Bill Moyers’ Journal Discusses Single-Payer

This Friday, Bill Moyers’ Journal discusses single-payer healthcare.

Guests include Donna Smith (California Nurses Association), Dr. Sidney Wolfe (Public Citizen) and Dr. David Himmelstein (Physicians for a National Health Program).

You can look up the dates/times for your area here.


  1. Alexander Hamilton on May 22, 2009 at 9:20 am

    Speaking at a news briefing sponsored by the Kaiser Family Foundation (closely related to the genocidal HMO Kaiser Permanente), and Families USA, Democratic Senator Max Baucus of Montana (aka Bogus) today presented an outline of his “progress” in pushing through the Hitler health plan being promoted by the Obama Administration. The big focus, Bogus said, is to get costs down, and to “align payment with quality.” He is working in three areas—delivery of services, coverage, and financing, and argued that the process is “on target” for the crafting of a bill by mid-June. The real guts of his “reform” is to target the “delivery system,” which he said is now reimbursing on volume of services, not quality.

    Again and again, Bogus repeated that everybody in America (except “illegal aliens”) should have health insurance. But not necessarily health care!

    When asked a question about how his plan will carry out spending cuts (which are supposed to not only lower the rate of increase in cost, but also keep the whole program ‘budget neutral’), Sen. Bogus identified “over-utilization” as the real problem. Citing the Dartmouth studies on regional disparities in health care spending, he declared that the northern high plains states (like his Montana) spend the least money and get the best “outcomes.” If we all did that, we’d be better off, he said. We now have incentives for over-utilization and volume, and we need to reverse that. Is he proposing we all get one “quality colonoscopy” for life?

    While keeping the details of the bill that he, and his cohort Senator Grassley, are cobbling together secret (except for the fact that the single-payer option has been taken off the table), Sen. Bogus also identified two other areas of “savings:” trimming payments to providers (already underpaid), and looking to eliminate the employer-provided health insurance exclusion from taxation. (This later is figured by the accountants to be worth nearly $200 billion in tax revenue, but they are getting enormous resistance.)

  2. MOCKBADOC on May 22, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    This Democratic Congress is doing such a bang-up job listening to the people who got them elected, I think we should definitely reward them with more (some might even say unlimited) power over life and death decisions regarding our loved ones.

    When I think of reliable, competent, and responsive, the names Baucus and Grassley definitely come to mind. I mean, if you can’t trust a politician with your health care, who can you trust? Right?

  3. BethB on May 23, 2009 at 1:27 am

    Bill Moyers, thank you for covering what the mass media would not! I am so grateful to the California Nurses and the Physicians for a National Health Care Plan that had the courage to stand up for all of us to speak truth to power! You inspire the rest of us!

  4. Eliza Jane Dodd on May 23, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    My idea stolen by the VETERANS >>>>No just kidding …sorta ….this was my Idea 3 or so years ago for Universal Health Care …I said WHY DONT WE HAVE A LOTTO FOR IT ????And everyone laughed …now I hope they all EAT CROW ….OK Kate read this > Star Telegram Ft Worth Texas ( HOUSE APPROVES SCRATHCH OFF-GAME TO BENEFIT VETERANS )
    Under LOTTERY on the Front Page May 16th 2009 article by; Dave Montgomery Star Telegram Ft.Worth news-paper …Please everyone read this article ?? I think having a Lottery for Universal Health Care is a WINNER !

  5. Joseph A. Mungai on May 23, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    In 2003 Obama preaches single-payer universal healthcare but his values were soon “disrupted” by the insurance industry.

    Unselfish American voters, the majority, “disrupted” the polls by supporting healthcare for all.

    Patient care experts and people of conscience speak out for single-payer healthcare and then charged with being “disruptive”, removed and arrested.

    Obama tells the nation he didn’t want to “disrupt” the employer based health system that is now allowing 14,000 employees to lose their health benefits each day.

    60 people die each day due to lack of health insurance, life saving treatments for cancer and other diseases are kept out of patients’ reach –“disrupting” the security and well being of this nation.

    People are placed in harms way when medical errors kill 273 patients every day “disrupting” their families lives in our tortured democracy.

    Every day over the last decade at least 333 fellow human beings died without any disruption in the flow of corporate campaign contributions.

    Be “disruptive”. Contact President Obama’s friend and colleague, Illinois Senator Durbin (Chicago: 312-353-4952, E-mail:, to graciously thank him for coming forward and admitting the banks “own” Capitol Hill. Then add–so does the health insurance industry.

