Articles of Interest Archives

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 Wednesday, February 27, 2013
    By Margaret Flowers, M.D. | Al-Jazeera
    In his recent State of the Union speech, President Obama remarked in one short sentence that "Already, the Affordable Care Act [ACA] is helping to slow the growth of health care costs." That was the extent of his comments on the historic health care bill he signed into law in March 2010 after more than a year of pushing health reform through Congress.

  • Posted on Wednesday, February 27, 2013
    By James Binder, M.D. | The Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette
    A major shift is occurring in health and no one seems to be noticing. Computers have taken priority over patients. Wow! It doesn't matter whether the patient is seen in the emergency room, a physician's office or in a hospital, completing documentation on the computer is paramount. The patient better stay out of the way.

  • Posted on Wednesday, February 27, 2013
    By Jacob Wheeler | The Uptake (St. Paul, Minn.)
    If Minnesota ever adopts a single-payer heath care system, the work of Dr. Elizabeth Frost will be remembered as one of the key reasons for its passage.

  • Posted on Monday, February 25, 2013
    The New York Times
    PNHP note: The following two letters were published as part of a "Sunday Dialogue" in response to a Feb. 19 letter by Thomas M. Cassidy titled "Fix Medicare to save it" in The New York Times. The complete set of letters is available here.

  • Posted on Monday, February 25, 2013
    By Caroline Poplin, M.D. | The New York Times
    With the best intentions, David Goldhill has described a free-market fantasy of health care. Market prices are based on power. In the United States today, hospitals and large doctor groups wield enormous market power, and they exercise it ruthlessly; consumers have none. Hospitals charge whatever the market will bear; uninsured patients pay the highest prices.

  • Posted on Monday, February 25, 2013
    By Samuel Metz, M.D. | New England Journal of Medicine
    In their Perspective article, Cutler et al. (Nov. 15 issue)[1] describe methods for reducing administrative costs in our health care system. The authors acknowledge that single-payer systems eliminate many administrative expenses, but they omit those estimated savings and dismiss the adoption of a national single-payer system as “unlikely.”

  • Posted on Monday, February 25, 2013
    By Josh Freeman, M.D. | Medicine and Social Justice blog
    The United Kingdom has a National Health Service which covers everyone (although it allows those with private insurance to access care elsewhere). While not perfect – nothing is – and historically underfunded, it is one very reasonable model for how we could ensure access to health care for everyone.

  • Posted on Friday, February 22, 2013
    By Nicole Back | The Morehead (Ky.) News
    Is health care a human right? Dr. Ewell Scott, a retired physician, emphatically says the answer is “yes.”

  • Posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2013
    By Austin Frakt | The Incidental Economist
    In the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, Kip Sullivan of the Minnesota chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program thinks almost everyone doesn’t understand Medicare’s administrative costs.

  • Posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2013
    By Meade Klingensmith | Remapping Debate
    The “New Democrats” of the 1990s — those who thought the Democratic Party should move further to the right and position itself as a “centrist” alternative to the GOP — promoted a model of health care reform called “managed competition.”

  • Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2013
    By Kay Tillow | Firedoglake
    ST. LOUIS, Feb. 13 – Shirley Inman was arrested for peaceful, civil disobedience as she protested at the Peabody Energy headquarters against the corporate threat to rob miners and their families of the health benefits they have earned.

  • Posted on Friday, February 15, 2013
    By Philip Caper, M.D. | Bangor Daily News
    There is a lot of money in our health care system, and no enforceable budget. That leads to carelessness when it comes to spending that money.

  • Posted on Thursday, February 14, 2013
    By Bob Herman | Becker's Hospital Review
    For the 11th straight year, Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) has proposed the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, legislation that would establish a universal, single-payer healthcare program akin to Canada's and other developed countries' healthcare systems.

  • Posted on Thursday, February 14, 2013
    By Meade Klingensmith | Remapping Debate
    Dr. Molly Droge is the chair of the subcommittee on access to care at the American Academy of Pediatrics. Growing up in West Texas, she lived next door to an old general practice doctor. She didn’t know him well, but, as she told Remapping Debate, “I did know his reputation in the town, and I knew what his patients thought of him.” He was known for doing everything he could to help his patients, and would often do it without any payment at all.

