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PNHP RESOURCES

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 Monday, February 23, 2009
    Rachel Nardin, M.D. In April 2006, Massachusetts enacted a health care reform law with the stated goal of providing near-universal coverage of the Massachusetts population. Nearly three years into the reform, we know a lot about what has worked and what hasn't. Examining this data critically is vitally important as the Obama administration considers elements of Massachusetts' plan as a model for national health care reform.

  • Posted on Monday, February 23, 2009
    By Pat LaMarche | Bangor Daily News
    It's because this year, as he has for many years, Michigan Rep. John Conyers has introduced HR 676, which already has garnered nearly 50 co-sponsors -- a bill that restructures our health care system much like the rest of the civilized world and guarantees health care for all Americans. And it's because poll after poll, like the October 2008 ABC News poll, shows that two-thirds of Americans support changing our current system to a universal system.

  • Posted on Friday, February 20, 2009
    By Madeline Zevon | Lower Hudson Journal News
    What is single payer? It refers to the administration of health-care funds by one payer, rather than by the current multiple insurance companies. This payer would be the federal government. Think of single payer as enhanced and improved Medicare for all. The League of Women Voters of Westchester, New York state and the U.S. League all advocate for single-payer health care.

  • Posted on Friday, February 20, 2009
    BY PAT FERRIER | Fort Collins Coloradoan
    T.R. Reid is uncharacteristically angry. He's angry the richest country in the world cannot provide efficient, affordable health care to all its residents. He's angry the World Health Organization ranks the U.S. 37th for the cost, quality and coverage of its health-care system.

  • Posted on Friday, February 20, 2009
    David Olive | Business Columnist | Toronto Star
    "Canada's health-care system is cheaper than America's by far (accounting for 9.7 per cent of GDP, versus 15.2 per cent here)," [Fareed ] Zakaria writes, "and yet does better on all major indexes."

  • Posted on Friday, February 20, 2009
    Dr. John Benziger | Kennebec Journal / Morning Sentinel
    Under pressure from the insurance industry, Obama's health-care reform is poised to completely exclude a single-payer "improved Medicare for all" option. Such a program would save enough money to provide comprehensive benefits for all Americans.

  • Posted on Thursday, February 19, 2009
    By Lisa Wangsness | Boston Globe
    A trio of Boston doctors says the 2006 Massachusetts healthcare law is a poor model for a national system because it leaves too many people without affordable care.

  • Posted on Thursday, February 19, 2009
    Strange Bedfellows blog | Seattle Post-Intelligencer
    Single payer seemed like a futile cause during the Bush Administration, which put forward ideals for the partial privatization of Medicare. Now, with a Democrat back in the White House -- and a promise of action on health care - McDermott, and Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., have introduced versions of a single payer plan in the new Congress.

  • Posted on Wednesday, February 18, 2009
    Laura S. Boylan, MD | The following letter was sent to the editor of The New Yorker on Jan. 22.
    Most Americans, including most physicians, supported national health insurance even before the recent economic collapse, polls show. Endorsers of the single payer bill H.R. 676 (Expanded and Improved Medicare for All) include 93 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives, 450 union organizations in 45 states, and countless others representing a wide range of constituencies. This is not a fringe movement.

  • Posted on Wednesday, February 18, 2009
    BY KIP SULLIVAN | Southside Pride, Minneapolis
    SF 118, the Minnesota Health Act, which would guarantee health insurance for all Minnesotans under a program called the Minnesota Health Plan, passed out of the Senate Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee by a party-line vote of 7 to 3 on Feb. 10. The lopsided vote was a sign of the growing support for the single-payer approach. This is the first year since 1991, the year single-payer legislation was first introduced in the Minnesota Legislature, that a single-payer bill has cleared two committees in the Senate. The bill has never been heard in the House. It will get its first hearing in the House on Feb. 25.

  • Posted on Wednesday, February 11, 2009
    by doctoraaron | DailyKos
    Saturday was a short day in the office. I came in to handle some paperwork and to see a few patients whom I couldn't manage to work in over the course of a busy week. It was an ordinary day with a typical, ordinary selection of patients....which is to say, that almost every one came with a story which cried out about how we desperately need change in our health care system.

  • Posted on Wednesday, February 11, 2009
    By James Floyd, M.D. | Huffington Post
    As the global economic crisis deepens, our broken health care system continues to neglect an increasing number of uninsured Americans, which will top 50 million this year. Tens of millions more who have health insurance still cannot afford the care they need. The resulting illness from inadequate health coverage will lead to missed days of work and lost jobs, making it harder for us to recover from the recession.

  • Posted on Wednesday, February 11, 2009
    by Russell Mokhiber | CommonDreams.org
    A politician says -- I support health care for all. That is a politician you should support, right? Wrong. A politician says -- I support universal health care. That is a politician you should support, right? Wrong. Universal health care. Health care for all. More often than not, these are code words for -- keep the private insurance companies in the game.

