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Doctors’ group hails reintroduction of Medicare-for-all bill

Single-payer health program would cover all 51 million uninsured, upgrade everyone’s benefits and save $400 billion annually on bureaucracy, physicians say

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 15, 2011
 
Contact:
Garrett Adams, M.D., president, Physicians for a National Health Program
Margaret Flowers, M.D., congressional fellow
Quentin Young, M.D., national coordinator, (312) 782-6006
Mark Almberg, communications director, (312) 782-6006,  mark@pnhp.org

A nationwide physicians’ group today hailed the reintroduction of a popular federal bill that would quickly upgrade the Medicare program and expand it to cover the entire population.

The “Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act,” H.R. 676, sponsored by Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., would replace today’s private health insurers – and the Obama law's individual mandate, which is being challenged as unconstitutional – with a single, streamlined public agency that would pay all medical claims, much like Medicare works for seniors today. (See bill summary here.)

“There’s no doubt that expanding Medicare to all is both constitutional and the most cost-effective way to cover everyone,” said Dr. Garrett Adams, president of Physicians for a National Health Program. “A national single-payer program would save over $400 billion a year on bureaucracy and paperwork alone. Plus, it would use proven, effective cost-control techniques like negotiating drug prices and hospital budgets.”
 
“An improved Medicare-for-all program would provide comprehensive coverage to all of the 51 million people who are currently uninsured and enhance the coverage that everyone else has, by eliminating co-pays and deductibles,” Adams said. “It would go far beyond the new health law, which would still leave 23 million people uninsured in 2019.”

“In these difficult economic times, with lack of health coverage leading to thousands of deaths and personal bankruptcies each year, and states struggling to pay the high costs of Medicaid and health coverage for state workers and retirees, everyone’s taking another look at single payer,” he said. “Legislation that could lead to a single-payer plan was just introduced last week in Vermont, led by a push from the governor and a report by Harvard economist William Hsiao that single payer would cover everyone and save the state $490 million in 2015 and at about four times that much by 2024.”

Surveys have repeatedly shown that about two-thirds of the public supports a Medicare-for-all approach,” Adams said. “And a recent survey of physicians shows that a solid majority now favor government legislation to create national health insurance.”

“As the founder of a free medical clinic in rural Tennessee, I can assure you that the need for fundamental health care reform has never been greater,” he said. “It’s time to stop putting the interests of private insurance companies over patient needs and adopt a single-payer national health program in the U.S.”

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Physicians for a National Health Program (www.pnhp.org) is an organization of 18,000 physicians who advocate for single-payer national health insurance, an improved Medicare for all. To speak with a physician/spokesperson in your area, visit www.pnhp.org/stateactions or call (312) 782-6006.