  • Posted on Thursday, February 14, 2013
    By Donna Smith | CommonDreams
    It isn’t often anymore that I learn a new word in the health care system discussion, but this week I did. Churning. I was at a meeting here in Colorado where I have taken on a new role in advocating and administering for a publicly financed, universal, single-payer system with Health Care for All Colorado.

  • Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2013
    By Jeremy B. White | The Sacramento Bee
    Health care professionals, medical students and advocates gathered at the Capitol for a raucous rally in favor of a single-payer system on Monday. The demonstration, which was organized by the California Health Professional Student Alliance, featured a sea of white lab coats -- many of them bearing the insignia of local medical schools -- and a choreographed number by scrubs-clad dancers.

  • Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013
    By J. Wesley Boyd, M.D. | The Boston Globe
    Although the for-profit Steward Health Care System might be investing in repaved parking lots, nicer waiting areas in their facilities, or other renovations, nobody should discount the significant negative impact on patient well-being of cuts in nurse staffing, stifling demands on physicians to see ever-increasing numbers of patients, or disgruntled employees in general.

  • Posted on Thursday, February 7, 2013
    By Clearing the FOG | We Act Radio 1480 AM (Washington, D.C.)
    The following is an excerpt from an unofficial transcript of a Jan. 28 telephone interview with Dr. Andrew Coates, president of PNHP and internist in Albany, N.Y., conducted by Dr. Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese on their radio show “Clearing the FOG” on We Act Radio, 1480 AM, in Washington, D.C. The program is also streamed at The text below has been slightly edited for clarity.

  • Posted on Wednesday, February 6, 2013
    By Christopher David Gray | The Lund Report (Portland, Ore.)
    SALEM, Ore. – Nearly a thousand people swarmed the front of the Oregon Capitol Building for the opening session Monday, demanding that Oregon become the second state to enact single-payer health care legislation, which would set up a government financing system to pay for and provide health care coverage and access for all Oregon residents.

  • Posted on Tuesday, February 5, 2013
    By Bennett Hall | Corvallis Gazette-Times
    SALEM, Ore. — Hundreds of people from all over Oregon rallied in Salem on the first day of the legislative session to call attention to what they claim is a broken health care system and call on lawmakers to enact reforms.

  • Posted on Monday, February 4, 2013
    By Pippa Abston, M.D. | Pippa Abston’s blog
    In a move that goes beyond redefining the word “is,” the IRS has released its final rule on what will be considered “affordable” premiums for families. Although you will not be on the hook for a tax penalty if the premiums for your entire family exceed 8 percent of your income, an increasingly common problem, you will not be eligible to purchase a subsidized plan on the coming Exchanges as long as your individual premium for your employer plan is 9.5 percent or less of your household income.

  • Posted on Monday, February 4, 2013
    By Pamella Gronemeyer, M.D. | St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    Sen. Kirk, we are asking you to support a Medicare for all/single-payer health care system that will allow all Americans a chance to survive and thrive after a catastrophic medical event. Single-payer is really the only system that will allow us to control costs and make the United States join the other nations in the world where health care is considered a human right.

  • Posted on Friday, February 1, 2013
    The New York Times
    Of course, as he suggests, physicians need to be held to professional norms. But until we join the rest of the industrialized world, where health care is publicly financed and a public good, we are unlikely to see the substantive cost controls that misdirected schemes like “pay for performance” supposedly address.

  • Posted on Tuesday, January 29, 2013
    Office of Senator Bernie Sanders |
    WASHINGTON -- A Senate panel today examined a “major crisis” in primary health care at a time when 30 million more patients will soon get health insurance under the Affordable Care Act and worsen an already acute doctor shortage.

  • Posted on Monday, January 28, 2013
    By Bill Keller | The New York Times
    With its ambitious proposal to pay doctors in public hospitals based on the quality of their work — not the number of tests they order, pills they prescribe or procedures they perform — New York City has hopped aboard the biggest bandwagon in health care.

  • Posted on Friday, January 25, 2013
    By Marvin Malek, M.D. | Times-Argus (Barre, Vt.)
    Kudos to the grant writers at Vermont’s Dept. of Health Access for obtaining $156 million from the federal government to assist with the implementation of the health exchange, the new insurance marketplace scheduled to go online in October 2013 as part of Obamacare.

  • Posted on Friday, January 25, 2013
    By John Geyman, M.D. | The Huffington Post
    The Affordable Care Act (ACA), crafted in large part by corporate stakeholders who are themselves responsible for the high costs of U.S. health care, is more secure with President Obama's win last November. But regrettably, the law will fail to control costs or prices, will not provide universal access to care, and at best will provide low-value, high-premium "insurance" that will still make essential health care unaffordable for many millions of patients and families.