  • Posted on Tuesday, February 10, 2009
    By VICENTE NAVARRO | CounterPunch
    Why Sanjay Gupta is the Wrong Man for the Top US Health Job.

  • Posted on Monday, February 9, 2009
    By DANIEL P. WIRT, M.D. | Houston Chronicle
    Americans are increasingly afraid that they can't afford to get sick, and with good reason. About half of all personal bankruptcies are caused by medical expenses, and 76 percent of these individuals had health insurance when they got sick or injured. Those of us with insurance are paying a greater share of the premium and more deductibles and co-pays as well. Thus, not only do we have 46 million Americans without health insurance, but at least an equal number who are seriously underinsured.

  • Posted on Monday, February 9, 2009
    By Mike Dennison | Helena Independent Record
    With last week's political demise of Tom Daschle, the man expected to shepherd serious health care reform through the minefield of Congress, has reform been dealt a deadly blow? Not according to Montana's senior U.S. senator, Max Baucus, who said in no uncertain terms last week that he remains committed to enacting "comprehensive health care reform" this year.

  • Posted on Thursday, February 5, 2009
    By Avram Goldstein | Bloomberg News
    Just as President Barack Obama prepares to overhaul the U.S. medical system, providers of U.S.- backed health plans for the elderly are raising prices.

  • Posted on Thursday, February 5, 2009
    Kaiser Family Foundation | News Release
    Cancer patients can face severe challenges in paying for life-saving care -- running up large debts, filing for personal bankruptcy and even delaying or forgoing potentially life-saving treatment -- even when they have private health insurance, according to a new report by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the American Cancer Society.

  • Posted on Wednesday, February 4, 2009
    By Kamyar Kalantar-Zadeh, MD, PhD, MPH | Renal and Urology News | Commentary
    It is unfortunate that the 35-year-old Medicare [End-Stage Renal Disease] program remains our nation's only universal health coverage not dependent on age, albeit limited to ESRD. The program has worked well, and its success should provide the impetus for replacing our present fractured health-care financing system with one that provides universal coverage for all U.S. residents regardless of age.

  • Posted on Tuesday, February 3, 2009
    By KEVIN SACK | The New York Times
    Determined not to lay off any of her tight-knit band of workers, Ms. Allen is now agonizing over an equally unappealing option: whether to terminate the health benefits she provides for her employees and herself.

  • Posted on Monday, February 2, 2009
    William Thar, MD | New York Times | Letter to the editor
    The best way to save a lot of money and provide universal coverage is to expand Medicare to everyone. The system, widely supported by more than 60 percent of Americans, has the lowest overhead in American health care and works for more than 40 million elderly people.

  • Posted on Sunday, February 1, 2009
    By Ewell G. Scott, M.D. | The Journal of the South Carolina Medical Association
    Bottled water and health care reform have a lot in common these days. How, you say? Well, let’s take a look.

  • Posted on Friday, January 30, 2009
    Public Citizen
    Public Citizen has joined the Leadership Conference for Guaranteed Health Care because a single-payer national health insurance program is the only viable solution to our health care crisis.

  • Posted on Friday, January 30, 2009
    By David Swanson
    While a Democratic polling firm has just found, as pollsters always do, dramatic public support for public health coverage, Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill appear divided, as they have always been, over whether to take a comprehensive approach to health care.

  • Posted on Friday, January 30, 2009
    by Donna Smith
    It seems everyone in the healthcare reform movement is hitching up his or her britches and feeling mighty proud of the prospects for action under President Obama and the adoring Democrats in his Congressional arsenal. Even some prominent Republicans are inching ever closer to supporting change to the broken health system. But I'm feeling significant dissonance between the words spoken and the policy offered to move forward.

  • Posted on Friday, January 30, 2009
    Reviewed by Theresa Welsh
    In this highly researched and well-written book, Dr. John Geyman lays out in clear language the repeated failure of the private health insurance industry to bring affordable and comprehensive coverage to the American people. He demonstrates with a wealth of facts and figures how the inexorable and continuous rise of health care costs have meant insurance companies must work hard at excluding anyone who might require expensive treatment, reduce coverage for everyone and constantly raise premium rates.

  • Posted on Thursday, January 29, 2009
    By Alex Wayne, CQ Staff | CQ TODAY PRINT EDITION -- HEALTH
    A coalition of liberal advocacy groups and labor unions is trying to breathe new life into the idea of a European-style "single-payer" health system in the United States, a concept thought discredited after the collapse of President Bill Clinton's attempt at overhauling the health care system.

