Posted on August 13, 2008

Here's your chance to tell MoveOn either lead or get out of the way


by nyceve
Wed Aug 13, 2008

This morning a variety of single-payer healthcare advocacy organizations including Progressive Democrats of America, Healthcare Now, PNHP and All Unions Committee For Single Payer Health Care are petitioning MoveOn.

I’ve been asked to explain to Daily Kos readers what’s happening and ask you to support single-payer healthcare in the United States by signing the petition to MoveOn.

Here’s a link to the MoveOn petition we hope you will sign.

The Background.

You may remember that our friends at MoveOn lent their esteemed reputation to our friends at Health Care for America Now.

Healthcare for America Now “is a national grassroots campaign organizing millions of Americans to win a guarantee of quality, affordable health care for all.” HCAN by its own words, would maintain the private health insurance industry.

“We’re offering a bold new solution that gives you real choice and a guarantee of quality coverage you can afford: keep your current private insurance plan, pick a new private insurance plan, or join a public health insurance plan.

We’re also calling for regulation on health insurance companies. We need to set and enforce rules that quash health insurance companies’ greed once and for all.”

Their solution is neither bold nor new.

Before I go any further, allow me to make it clear again, both MoveOn and Healthcare for America Now are our friends, but occasionally even friends need a swift kick in the butt.

We’d like your help in a very straightforward undertaking.

We’re asking for one or two minutes of your time and your signature on a petition which will be delivered to MoveOn.

We hope with enough signatures, MoveOn may re-think its position vis a vis HCAN. If enough people express disappointment with MoveOn, perhaps it will consider using its enormous influence to encourage HCAN to propose a genuine single payer option as part of its huge multi-million dollar advertising campaign. This would be an enormous victory.

Here’s a link to the petition which will be presented to MoveOn.

Why are we taking this action?

Because MoveOn and Healthcare for America Now are pursuing a misguided strategy. I would say it is something akin to a policy of appeasement with the health insurance industry.

And it won’t work. All these good organizations should have the brains to know this.

Because we have one more chance to get it right.

Because you don’t wave the white flag of surrender before the fight has even begun.

Because with single-payer healthcare you choose your doctor, you choose your hospital, you have complete freedom of choice. The healthcare delivery system stays the same. There is only one difference, you cut out the parasitic and worthless middleman and replace this entity with a government payer. The precious healthcare dollars are spent on healthcare not insurer profits.

If you need more convincing, please keep reading.

The dirty deeds of for-profit insurance companies litter the landscape and touch all American families at their most desperate and vulnerable moments. Oversight (the HCAN solution)—the proverbial slap on the wrist—won’t change the culture of greed. The U.S. health insurance industry has a long and horrific track record—they are merciless predators.

You don’t bargain with criminals AHIP. You throw them in jail, then you throw away the key.

If you agree that MoveOn made a unilateral, hence undemocratic decision to align itself with Healthcare for America Now.

If you agree that Healthcare for America Now should at bare minimum, place a single-payer option on its agenda and in its advertising.

If you agree that MoveOn should have encouraged an open debate, and asked its 3.2 million members and supporters whether we support the HCAN solution or single payer healthcare, then please sign the petition.

Please take a minute to sign the petition.

Why we fight.

These are the eloquent words of Rose Ann DeMoro, the executive director of the California Nurses Association, explaining why HCAN is way off the mark.

You can read the full text here.

Why is Health Care for America Now giving up on real reform?

But, in search of a supposedly politically viable plan, the advocates of this approach have surrendered in advance on the only overhaul that will actually cure the disease, a single-payer, expanded and improved Medicare for all reform.

Their good intentions will leave the same failed system in place, and will not even blunt the political opposition from those on the right and corporate interests who will continue to challenge anything that looks like even modest reform.

. . .There’s just one problem — the coalition’s proposal does nothing to end the actual practice of insurance companies putting their profits ahead of your health. Nor does it fix the two central components of the health care morass — insurance company denials of care and the financial squeeze facing American families due to ever skyrocketing healthcare costs which is exacerbated by the escalating credit crisis.

. . .How does the HCFAN coalition propose to crack down on the insurance pirates? With a “watchdog role” on the plans “to assure that risk is fairly spread” and that “insurers do not turn people away, raise rates or drop coverage based on a person’s health history or wrongly delay or deny care.”

You can watch someone rob your bank, but unless you stop them, the vaults are still going to be stripped bare. If you’re looking for the hammer or any enforcement mechanism in the HCFAN proposal, don’t bother, it’s not there.

Now on to the petition, you can and should read the entire petition at the link.

WE, THE UNDERSIGNED, respectfully petition the leaders of MoveOn.Org to abide by its core democratic principles and ask the opinion of its members whether they support reform of the private health insurance system or replacement of private health insurance by universal single payer health care, before MoveOn continues to organizationally and financially support a new coalition which supports the former and excludes the latter.

And just so everyone understands what single payer is all about, I’d like you to read a piece of an editorial which was in the center right Seattle Times.

Vital signs for national health insurance

Single-payer health insurance is about who pays the bills, not who provides the medical care. Instead of having private insurance, everyone pays into a common fund. Nothing about the health-care-delivery system changes.

No one is employed by the government except the people who write the checks. Call it Medicare for everyone. Instead of waiting until age 65 for decent medical care, everyone — everyone — has access to a doctor.

The public’s interest in guaranteed health insurance has been picking up in polls, but a significant change was reported this spring in the Annals of Internal Medicine, a leading medical journal. A study found 59 percent of U.S. physicians now support national health insurance, a jump of 10 percentage points in five years.

Support for national health insurance — private doctors paid by a federally administered plan — has gained support across medical specialties, according to Dr. Aaron E. Carroll, of the Center for Health Policy and Professionalism Research at Indiana University’s School of Medicine in Indianapolis.

Doctors have layers of frustrations with the current system of private insurers, Carroll said in a telephone conversation this week. Serving on the front lines of the medical system, they see the toll on patients without insurance and on the underinsured.

. . .So far, the presidential candidates are behind the curve on health-care reform. Dr. John P. Geyman, professor emeritus of family medicine at the University of Washington, laments that Republican John McCain offers no new ideas and Democrat Barack Obama’s incremental approach falls short of a fix.

Today we add MoveOn and Healthcare for America Now to the list of those hopelessly behind the curve.

Please take a minute to sign the petition.