Medicare-for-all doctors arrested outside Obama-GOP meeting

‘There is a better health plan, Mr. President’

Arrest at Obama Meeting

Rising to President Obama’s challenge in his State of the Union address that others come up with a better approach to health care reform than his own, two Maryland physicians who advocate for a single-payer program stood on the sidewalk this morning outside the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel, where the president was meeting with House Republicans, and held a large banner reading, “Letting you know: Medicare for all.”

After refusing to move across the street, the two physicians were briefly taken into custody by law enforcement officials, issued a citation and then released.

One of the two was Dr. Margaret Flowers, a pediatrician and congressional fellow for Physicians for a National Health Program, an organization of 17,000 physicians who support a single-payer system, who is trying to deliver an open letter to the president calling on him to meet with her and other Medicare-for-All advocates.

Joining her was Dr. Carol Paris, a practicing psychiatrist and fellow PNHP member from southern Maryland.

In a letter to Obama, Flowers notes how surprised she and others were when single-payer advocates were excluded from the early stages of the discussions on health reform. She and Paris were two of several physicians, nurses and reform advocates who were arrested at Senate Finance Committee hearings last spring for standing up and asking why the Medicare-for-All option was “off the table.”

Flowers writes: “I am asking you to meet with me because the solution is simple. Remove all of the industries who profit off of the American health care catastrophe from the table. Replace them with those who are knowledgeable in designing health systems and who are without ties to the for-profit medical industries. And then allow them to design an improved Medicare-for-All national health system.”

Flowers then itemizes the advantages of adopting such a system, saying that it would cover everyone, save thousands of lives, relieve medical debt, control costs, help the economy, and restore the physician-patient relationship. Obama himself is on record noting only a single-payer plan would provide universal coverage: “The truth is unless you have what’s called a single-payer system in which everyone’s automatically covered, you’re probably not going to reach every single individual.”


  1. Molly on February 3, 2010 at 10:42 am

    Dr. Flowers, God bless you, believe me when I say that the people are not ignoring you — there are so many of us behind you.

    I don’t know the answer to this, it’s so frustrating.

    We write letters…we call our representatives…we attend rallies and protests…some of us get arrested. But our voices and our letters and our civil disobedience is drowned out by the big money interests.

    And so many Americans have no idea how bad it is until they themselves, or someone close to them, gets a chronic illness.

    There’s got to be a way…

    We need another Dr. Martin Luther King — maybe you’re it.

  2. Barry P on February 5, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    I want to boycott that hotel.

  3. Candy on February 5, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    Dear Dr. Flowers and Dr. Paris,

    I am so grateful for your work! We are not ignoring you. You have so many, many people with you! It is so frustrating, but please, don’t stop. You inspire so many of us to keep at it and to keep believing it can happen.

    Let’s all ask the Miracle Question: if you woke up tomorrow and while you were sleeping a miracle happened, and the miracle is that a Single Payer Health Care system was born in America, what would be different?

    Imagine what would change in your life if you never had to think about health insurance again, if you never had to worry about finding it, getting it, losing it, using it, paying for it; about getting sick and wondering if insurance will pay, having a young adult child without health care, about the cost to your business of having to provide it to employees, and on and on. It would be the biggest bailout ever. Like the easing of the mind and fierce possessiveness (“Get your government hands off my Medicare!”) of people who now are finally eligible for Medicare, the relief would spread from one corner of the country to another, only millions of times more so. Pose the question to people around you and make a list of the answers. they’ll go on and on and on. And on some more. And the answers will all add up to a healthier, less fearful, more contented, less angry, more hopeful, less divided and more united, America. We have to make it happen. It’s a no brainer.

    Thank you–I’m looking forward to watching you on Bill Moyers tonight!

  4. Don Ryane on February 7, 2010 at 3:47 am

    Letting you know. Drs Paris and Flowers, I appreciate your efforts in this frustrating battle. You are two brave soldiers, calm in the face of the obvious Republican harrassment.
    I am curious though, how far out onto the public street does the hotel property reach? Is there a public sidewalk beyond their property before crossing the street? I didn’t see anyone being obstructed – other then yourselves, and mostly by the gaggle of republican officials and their public harrassment crew.
    I sincerely hope this action by the police and Republican interferers with the public access to our representatives, will get national attention. Again, know that we are behind you, appreciating.

  5. UninsuredByNAFTA on February 12, 2010 at 4:36 am

    We need more doctors like Dr. Flowers and Dr. Paris, (thank you for your sacrifices for us), and many less politicians. With the deluxe health care plans that politicians enjoy at the expense of other Americans, no wonder they represent one big obstructive Borg.

  6. Etalia on March 6, 2010 at 7:24 am

    * N E V E R . G I V E . U P !!! *