  • Posted on Thursday, January 29, 2009
    by John R. Battista, M.D. | Prepared for Grand Rounds, Department of Medicine, Stamford Hospital, Stamford, CT
    The United States is the only industrialized country without universal health insurance. The United States consistently ranks in the lower third of industrialized nations in terms of the two universally accepted measures of health care system efficacy: infant mortality and life expectancy. In addition, because the United States spends about twice as much per capita on health care than other industrialized countries it ranks at the very bottom of the industrialized world in terms of health care efficiency, that is efficacy per dollar spent.

  • Posted on Thursday, January 29, 2009
    Bruce Dixon, Managing Editor | Black Agenda Report
    It is estimated that 18,000 premature deaths occur in the US each year because of lack of medical coverage. Fifty or sixty million Americans have no health coverage at all, and another hundred fifty million are grossly underinsured. Democrats were able to pass SCHIP with a smaller majority under the Bush administration. They did not run on promises of "incremental reform". They ran promising to deliver national, comprehensive, universal health care. Clyburn himself is a co-sponsor of the single payer bill. So why are the expectations of House Democrats and the White House, with a popular wind at their backs, so unconscionably low now?

  • Posted on Thursday, January 29, 2009
    World Focus
    As part of Worldfocus’ Health of Nations signature series, correspondent Edie Magnus conducted this half-hour interview with Uwe Reinhardt on January 20, 2009, the day of President Barack Obama’s inauguration.

  • Posted on Thursday, January 29, 2009
    Today, groups representing doctors, nurses, healthcare advocates and labor unions are applauding the Philadelphia City Council for voting in favor of single-payer healthcare. The resolution, sponsored by Councilman Greenlee and Councilwoman Tasco, makes Philadelphia the 28th city and 46th local government to pass a resolution in favor of HR 676, the National Health Insurance Act, sponsored by John Conyers (D-Ill). The resolution also calls for the enactment of the two single-payer state bills, SB 300 and HB 1660.

  • Posted on Tuesday, January 27, 2009
    John Tepper Marlin | Huffington Post
    My sister Brigid Marlin lives in the UK and a few days ago was watching a BBC program on health care in the United States. Brigid is not a public affairs junkie so I was interested when she sent me an email reporting that the program was a shocking portrayal of the high cost and low coverage of U.S. medical care. This itself is not news but there are two things about the show that are worth an alert: (1) The BBC's effectiveness in describing the problems with U.S. health care, and (2) The fact that Americans can't watch it.

  • Posted on Tuesday, January 27, 2009
    By Andy Birkey | The Minnesota Independent
    Sen. Linda Berglin chairs the powerful Health and Human Services Budget Division in the Minnesota Senate and has long advocated a managed-care approach to rising health care costs. Although a staunch progressive on health care policy (she helped create and protect MinnesotaCare, the state’s health insurance program for low-income residents), she has typically demonstrated lukewarm interest in a single-payer system. But this year, Berglin has signed on as a coauthor of the Minnesota Health Act, the bill that would create the Minnesota Health Plan. The Act (HF 135, SF 118) would take health insurance out of the private sector and put it under the control of a state board to cover all Minnesotans.

  • Posted on Monday, January 26, 2009
    By Robert Wolfington III | Marshall (Minn.) Independent
    Dr. Ann Settgast, co-chairwoman of the Minnesota chapter of Physicians for A National Health Program, said a single-pay insurance program would provide care for all U.S. citizens, while at the same time save money compared to the current multi-payer system.

  • Posted on Monday, January 26, 2009
    By GENE FENDERSON | Great Falls Tribune
    We don't really have a "system." What we have is a confused maze of coverage types and providers -- Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Medicaid, SCHIP, military, veterans administration, Indian Health Service, federal employee coverage, health savings accounts, community health centers, private insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, medical coverage in auto insurance and more. Unfortunately, the Baucus plan simply adds even more layers of confusion to this hodgepodge, which is already driving costs up and up for all Americans. We can do better. We must do better. That is why a single-payer system must be on the table.

  • Posted on Monday, January 26, 2009
    Unions for Single Payer Health Care
    Montana Senator Max Baucus, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, has said that in writing his new healthcare legislation “everything is on the table” except single payer. One wonders if Senator Baucus has been reading his home state newspapers or just listening to the lobbyists for the private insurance industry.

  • Posted on Monday, January 26, 2009
    Ryan Grim | The Huffington Post
    John Conyers plans to introduce his universal healthcare legislation today, a Conyers aide tells the Huffington Post. The bill - known last session as H.R. 676 - is a favorite of healthcare reformers who back a single-payer system.

  • Posted on Friday, January 23, 2009
    By Dr. Stephen Kemble | Honolulu Advertiser
    Economic analysis has repeatedly shown that administrative overhead is far greater for competing private health plans than for a publicly financed single-payer system. Administrative costs are about 31 percent of the healthcare dollar in the U.S., 15 percent in countries with single-payer plans.

