Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Senator Max Baucus and the Finance
Committee are feeling the pressure
By Kevin B. Zeese
ccun.org, June 3, 2009
This Wednesday Sen. Baucus will meet with a delegation of
leading single payer national health plan advocates.
includes: Dr. David Himmelstein, Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard
Medical School and co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program
(PNHP), Dr. Marcia Angell, Senior Lecturer, Harvard Medical School and
former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Oliver
Fein, Associate Dean, Cornell Weill Medical School, and President of PNHP,
Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of the California Nurses Association,
and Geri Jenkins, president of California Nurses Association.
step would not have occurred without the consistent and growing pressure
being put on Senator Baucus and the Finance Committee. This is a
victory for single payer advocates.
But we know that a private
meeting with single payer advocates does not mean that single payer is on
the table or that will get a fair hearing.
We are pleased Sen. Baucus
is feeling the pressure and reacting but an off-the-record meeting is not
enough. We want single payer on the table and really being considered.
We know that on every measure: cost, patient choice, improved health care
and covering all people -- single payer wins every argument. It isn't
even a close question which is why a super majority of Americans support
single payer -- improved Medicare for all.
Please take action and
write Senator Baucus and the Senate Finance Committee today.(You can take
action at www.ProsperityAgenda.US.)
Tell them that while we appreciate a private meeting for single payer --
that is not good enough. Single payer needs to be on the table because
with fair consideration single payer will be the health care plan adopted by
The multi-payer system that Sen. Baucus is pushing will
be a gift to the insurance industry that has so generously supported him
throughout his political career. Indeed, it only makes sense from the
perspective of the insurance industry. It makes no sense as real
health care reform.
The plan he is working on will push, perhaps
even force, people to buy insurance, it will subsidize the industry even
more than it already is, it will not control costs indeed it will increase
taxes to pay for insurance subsidies, and, if there is a public insurance
option it will have so many strings attached that it will fail. This
is not reform that provide health care to all at a price the nation can
President Obama put forward three goals for health care
reform. On every measure single payer wins on the facts.
Cover all American: It is the only system that will ensure that every
American has access to health care throughout their lives. Single payer will
allow people to keep insurance unrelated to their employment. The
Massachusetts model on which the senate is basing their plan has failed to
insure all people in Massachusetts.
2. Control Costs: Single
payer is the only cost-effective way to achieve health care for all because
it immediately saves $400 billion in health insurance created bureaucracy,
it will uncover hundreds of billions in waste, fraud, and abuse, it
will allow for negotiation on the price of pharmaceutical drugs and and it
will reduce malpractice as people with bad health outcomes will have health
care to treat them. The Massachusetts model has led to rapidly
3. Provide Consumer Choice: Single payer
provides people with the maximum choice. They will no longer be
limited by the insurance or HMO "approved" list of doctors but rather will
be able to pick their doctor, their hospital and their treatment. The
senate is conflating choice of health care with choice of insurance.
The latter is really irrelevant as under a single payer system people will
be able to keep their current doctors and providers or change them.
People have maximum choice under single payer.
Real reform of health
care is needed. We do not need to tinker with the broken multi-payer
system. We do not need to preserve the costly, failed private
insurance system -- we need to end it. Single payer has worked in
every country that has tried it. Medicare is working in the United
States. Single payer is merely expanding improved Medicare to all
It is time to put single payer on the table,
indeed it is time to make it America's national health policy. A
private meeting should spur our movement to increase the pressure senators
We want real change not symbolic meetings.
Kevin Zeese is executive director of ProsperityAgenda.US which is working
for an economy that serves the interests of all Americans, not just the
elites. Single payer health care is one aspect of an economy for all.
Kevin is one of the Baucus 13 who were arrested protesting the exclusion of
single payer health care from consideration.