Friday, May 8, 2009



My wife and I had an experience in France a few years ago. To make a long story short, we had an emergency while she was pregnant, we found a doctor in a small village near where we were staying, at 7pm he saw us in his office and helped and talked and tested, gave us advice and a prescription, and then as he was writing it out he said "I'm sorry but you are going to have to pay cash for this visit in full since you are American, but i will give you a voucher and you will get reimbursed by your health insurance provider back home", i was prepared for the worst, as he was taking a while to fill out the voucher. He said "that will be twenty two euros". I asked, "so is this a co-payment of some type?" "No that is the full payment." haaa! I couldn't believe it, he was filling out the voucher for 5 minutes, i would not even go through the hell i would need to for 22 Euros from an American insurance company. That was my experience with the French system, courteous, knowledgeable, friendly, and incredibly reasonable for some one who had to pay (which of course the French do not). Btw. the prescription charge was also incredibly next to nothing - REASONABLE not GREEDY - Thank you.

Democracy Trying to Work.

Video from C-Span of the Senate Hearings on healthcare reform. Senator Max Baucus tries to quiet the peaceful and very articulate citizens/protesters speaking out, one by one, demanding a seat at the table (where 15 witnesses wait to testify, not one representing the single-payer option).

Why We Need a Single-Payer Health Care System
There are two main arguments in favor of single payer health care, also called "Medicare for All", now proposed as Congressional bill HR 676 by John Conyers and Dennis Kucinich with 91 co-sponsors.

The Moral Ethical Argument
The first is the ethical moral argument. Health insurance companies make their profit by denying health care to sick people. That is immoral and unethical.

The Economic Argument
The second and perhaps more compelling argument is economic. Our current system of for-profit corporate health insurance has created an unbearable economic burden on the nation. Simply put, it is too expensive for us to bear. There are over 100 separate health insurance companies operating under different sets of rules creating a huge 30 % administrative overhead. For comparison, administrative overhead for Medicare is only 2%.

By converting to a single payer system, we immediately save 300 billion dollars in administrative overhead.

As a nation, we are now paying twice what other countries pay for health care, yet we have 45 million uninsured and 18,000 deaths annually caused by lack of access to health care. Almost half the bankruptcies currently filed in the United States are because of medical bills. We are paying a huge national Health Care bill, twice what other countries spend on universal health care, yet we do not have universal health coverage here in the US.

Medicare is a 40 year example of a successful single payer system which has an administrative overhead of 2%, not 30%.

Only One Explanation Why We Don't Have Single Payer Now
These two arguments in favor of a single payer heath insurance system (moral and economic) are so compelling, that one must conclude the only reason we don't have single payer now is because of lack of representative government. The obvious conclusion is that our government does not serve the people who elected them. Rather, our elected government officials serve the special interests of the health insurance industry and other corporations who make massive campaign contributions.

from an article by Jeffrey Dach MD, here.

And from TruthDig
read this eye opening piece from Democracy Now's Amy Goodman. here's a few clips:
A study just released by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, a media watchdog group, found that in the week before Obama’s health-care summit, of the hundreds of stories that appeared in major newspapers and on the networks, “only five included the views of advocates of single-payer—none of which appeared on television.” Most opinion columns that mentioned single-payer were written by opponents.
Locked out of the debate, silenced by the media, single-payer advocates are taking action. Russell Mokhiber, who writes and edits the Corporate Crime Reporter, has decided that the time has come to directly confront the problem of our broken health-care system. He’s going to the national meeting of the American Health Insurance Plans and is joining others in burning their health-insurance bills outside in protest. Mokhiber told me, “The insurance companies have no place in the health care of American people. How are we going to beat these people? We have to start the direct confrontation.” Launching a new organization, Single Payer Action (, Mokhiber and others promise to take the issue to the insurance industry executives, the lobbyists and the members of Congress directly, in Washington, D.C., and their home district offices.

Critical mass is building behind a single-payer system. From Nobel Laureate in Economics Joseph Stiglitz, who told me, “I’ve reluctantly come to the view that it’s the only alternative,” to health-care providers themselves, who witness and endure the system’s failure firsthand. Geri Jenkins of the newly formed, 150,000-nurses-strong United American Nurses-National Nurses Organizing Committee ( said: “It is the only health-care-reform proposal that can work. ... We are currently pushing to have a genuine, honest policy debate, because we’ll win ... the health insurers will collapse under the weight of their own irrelevance.”

If you are at all not 100% sure about this issue you owe it to yourself and your family to see Michael Moore's documentary SiCkO. Here you go:

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