  • Posted on Thursday, January 22, 2009
    By Ezra Klein | In These Times
    The reason healthcare in this country costs so much more than in any other country is because we’re the only country that treats healthcare as a commodity.

  • Posted on Thursday, January 22, 2009
    JACK BERNARD | Atlanta Journal Constitution | Letter to the Editor
    Given the upcoming stimulus package, it is the perfect time to do something about our irrational health care system. What better way to stimulate the economy than to spend funds on those in need of medical services vs. more bridges to nowhere.

  • Posted on Tuesday, January 20, 2009
    by Ann Settgast, MD | Twin Cities Daily Planet
    The upcoming change in administration has brought optimism and hope to the American public. Now is the time to demand meaningful healthcare reform rather than a replay of past failures. As a physician, I know that offering a placebo in place of known effective treatment is unethical. Hence, while I applaud the good intentions of Senator Tom Daschle, the Healthcare for America Now (HCAN) coalition, and others, I advise against their proposals to extend a system that is fundamentally flawed. In these times of economic uncertainty and crisis, single payer is the only fiscally responsible option for reform…and it is the only solution that will actually work.

  • Posted on Tuesday, January 20, 2009
    By DANIEL SUDDEATH | The Evening News and Tribune (IN)
    The most expensive health care in the world provides only run-of-the-mill results. That’s how Dr. Rob Stone, an emergency room doctor in Bloomington and director of Hoosiers for a Commonsense Health Plan, described America’s health care system during a New Albany City Council workshop Thursday.

  • Posted on Tuesday, January 20, 2009
    By MISCHA GAUS | Labor Notes
    Labor activists from 31 states gathered in St. Louis last weekend, solidifying their strategies to push "Medicare for all"--and to oppose the half-hearted health care plans circulating in Washington.

  • Posted on Tuesday, January 20, 2009
    By HELEN THOMAS | Seattle Post-Intelligencer
    There is a lot on the incoming president's plate-- to put it mildly. Health care reform is one thing. With the economy in the tank and 47 million people without insurance, Obama should take a bold step and support a single-payer plan a la Social Security. It makes sense-- and better still-- it works.

  • Posted on Tuesday, January 20, 2009
    By MERTON C. BERNSTEIN | Kansas City Star
    Growing unemployment threatens workers, their families and the economy. Losing work income degrades family purchasing power and business income. Task one: Improve cash benefits to bolster both. And the unemployed and their families need assured health care. Being out of work increases the chance of illness and injury while decreasing the ability to cope with it.

  • Posted on Tuesday, January 20, 2009
    by Tim Foley | Change.org Blog
    The top vote getter among health care ideas in Change.org's Ideas for Change competition was "Free Single-Payer Health Care for All." This no doubt is cause for joy for many of you who frequent this page.

  • Posted on Thursday, January 15, 2009
    By Nicholas Skala | International Journal of Health Services
    This article illustrates [WTO constraints on domestic policy] through an evaluation of the potential effects of current WTO law and jurisprudence on the implementation of a single-payer national health insurance system in the United States, proposed incremental national and state health system reforms, the privatization of Medicare, and other prominent health system issues.

  • Posted on Thursday, January 15, 2009
    By Louis Balizet, M.D.
    "Everybody talks about it, but nobody does anything about it." So said Will Rogers about the weather, but he may as well have been referring to our health care system -- roundly decried, but still intact. Finally, however, on both state and national levels, well designed plans have emerged to replace our current wasteful chaotic system with the only workable alternative -- a single-payer, tax-financed system that eliminates private health insurance, provides universal coverage, and introduces adult supervision (centralized planning). Like the majority of American physicians, I feel that "medicare for all" is long overdue.

  • Posted on Wednesday, January 14, 2009
    By Laura Ungar | Louisville Courier-Journal
    Louisvillians had a strong message for President-elect Barack Obama yesterday: The nation's health-care system needs either massive reforms or a complete overhaul.

  • Posted on Tuesday, January 13, 2009
    By Melissa Dahl, Jeff Rossen and Robert Powell | msnbc.com
    One of the nation’s largest health insurers has agreed to pay $50 million dollars in a settlement announced today after being accused of overcharging millions of Americans for health care.

  • Posted on Tuesday, January 13, 2009
    PRNewswire
    PNHP President Dr. Oliver Fein will be speaking at the "Health for All Inaugural Ball"

  • Posted on Monday, January 12, 2009
    By John Nichols | The Progressive
    Perhaps most impressive are the moves made by the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, Physicians for a National Health Program, and Progressive Democrats of America to ensure that the option of single-payer is not forgotten as Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi establish their domestic policy priorities. To that end, sixty activists from these and allied groups met one week after Election Day at the AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington with Michigan Congressman John Conyers, an early Obama backer and the chief House proponent of real reform, to forge a Single-Payer Healthcare Alliance and plot specific strategies for influencing the new Administration and Congress.

