Posted on August 23, 1996

Doctors Oppose the Democrats' Retreat on Health Care


August, 1996

On Sunday, August 25 at 7:00 P.M. the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. will join a group of doctors, nurses, labor leaders and citizens at Pasteur Park, near the Cook County Hospital, to challenge the Democratic Convention Delegates to reinsert universal health coverage in the party platform. The language was recently removed by the platform committee in Pittsburgh.

"The Democrats had a long and proud history of trying to deliver health care to all Americans, but in a moment of great cowardice they reversed their course and are only ensuring health care for the few," said Dr. Quentin Young, National Coordinator of Physicians for a National Health Program.

The Democratic commitment to universal coverage began in the Truman Administration, over forty years ago. "After President Clinton's attempt to pass a broad, if misguided, overhaul of the health care system, his signing of the welfare and minimalist health reform packages are a national shame and a blight on the party," said Dr. Susan Steigerwalt, President of PNHP. "As the President rends social safety nets, his party seems prepared to abandon even the hope of universal health coverage," she added.

Following Sunday's rally, Physicians for a National Health Program and many community leaders and activists, will hold a four-day, round-the-clock vigil across the street from the Democratic convention. The initial city plan had a three-block cordon around the convention. As a result of the successful suit in Federal Court, filed by the ACLU on behalf of Dr. Young, the city will have to allow the vigil. The activists will have access to the Democratic delegates and urge them to reaffirm their commitment to universal coverage.

"The Democrats seem willing to condemn large numbers of people to a life without insurance. America's health care crisis will not be served by patchwork help at the margins, as exemplified by the Kennedy-Kassebaum bill that the President signed into law on Wednesday. The party leadership has long ignored the obvious solution to America's health crisis -- to cover all Americans equally and equitably through universal health insurance program," said Dr. Young. "Further, all polls show that this is precisely what the American people prefer."