  6. NurseJudy on May 25, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    Ask those who are afraid of single payer–what does the health insurance “industry” produce? It “makes” nothing (but paper work). It does not encourage new procedures or medications (“experimental” equals “denial”)–nor does it provide care. It dictates to the actual providers of care what they are allowed to do. Everyone seems so afraid of “government interference”—well when Medicare speaks insurance companies listen because they know there will cost savings to them (the insurance companies)–but do those self same companies reduce their premiums to us?
    If we want to break through to the “other side” we have to speak in words and concepts they hold dear-hence:
    Workers’ Comp—single payer removes the need for this –thus freeing up the cost burden to small businesses and the injured can trust their medical providers
    Tort Reform–it removes the need for large medical cost settlements–thus relieving costs to several areas–homeowners insurance with slips and falls–car insurance with legitimate medical costs and the real problem of fraud–cities and other municipal entities won’t be as prone to the “deep pocket” lawsuit
    Small Business–as the identified engine of economy—being freed from some or all of the Workman’s Comp bill ( plus the hours and manpower to deal with the paperwork)– being able to retain people who might have looked to larger companies or stayed with them because of medical issues –should breathe new life into them.
    Doctor/Patient Relationship–the amount of time and effort a doctor’s practice has to spend wading through a myriad of arbitrary rules of multiple insurance companies –the five to fifteen minute appointment scheduling which ires the patient (and makes the latter more inclined to sue if things go wrong ) is dictated by the regulations of those insurance companies either implicitly or explicitly. Network coverage– which doctor is part of which circle of coverage–Surely these are a more direct impediments to the doctor/patient relationship than “Washington”.
    Unions—if Business sees Unions as the boogey man–one of the strongest selling points of unions to potential members is the health coverage—so single payer takes away some of that steam.
    Every time I think of Max Baucus’ comments I get so furious I worry about my blood pressure. But what if we could produce a simple commercial (or YouTube video?) that simply scrolls the name of each member of Congress and the Senate (include the POTUS the DNC and RNC as well) with the amounts of money they received from the health “industry”–insurance companies, trade groups, PACs, big Pharm etc. (include seminars and junkets too) next to each name. The audio would be a loop of Baucus’ statement “there are no votes for it” –constantly repeating that statement as the names and amounts of money spent scroll on the screen should be effective.
    Just some thoughts from the peanut gallery–thanks for your time reading this—-Nurse Judy

  7. Linda Mae on May 26, 2009 at 3:18 am

    Bill Moyers should have called his program an infomercial for Single payer health care. There was no sense of debate. It sounded scripted and I wondered where the teleprompters were hidden. Furthermore, the “facts” that were bandied about were either lies or slanted. It was a slick piece of media with the aim of convincing someone who has not looked into the issue – completely looked on both sides – to jump on the bandwagon.

    I also wondered how much George Soros had contributed – either directly or indirectly – to the performance. Bill did the same type of “program” with the McCain Feingold bill – but forgot to tell the audience that the speakers were all under the same Soros umbrella.

    I liked how Dr. H skirted the issue of the need for rationing in the future. Also, 16,000 physicians are not a groundswell. Plus, they all forgot to mention Tom Daschle’s comment about Americans need to realize that they will die and cannot expect services which will extend their life 5 years because the money will go to younger citizens. Plus, Mr. Soros has pushed for the right to assisted suicide for those in health problems. That will save loads of money.

    No one mentioned the extensive Canadian Health Care Study Report – done by the country itself. I am not surprised because it paints a dire picture that I doubt many Americans would like. It takes months to get procedures which we get in weeks. You can google Canadian Health Care Study and find the report. It is long but well worth reading.

    I was moved by Donna’s comments but surely she knows that if she had been living in Canada, she’d be dead by now. She was lucky to be living in here. I have friends from Canada and they think our insurance is best. Many of them try to come to the states for care that they cannot get at home. They say that the young kids don’t worry because they are healthy and don’t need the services that we over 60 need. I think a country that will ration health care to its citizens over 60 – and it will be even worse than now with Medicare and Medicaid – is immoral. My parents are 90 and 92. I’ve been so happy to know that I have strong genes. Now I am not so sure. I will not be able to get the services that they have received. That would make them a drag to the single payer system.