  • Posted on Monday, January 12, 2009
    ROBERT CROWE | Palm Beach Post | Letter to the Editor
    Recently, my wife and I attended one of the meetings requested by Barack Obama to create a document advising the Obama team on health-care action to be taken by the new administration. About a dozen of us met at the Scottish Rites center in Lake Worth, a meeting which had been organized by a retired physician.

  • Posted on Friday, January 9, 2009
    By PNHP staff
    Dr. Paul Hochfeld, an emergency medicine physician in Corvallis, Ore., has produced and directed a new 47-minute film titled "Health, Money and Fear." The DVD features interviews with over a dozen physicians, administrators, civic leaders and health policy experts on the problems of today's U.S. health care "non-system" and the prospects for its reform.

  • Posted on Thursday, January 8, 2009
    By Sam Stein | Huffington Post
    Rep. John Conyers has written a letter to Democratic colleagues urging them to join him in publicly opposing the nomination of Dr. Sanjay Gupta for Surgeon General.

  • Posted on Wednesday, January 7, 2009
    By John Geyman, MD | Tikkun magazine
    Together with a sizable majority of Americans, I am again hopeful for the future of our country. My special concern, however, is for our failing health care system and how it is pricing health care beyond the reach of ordinary Americans. Our system has come to the point where none of the many incremental reforms will work. The business model of insurance has failed, and we need to rebuild the system on a social insurance model.

  • Posted on Monday, January 5, 2009
    by Donna Smith | CommonDreams.org
    One of the most heart-breaking losses we've felt in recent years as we tried in vain to cling to some semblance of middle class reality as health crises crushed us is the loss of holidays, the loss of traditions, the loss of intimacy and the loss of respect from our own children who see no home to come to - and no reason to interrupt more exciting holiday pursuits when we can no longer play host to any sort of Smith family soiree with the same sort of meaning.

  • Posted on Monday, January 5, 2009
    Linda Mulka, MD | Summit Daily News (Frisco, CO)
    I am a board-certified family physician unable to actively practice because of effects of bilateral breast cancer radiation on my immune system. When dealing with Los Alamos National Lab’s self-insured United Healthcare administered program, I was evaded throughout the appeal process until arbitration to pay for services that Medicare would have covered to determine the appropriate treatment for my breast cancer. These tests incidentally saved over $30,000 for my treatment while allowing me to avoid cytotoxic chemotherapy. Considering what happened to me as a physician in their system, I can only imagine what would have happened to a non-physician.

  • Posted on Monday, January 5, 2009
    DR. WILLIAM R. ELSEA | Atlanta Journal-Constitution | Letters
    Most people don’t realize that all could be covered for what we’re now spending if we adopted a Medicare-for-All system, and that private administrative costs are about 10 times Medicare’s administrative costs. Many studies show superior health care results in countries with national care.

  • Posted on Monday, January 5, 2009
    By Clark Newhall | Editorial columnist | The Salt Lake Tribune
    We don't have a health-care problem. We don't have a health-care crisis. What we have is a health-care famine.

  • Posted on Monday, January 5, 2009
    Robert Stone | The Journal Gazette
    Private health insurance, with its rising premiums, co-pays, deductibles, exclusions and so on, is becoming increasingly unaffordable for individuals, families and businesses. The private model of financing care is no longer sustainable; it is dying. It is more like a dinosaur stumbling toward a tar pit than a mighty gorilla.

  • Posted on Monday, January 5, 2009
    By Johnathon S. Ross | Toledo Blade
    With new leadership in place, America can end a national disgrace. Forty-six million of our friends, family and neighbors have no health care coverage at all. The Institute of Medicine estimates that over 18,000 Americans die each year from lack of health insurance alone. Tens of millions more risk bankruptcy because they have bare-bones insurance. Our troubled economy will only worsen this sad situation.

  • Posted on Monday, December 22, 2008
    Letters to the Editor | Atlanta Journal-Constitution
    Let’s put the dollars that would otherwise be spent paying administrators back into the health care system and enact a single-payer system.

  • Posted on Monday, December 22, 2008
    by Bob Balhiser | Queen City News, Helena, Montana
    Like the old saying, "Too many cooks spoil the broth", it can likewise be said that too many fingers in the till ruin a health care system. Dr. Putsch has recently done an excellent job of outlining just how much of our health care dollar is spent on administrative costs by citing studies that peg the range between 31 to 38 cents. I think everyone can agree that either amount is out of line and serves to explain why our health care costs have grown exponentially.