  • Posted on Thursday, January 24, 2013
    By Edward W. Campion, M.D., and Stephen Morrissey, Ph.D. | The New England Journal of Medicine
    For a visitor from the United States, Cuba is disorienting. American cars are everywhere, but they all date from the 1950s at the latest. Our bank cards, credit cards, and smartphones don't work. Internet access is virtually nonexistent. And the Cuban health care system also seems unreal. There are too many doctors. Everybody has a family physician.

  • Posted on Thursday, January 24, 2013
    By George Sax | Artvoice (Buffalo, N.Y.)
    The lead speaker was Andrew D. Coates, the newly elected president of Physicians for a National Health Program. Coates is an assistant professor at Albany Medical College and the medical director at an Albany County-owned nursing home. The PNHP is a 18,000-member organization dedicated to the institution of a single-payer system in this country, rather than what it regards as the unwieldy, piecemeal, and inadequate Obamacare program.

  • Posted on Thursday, January 24, 2013
    By Kip Sullivan | Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
    So UnitedHealth Group has figured out a way to cut Medicare's costs "without cutting services"? That is how the Star Tribune characterized the organization's self-serving claims in a recent story ("UnitedHealth says Medicare can save big without big cuts," Jan. 20).

  • Posted on Thursday, January 24, 2013
    By Leonard Rodberg | The New York Times
    It is not just that for-profit health insurance is more costly and less efficient than the nonprofit or government alternatives; it is inherently contradictory. The more health care the insurance companies provide — the more they respond to the needs of patients — the less profit they make.

  • Posted on Tuesday, January 22, 2013
    By Eric Lipton and Kevin Sack | The New York Times
    WASHINGTON — Just two weeks after pleading guilty in a major federal fraud case, Amgen, the world’s largest biotechnology firm, scored a largely unnoticed coup on Capitol Hill: Lawmakers inserted a paragraph into the “fiscal cliff” bill that did not mention the company by name but strongly favored one of its drugs.

  • Posted on Tuesday, January 22, 2013
    By Harvey Fernbach, M.D. | The Washington Post
    In 2009, a majority of Americans told pollsters that they wanted the simplicity, portability, increased choice of doctors and peace of mind that an improved Medicare for all would bring. Why should we settle for less?

  • Posted on Friday, January 18, 2013
    By Mark Sommer | Buffalo News
    Single-payer health care remains the only way to meet public health needs, and demand for it will reignite as changes brought by the Affordable Care Act fail to make health care cheaper and continue to leave tens of millions uninsured, the head of a national physicians organization said Thursday.

  • Posted on Friday, January 18, 2013
    By Philip Caper, M.D. | Bangor Daily News
    We Americans seem to be obsessed with our health. You cannot watch TV, read a magazine or surf the Web without being inundated with articles and ads touting some new way get healthier. As one result, we spend about double what other countries do on health care for our people. But are many of those resources being misdirected?

  • Posted on Thursday, January 17, 2013
    By Philip A. Verhoef, M.D. | The State Register Journal (Springfield, Ill.)
    U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk’s recovery from a devastating stroke is a testament to his strength and to many months of excellent rehabilitation care. As a concerned physician, I am heartened by his recent statement that he will be “much more focused on Medicaid and what (his) fellow citizens face,” noting that Medicaid patients only qualify for 11 rehab visits after a stroke.

  • Posted on Monday, January 14, 2013
    By Amy Stansbury | The Evening Sun (Hanover, Pa.)
    Michael has been a board-certified physician for the past 28 years and is the co-owner of the Gettysburg Family Practice. He was a strong advocate for the Affordable Care Act and now has his eyes set on a single-payer system. He is also a Republican.

  • Posted on Thursday, January 10, 2013
    By the H-T editorial board | The Herald-Times (Bloomington, Ind.)
    Gov.-elect Mike Pence should support an expansion of Medicaid in Indiana. And while he’s at it, he should name Dr. Rob Stone of Bloomington his chief adviser on medical and health care issues.

  • Posted on Wednesday, January 9, 2013
    By Eduardo Porter | The New York Times
    These profit-maximizing tactics point to a troubling conflict of interest that goes beyond the private delivery of health care. They raise a broader, more important question: How much should we rely on the private sector to satisfy broad social needs?