    Mr. Moyers should just change the title of his show to Bill Moyers Socialistic One World Vision. I thought the comparison of Single Payer to using a town library to be so insulting. The fire department as well. The difference in cost is so staggering that it is ridiculous that the comparison was made.

    Massachusetts is struggling. I know.

    It is blatantly incorrect to say 50% of bankruptcies are due to insurance. Also, it is against the law for any hospital to turn away a patient because he cannot pay. There are free clinics in most areas. My mom just went to a cancer screening at Bay State Medical in Springfield. She went on a Wednesday. The doctor did not like the neoplasms in her throat and she went to a eyes, ears, throat specialist on Friday. The following Monday she saw her eye doctor who checked on her tear ducts. (She had had surgery on them 4 years ago.) He didn’t like them so she was scheduled to go to a plastic surgeon in two weeks. In the mean time we went back to her primary care physician that Friday. She checked her sinuses and arranged for a CAT scan the next week to see if there was any hidden infections. She went to the plastic surgeon who told her that her tear duct was plugged on the top and scarred below but he advised against further surgery if she could live with the tearing. He didn’t like her eye lid, gave her some antibiotic cream and will biopsy it for possible cancer when he sees her in 2 weeks. That would NOT happen in Canada – nor England – nor many other “industrialized” countries and it will not happen here in out future if this travesty called single payer comes true.

    Mr. Moyers created the need for McCain Feingold using his position on PBS. He tried to do the same with this issue. I swear that the taping took place after hours of rehearsal and a good meal with lots of wine. They were positively giddy. Or, perhaps they were just high on the idea that those who watched the broadcast would be ignorant enough to believe it.

    Mr. Moyers needs to admit that his show is an offshoot of the Obama, Soros connection. I also wondered how many of his “sponsors” are funded by Soros. I was told that the ACORN “mother” house is the address for at least 200 – 250 “different” groups. I don’t have time to check out addresses and it wouldn’t help since we all have Mailbox companies in our towns to use as addresses.

    Why is the only alternative proposed by Progressives, that is Socialists – or Communists, or Fascists – that we tear people down rather than help build others up? We don’t need hand outs; we need hand ups. Educate. Build self confidence and responsibility. Remember that companies provide jobs and jobs allow us all to enjoy our lives. I don’t care how much money some one makes as long as I make enough to serve my needs through my hard work.

    Finally, has Mr. Moyers redistributed his wealth yet? If not, he can send me $15,000 so I can buy a few things I want. Or, he can donate it in my name to his local hospital so that they can fund a clinic. I wait for Mr. Obama to decide that all media should have a salary cap – actors, reporters – those like Mr. Moyers.

    Mr. Moyers has lost his credibility.

    • Chris Hagel on May 27, 2009 at 2:13 am

      Hi Linda,
      I think you have such a frightened world view and low expectations for our country.
      The America you envision is not the America that most of Americans envision. Or are you so badly mis/uninformed?
      Single-payer (improved and enhanced Medicare for All) is and has been almost completely censored by the corporate broadcast media (except for Ed Schultz of MSNBC and a few more I’m sure) and corporate print media.So the tiny bit of room single-payer gets on Bill Moyer’s Journal is only fair.
      You said, Linda, there was no sense of debate.
      Well, the single-payer solution has been completely left out of the debate for years by the corporate media to begin with.
      There was no debate at the recent Senate Finance Committee roundtable discussions on health care reform because the physicians and advocates were not allowed a seat at the table. Eight of them were arrested for trying to get a word in edge-wise.
      Senator Baucus (D)-MT who led the discussions has received over a million dollars from the health insurance industry and big pharma since 2004.
      Yeah, there is no debate all right, you’ve got that part right.

      It should be asked. “Why is single payer being so heavily censored?
      If it was such a horrible idea and system, the corporate media
      (and health insurance industry and big pharma) would welcome this info to be revealed.
      However, It’s only been mentioned with the fear and smear tactics by the corporate media.

