Senate Finance bill is no solution to health care crisis

Oct. 13, 2009

Quentin Young, M.D., (312) 782-6006
Mark Almberg, (312) 782-6006, cell: (312) 622-0996

Dr. Quentin Young, national coordinator of Physicians for a National Health Program (, made the following statement today:

"The Senate Finance Committee bill, which passed this afternoon in committee, preserves all the systemic deficiencies that we see in our present health care financing model. It maintains a system that is based on private insurance and for-profit, private insurers. It therefore cannot and will not provide truly universal, comprehensive and affordable care.

"According to the Congressional Budget Office, the bill, even with its mandate requiring people to buy insurance, will leave 25 million people uninsured. An even greater number will be underinsured, i.e. vulnerable to financial ruin in the event of a serious illness.

"The Senate bill will be unable to contain costs, which are projected to double in the next decade.

"While it is possible to temporarily expand coverage by subsidizing the purchase of private coverage, as the Senate bill does, such an approach is not sustainable. It won't cover everybody and it will fall apart quickly due to rising costs, as we've seen with similar approaches in Massachusetts, Vermont, Oregon, Tennessee and Minnesota.

"The insurance companies' drive to fight claims, issue denials, screen out the sick and make a big profit generates tremendous administrative waste -- $400 billion a year.

"In contrast, by replacing our dysfunctional, for-profit, multi-payer system with a streamlined, nonprofit social insurance program -- single-payer Medicare for All -- we can recapture the $400 billion that is presently wasted on bureaucracy and paperwork and use that money to provide comprehensive, high quality care for everyone. And we won't have to spend a penny more than our nation does now.

"There's no getting around the fact that single-payer Medicare for All remains the only realistic solution to our profound health care crisis. As big as the challenge may be, Congress should act accordingly."

Physicans for a National Health Program is an organization of 17,000 doctors who support single-payer national health insurance. For more information, visit or call (312) 782-6006.