  • Posted on Monday, December 22, 2008
    Aaron M. Roland | Letter to the Editor | New York Times
    The problem with President-elect Barack Obama's supposed emphasis on the costs of health care is that his proposals fail to deal with the biggest source of wasteful expenditures, our dependence upon private health insurance.

  • Posted on Monday, December 22, 2008
    By Hilda Sarkisyan | Los Angeles Daily News
    One year ago, my beautiful daughter Nataline lost her long struggle with leukemia. Our insurance company, Cigna Healthcare, closed the door on us. Now we need to make sure that other families can have the security that our daughter didn't.

  • Posted on Monday, December 22, 2008
    By ROSE ANN DeMORO | The Tampa Tribune
    The most heartbreaking e-mail alerts that crossed my computer screen this holiday season arrived from an active, progressive union that has set up a fund for medical benefits for widows and orphans of their former members. Reliance on charity rather than a public safety net symbolizes what has become a perversely unique American solution to social problems, especially in the Bush administration era.

  • Posted on Monday, December 22, 2008
    By Bill Roy | Topeka Capital-Journal
    In my most fertile imagination, about March 1, President Obama and new secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Daschle, would call the governors to whatever site they choose and tell them they have a plan to turn health care administration and delivery over to them, along with adequate funds to implement the best system they possibly can.

  • Posted on Friday, December 19, 2008
    Robert Wood Johnson Foundation | News Digest
    The rising numbers of unemployed and uninsured mean that "affordable health care has never been more urgently needed," and "at this critical juncture, a single-payer plan is the only medically, morally and fiscally responsible path to take," writes Oliver Fein, M.D., associate dean and professor of clinical medicine and public health at Weill Cornell Medical College and president of Physicians for a National Health Program, in an Atlanta Journal-Constitution guest commentary.

  • Posted on Friday, December 19, 2008
    By Uwe E. Reinhardt | New York Times
    The percentage of the American population age 65 or over is 12.4 now and is projected to rise to about 21 by 2050. Only 7 percent of China’s population is 65 or over now, but that figure will shoot up rapidly to over 22 percent by 2050. And in a number of other industrialized countries — notably in Japan, Germany, Italy and Sweden — the elderly already represent close to 20 percent of the population, a level the United States will not reach until about 2040. Yet the world has not come to an end in these older countries.

  • Posted on Friday, December 19, 2008
    by Joel Moskowitz | IndyBay
    In 2007, CaliforniaSpeaks, a statewide initiative led by government and major health foundations, invited 3,500 Californians to discuss their views on health care reform. To the surprise of the organizers, an overwhelming majority expressed its support for single payer (which was explicitly written out of the “discussion guidelines”). Yet somehow, the final report managed to ignore the will of the people. Today, as Americans throughout the country head to house parties to discuss health care reform, invited by Tom Daschle, future Secretary of Health and Human Services, and armed by similarly constraining "discussion guidelines", the experience of Californians is worth remembering.

  • Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2008
    CHARLES I. WOHL, M.D. | Berkshire Eagle | Letters
    The extensive layoffs at KB Toys, as described in the Dec. 13 Eagle, will cause far more misery for KB employees than the loss of their jobs alone. The laid-off workers also lost their medical insurance on the day their jobs ended. Many unemployed KB workers will not receive subsidized health insurance through Commonwealth Care, the Massachusetts health plan, because their incomes before the layoffs exceeded 300 per cent of the poverty level, making them ineligible for subsidized coverage. They must buy health insurance or they face fines; and if they require medical care while uninsured, they face bankruptcy.

  • Posted on Wednesday, December 17, 2008
    By Dr. William Davidson Jr. | Lebanon Daily News (PA)
    Unfortunately, only 70 cents of every dollar paid into the system actually returns to us in the form of health care. Thirty cents out of every dollar goes to administer a very dysfunctional system that has become a profit center for special interests that do not have the best interests of our people at heart.

  • Posted on Tuesday, December 16, 2008
    Sherif Emil, MD, CM, FACS | Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons
    Americans, the public, and their physicians have a major decision ahead. Will health care continue to be treated as a commodity bought and sold according to means or as a service sought and delivered according to need? American surgeons should continue to lead the world in innovation and creativity, but they should also apply the results of their resourcefulness to any patient in need, in an atmosphere of evidence-based care, patient freedom to choose their doctor, and resource optimization, free from micromanagement and bureaucratic hassles. I don't believe this can be achieved through expanding or amending our current nonsystem.

  • Posted on Tuesday, December 16, 2008
    Vicente Navarro, MD, PhD | Harvard Health Policy Review
    I appreciate the invitation from the Harvard Health Policy Review to discuss the relationship between national health care systems and the policy process. One cannot analyze this relationship without analyzing the political context in which it occurs, and since the U.S. is now in the midst of a very important political process -- the presidential primaries of 2008 -- it may be of special interest to readers of the Review to focus on the impact of the political process on the health care reform proposals put forward by the presidential candidates in this and past elections.

