health care use

We’ve said it again and again: Congress cannot exclude single-payer advocates from the debate on health care reform. At meetings and rallies around the country, Americans have demanded to know why Congress has not considered single-payer, the most popular health reform proposal around. On June 11, Dr. Margaret Flowers of Physicians for a National Health Program testified before the full Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions – the first time all year someone advancing single-payer had been allowed to participate in the Senate discussion of health care reform.

At the time, we said Dr. Flowers’ testimony wasn’t enough. A great deal of misinformation was still floating out there about single-payer that Congress had not yet addressed. But today, our own Dr. Sidney Wolfe, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research group and our acting president, was invited to testify in front of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce about the single-payer option.

Why do we so strongly believe in the single-payer option? Well, we’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: replacing private insurance companies with a national health insurance program could save $400 billion a year in excessive administrative costs, provide coverage to the 45 million people in the United States who are uninsured, and help prevent the more than 18,000 deaths a year from a lack of health insurance. Why, then, is Congress so hesitant to consider the single-payer option? Politics, plain and simple. President Obama has said that if we could start our health care system from scratch, we would have a single-payer system, but right now it’s too disruptive.

We know that single-payer is the answer, even if it doesn’t align with our current health care system. If our president is such a fan of change, as he campaigned last year, why won’t he get behind the single-payer answer?

Flickr photo by seiuhealthcare775nw.


  • Dr. Philip Hordiner

    I cannot understand how a country that had the vision to put a man on the moon cannot create a system of health care for all.

    Healthy citizens make a healthy country.
    If not now, when?

  • Doreen

    I believe that Public Citizen means well, but I’m disappointed that the story isn’t getting through to me via your web postings. I think that the public needs to hear about the sincere demonstrators, but their actions need to be explained by the reasoning behind their passion.

    Help me understand two things:

    Why can’t ALL citizens be included in health insurance whether it is structured under single payer or private insurers, or a combination of private and government options? The speakers and comments imply that ONLY single payer will permit ALL citizens to be covered. I don’t get it. I’m sure I’m not alone. It would seem to me that the private insurers could be required to cover all, by law.

    Second question:

    How exactly would the billions in claimed savings on administration be realized? Whether public or private, there ARE administrative costs. Spell out the difference between private and public.

    In case I lose your site, I’d appreciate an email response, but I think you are not keeping the reasoning visible and accessible enough to those who begin with respect for PCitizen and want to understand. I can’t advocate without my own grasp of the reasoning…

    Best wishes

  • Karl Lamb

    My doctor wants silngle payer inurance. He would rather deal with a sympathetic government bureaucracy than various insurance company bureaucracies whose first interest is making bonuses by denying coverage.

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