White House, HCAN, Ignore the Single Payer Option

Most western democracies guarantee their citizens a right to medical services through their own version of government managed single payer health care. But such a system has been attacked in the US as "socialized medicine" since before the 1950s especially by lobbyists for the insurance and drug industries who would see their profits decline. Although Barack Obama was elected on a health care reform platform, his version ignores single payer. Nor is single payer advocated by his allies in the well-funded coalition called Health Care for America Now, composed of MoveOn, USAction, ACORN, Americans United for Change, the unions SEIU and UFCW and other liberal heavy hitters. Journalist Russell Mokhiber, founder of the new group Single Payer Action, notes that no advocate of a single payer system was invited to the recent White House summit on health care reform. Only protests by Progressive Democrats of America and others won an invitation for Congressman John Conyers, sponsor of the United States National Health Care Act: H.R.676. Mokhiber quotes Dr. David Himmelstein of Physicians for a National Health Program: “The President once acknowledged that single payer reform was the best option, but now he’s caving in to corporate health care interests and completely shutting out advocates of single payer reform," even though "the majority of Americans favor single payer, and it’s the most popular reform option among doctors and health economists."


Thanks for the dress down. Sorry I'm violating the Party Line!. I'll get back to my little Blue Book and memorize the correct [[Center for American Progress]] and [[Progressive Media]] messaging on this issue. I guess I let critical thinking get in the way of Party loyalty - again!

The only "grass" in their (HCAN's)roots is the stuff they (and you) appear to be smoking! At best, they are "AstroTurf"! When you have ex-Chiefs Of Staff and husbands of the largest bundlers in the Dems history as the leaders of an organization, it's not grass roots! HCAN stands for giving PRIVATE insurers like Aetna, WellPoint, UnitedHealthScare, etc. FEDERAL and STATE monies to provide health care, as Bush already started with MediScare disAdvantage plans. MCaid is next, then other government-sponsored plans like Federal Workers and TriCare for vets. Zeke Emmanuel (Rahm's brother) says so in his August 1, 2012 article in NEJM. Google it. Your tax dollars are gonna go to "fat cat insurance companies", making them even fatter cats. Costs will soar; Medicare has estimated 3-6% overhead, while United has 32% overhead, much of which goes to profit and CEO salaries. And just guess (no, go to SourceWatch or OpenSecrets and find out) how much Big Insurance donates to political campaigns in the US (answer:lots)!

Commenting with respect to HCAN - I recently attended my first HCAN sponsored Health Reform Meeting in CT (yes, aka "Health Insurance Capitol of the World") and I got up and asked why the group was still trying to work with the insurance companies and also directed this question to Congressman Himes, to explain why the Administration has abandoned the concept as well. BTW, this question did provoke loud applause from the other attendees. HCAN's rep looked (to me) somewhat sheepish and replied (I am paraphrasing here), that it became apparent to them when they worked with Hillary Clinton on health care reform that there was no way to fight the corporate interests (insurance, hosptials, pharma) and that is when the group started working almost exclusively to get public funds for political candidates, laying the ground work (I assume) to populated the legislature and senate with people who were not beholding to these interests. How successful that has been, especially in light of all the money from health insurers and the like that Clinton and Obama (among countless others) is pretty doubtful. Himes stated that if he had to give odds on the passage of a bill for health care reform he gave it an 80% chance as it is currently (which includes the corporations) and a 0% chance is single payer were part of the plan. I truly do not think the corporations want to be in the health insurance business for too much longer (aging baby boomers=increased costs) - my theory is that they are actually angling for the government to do EXACTLY what Obama and HCAN etc plan - to pay THEM to deliver services under a govt sponsored plan - basically a tax payer subsidy for the health care industry. I believe both sides "know" this but our side keeps silent thinking that if we were to say that the country is stepping into providing health care at a time that will statistically be the most expensive we are just handing ammunition to the other side. If I had to guess I would say that HCAN and the like are making a deal with the devil in the hopes of whittling away at the corporations powers from the edges rather than taking a frontal attack. Look, that may work (eventually) and may be the ONLY way given our screwed up system. I look at the demonstrations in France and England and I can't understand why the American people are so meek about something they obviously want. I believe that a frontal attack against the health care industry would only be successful if we in America did what people in France and England do - fear is a two way street afterall. To that end I am traveling to Washington DC for a Health Care Reform rally on May 13th. Anyone reading this post - if you can make your voice heard and join us! Power to the People!

I firmly believe that with the enacting of the unPatriot Act, the knowledge that the government has and probably still is recording every phone call and keystroke, and people are drugged down through fluoride poison and pharmaceuticals in the water, and the crap drugs that most doctors feed them, are some of the reasons people are afraid to participate in demonstrations. We are afraid and demoralized. That's how you control the population.

The comments are very appropriate and it is hard to deny the influence of the healthcare power brokers. In Obama's case remember that his wife was handsomely paid by a large Hospital System, and that salary tripled when he became a senator. So the fix is probably in. On the other hand, the sigle payer systems mentioned enjoyed by the europeans, and canadians are not always enjoyed. Rationing care through screening, delays, and limited availability of certain treatments frequently frustrate their citizens. Dying while waiting for certain treatments, or denials of treatments designed to improve the quality of life will be a difficult pill to swallow for those who have paid for their care under the current system. Along with the fix, the administration seems to want to use the not yet invented time machine. There is no question that successfully moving to a prevention, disparities reduction agenda will lead to future health cost reductions. Unfortunately, we have a population that includes many individuals who will need extensive care including end of life care issues. So, a plan that expects to implement a prevention agenda and simultaneously dismantel the hospital/nursing home model has time and reality against it. The health disparities we face now suggest growth in the hospital.nursing home sector, The prevention agenda requires extensive resources to manage that change in this country. That will also take time. Can they invent the time machine fast enough?

I am a registered nurse of over 35 years and 65 years of age. The people will have to demonstrate at the level of anti Vietnam War and pro civil rights to get our government to do the right thing when it comes to affordable health care. We cannot expect executives of the health insurance industry, pharmaceutical companies and medical devices/equipment companies to change a broken health care system where they have the most lucrative financial gain. Civil disobedience is out right and the only way to bring about "real change".

People who are praising "western" health care system outside of the US have no idea what they are asking for: they will have long waiting lines to incompetent physicians. This is my personal experience of living in Belgium for 3 years while doing my PhD. We need to help people who cannot afford health care, we need to allow physicians to charge non-insured patients the same rate insurance company pays them and so forth. But be careful, the US system of medicine is the only one on earth that provides a patient with reasonable level of quality and accessibility.

Interesting - for your PhD thesis, did you actual use statistics and facts or just anecdotal evidence? Your comments completely ignore the overwhelming evidence, that as a system our health care fails to achieve the same health care benchmarks that most of the other industrialized systems achieve, yet we spend the highest portion of our GDP on healthcare. The answer is Medicare for all - currently none of the hospitals that I work at make the Medicare patients wait in line. America's best hospitals and doctors already take Medicare. We need to extend Medicare for all, raise the Medicare tax to fund it, and remove the red tape preventing Medicare from cutting the fraud in the system. Why did you feel that you had to obtain your PhD in Belgium? Is it possible that the rest of the industrialized world has a better solution to healthcare than we do (unless of course you own stock in a health insurance company)