Responses to our comments on "obscene" health care injustice in the United States:

Edmonde Haddad, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy:

"Both Drs - Beth Capell and the equally hardworking Don McCanne - are properly enraged by how America treats those who are either sick or poor. There seems to be no real way to combat the massive and crushing power wielded by such entities as the insurance companies, pharmaceutical industry, and the American Medical Association. Don suggests taking to the streets. It is really depressing that the United States ranks so low throughout the world in making available health care to all citizens regardless of ability to pay. There are doctors and other health care professionals who cannot abide the present healthcare delivery system. Perhaps, if they joined together in a common effort, well-financed and organized, they could force the issue. The present system is a disgrace and demeans us as a people. It is equally important that the United States look to the many more advanced democracies around the world where good health long has been considered a basic human right... "

Milton Braun, retired CPA and health care reform activist from Dallas, responding to the comments about abandonment of women with positive breast cancer screening tests:

"If these women were politicians or wives of politicians they would get treatment."

"YES, it is time to MARCH, to RALLY!!!!!"

Naomi Shaiken, Chair of Connecticut Call to Action:

"I've suggested this, but have been met by raised eyebrows! I believe we SHOULD get a march [a la 1972 against the 'Nam War] in DC - can't we get buses, set a date and do this? Why not? 'If not now, when??'"

Comment: Our nation's leaders are not listening. They are quibbling over patients' rights bills that will have virtually no impact on the real problems of our health care system. In fact, passage of any of these bills will be used as an excuse to shift more costs to patients, further impairing coverage and access for tens of millions in the United States. Worse, this legislation will be passed off as adequate health care reform, and Congress will move on to other issues. We urgently need genuine, comprehensive reform, but the current political climate remains an impenetrable barrier. To break through this barrier, our leaders need to hear the resounding voice of the people echoing throughout the land, demanding health care justice.

Edmonde Haddad suggests that doctors and other health care professionals could join together in a well financed and organized common effort, and force the issue. Physicians for a National Health Program ( is such an organization that is dedicated exclusively to this issue. We have 9000 physician members, but we need to recruit tens of thousands more. Each of you can help by contacting your personal physicians and physician colleagues and friends and directing them to PNHP. We could carry our message to the public much more effectively if we had significant additional funding, especially for a media campaign. If any of you know progressive minded individuals that have benefited from the upward shift in income redistribution, you may suggest that donating to PNHP may assuage their penurious guilt. We also need more active involvement on the part of physicians. They need to be heard distinctly as a rebel call standing out within the resounding voice of the people.

And what about taking to the streets with rallies and marches? Emphatically, YES! We need to bring together all of our people in a clear, loud, unified voice that will penetrate the sound barriers surrounding our political leaders. This should probably be done as part of a coordinated, universal effort, including a media campaign.

Now is the time for ideas. Start thinking about how we can create an effective, national movement. We have to do it. If not us, who?

Don McCanne