  • Posted on Wednesday, January 9, 2013
    By Bob Herman | Becker's Hospital Review
    Outside of Social Security, no other domestic program has been scrutinized as much as Medicare as of late.

  • Posted on Friday, December 28, 2012
    By Philip Caper, M.D. | Bangor Daily News
    About a year ago, facing a budgetary shortfall, the Maine Legislature had a knock-down, drag-out fight over Gov. Paul LePage’s proposal to save $220 million by throwing 65,000 Maine residents off MaineCare. At that time, I predicted that the Legislature “can look forward to a repeat performance in a year or two unless they have the courage, wisdom and bipartisanship to attack the fundamental flaws in the ways we finance and deliver [all] health care services.” Well, they didn’t. And now they are.

  • Posted on Friday, December 28, 2012
    By Andrea Parrott | Twin Cities Daily Planet
    After daily witnessing situations in which patients suffered or had to make decisions detrimental to their health due to difficulties in accessing health care, Dr. Elizabeth Frost and Dr. Ann Settgast had enough. They felt they had to do something that would allow everyone to have health insurance and so, access to health care. The two decided to found the Minnesota chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP).

  • Posted on Friday, December 21, 2012
    By Ed Weisbart, M.D. | St. Louis Beacon
    As I sit in the waiting room for my 83-year-old mother-in-law’s cardiac MRI, I realize I’m not a good health-care consumer. I didn’t try to find the best deal; I didn’t ask any prices; I didn’t check to see if this were “in network.”

  • Posted on Thursday, December 20, 2012
    By Nathaniel H. Murdock, M.D. | St. Louis American
    The great American healthcare experiment is continuing to develop. The next stage is starting, so this is a good time to look back before we look ahead.

  • Posted on Wednesday, December 19, 2012
    By Aaron E. Carroll, M.D. | CNN
    We should be careful not to blame the mentally ill for all crimes. But we should also be prepared to accept that we might be able to prevent some tragedies if we did a better job of caring for them.

  • Posted on Monday, December 17, 2012
    By Gabriel Edwards | The Pulse (OHSU Student Newsletter)
    There’s another question I’ve considered as I get through the first year. I wonder what our country’s health care system (the system in which I will practice medicine) will look like in the next few years. Embedded in this question is one thing I’m certain of: our health care system is broken.

  • Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2012
    By Carl Berdahl, M.D. | Los Angeles Times
    Aside from partial measures like allowing Medicare to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices, the best way to assure Medicare's fiscal stability is to improve and expand the program to cover all Americans.

  • Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2012
    By Andrew D. Coates, M.D. | Counterpunch
    Madrid’s physicians, nurses and other health professionals have been marching in the streets with their patients for over a month, protesting the government’s plan to privatize and sharply reduce public health services.

  • Posted on Wednesday, December 12, 2012
    By Earl Jaques and John Kowalko | The News Journal (Delaware)
    The recent Supreme Court decision followed by the re-election of President Obama guarantees that the Affordable Health Care Act will be with us long into the future. As each day passes we have learned more about the law, what is contained in the bill and how states will play a major role in the implementation and funding of many portions of program. The Affordable Health Care Act requires everyone to have coverage but at a cost to be determined.

  • Posted on Monday, December 10, 2012
    By Samuel Metz, M.D. | KevinMD blog
    Those who resist health care reform point to America’s great cancer care – instead, we should protect “the best health care system in the world.” After all, if we’re the best, other countries should change, not us.

  • Posted on Monday, December 10, 2012
    By Jessica Schorr Saxe, M.D. | The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer
    First, some facts. You have undoubtedly heard the claim that Medicare is moribund. As with Mark Twain, reports of its demise have been highly exaggerated.

  • Posted on Wednesday, December 5, 2012
    By Samuel Metz, M.D. | Firedoglake
    Many Europeans use private health insurance companies, a few of them for-profit. These Europeans enjoy better care for more people at lower cost than we do. But the European business model differs radically from that in the U.S. In fact, American insurance companies find the European model not only alien, but intolerable.

  • Posted on Wednesday, December 5, 2012
    By Glenn Greenwald | The Guardian (U.K.)
    Whatever one's views on Obamacare were and are: the bill's mandate that everyone purchase the products of the private health insurance industry, unaccompanied by any public alternative, was a huge gift to that industry; as Wheeler wrote at the time: "to the extent that Liz Fowler is the author of this document, we might as well consider WellPoint its author as well."

