Democrats in Colorado, New Hampshire back single-payer health plan
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 28, 2008
State Democratic Party conventions in Colorado and New Hampshire gave strong backing this month to single-payer national health insurance, a public system of health care financing whose supporters say would guarantee quality care for everyone.
Meeting in Colorado Springs on May 16-17, the Colorado party's 6,000 convention delegates adopted a new health care plank that reads in part: "In the United States, as a matter of social justice, we support a quality universal health care system not tied to employment, as a basic right of all citizens.
"To that end," the plank continues, "we support guaranteed, quality, affordable and comprehensive health care for all through a not-for-profit, single-payer financed system."
Dr. Rocky White, who attended the convention as a candidate for the Colorado Legislature, House District 62, said, "We moved the health care issue up from the eighth highest priority in the 2006 platform to the second highest priority this year, just after the Iraq war. More and more people are recognizing the current system is broken and there's no way to fix it without radical change."
The Colorado gathering drew a record-breaking 10,000 participants.
Meanwhile, on the same weekend, in Manchester, N.H., a gathering of 1,000 Democrats - the biggest convention in 30 years, one organizer said - also took a clear-cut stand in support of single-payer national health insurance.
"Support for single payer is much higher in New Hampshire than you might expect," said Dr. Marcosa Santiago, a psychiatrist and member of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) in Rumney, N.H. "The merits of such a system are compelling, even to a traditionally conservative state."
The 500 voting delegates adopted a resolution introduced by Dr. Santiago that says in part, "Resolved, that the New Hampshire Democratic Party endorses and respectfully urges the United States Congress to enact the U.S. National Health Insurance Act (H.R. 676) sponsored by Representative Conyers, and adopt its goal of universal single-payer health insurance."
As in New Hampshire, the Colorado convention also endorsed the principles of H.R. 676, the bill introduced by Rep. John Conyers Jr. of Michigan. Conyers' bill currently has 90 congressional co-sponsors, more than any other proposal for health care reform. It has also been endorsed by over 400 labor organizations, including 33 state chapters of the AFL-CIO.
The Colorado party's health care plank will be forwarded to the national party's platform committee for consideration at the national convention in Denver this August.
Single-payer systems typically eliminate or substantially reduce the role of private insurance companies in the health care financing system, but still allow patients to go to the doctor or hospital of their choice. Most industrialized nations have adopted a variant of the single-payer model, and the U.S. system of Medicare is based on the same principle.
"While public attention has focused on the Democratic Party's presidential nominating contest, following daily tallies, for example, of Barack Obama's and Hillary Clinton's delegate count, there is growing evidence that, down below and perhaps beneath the radar, the party's base has been energized in new and unexpected ways," said Dr. Quentin Young, national coordinator of PNHP.
"The position taken by the Colorado and New Hampshire conventions is more far-reaching than the positions the party's standard-bearers take," he said. "Both Obama and Clinton would leave private insurance companies in place as the dominant players in the U.S. health care system, although they each say they would make incremental reforms to help alleviate the current health care mess.
"But this support for single payer is in accord with public opinion polls and the views of most U.S. doctors," Young said. "And it's the only reform that will work."
The full text of the Colorado and New Hampshire resolutions are available to the press at the Physicians for a National Health Program web site, www.pnhp.org/conventions.
Physicians for a National Health Program, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call (312) 782-6006.