Dr. Phil Verhoef speaks at Medicare-for-all press conference

Transcription by Kay Tillow
Daily Kos, May 24, 2017

A few hours before the CBO announced that 23 million Americans would lose their health insurance under the Republican health care bill passed by the House, Congressman John Conyers, seven co-sponsors of HR 676, and representatives of physicians and nurses groups gathered near the Capitol to announce the amazing growth of both public and Congressional support for single payer.

The following remarks were made by PNHP board adviser Dr. Phil Verhoef:

So I’m an ICU physician at the University of Chicago and as an ICU physician I depend on research and evidence to help inform me about how to practice medicine, how to take care of critically ill kids and adults in the ICU.

But I look at our current health care system, and when I look at the evidence and when I look at the research, I’m pretty sure that our health care system is also critically ill. Why do I say that? Well, look, based on research published last week we ranked 80th out of 195 countries and that is by far the worst of the developed countries in this world.

But more importantly we have 30 million uninsured patients in this country. What that means based on research and evidence is that we will have no less than 20,000 deaths this year because of that lack of insurance. That is unacceptable.

On top of that costs are out of control.

We spend the most per person out of pocket on health care. We spend the most per person per GDP. We spend the most on every possible measure that you can think of.

And so we are failing on every front...this is a critically ill health system. So I say, as a critical care physician, What’s the solution?

Well, one solution has been proposed in Trumpcare and I can tell you that I’m pretty sure, even without CBO’s report which we expect later today, that this is actually going to make our critically ill system even worse.

It’s a little bit like giving grandma a heart attack when she is already in the ICU for pneumonia And so ultimately why would that happen? So look, if 24 million people lose health insurance, that’s another 20,000 deaths that we can lay at the feet of the architects of this awful bill.

Second, this bill (Trumpcare) achieves financial responsibility by providing a humongous tax cut to actually destabilize Medicare at same time that it guts Medicaid. So what that really means is that we are balancing the books on the backs of senior citizens, children, people with disabilities and the poor.

And this just doesn’t make any sense to me.

But we have a solution, we have a therapy for this critically ill patient, our health care system, and that is HR 676, improved and expanded Medicare for All.

Again I turn to research and evidence based on studies from other countries around the world that use similar systems, it saves lives, it saves money, it improves health outcomes.

The thing that burns me up is that we have a solution on the books and there is not political will to move forward with it except for Congressman Conyers and the 111 cosponsors that have been supportive.

As an ICU physician, I know what the solution to our critically ill system is and that’s HR 676 Improved and Expanded Medicare for All and I hope to see political will to stop the deaths of people for lack of health insurance.

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