Physicians for a National Health Program

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This Friday evening (May 22) the Bill Moyers Journal on PBS at 9 p.m. EDT will feature a discussion with Dr. David Himmelstein, co-founder of PNHP, and other single-payer advocates, asking the question "why isn't a single-payer plan on the table in Washington?"

This important media event is emblematic of a recent surge in media interest in the single-payer alternative (see below) - a surge in large part fueled by the bold and courageous acts of civil disobedience undertaken by PNHP members and others before the Senate Finance Committee earlier this month.

  • Yesterday the conservative editorial board of the Times-Union in Albany, N.Y., made an impassioned appeal to Congress to put single payer on the table.

  • Dr. Margaret Flowers, one of the first persons arrested by the committee for speaking up for single payer, explains why she did so in this op-ed in the Baltimore Sun. She has given radio and newspaper interviews almost every day since her arrest.

  • Others who took part in the D.C. actions have been profiled in the media, too: see, for example, these portraits of Dr. Judy Dasovich and Dr. Carol Paris.

  • Dr. Paul DeMarco, writing in the Spartanburg (S.C.) Herald Journal, explains why, as a conservative, he supports single payer and the principle of mutual aid. (His op-ed ran directly alongside an opposing view by Sen. James DeMint, R-S.C.).

  • In their May 16 letter to The New York Times, Drs. Arnold Relman and Marcia Angell, past editors of the New England Journal of Medicine, explain how "We don't need more money; we need a new system." In another recent NYT letters column, Dr. Laura Boylan writes, "As long as the logic of our system is set by a huge for-profit multi-payer bureaucracy, we will continue to get low value on the health care dollar."

  • This is just the tip of the iceberg. For example, Dr. Himmelstein was on NPR's Diane Rehm Show Monday, along with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and others.

What PNHP members can do:

  1. Tell your colleagues and friends about this Friday's Bill Moyers program, watch it yourself, and post your comments about it immediately afterward on the program's web site (look for the feedback button). Note, too, that the entire program will be available on the program's web site after a day or two.

  2. Now is the time for each of us to speak out, to write op-eds and letters to the editor, and to muster the strongest arguments we can for the only effective remedy for our nation's health care crisis: single-payer national health insurance. Slides are available (password is fein), along with a tip sheet on how to write letters and op-eds.

  3. Rallies and other events in support of single payer are taking place in over 40 cities nationwide on or about May 30, and in some cases physician speakers are still being sought for the programs. Find out more about how you can participate in this National Day of Action for Single Payer here.

  4. Contact your members of Congress. We recommend these four "asks" or requests of your representative or senator: (1) that the single-payer model be represented at all health care reform hearings, (2) that the Congressional Budget Office study the cost-effectiveness of a single-payer national health system alongside other proposals; (3) that there be a full hearing to assess the merits of a single-payer system; and (4) that he or she co-sponsor H.R. 676,  The United States National Health Care Act, or (in the case of senators) S. 703, the American Health Security Act of 2009. Aguide to lobbying is also available.

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This page contains a single entry by writch published on May 21, 2009 5:11 AM.

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