also contributed an article.

"There's a lack of informative, accurate coverage of single payer in the mainstream media," said Dr. Bill Bronston, chair of the Sacramento Chapter of PNHP. "This 8-page publication was drafted by doctors to arm patients and physicians with the tools they need to be effective advocates for a system that provides high quality care but doesn't bankrupt the sick or the U.S. economy. "

Keith McCallin, an activist in the Sacramento chapter of PNHP, and Dr. Bronston distributed copies of the pull-out to every member of the Californian legislature yesterday in advance of today's publication. Republican legislators and staffers were particularly interested in the benefits to business of a single payer program. "As a matter of fact, Berkshire Hathaway investors Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger have endorsed single payer for its ability to control runaway health care costs, describing health care as a "tapeworm" on the economy," McCallin said.

California PNHP members will be gathering for an all-day meeting on Sunday, May 20 at the Hyatt Regency LAX to discuss the path forward. Rep. Keith Ellison, chief sponsor of single payer legislation in the House, HR 676, will be speaking via Skype. All interested physicians are invited.

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.