Speaker promotes single-payer health care system in Portsmouth

Foster's Daily Democrat (N.H.), Feb. 24, 2011

PORTSMOUTH — Nearly 60 city residents gather in the Levinson Meeting Room of the Portsmouth Public Library Wednesday night to educate themselves on the continued fight for a single-payer health care system.

Katie Robbins, national coordinator of Healthcare-NOW!, addressed the crowd espousing the benefits of a proposed single-payer system she said would not only provide savings for those in need of care but accessibility to all.

Healthcare-NOW! is an advocacy organization focused on the American health care system, and moving for the passage of national, single-payer healthcare legislation.

"I see great injustice in our health care system," she said.

Robbins added while recent legislation has made steps to improve the system, the struggle for proper, affordable care carries on.

"Within 10 years, 23 million Americans are expected to be uninsured," she said. "The crisis continues."

Robbins pointed to the current system, which she said is controlled by private insurance companies, which in turn drive up prices to increase profits, all to the detriment of the insured.

"The existence of private insurance companies is preventing us from moving to a socially responsible, single-payer system," she said.

Robbins cited Vermont, where discussions are currently under way to change the state health care system to a single-payer model, as an example of how such a system can work at the local level.

City Councilor Bob Lister was among the crowd Wednesday.

He said, speaking for himself, not on behalf of the board, "We know what the cost of health care is doing to the city budget. It really diverts our mission."

Lister said he was present at the evening meeting to educate himself and understand the options.

Those in attendance were asked to join the national group and to get the word out about a single-payer health care system.

More information about Healthcare-NOW! can be found at