      Another question has to be asked. How come in nearly every field of human endeavor America is able to do things as well or better than the rest of the industrialized world (with health care for all) except provide an efficient cost effective health care system for its own people?
      I liken single-payer to that of a wheel. By its very construction it rolls smoothly on a continuous smooth edge. What if a bicycle or car wheel had fifty edges (as in about 1,200 different insurance companies of our health care non-system)?
      That would be a very bumpy and unpleasant ride, aside from being totally ridiculous, but this is the state of our horribly fragment, expensive, wasteful, employment linked, dangerous non-system of health care that America has, which you think is just fine.
      As the early wheel improved, becoming lighter using spokes and lighter and stronger materials, bearings… so too can America fine tune single-payer.
      We’re America. We can reach for the stars! United We Stand! Right? Isn’t this right?
      Leaving this aside, just by facts alone, the Congressional Budget Office and General Accounting office crunched the numbers back in the early nineties to conclude if we phased in single payer we would save enough money to adequately cover everyone’s health care in America. There are so many other studies that verify this too.

      Progressives are socialist, communists, or fascists? Leaving aside how ridiculous a statement that is, if you’re implying only progressives endorse single-payer then check out:
      Also, Dr. Paul DeMarco recently wrote an op-ed for the Spartanburg (S.C.) Herald Journal explaining why as a conservative he supports single-payer and the principle of mutual aid:
      Also, the conservative editorial board of Times Union (Albany, NY) ran an editorial May 19, take a look:
      Also, the conservative businessman Jack Lohman a strong single-payer advocate has a web site:

      I have a question: Is Japan a socialist or communist country? Or Germany or Taiwan? They all have a non-profit health care system with Taiwan having a purely single-payer system. Do they have their share of problems with it? Yes, but non of these countries or any other industrialized country has the health care woes of our country.
      Besides, when in the public sector, the people can influence change much easier. The Canadian Health Coalition is an example.
      The overwhelming majority of Canadians support their Medicare system and would never exchange it for ours. The same goes for the other industrialized countries.
      There would be a mass riot if it was tried.

      The Canadian Health Coalition in a letter to President Obama has exposed the smear tactics of the Conservatives for Patients’ Rights which recent TV ads here in America has been smearing the Canadian Medicare system. Rick Scott, the sponsor of the ads was removed from office in 1997 by the board of directors during the largest health care scandal in the United States. His company Columbia/HCA was forced to pay $1.7 billion in fines for overbilling state and federal government health plans.

      Go to:
      and click on: tough open letter to President Barack Obama

      Also check out a very good article at:

      Many single-payer advocates work hard and were raised with good work ethics. I am from working class roots too and my sisters and brother-in-laws were too. They all worked hard and are in the middle class bracket now, however, single-payer isn’t even a second thought for them. So, I don’t get your point about hard work.
      Besides, single-payer would allow us to enjoy our lives better…a lot better. This is just the point. WE agree on that.
      It would be good for small business owners and the economy too.

      Single-payer is the most fiscally conservative plan. With that said,this isn’t an issue of conservative, liberal, socialist, fascist, but simply expanding and improving Medicare to everyone for a happier, more humane, less stressed out, and more productive country.
      With that said, in some ways my family might have somewhat conservative views.
      There’s give and take and I think the hardcore single-payer critics are way too caught up in the dogma of their beliefs to look at the facts, put everything into perspective and realize single-payer is the best choice for America.

      Chris Hagel

  8. Vashti Winterburg on May 26, 2009 at 9:52 pm

    Just a short reply to Linda Mae – Apparently the Medicare for All system that single payers are advocating for is working great for her parents, especially her mom. What’s even better is that single payer would actually “save” the Medicare (and Medicaid)system for every one since we would go to a pay as you go approach. The Congressional Budget Office says that we would actually save $350 Billion a year by going to single payer because our present private health insurance non-system wastes 30 cents on the dollar for administrative costs (that includes exorbitant executive salaries and profits and the armies of clerks denying and trying to collect payments). Not only could we save all that money – think about how much in taxes you pay every year to provide health insurance for all your local, state and national government workers, Linda Mae, but we could provide medical, dental and mental health care for everyone! We pay almost twice as much as any other industrialized nation for health care and yet our health outcomes are at the bottom of the pile. We’re 45th behind Jordan and Bosnia for life expectancy! So keep on telling yourself that Bill Moyers is some kind of pinko liar and that Canada doesn’t have a cheaper and better system than we do. You might want to ask yourself, though, how many seniors are eager to ditch their Medicare? Vashti Winterburg, Lawrence, Kansas

  9. PB on May 27, 2009 at 4:15 am

    Bill Moyers, thank you for covering what the mass media would not! I am so grateful to the California Nurses and the Physicians for a National Health Care Plan that had the courage to stand up for all of us to speak truth to power! You inspire the rest of us!