Doctors at Oct. 2 march: 'We need single payer'

Oct. 1, 2010

Media Advisory

Oliver Fein, M.D.
Margaret Flowers, M.D.
Andrew Coates, M.D.
Mark Almberg, PNHP, (312) 782-6006,

Single-payer doctors speak out: 'Why we're marching on Oct. 2'

Members of Physicians for a National Health Program, an organization of 18,000 doctors who support a single-payer health system, will be marching behind a banner reading "Single Payer - Improved Medicare for All" at this Saturday's "One Nation Working Together" rally in Washington, D.C.

While the primary focus of the Oct. 2 march in Washington is on jobs, other issues like health care will also be very much on the minds of the tens of thousands expected to assemble there, the doctors' group says.

For members of PNHP and allied groups like Healthcare-Now and National Nurses United, the Obama administration's new health law doesn't fundamentally resolve the health care crisis, notwithstanding some of the law's beneficial provisions. In fact, PNHP believes it will likely aggravate the crisis by further entrenching the harmful role of private insurance companies in the system.

They point out that according to the Congressional Budget Office, even if the law works as planned, 23 million people will remain uninsured in 2019 and health care costs will continue to rise.

PNHP is an official co-sponsor of the Oct. 2 march, a major theme of which is "demanding the change we voted for." Here are a few comments from PNHP members who will be participating in the event and who are available for interview before and during the march, along with their cell phone numbers. Others will be available as well.

Oliver Fein, M.D., internist in New York City, president of PNHP: "Reforming our health care system is unfinished business. The Census Bureau just reported that nearly 51 million people are uninsured, up 4.3 million from last year. Regrettably, the new health law will only halve this number by 2019. Moreover, the new law is likely to expand the problem of underinsurance, where people have shoddy health insurance policies that are full of loopholes and fail to protect them when they get sick. We're here today to say we need a massive movement to press forward to the only rational remedy for our nation's health care crisis: single-payer Medicare for all."

Margaret Flowers, M.D., pediatrician from Baltimore, congressional fellow of PNHP: "It's clear that Congress is unable to address our current health care crisis without a loud demand from patients and providers. We are here today to let it be known that the majority of people in the U.S. want single payer. At least twice as many people think the health bill did not go far enough than think it went too far. We don't have fundamental health reform yet and we need it now!"

Andrew Coates, M.D., internist in Albany, N.Y., secretary of PNHP's Capital District chapter: "As a physician and a leader in my union, the 59,000-member Public Employees Federation, AFL-CIO, I'm committed to bringing about a health system that will make a real difference for all patients, that will make health care truly universal and affordable, that will take health care off the workplace bargaining table and make our state budgets solvent again. There's only one program that can do that. It's called single payer, an improved Medicare for all."

The assembly point for the physicians and other single-payer advocacy groups is at West Potomac Park between Ohio Dr. and Independence Ave (Map). Look for doctors in white coats and nurses in red scrubs.

Physicians for a National Health Program ( is an organization of 18,000 doctors who support single-payer national health insurance. To speak with a physician/spokesperson in your area, visit or call (312) 782-6006.