  • Posted on Monday, December 3, 2012
    By George Lavender | New Internationalist blog (U.K.)
    Rolling Jubilee will start by buying up medical debt, a problem that afflicts many Americans. As Steffie Woolhandler, a Professor of Public Health at the City University of New York, and a member of Physicians for a National Health Program explains, ‘More than half of all personal bankruptcies in the United States are due, at least in part, to medical illness or medical debt’.

  • Posted on Thursday, November 29, 2012
    UNM Today (Albuquerque, N.M.)
    James Besante, a second-year student at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, was recently given the Nicholas Skala Student Activist Award by Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) for his health care reform advocacy efforts in New Mexico.

  • Posted on Monday, November 26, 2012
    Up with Chris Hayes | MSNBC
    Dr. Claudia Fegan, past president of Physicians for a National Health Program and chief medical officer at John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County, appeared on MSNBC's "Up with Chris Hayes" on Nov. 24 as part of a panel that included Dr. Donald Berwick, former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; Jacob Hacker, professor at Yale University; Joy Reid, an MSNBC regular contributor; and Josh Barro, a journalist at

  • Posted on Monday, November 26, 2012
    By Raymond Rendleman | The Lund Report (Portland, Ore.)
    When you Google “public health and social justice,” the first thing that comes up is Portland Dr. Martin Donohoe’s expansive website.

  • Posted on Monday, November 26, 2012
    By James Besante | Albuquerque Journal
    Winthrop Quigley, “Health Care Landscape Changing” published on Nov. 13, is quite correct that the chaos and disruption being experienced by thousands of New Mexicans who must choose between their medical care provider — doctor or nurse practitioner — and their Lovelace Health Plan insurer is a very strong argument for a single-payer, improved-Medicare-for-all health system.

  • Posted on Tuesday, November 20, 2012
    By Chris Adams | Belleville (Ill.) News Democrat
    WASHINGTON — More than quarter of all veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan don’t have health insurance and aren’t part of the Department of Veterans Affairs health system, according to an analysis of VA data.

  • Posted on Friday, November 16, 2012
    By Ann Settgast, M.D., and Elizabeth Frost, M.D. | PNHP Minnesota
    “Above all other issues, Minnesotans have expressed concern about affordability of care, and they believe the best solution to this problem is a single-payer system.”

  • Posted on Thursday, November 15, 2012
    By Philip Caper, M.D. | Bangor Daily News
    Mercifully, the election is over. Obamacare is here to stay. A strong role for the federal government in moving toward the goal of health care as a right of everybody in the United States is now firmly and, in my opinion, irreversibly established.

  • Posted on Thursday, November 15, 2012
    By Eric W. Dolan | The Raw Story
    On his show Tuesday night, The Daily Show host Jon Stewart slammed businessmen who laid off employees after President Barack Obama was re-elected, claiming that these “job creators” were merely using Obamacare to “wriggle out of the social contract.”

  • Posted on Wednesday, November 14, 2012
    By David Lazarus | Los Angeles Times
    It's understandable that car insurance rates can change when you move. One neighborhood might have more accidents or burglaries than another. But health insurance?

  • Posted on Wednesday, November 14, 2012
    By AFT-Wisconsin | All Unions Committee for Single-Payer Health Care
    On Oct. 27, at its convention in Manitowoc, Wis., the American Federation of Teachers-Wisconsin endorsed Congressman John Conyers’ bill, H.R. 676, a national single-payer health care program that would implement Expanded and Improved Medicare for All.

  • Posted on Monday, November 12, 2012
    By Brent Schillinger, M.D. | Palm Beach Post
    The airwaves, the Internet and newspapers have been loaded with a lot of seasonal advertising. This is not a reference to the political ads that until Election Day seemed to be bombarding us 24/7. I’m talking about the ads urging senior citizens to sign up for a Medicare Advantage program.

  • Posted on Monday, November 12, 2012
    By Nomi Prins |
    Election rhetoric shuns the big picture in favor of the bigger platitude. Now that The Show is over, we are left with the equivalent of a Sunday morning hangover following a binge of promises and lies. We leave the theatre of political spectacle on steroids for the real world of unstable economy, a globally and publicly subsidized financial sector, and increased costs of living on everything from food to education to health-care; outpacing declining median incomes. The average cost for health insurance for a family is $15,745 per year vs. a median income of $50,502, or about half post-tax take-home pay.

