'Wisconsin battle crucial for health and democracy': doctors group

March 1, 2011

Garrett Adams, M.D., president, Physicians for a National Health Program
Mark Almberg, communications director, PNHP, (312) 782-6006,

The following statement was released today by Dr. Garrett Adams, president of Physicians for a National Health Program.

Physicians for a National Health Program extends its deep and unwavering solidarity with the workers and people of Wisconsin who are fighting to preserve their collective bargaining rights, save BadgerCare and other safety-net programs, and put a stop to further encroachments by corporate interests on the public’s health and democracy.

We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the unions and people of Wisconsin in their momentous battle against the attempt by Gov. Scott Walker and his billionaire corporate backers who would turn the clock back to the 19th century. Their real goal is to prevent labor unions from continuing their advocacy of a better standard of living for all Americans, including the right to high quality health care. Labor has been critical to the achievement of truly universal health care systems in all the countries that have them.

Our members in Wisconsin have dedicated themselves to repulsing this attack on the public’s health and welfare – and on the elementary principles of social justice – and have been actively participating in the massive, inspiring demonstrations in Madison over the past two weeks, speaking out in support of the workers, and more.

Public employees and public programs have been under attack at the federal, state and local levels in the form of pay cuts, layoffs and privatization schemes on the heels of years of tax breaks for corporations and the wealthiest Americans. If these new attacks are allowed to succeed, poverty, health care costs and medical bankruptcies will increase, leading to greater human suffering and thousands of preventable deaths.

In the absence of a truly universal, comprehensive health system, programs such as Wisconsin's BadgerCare, Medicaid and Medicare are critical safety nets that must be defended and preserved. These programs are not the cause of our rising health care costs, but are in fact victims of our irrational, fragmented and failed market-based model of health care financing.

Our nation's public insurance programs have been steadily undermined by for-profit corporations – health insurers, Big Pharma, and medical equipment companies – who seek to enlarge their customer base so as to make even more profits off of people’s sickness.

Physicians for a National Health Program emphatically rejects the idea that corporations should make profits off of those who need health care. That’s why we favor an improved Medicare for all – single-payer national health insurance – as the remedy for our health care woes. By replacing private insurers with a streamlined, publicly financed system of care, we’ll have enough resources to provide comprehensive, first-dollar coverage to all. We will also acquire the tools we need to rein in costs.

But today our focus is on expressing our solidarity with the working people of Wisconsin and other states in their battle against untrammeled corporate power, union-busting and the assault on social insurance programs. Gov. Scott Walker, the billionaire Koch brothers and their ilk must not be allowed to push us backward.

Rest assured, physicians stand with you in your fight for the public’s health and democracy!


Physicians for a National Health Program ( is an organization of 18,000 doctors who advocate for single-payer national health insurance, an improved Medicare for all. To speak with a physician near you, visit, or call (312) 782-6006.