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PNHP RESOURCES

Pro-single-payer Doctors' Group Announces New Blog

For immediate release:
July 9, 2008

Contact:
Quentin Young, M.D., (312) 782-6006, info@pnhp.org

www.pnhp.org/blog

Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) today launched a new blog that looks at the politics of health care reform, the obstacles to care created by the for-profit, private health insurance industry, and the urgency of the U.S. adopting a Medicare-like, single-payer national health insurance program.

Dr. Quentin Young, the group's national coordinator, said: "Our failing health care system weighs heavily on the minds of doctors and patients alike. In this election year, our members felt we needed to enhance the timeliness of informed commentary on the worsening crisis and on the only effective remedy - a single-payer plan, which would guarantee comprehensive, quality care for all."

Since its founding in 1987, PNHP members have produced numerous groundbreaking, peer-reviewed articles on health policy, including studies that show 31 percent of every U.S. health care dollar goes to administrative overhead, higher than anywhere else in the world, and that half of all personal bankruptcies are caused by medical bills.

Initial contributors to the blog include Dr. John Geyman, author of the new book "Do Not Resuscitate: Why the Health Insurance Industry Is Dying, and How We Must Replace It," writing on some of the substandard insurance products being marketed to healthier people in the individual insurance market, products that have very high deductibles or benefit caps as low as $1,000 a year.

Dr. Suzanne King writes about how Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California has decided to charge women more for health insurance than their male counterparts, reflecting the pervasive discrimination in the private health insurance industry against women because, among other things, "they are the ones who get pregnant, have babies, and use obstetrical services."

Dr. SteveB, a health policy blogger at DailyKos.com, offers "Four Questions to Ask When Analyzing Any Health 'Reform' Proposal." Dr. SteveB will be regularly tracking support for the U.S. National Health Insurance Act, H.R. 676, a single-payer bill sponsored by Rep. John Conyers of Michigan and 90 others.

Dr. David Himmelstein, a PNHP co-founder, and Dr. Don McCanne, PNHP's senior policy fellow, offer their respective assessments of Health Care for America Now, a new coalition launched this week, which, in the words of Himmelstein, pushes "a superficially attractive health reform model that has a long record of failure." He said that, despite good intentions, the HCAN proposal is "akin to prescribing a placebo for a serious illness when effective treatment is available," that treatment being single payer.

Another blogger is Dr. Andy Coates of upstate New York, who will be writing on support for single payer in the labor movement and in The Empire State; and Dr. Mary O'Brien of New York City on physician support for single-payer national health insurance. A survey published in April showed 59 percent of U.S. physicians now support national health insurance, a jump of 10 percent from five years ago.

Dr. Young said, "Our aim is to provide a lively but well-grounded source of news and commentary on the hot topics of the day, trying to cut through some of the fog and myths that often accompany discussions of health care reform. We hope our readers will join in the dialogue."

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Physicians for a National Health Program (www.pnhp.org), a membership organization of over 15,000 physicians, supports a single-payer national health insurance program. PNHP is headquartered in Chicago and has chapters across the United States. To contact a physician-spokesperson in your area, contact info@pnhp.org or call (312) 782-6006.