Oaths Taken: Graduating Medical Students Pledge Support for Single-Payer Health Care

For a current, nationwide list of students who have signed the Match Day Pledge, click here. If you would like to speak with a student in your community, please contact PNHP at (312) 782-6006.

Contact: Mark Almberg, PNHP Communications Director, 312-782-6006,
Contact: Emily Henkels, PNHP National Organizer, 312-782-6006,

This Friday, March 18, is going to be a big day for Scott Goldberg. As a fourth-year medical student at the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine, he’ll be learning which of his chosen residency programs he’s been matched with, and just like that he’ll be off to the races as a medical professional.

Match Day, as it’s come to be known, “is an important milestone in the career of future physicians,” according to Goldberg. “It is a rite of passage, representing the transition from students to doctors.”

And while medical students nationwide are eager to celebrate Match Day as the culmination of years of study, and as a towering personal and professional achievement, a growing number are also taking time to advocate for improvements to the health care system they are about to enter.

This year, more than 100 graduating students across the U.S. have already signed the Match Day Pledge as a way of signaling their support for a single-payer health care system covering all Americans. Many of these signees are members of Students for a National Health Program (SNaHP), the fast-growing student arm of Physicians for a National Health Program.

Why are these future physicians so eager to commit themselves to the fight for single payer? At a recent national summit in Nashville, 170 attendees from across the country cited reasons ranging from the moral imperative to care for patients based on need and need alone, to the frustration and waste tied to administration of our current, corporate-dominated system.

Single payer, as a policy, has long been favored by health experts, economists, and the public at large. It has proven successful in other industrialized countries, such as Canada, and has made a tremendous, positive impact on seniors in the United States in the form of Medicare.

And while vested corporate interests have kept single payer out of mainstream political discourse for years, it has come roaring back in 2016. Viable presidential candidates have advocated Medicare for All, public polling has reflected support for this policy (along with frustration over the shortcomings of the Affordable Care Act), and young people in particular have been enthusiastic about pressing for transformative change.

Young people, of course, includes young soon-to-be physicians who are eager to support a policy that would be a medical and financial boon for millions of Americans.

Says Goldberg, “By signing the Match Day Pledge, we are using our first signatures as residents to publicly declare our support for a truly equitable health care system that serves all patients, regardless of ability to pay, and to commit ourselves to achieving single payer in our lifetimes.”

Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) is a non-profit research and education organization of 20,000 physicians, medical students, and health professionals who support single-payer national health insurance. The Match Day Pledge project was initiated by the residents’ arm of PNHP, Residents for a National Health Program. For more information, visit