Response of John Gilman, M.D., Health Policy Advisor to Senator Paul Wellstone:

"With this background, what are the current proposed solutions? Any form of universal, comprehensive reform is totally off the table." -- Don McCanne

Come on Don. Affordable universal health care may be off most of Washington's radar screens, but not ours. Senator Wellstone, Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, and Congressman David Obey (along with Reps. Conyers, Baca, Carson, and Filner) introduced the Health Security for All Americans Act last year and will reintroduce it again this Spring. This bill would assure that all Americans have affordable comprehensive health care within 5 years of its enactment. It is supported by APHA, Families USA, AMSA, and SEIU. No, it is not a national single payer bill; but it does set the national parameters that states must meet in terms of benefits, quality and affordability, and it provides matching federal funds (on average 70% federal, 30% state) to allow states to adopt the system of their choice, including single payer. This is a practical and principled approach that is capable of putting universal health care back on the table. It deserves attention
and support from anyone concerned about reaching universal coverage.

The Washington Post
March 6, 2001
"Bush Urges Congress to Revamp Medicare"

President George W. Bush:

"I believe the framework for a bipartisan consensus about how to make sure the Medicare system fulfills its promise is at hand, and we've got a lot of work to do."

Comment: Medicare remains under intense attack. The Medicare "modernization" proposal of President Bush and the "bipartisan," anti-government members of Congress is simply a proposal to shift more
of the costs of Medicare away from the tax system and onto the Medicare beneficiaries. The current out-of-pocket expenses already impair access to care for our moderately low income retired and disabled population, simply because of lack of affordability. The "premium support" or "competitive premium" proposal will compound this problem for these lower income individuals. We need to protect and improve Medicare. We should not support the "generosity" of our leaders who would like to use Medicare to provide additional grist for the middlemen vultures of the health plans. We need to remind our leaders that vultures don't feed on
grist, they feed on carcasses.

Don McCanne