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Editorial in Science calls for Debate on Single Payer National Health Insurance

“Physicians have a responsibility to help solve the problem
of inequities in our health care system.” (excerpt)

September 25, 2003— An editorial in this week’s issue of Science Magazine authored by former US Surgeon General Dr. Julius B. Richmond and Harvard economist Rashi Fein calls on American physicians to become active in the debate over health reform.

Dr. Richmond is a professor of Health Policy at Harvard Medical School. He served as Surgeon General in the Carter Administration. Dr. Fein is a Professor of the Economics of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. The Science Magazine editorial comes as rising health costs and premiums, and the increasing number of uninsured have stimulated a new round of health reform initiatives.

The editorial comments on the “Proposal of the Physicians’ Working Group for Single-Payer National Health Insurance” (NHI), a proposal endorsed by more than 10,000 physicians which was published last month in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA, 8/13/03). The Physicians’ Proposal critiqued the health reform plans that have been offered by the Bush administration and the presidential candidates and concluded that the times call for a single-payer, government-administered, but privately-delivered system of health care.

“Our health system is deteriorating rapidly,” said Dr. Quentin Young, an author of the Physicians’ Proposal and National Coordinator of Physicians for a National Health Program. “By admonishing all professionals to become engaged, Richmond and Fein render a great service to the nation.”

Physicians for a National Health Program is an organization of 11,000 physicians that support universal access to health care. The group is headquartered in Chicago and has chapters across the United States (www.pnhp.org). A copy of the Physicians’ Proposal is available at www.physiciansproposal.org along with a list of endorsers.

To interview the authors contact Ida Hellander at tel: 312.782.6006 or
email: pnhp@aol.com
To obtain an advance copy of the Science Magazine Health Insurance in the USA editorial, contact Kristina Smith at (202) 326-6440.