Articles of Interest

These articles highlight many of the health care related stories in the news–ranging from single-payer op-eds by PNHP members to reports by newspapers on corporate health care.

  • Posted on Friday, February 5, 2016
    By Steffie Woolhandler and David U. Himmelstein | The Philadelphia Inquirer
    In our "read my lips/over my dead body" political culture, the threat of tax increases usually shuts down proposals for single-payer national health insurance. Lately, conservative pundits - and even liberals like Hillary Clinton - have been repeating the mantra that single-payer insurance would break the bank. Never mind that Canadians, Australians, and Western Europeans spend about half what we do on health care, enjoy universal coverage, and are healthier. Their health-care taxes are higher. ... Or are they?

  • Posted on Wednesday, February 3, 2016
    By David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler | The Huffington Post
    Professor Kenneth Thorpe recently issued an analysis of Senator Bernie Sanders' single-payer national health insurance proposal. Thorpe, an Emory University professor who served in the Clinton administration, claims the single-payer plan would break the bank. Thorpe's analysis rests on several incorrect, and occasionally outlandish, assumptions. Moreover, it is at odds with analyses of the costs of single-payer programs that he produced in the past, which projected large savings from such reform.

  • Posted on Tuesday, February 2, 2016
    Airtalk with Larry Mantle | Southern California Public Radio
    The following are excerpts from an unofficial transcript of a debate between Dr. Steffie Woolhandler of Physicians for a National Health Program, a practicing primary care physician and professor in the City University of New York School of Public Health at Hunter College, and Avik Roy, senior fellow at the Manhattan Policy Institute and current health care adviser to Marco Rubio. Only the remarks of Dr. Woolhandler, PNHP’s co-founder, have been transcribed here. A link to the full audio of the debate is provided at the end.

  • Posted on Tuesday, February 2, 2016
    By Robert Zarr, M.D. | The Washington Post
    Single-payer expanded and improved Medicare for all would provide universality, affordability and cost containment. Single-payer would allow doctors to focus on their patients’ health needs, rather than on patients’ ability to pay. What Americans want is choice of doctor, not choice of health insurance. Americans want comprehensive, lifelong insurance that assures them they will get the care they deserve.

  • Posted on Tuesday, February 2, 2016
    By Johnathon Ross, M.D. | The Toledo Blade
    Currently, we have a bewilderingly complex system of hundreds of insurance entities with an army of paper-pushers, billing clerks, and bureaucrats to process the premiums and bills. Under a single-payer, hospitals would not bill individual patients, but would receive an operating and capital budget from the Medicare trust fund with both local and national public oversight.

  • Posted on Monday, February 1, 2016
    By Ida Hellander, M.D. | PNHP
    Misinformation about single payer is nothing new. When the U.S. was at war with Germany in WWI, national health insurance was attacked as “the Kaiser’s health plan.” President Johnson’s Medicare program – which turned 50 last year – was aggressively red-baited as “socialized medicine” by the right. Responses to 10 recent attacks on single payer in the news are below.

  • Posted on Monday, February 1, 2016
    By Anne C. Courtright, M.D. | The Pueblo Chieftain
    HCAC does not like to see people die or become disabled because they cannot afford to get needed health care or, all too often, go bankrupt when they do. Our current system is not working well.

  • Posted on Thursday, January 28, 2016
    By Sean Lehmann, D.P.M. | Nevada Appeal
    I began practice as a sole practitioner nearly 16 years ago. One of my first workplaces was the Fallon Tribal Clinic. The family practice doctor at that clinic told me it was a “grave mistake” when we decided as a country that health care would be treated as a for-profit commodity. During the years I have learned he was definitely right. I have had the unique perspective of being on the front lines of health care as both a provider and consumer.

  • Posted on Thursday, January 28, 2016
    By Ken Brummel-Smith, M.D. | Tallahassee Democrat
    So the question Americans need to answer is: Do you want to keep the “reality” of our current system, which doesn’t work and empties your wallet, or do you want a system that saves money, is easier to use and is fairer. Which one is realistic?