  • Posted on Monday, November 12, 2012
    By Samuel Metz, M.D. | Health Affairs
    Sara Rosenbaum and coauthors describe one hospital’s unhappy experience with “patient dumping” (Aug 2012). The primary motivation behind hospitals’ aggressively transferring emergency patients to other facilities is to rid themselves of nonpaying or low-paying patients. The authors conclude with suggested steps to enhance provisions of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), intended to prevent such practices.

  • Posted on Wednesday, November 7, 2012
    By Steffie Woolhandler, M.D., and David Himmelstein, M.D. | PNHP
    PNHP note: The two articles below describe the founding of Physicians for a National Health Program. The articles span a quarter-century – one was written shortly after the organization’s founding, the other was written in October of this year. We reproduce them here, the most recent one first, as part of the observance of PNHP’s 25th anniversary and as a contribution to understanding its continuing mission.

  • Posted on Tuesday, November 6, 2012
    By Carl Finamore | BeyondChron (San Francisco)
    Some might be surprised that the for-profit healthcare system Dr. Coates criticizes so sharply is mostly paid for with our tax dollars. Through tax subsidies for private health insurance and for public employee health benefits, through direct government Medicare and Medicaid subsidies and through numerous other ways, our taxes pay around 60 percent of our current health spending, or as PNHP leaders Drs. Steffie Woolhandler and David U. Himmelstein say, we are “paying for national health insurance and not getting it.”

  • Posted on Monday, November 5, 2012
    By Ed Weisbart, M.D. | Virtual Mentor: the AMA Journal of Ethics
    In the 6 years since Massachusetts adopted legislation very similar to the ACA, the cost of health care has continued to drive patients into financial ruin. The state has achieved nearly universal coverage, but, like the ACA, its legislation has yet to effectively address cost and sustainability. Its newly enacted cost-containment law relies heavily on unproven measures such as capitated payments and wellness programs, offering little promise of success.

  • Posted on Monday, November 5, 2012
    By Josh Freeman, M.D. | Medicine and Social Justice
    “Health and health care,” Dr. Benos says, “are not commodities that exist to drive the economy. They are among the social goals which we have an economy to achieve.”

  • Posted on Friday, November 2, 2012
    By James C. Mitchiner, M.D. | ACEP News
    So it’s clear we need to do the right thing: the creation of a national, universal, publicly funded health care system, free of the corrupting power of profit-oriented health insurance, and at the same time capable of passing constitutional muster. In short, the right thing is an expanded and improved Medicare-for-All program, otherwise known as single-payer.

  • Posted on Tuesday, October 30, 2012
    By Steven Reinberg | U.S. News and World Report
    Since 1980, health care costs in the United States could have been about $2.15 trillion less if Canadian cost-saving measures had been used, according to a new study.

  • Posted on Tuesday, October 30, 2012
    By Sarah Kliff | The Washington Post
    There are a lot of big differences between health care in the United States and Canada. But when you look at how the two countries provide care for the elderly, it’s actually pretty similar. Both countries run an insurance plan for those over 64 that covers a defined set of benefits.

  • Posted on Tuesday, October 30, 2012
    By Mike Mitka | news@JAMA
    While Medicare costs continue to rise and Democrats and Republicans promote various plans to curb such spending, 2 researchers suggest politicians look north to Canada for solutions.

  • Posted on Tuesday, October 30, 2012
    By Aaron Carroll, M.D. | The Incidental Economist
    Here’s the kicker. If the US Medicare program had grown at the same rate as Canada’s did over this period, we would have saved more than $2.9 trillion. In 2009, the trust fund would still have been running a surplus, instead of a deficit.

  • Posted on Tuesday, October 30, 2012
    By David Pittman | MedPage Today
    Medicare spending in the U.S. has grown nearly three times faster since 1980 than spending on a similar population group in Canada, a study has found.

  • Posted on Monday, October 29, 2012
    By Charles V. Allen, M.D. | The Modesto (Calif.) Bee
    A handful of other countries — all first world, industrial, democratic and yes, capitalistic — nations have achieved four things we have not: coverage of all citizens, costs half to two-thirds our cost, equal or better medical outcomes and a level of public support higher than ours.

