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PNHP RESOURCES

Nation's Largest Medical Specialty Group Endorses Single Payer Health Reform

Says U.S. should learn from other nations' health systems

For Immediate Release:
December 11, 2007

Contacts:
Quentin Young, MD, MACP 312-782-6006
John Geyman, MD 360-378-6264
Don McCanne, MD 949-493-3714

After careful evaluation of the health systems of 12 other nations, the American College of Physicians (ACP), the nation's largest medical specialty society and second largest medical association (124,000 members), endorsed single payer national health insurance as "one pathway" to universal coverage. The ACP represents specialists in internal medicine.

"This new proposal by the ACP brings single payer into the mainstream," said Dr. C. Anderson Hedberg, President Emeritus of the ACP. "It's the logical next step."

Although ACP has advocated universal coverage since 1990, and had their own proposal for reform since 2002 based on a "pluralistic" model, this is the first time they have endorsed single payer national health insurance.

"There's really only one choice for universal health care at a cost we can afford, and that's single payer, Medicare for All," said Dr. Marcia Angell, former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine. "There is simply no way to cover everyone in a pluralistic system and control costs."

"This changes the political landscape for the presidential candidates, who now will need to take a fresh look at single payer. It recognizes the political feasibility of single payer as well as its importance as a leading option for health care reform" said Dr. Quentin Young, a "Master" in the ACP and National Coordinator of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP).

PNHP is a 15,000 member organization headquartered in Chicago that has advocated for single payer national health insurance since 1986. The group's peer-reviewed research and reform proposals in support of single payer are on-line at www.pnhp.org.

The ACP said their recommendation is based on a large and growing body of evidence that the U.S. health system is performing poorly compared to nations with single payer national health insurance:

"Single-payer systems generally have the advantage of being more equitable, with lower administrative costs than systems using private health insurance, lower per capita health care expenditures, high levels of consumer and patient satisfaction, and high performance on measures of quality and access." (ACP Position Paper, Annals of Internal Medicine, 12/07)

"The ACP endorsement of single payer is an important step forward for the medical profession," said Dr. John Geyman, author of "The Corrosion of Medicine: Can the Profession Reclaim its Moral Legacy" and Past President of PNHP. "Instead of ideology and unbridled self-interest, they are putting patients' needs first."