  • Posted on Wednesday, January 27, 2016
    By Kay Tillow | Daily Kos
    There is a precedent for expanding Medicare to a region suffering from a public health disaster. ... Montana Senator Max Baucus tucked into the Affordable Care Act a special section that expands Medicare to the people of Libby and the surrounding area who were poisoned by W. R. Grace's deadly mine causing mesothelioma and asbestos-related disease. Shouldn't the people of Flint, all of them not just the children, have Medicare also for life? We must do much more, but, at least, we can start here.

  • Posted on Wednesday, January 27, 2016
    By Elmore F. Rigamer, M.D. | The Times-Picayune
    Our health system does not work. One-third of the nation’s $3 trillion health care bill is spent on navigating complexities imposed by the private insurance industry. We spend much more on health care than other countries, yet we have the most rationed (by cost) care in the world.

  • Posted on Friday, January 22, 2016
    Two letters: Alan Meyers, M.D., and Jim Recht, M.D. | The New York Times
    Just because private insurers are powerful doesn’t mean a concerted national campaign can’t overcome their well-funded opposition. Already a majority of the general public (58 percent in a recent Kaiser poll) supports single-payer. Cost will never be controlled until we do away with the bloated administrative expenses of our hopelessly complex financing arrangements and for-profit medicine.

  • Posted on Thursday, January 21, 2016
    By Joyce Frieden | MedPage Today
    Taxpayers funded nearly two-thirds of all U.S. health expenditures in 2013, and that figure is expected to rise even higher by 2024, a study has found.

  • Posted on Monday, January 18, 2016
    By Kay Tillow | Daily Kos
    A new day is breaking for single payer health care. This concept of publicly funded, universal health care, locked out of the national debate six years ago, has made it on stage in the presidential debates. Millions of people are hearing the concept of single payer (an improved Medicare for all) for the first time, and they like what they hear.

  • Posted on Monday, January 11, 2016
    By Mark S. Krasnoff, M.D. | St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    There is no chance for affordability while insurance companies are calling the shots. There is no chance to rein in drug prices without being able to negotiate with suppliers en masse as other countries do. Our entire health care system is out of control.

  • Posted on Wednesday, January 6, 2016
    By Mark A. Krehbiel, M.D. | Salina Journal
    A single-payer system or Medicare for all would achieve truly universal care, affordability and effective cost controls. By taking private insurance companies and administrators out of the equation, it is estimated we would save $400 billion (that is with a “B”) annually.

  • Posted on Wednesday, January 6, 2016
    By Deidre Fulton | Common Dreams
    Noting that residents of countries like Canada, France, and Germany don't face the same gaps in coverage, out-of-network costs, co-pays, and "all those other things that leave Americans in trouble," Dr. David Himmelstein compared the average health insurance plan to a standard hospital gown — "it looks like you have coverage until you turn around and see what's up in the back."

  • Posted on Tuesday, January 5, 2016
    By Margot Sanger-Katz | The New York Times
    The number of uninsured Americans has fallen by an estimated 15 million since 2013, thanks largely to the Affordable Care Act. But a new survey, the first detailed study of Americans struggling with medical bills, shows that insurance often fails as a safety net. Health plans often require hundreds or thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket payments — sums that can create a cascade of financial troubles for the many households living paycheck to paycheck.

  • Posted on Tuesday, January 5, 2016
    News release | Single Payer News
    In December six representatives, Danny Davis (IL), Grace Napolitano (CA), Emanuel Cleaver (MO), Jerry McNerney (CA), Robin Kelly (IL), and Alan Lowenthal (CA), added their names as cosponsors on HR 676, Congressman John Conyers' Expanded and Improved Medicare for All, the national single-payer legislation.

  • Posted on Monday, January 4, 2016
    By Kip Sullivan, J.D. | Star Tribune
    A silent epidemic is ravaging our health care system — an epidemic of burnout among doctors. A paper published in the December issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings reports that the percent of physicians admitting to at least one symptom of burnout rose from 46 percent in 2011 to 54 percent in 2014. By contrast, burnout in the general population over that period stayed at about 25 percent, way below the rate among doctors.