  • Posted on Wednesday, October 24, 2012
    By The Associated Press | USA Today
    The theme of the rally was "Don't mess with Medicare," and many of the activists, including PNHP members who were there, advocated for an improved Medicare for all. Among the featured speakers in the AP video, which was carried by many news outlets across the country, is Dr. Elizabeth Rosenthal of the NY Metro chapter of PNHP. Other news stories featured PNHP members Dr. Matt Anderson, Dr. Steve Auerbach, and medical students Andy Simmons and Lusha Liang, among others.

  • Posted on Tuesday, October 23, 2012
    By Michael Rachlis, M.D. | The Toronto Star
    So let’s start the grown-up conversation with a real question about access. Best practices across Canada demonstrate that we could see our family doctors within one day, see specialists within one week, and get elective surgery within three months. And we could get this much better care for little or no additional cost. How can we make this happen within the next two years everywhere in this country?

  • Posted on Monday, October 22, 2012
    By Kirsten Stewart | The Salt Lake Tribune
    Medical debt is a common burden in America, shouldered not just by the poor and uninsured, but scores of fully insured, middle-class families. It’s a leading cause of bankruptcy and well-documented drag on the economy, which industry experts say is getting worse. And it’s uncertain whether federal health reform will bring relief.

  • Posted on Monday, October 22, 2012
    By Diane Lund-Muzikant | The Lund Report (Portland, Ore.)
    Despite the emphasis on health care transformation, evident by the $1.9 billion in federal funds that Governor John Kitzhaber garnered to implement coordinated care organizations, the single-payer movement isn’t dead in Oregon. Its champion, Rep. Michael Dembrow (D-Portland) plans to re-introduce the same legislation again next February. In 2011, it received a hearing in the House but stalled there (House Bill 3510).

  • Posted on Monday, October 22, 2012
    By Josh Freeman, M.D. | Medicine and Social Justice blog
    The New York Times editorial on September 9, 2012, “Simple treatments ignored”, is a commentary on a report in the September 7 issue of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publication Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) that many Americans with hypertension (high blood pressure) were not being adequately treated. The Times notes that the study “found that 67 million Americans had high blood pressure and that 31 million of them were being treated with medicines that reduced their blood pressure to a safe level. The remaining 36 million fell into three groups: people who were not aware of their hypertension, people who were aware but were not taking medication, and those who were aware and were treated with medication but still had hypertension.”

  • Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012
    By Philip Caper, M.D. | Bangor (Maine) Daily News
    Last month, the National Academy of Sciences reported that in the U.S. we waste $750 billion on health care, or about one in every three dollars we spend. Apologists for our dysfunctional health care system blame fraud and inadequate prevention — “blame the patient” — for most of that. But those two factors accounted for only 17 percent of the waste, according to the NAS.

  • Posted on Wednesday, October 17, 2012
    By Sarah Kliff | Washington Post
    Doctors, like the rest of us, aren’t always logical creatures. Steffie Woolhander, Daniel Ariely and David Himmelstein sound a note of caution in Health Affairs, looking at how previous efforts at pay for performance efforts, in other sectors, have backfired:

  • Posted on Tuesday, October 16, 2012
    By Evan Godt | Health Imaging
    The second article, also published Oct. 11 on the Health Affairs blog, attempted to explain the relative lack of success of P4P by looking through the lens of behavioral economics, which challenges “the traditional economic view that monetary reward is either the only motivator or is simply additive to intrinsic motivators such as purpose or altruism,” wrote Steffie Woolhandler, MD, of the City University of New York School of Public Health, and colleagues. “Studies have shown that monetary rewards can undermine motivation and worsen performance on cognitively complex and intrinsically rewarding work, suggesting that P4P may backfire.”

  • Posted on Monday, October 15, 2012
    By David Wallechinsky |
    Supplemental Medicare plans provided by private insurance companies are wasting billions of tax dollars annually in overpayments. The Medicare supplements, designed to cover gaps in government coverage, have consumed more than $282 billion since 1985. Much of this waste has come about in the last nine years, following the Bush administration’s decision to boost Medicare Advantage (MA) payments to insurers.

  • Posted on Thursday, October 11, 2012
    By Howard Waitzkin, M.D. | Robert Wood Johnson Human Capital Blog
    For better or worse, we treat health care in the United States as a commodity. We buy and sell it, and would-be patients who don’t have enough money to buy it must either rely on limited public assistance or go without care. In very real terms, it’s not just health care that we have turned into a commodity, it’s health itself, so it should come as no surprise that poor Americans die sooner than affluent ones, by an average of close to five years.

