Sunday, June 7, 2009

Public Option "Single-Payer" Health Care

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Day of Service' - June 27th

Keeping Them Honest
By PAUL KRUGMAN - NYTimes Op-Ed Columnist
June 5, 2009

“I appreciate your efforts, and look forward to working with you so that the Congress can complete health care reform by October.” So declared President Obama in a letter this week to Senators Max Baucus and Edward Kennedy. The big health care push is officially on.

But the devil is in the details. Health reform will fail unless we get serious cost control — and we won’t get that kind of control unless we fundamentally change the way the insurance industry, in particular, behaves. So let me offer Congress two pieces of advice:

1) Don’t trust the insurance industry.
2) Don’t trust the insurance industry.

The Democratic strategy for health reform is based on a political judgment: the belief that the public will be more willing to accept reform, less easily Harry-and-Louised, if those who already have health coverage from private insurers are allowed to keep it.

But how can we have fundamental reform of what Mr. Obama calls a “broken system” if the current players stay in place? --- Click here for REST OF OP-ED COLUMN!... ---

Single-Payer Health Care
By Nicole Gaudiano - Free Press Washington Writer • June 4, 2009
Vermont's Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) has sponsored the Senate’s only single-payer health-care bill, a plan that would rely on a single source of funding, rather than multiple private insurers, for health care. During a Wednesday news conference, he called it “incomprehensible” that such a proposal isn’t part of the Senate’s discussion on the issue.

Sanders favors a state-administered system funded by the federal government. He said he would continue to seek a hearing in the Senate on the single-payer approach.

Sanders said there’s no question why the current health care system is “so dysfunctional.”

“We have a system dominated by private health insurance companies whose goal is not to provide health care to people,” he said. “In fact, it is to deny health care to people because every dollar they deny ... is a dollar more in profits that they make.”

Sanders arranged a meeting among several single-payer advocates and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., a leader on the issue. But the physicians and nurses said they left without assurances that their plan would be considered.

“We will therefore need to continue to press him,” said David Himmelstein, co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program. “It’s what our patients desperately need.”

Himmelstein said the group did secure a promise from Baucus to “use the power of his office” to ensure that charges are dropped against 13 health care providers who were arrested for disrupting Finance Committee hearings last month when they protested the lack of single-payer proponents as witnesses.

“There’s a conspiracy of silence within the Congress in terms of single-payer,” said Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of the California Nurses Association. “It’s been kept off of the agenda.”

A spokesman for Baucus did not return a call for comment.

President Barack Obama is seeking a Senate vote on health-care reform by August. Proposals are being drafted in the Senate Finance and Health, Education, Labor and Pension committees, of which Sanders is a member.

“It’s going to be a grassroots effort,” Sanders said. “When millions and millions of people say every American is entitled to health care as a right, and it must be comprehensive and it must be cost effective ... we’re going to have a single-payer system.”

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