  • Posted on Monday, December 15, 2008
    By HARRY S. TRUMAN | November 19, 1945
    Millions of our citizens do not now have a full measure of opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health. Millions do not now have protection or security against the economic effects of sickness. The time has arrived for action to help them attain that opportunity and that protection.

  • Posted on Monday, December 15, 2008
    By DR. OLIVER FEIN | Atlanta Journal-Constitution
    Opponents of single payer often admit it's the best, most efficient and equitable way to provide quality care, but say it's not politically feasible and is therefore off the table in this round of the debate. How so? A solid majority of physicians, 59 percent, and an even higher percentage of the public, 62 percent or more, support national health insurance, recent surveys show. Single payer should be front and center.

  • Posted on Monday, December 15, 2008
    By Saul Friedman | Newsday | Gray Matters
    Here's a question for Medicare beneficiaries and those who will soon become eligible: Why should you care about the estimated 47 million American men, women and children who have too little or no health coverage?

  • Posted on Monday, December 15, 2008
    By Robert W. Putsch | Helena Independent Record | Your Turn
    Montanans spent $4.9 billion on health care in 2003. If these authors are right, then Montanans paid over $1,600 in administrative costs for every man, woman and child in the state, including the uninsured. That means that only 69 cents of every dollar spent went to health care needs. Remember, administrative costs are passed on to patients, bill by bill, paycheck deduction by paycheck deduction, and even at the pharmacy!

  • Posted on Monday, December 15, 2008
    by Paul Bass | New Haven Independent
    She said she didn't know a lot about the health care plan Harry S. Truman pushed at the time. It was a universal health care plan. Government-run. Business interests like General Motors killed it by arguing that Americans don't trust government to run health care. They argued that private interests do it better -- private insurers, and private companies that offer the insurance plans to employees. Six decades later, companies like GM are struggling to stave off bankruptcy in part because of out-of-control health care costs.

  • Posted on Friday, December 12, 2008
    By Rose Ann DeMoro | The Progressive
    Barack Obama needs to make good on his campaign pledge to reform health care. It is not enough to throw the issue off to former Senator Tom Daschle, Obama’s choice to head the Department of Health and Human Services.

  • Posted on Friday, December 12, 2008
    By Uwe E. Reinhardt | New York Times
    Medicare, the federal health-insurance program for America’s elderly, plays a major and highly controversial role in our health-care system. To many Americans it is a blessing. Others view it as a source of all that’s wrong with American health care. I propose to explore these views in this and the next two posts to this blog.

  • Posted on Friday, December 12, 2008
    By Marc Yacht M.D. | St. Petersburg Times | Guest Columnist
    A simple legislative solution such as the Medicare for all goes nowhere as Americans suffer the consequences of a failing health care system affecting those with and without insurance. Onerous oversight and other cost cutting measures, driven mainly by insurers, have demoralized physicians, hospitals and other providers.

  • Posted on Thursday, December 11, 2008
    By Kip Sullivan
    Data derived from polls have long found strong support for "Medicare for All" or single payer national health insurance. For example, a recent AP/Yahoo poll found that 65 percent of Americans agree that the U.S. should "adopt a universal health insurance program in which everyone is covered under a program like Medicare that is run by the government and financed by taxpayer". But so do other kinds of data, including data from citizen juries, focus groups, and even a national series of government-sponsored town hall meetings that were carefully designed to solicit support for anything but single payer. So, how come Democratic pollster Celinda Lake now claims Americans won't support single payer, and instead favor a plan that is a variant of managed competition? Because her latest research was brazenly biased. Kip Sullivan explains how and why.

  • Posted on Thursday, December 11, 2008
    By Jean Ruzicka | Park Rapids Enterprise
    When the Legislature convenes Tuesday, Jan. 6, health care reform will be on the docket and Sen. Mary Olson, DFL-Bemidji, will be advocating restructuring the current “business commodity.”

  • Posted on Wednesday, December 10, 2008
    By Len Rodberg, PhD

  • Posted on Wednesday, December 10, 2008
    Peter Mott | Rochester Democrat And Chronicle | Guest essayist
    How could covering more people decrease total expenditures? The difference is in "administrative costs." Private insurance companies have such costs totaling 15 percent to 30 percent. Medicaid is at 5 percent and Medicare at 1 to 2 percent. "Administrative costs" include advertising and shareholders' profits, as well as the billing and collecting costs of hospitals, doctors' offices, labs and X-ray facilities. These become a nightmare as patients change among a variety of insurers, or when they lose insurance by changing or losing their jobs.