  • Posted on Thursday, October 11, 2012
    By Bob Herman | Becker's Hospital Review
    Three physicians and health policy directors with Physicians for a National Health Program conducted a study on how Medicare pays private insurers, also known as Medicare Advantage plans, and they identified overpayments totaling $282.6 billion since 1985.

  • Posted on Thursday, October 11, 2012
    By Rachael Zimmerman | CommonHealth blog, WBUR (Boston NPR)
    The doctors over at Physicians for a National Health Program, advocates of a single-payer system, sure are prolific researchers, and here’s the headline from their latest report: Private insurers have cost Medicare $282.6 billion in excess payments since 1985.

  • Posted on Monday, October 8, 2012
    By George Lundberg, M.D. | MedPage Today
    Transcript: GEORGE LUNDBERG, M.D.: Hello, and welcome. I’m Dr. George Lundberg, editor-at-large for MedPage Today, and we are in Chicago taking an opportunity to have a conversation with a famous name: Dr. Quentin Young. Dr. Young, thank you so much for being with us.

  • Posted on Monday, October 8, 2012
    By Kay Tillow |
    After the November election, there will be a major effort in Congress to pass a budget deal that will make cuts in Social Security, raise the Medicare and Social Security eligibility age, and perhaps more – unless we act to stop it with a solution that is close at hand.

  • Posted on Saturday, October 6, 2012
    By Stephen B. Kemble, M.D.
    PNHP note: The following is the inaugural address that Dr. Kemble, president of the Hawaii Medical Association and single-payer advocate, delivered to the HMA at its annual Ola Pono Ike (“Health is Knowledge”) assembly on Oct. 6, 2012.

  • Posted on Wednesday, October 3, 2012
    By Johnathon Ross, M.D. |
    A recently released Census Bureau report reveals that 48.6 million Americans lack health insurance.We know that being uninsured is dangerous to your physical and fiscal health. Research has shown that for every million uninsured, 1,000 preventable deaths occur due to untreated or undiagnosed illness.This means 48,000 Americans will die needless deaths this year. To put this in perspective, that’s about the same number of U.S. combat deaths in Vietnam War over a decade.

  • Posted on Friday, September 28, 2012
    By Ahmed Kutty, M.D. | Kearney (Neb.) Hub, Letters
    On Aug. 15 at the dedication of the new west wing and the Cope Heart Center at Good Samaritan Hospital, Bishop William Dendinger of Grand Island paid tribute to the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, who held a strong belief that the sacred dimension of the healing professions was just as vital as its scientific foundations.

  • Posted on Thursday, September 27, 2012
    By Peggy Anna Carey, M.D. |
    Fletcher Allen Health Care and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center have formed their new accountable care organization (ACO) called OneCare Vermont. The stated vision is “a statewide network with a coordinated clinical model and toolset … to enhance the quality of the care provided to Vermont’s Medicare beneficiaries while remaining good stewards of health care expenditures …”

  • Posted on Wednesday, September 26, 2012
    By Richard A. Damon, M.D. | Bozeman Chronicle, Letters
    The nation should be ashamed that we allowed 48,000 people to die of preventable deaths in 2011. The persistence of 48.6 million uninsured people (2011 Census Bureau) and their related deaths reveals the urgency of enacting an improved Medicare-for-All type system. An untreated preventable death occurred every 11 minutes in 2011.

  • Posted on Tuesday, September 25, 2012
    By Anne Scheetz, M.D. | Chicago Tribune, Letters
    If we get rid of health insurance companies with their bloated bureaucracies for marketing, underwriting and claims denial, as well as their profits and outrageous executive compensation, and instead enroll every person in the country in expanded and improved Medicare for all (also called single payer), we can cut our health care administrative costs in half. The $400 billion in savings generated is enough to pay for all necessary health care for everyone. We can have music and health care.

  • Posted on Monday, September 24, 2012
    By Robin Williams Adams | The Ledger (Lakeland, Fla.)
    Sticking with the status quo won't solve the woes of the United States health care system, Adil Khan said Friday, but he's not convinced the changes now being implemented will either.

  • Posted on Friday, September 21, 2012
    By Philip Caper, M.D. | Bangor Daily News
    For the past 30 years or so, a debate about the proper place for competition vs. regulation in our health care system has raged. That debate has now become a central theme in the 2012 presidential race. Democrats favor a regulated system while Republicans favor a more market-driven system, nationally and in Maine.