Health care plan explained

Universal care, guaranteed coverage touted in proposal

By Charles McMahon for

PORTSMOUTH — A national push to create a single-payer health care system that would allow all citizens the right to affordable health insurance was presented before Seacoast residents Wednesday night at the public library.

More than 50 people attended the Health Care Reform in 2011 and Beyond event sponsored by The New Hampshire Health Party and Granite State Physicians for a National Health Program.

Helping kick off the discussion Wednesday night was local physician Dr. Thomas Clairmont, a member of the Physicians for a National Health Program, and Katie Robbins, national organizer for Healthcare-NOW!.

Robbins, who helps run the education and advocacy organization that focuses on the state of health insurance in the United States, said her mission is to advocate for the passage of a national, single-payer health-care legislation known as House Bill 676.

According to Robbins, the push for the health care legislation was prime for Portsmouth.

“Portsmouth is a progressive place,” she said.

Robbins said a single-payer system would allow for universal and guaranteed health coverage for all U.S. citizens. The system would provide for comprehensive health coverage filled with choices and would be good for the economy, she said.

Everyone would be included in the system from birth until death, regardless of their employment status, Robbins added.

Currently, nearly one-third of all Americans are either uninsured or under-insured, Robbins said, adding the proposed system would help solve that problem.

“The current system is not working,” she said.

City Councilor Bob Lister was among the many who attended the event.

Lister said because he is involved with city government, he can see how the cost of health insurance is affecting the city’s budget.

“It diverts our mission,” he said.

Lister said he went to the event because he believed in the need to look at all options.