  • Posted on Tuesday, December 9, 2008
    Dr. Rachel Nardin | Boston Globe | Letter to the Editor
    It's remarkable that an insurance industry group's website features an interview with a woman who says, "It's time for the government to step in." The American public increasingly realizes that we need real healthcare reform. We need national health insurance, which would cover everyone without deductibles or copays, be financed through payroll and income taxes, and give everyone free choice of doctor and hospital. The private insurance industry knows this would put them out of business, and they are determined to make sure it doesn't happen.

  • Posted on Tuesday, December 9, 2008
    By Shlomit Auciello | The Herald Gazette
    H.R. 676 would establish the U.S. National Health Insurance program to provide all residents of the United States and U.S. territories with free health care that includes all medically necessary care, such as primary care and prevention, prescription drugs, emergency care, and mental health services.

  • Posted on Tuesday, December 9, 2008
    Andrew D. Coates, MD, Albany Medical Center | Empire State Emergency Physicians Interim Communique (EPIC)
    The fact that 47 million Americans had no health insurance during all of 2006, and that tens of millions more have inadequate insurance and/or shorter periods without coverage, weighs especially heavily upon the [emergency department]. Non-urgent care in the emergency room has boomed, yet this is not the root cause of crowding in the ED. Instead, bottlenecks caused by the intense needs of a few patients result in ED crowding -- even one critically ill patient waiting for an ICU bed can trigger a cascade leading to a significant back-up for all patients, for hours, even days.

  • Posted on Monday, December 8, 2008
    By DANIELLE J. KOLIN | The Crimson
    Americans who lack health insurance are about 20 times more likely to donate a liver or kidney than to receive one, according to a new study by researchers at Harvard Medical School.

  • Posted on Monday, December 8, 2008
    By Uwe E. Reinhardt | New York Times
    Research around the world has shown that the process of the aging of the population by itself adds only a very small part -- usually about half a percentage point -- to the annual growth in per-capita health spending in industrialized societies, which tends to range between 5 and 8 percent, depending on the country and the period in question. The bulk of annual spending growth can be explained by overall population growth (about 1.1 percent per year), increases in the prices of health care goods and services, and the availability of ever more new, often high-cost medical products and treatments used by all age groups.

  • Posted on Monday, December 8, 2008
    By Rose Ann DeMoro | The Philadelphia Inquirer
    It's time for Congress to stop getting carried away with financial bailouts for big industries, especially when it comes to some of the most-profitable and least-responsible companies: the health-insurance giants.

  • Posted on Friday, December 5, 2008
    By Roger Bybee | Z Magazine
    With employers flitting from one plan to another, sometimes on an annual basis, the notion of consistent, continuous health coverage has all but disappeared. "The average length of time a patient stays in any given private health insurance plan has dropped to less than two years," notes Rose Anne DeMoro, director of the California Nurses Association. "Health insurance on a continual basis is practically non-existent in the private insurance market," observes McCanne. In countless situations, "the insured individual was not granted the option of 'keeping the insurance you have'," McCanne notes.

  • Posted on Thursday, December 4, 2008
    By CHRIS FRATES | Politico
    With President-elect Barack Obama showing no signs of backing off his pledge to push health care reform early in his administration, jockeying is intensifying among interest groups to position themselves for the fight ahead.

  • Posted on Thursday, December 4, 2008
    By Rebecca Knight in Boston | Financial Times
    The Massachusetts healthcare programme widely seen as a test case for universal health coverage in the US faces mounting opposition from doctors who say the reform is failing.

  • Posted on Thursday, December 4, 2008
    By Marie Cocco | Denver Post
    Here is a number easily understood by even the math-phobic: Every 1 percent increase in the unemployment rate leads to another 1.1 million Americans becoming uninsured -- and causes still another million more children and adults to become eligible for state health insurance programs.

  • Posted on Tuesday, December 2, 2008
    by Jeff Cohen and Norman Solomon
    In a single-payer system, private insurance companies are basically removed from health care. Instead, the government pays all health care providers, and controls fees and costs. As in Canada, consumers would choose their own doctors-but almost never receive a hospital or doctor bill. Insurance deductibles and co-payments are also eliminated.

  • Posted on Monday, December 1, 2008
    By Dr. Taro Adachi | Baltimore Sun | Letter to the Editor
    Leaders of America's Health Insurance Plans have suggested that, in exchange for agreeing to accept all customers regardless of health conditions, they want a federal requirement that everyone buy coverage. But we have already seen such plans consistently fail on a state level.

  • Posted on Monday, December 1, 2008
    By Elizabeth Frost, MD | Pioneer Press | Letter to the Editor
    As a family practice doctor who works with the uninsured in St. Paul, I have recently become involved in health care reform. I believe single-payer national health insurance is the only way to provide quality affordable care for all.