The Single-Payer Answer to Our Broken Healthcare System


Artvoice Weekly Edition » Issue v13n6 (02/06/2014)
by George Sax

A skeptical, well-dressed middle-aged man was the first person to take advantage of Dr. Andy Coates’s surprise invitation to the audience gathered Thursday evening in D’Youville College’s Madonna Lounge to hear him discuss the need and prospects for a national single-payer health insurance system. Instead of immediately proceeding to his remarks, Coates, an Albany physician and a nationally recognized expert, asked the approximately 100 people in the audience if any of them wanted to ask a question, and this questioner challenged the very idea of national health insurance.

“I don’t trust the federal government,” he told Coates. “The postal system had a monopoly and they screwed it up.” Private delivery firms, he charged, had done a better job and dismissed the idea that the government could run a health insurance system.


Health Care for All: Why We Need a New Prescription

An interview of DonMcCanne

by Scott Tucker.  posted on Oct 1, 2013 for TruthDig


The right-wing assault on Obamacare is a distraction, but the “progressive” (or rather party line) defense of the Affordable Care Act is also a dead end. While the tea party and MoveOn descend to mud wrestling, Dr. Don McCanne of Physicians for a National Health Prog ram is not just staking out the moral high ground in the debate on health care. He is also making the practical case for the kind of health care we, the people, both deserve and can afford.

McCanne quotes passages from the daily news, political debates, and medical journals, and adds his running commentary. These columns are collectively titled Quote of the Day, and can be found archived at the website of PNHP. His columns are also available by email subscription.



Letter to Representative Walden

Frank Erickson, MD 

Frank Erickson, MD 

by Frank Erickson, MD
Published in the East Oregonian, Aug. 24-35

Rep. Walden:

On Medicare's 48th anniversary, I would again urge you to reconsider your stand on health care and support H.R. 676, the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act in order to achieve universal coverage, cost savings and minimize the profit motive from being used in health care decisions.  The recently published Friedman report shows how full access to care via improved Medicare for all would save over $14 Billion in 2014 alone:

Quoting from a PNHP.org email today (8/21/13):
"Professor Gerald Friedman released his new fiscal study, “Funding H.R. 676:  The Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act – How we can afford a national single-payer health plan in 2014,” at a well-attended congressional staff briefing on Capitol Hill on July 31. The briefing was hosted by PNHP and Public Citizen. The study shows that a single-payer system would cover everyone, is economically feasible, and would save billions annually."

Counter to your recent Medford experience cited in your newsletter, many of the docs in the Pendleton IPA can recall how private insurers have postponed with-held payments on thin excuses, cost small offices perpetual extra administrative efforts due to claims and permission shenanigans which have repeatedly delayed and prevented appropriate care; many of us would not be sorry to see private insurers replaced by a universal single payer system that works.  We are not so interested as you seem to be in protecting the existing insurers due to their past history of abuse of both patients and docs in the name of profit.  PPACA simply perpetuates and increases utilization of third party insurers in the non-system we currently call health care in America.  We want the everybody in, nobody out insurance provided by H.R. 676.  Save lives, save money, stop medical bankruptcies.  Support H.R. 676.

Frank Erickson, M.D. Is a Radiologist from Pendleton, Oregon who toured with the Mad As Hell Doctors in 2011 through eastern Oregon. He has served as a Radiation Safety Officer in the Navy and practiced as a Board Certified Diagnostic Radiologist since 1986. His interests are focussed on maximizing health care outcomes for his patients who he now sees as all of us through his participation in PNHP and Health Care for All Oregon.

Instead Of Being More Efficient, Private Insurers' Medicare Advantage Plans Have Cost Medicare Almost $300 Billion More Over The Life Of The Program


Medical News Today, May 14, 2013

A study published online finds that the private insurance companies that participate in Medicare under the Medicare Advantage program and its predecessors have cost the publicly funded program for the elderly and disabled an extra $282.6 billion since 1985, most of it over the past eight years. In 2012 alone, private insurers were overpaid $34.1 billion.

That's wasted money that should have been spent on improving patient care, shoring up Medicare's trust fund or reducing the federal deficit, the researchers say.


Is Health Care a Product, a Privilege, or a Basic Human Right?

By Robert Fischer, HCAO-Bandon 1/7/2013

Health care is a product when it is commodified and sold by profit-seeking corporations. It is the product of a financial industry that makes billions of dollars year after year selling people the promise of access to doctors’ services and hospitals.

Health care is a privilege when it is granted by insurance companies to people who are in good health and earning a good salary. It’s a privilege that insurance companies can revoke when people need it most.

Health care is a human right when people say it is, and have the courage and determination required to make it so. These people do Read More

Dr. Mitchiner explains single payer to his emergency medicine colleagues, and to all of us

Posted by Don McCanne MD on Friday, Nov 2, 2012
This entry is from Dr. McCanne's Quote of the Day, a daily health policy update on the single-payer health care reform movement. The QotD is archived on PNHP's website.

It’s Time for Single-Payer

By James C. Mitchiner, MD, MPH, American College of Emergency Physicians
ACEP News, August 7, 2012

“You can always trust the Americans to do the right thing, once they’ve tried everything else.”

Winston Churchill’s iconic remark, reportedly issued at the dawn of America’s entry into World War II, is equally applicable to the present American health care debate and the crisis that spawned it. Regardless of whether you are elated or disappointed with June’s historic Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, it is certainly no panacea for the problems facing U.S. health care. Even with the law intact, and despite its best intentions, it will still leave some 25 million uninsured, underinsure millions more, expand the corporatization of health care, and do little to control the escalating costs of care over the long term. So it’s clear we need to do the right thing: the creation of a national, universal, publicly funded health care system, free of the corrupting power of profit-oriented health insurance, and at the same time capable of passing constitutional muster. In short, the right thing is an expanded and improved Medicare-for-All program, otherwise known as single-payer.

Don’t be so shocked. For the last 30 years, we have tried all the alternatives, and none of them have worked.