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Obama to Single Payer Advocates: Drop Dead

Russell Mokhiber

President Obama's White House made crystal clear this week: a Canadian-style,
Medicare-for-all, single payer health insurance system is off the table.

Obama
doesn't even want to discuss it.

Take
the case of Congressman John Conyers (D-Michigan).

Conyers
is the leading advocate for single payer health insurance in Congress.

Last
week, Conyers attended a Congressional Black Caucus meeting with President Obama
at the White House.

During
the meeting, Congressman Conyers, sponsor of the single payer bill in the House
(HR 676), asked President Obama for an invite to the President's Marchy
5 health care summit at the White House.

Conyers
said he would bring along with him two doctors - Dr. Marcia Angell and
Dr. Quentin Young - to represent the majority of physicians in the United
States who favor single payer.

Obama
would have none of it.

This
week, by e-mail, Conyers heard back from the White House - no invite.

Why
not?

Well,
believe it or not, the Obama White House is under the thumb of the health insurance
industry.

Obama
has become the industry's chief enforcer of its key
demand: single payer health insurance is off the table.

Earlier
this week, Obama named his health reform leadership team - Kansas Governor
Kathleen Sebelius and Nancy-Ann DeParle.

Single
payer advocates were not happy.

Since
leaving Medicare, DeParle cashed in as a director at major for profit health
care corporations, including Medco Health Solutions, Cerner, Boston Scientific,
DaVita, and Triad Hospitals.

Now,
what does the health insurance industry make of the Sebelius/DeParle team?

Here
is Karen Ignagni, president of the lead health insurance lobbying group, America's
Health Insurance Plans:

"Today
the President is putting in place a team that is ready on day one to provide
the leadership necessary to achieve health care reform. Governor Sebelius is
the right person to move the President's health care agenda forward. She is
a proven leader with extensive knowledge of health care issues and a long history
of working effectively across the political aisle. As a former CMS administrator,
Nancy-Ann DeParle brings considerable experience and a strong track record working
on all of the health care issues facing the nation."

Karen
sounds really upset, right?

Dr.
David Himmelstein is a founder and spokesperson for Physicians for a National
Health Program.

Himmelstein's
take - Obama is caving to the insurance industry.

"The
President once acknowledged that single payer reform was the best option, but
now he's caving in to corporate healthcare interests and completely shutting
out advocates of single payer reform," Himmelstein said. "The majority
of Americans favor single payer, and it's the most popular reform option
among doctors and health economists, but no single payer supporter has been
invited to participate in the administration's health care summit. Meanwhile,
he's appointed as his health reform czar Nancy-Ann DeParle, a woman who has
made her living advising health care investors and sits on the board of many
for-profit firms that have made billions from Medicare. Her appointment -
and the invitation list to the healthcare summit - is a clear signal that
the administration plans to propose a corporate-friendly health reform that
has no chance of actually solving our health care crisis."

Obama
to single payer advocates: drop dead.


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Russell-Mokhiber

Russell Mokhiber

Russell Mokhiber is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Corporate Crime Reporter. He is also founder of singlepayeraction.org, and editor of the website Morgan County USA.

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