Washington, D.C. Doctors Endorse Single Payer Health Care

Washington, D.C. The organized medical society for the District of Columbia has decisively passed a resolution in support of "single payer"-style health insurance as an option for health reform. The Medical Society of D.C.which is an affiliate on the state level of the American Medical Association (AMA), thus becomes the first state-level medical society in the United States to do so. Numerous other medical societies have narrowly defeated similar resolutions. The AMA is the historic leader of the opposition to national health insurance.

"By endorsing single payer, the D.C. Medical Society has shaken up the house of medicine," said Dr. Quentin Young, national coordinator of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP). "After a long repudiation of 'government medicine,' American doctors are having a wake-up call from the ravages of for-profit corporations upon their cherished profession. In that light, the pioneer action of the DC society is a bellweather of additional movement in the this direction," added Dr. Young.

The recent action taken by the Medical Society of D.C. is one of several events around the country indicating a possible sea change in the medical establishment towards national health insurance. The Massachusetts Medical Society has commissioned a study to determine the feasibility of single payer health care. A few months ago, Dr. Robert Tenery Jr., the former president of the Texas Medical Association, wrote in the AMA American Medical News that a single payer health care system is the preferred alternative to the disintegration of the health system as a result of managed care takeover.

"The passage of this resolution by the Medical Society of D.C. reflects physicians' growing frustration with increasing corporate-domination of the practice of medicine and growing awareness that a single payer national health insurance plan is the only viable option. It is our hope that this option will be seriously considered and debated by the nation's policymakers," said Sara Nichols, PNHP's Washington Director. "The society should be applauded for taking a bold step in the right direction." added Ms. Nichols.

The resolution passed by a decisive margin at the yearly Medical Society of the District of Columbia's House of Delegates meeting held October 5, 1996. The resolution supported single payer national health insurance as one option for health reform as long as certain predetermined criteria are met. The actual text of the resolution has not been released to the public but PNHP has obtained a copy of it which is attached to this press release.