Activists of every stripe take to the streets to support single-payer
As the Obama administration calls for health reform to be done this year, people in support of improved Medicare for all, a single-payer national health system, take to the streets in over 50 cities around May 30th. Single-payer advocates support the removal of for-profit insurers from providing basic health care, which would create enough savings, an estimated $400 billion a year, to guarantee health care to all. The Obama administration has repeatedly stated that single-payer is not being considered as an option for reform.
Town hall meetings, protests at insurance companies, rallies in state capitols, and vigils in memory of the 22,000 people who die each year because they lack health insurance will be taking place across the country. Members of Healthcare-NOW!, Progressive Democrats of America, the California Nurses Association, Physicians for a National Health Program, and the Green Party have largely mobilized around the day of action under the umbrella of the Leadership Conference for Guaranteed Health Care, a coalition of national organizations supporting national single-payer legislation.
A 2008 study shows 59 percent of U.S. physicians now favor government legislation to establish national health insurance. This alongside a recent CBS Poll showing 59 percent of Americans in favor of government-provided national health insurance reflects the growing support for single-payer. Supporters are angered as leading advocates supporting this solution are left out of the national debate on health reform.
Earlier this month, a total of 13 people, physicians, nurses and activists, were arrested for standing up in the Senate Finance Committee roundtable on health and demanding single-payer be considered. There have been 41 witnesses in the Senate Finance Committee discussions on health reform, without one single-payer advocate.
“A growing majority of physicians support a national health program because they cannot practice quality medicine until private insurers are removed from interfering in medical decisions and denying needed care. Health care providers are now willing to engage in acts of civil disobedience in order to show that health care reform is about improving patients’ health, not bailing out insurers. Health care is the civil rights issue of this decade,” states Dr. Margaret Flowers, one of the physicians arrested in the Senate Finance Committee.
“Advocates for single-payer represent the marginalized majority. The people deserve a fair hearing on health care reform. The nationwide day of actions shows that single-payer advocates refuse to be silent.” states Katie Robbins, Assistant Coordinator, Healthcare-NOW!
As of yet, a single-payer system is the only plan that would be truly universal and guaranteed to contain sky rocketing health care costs. Many of the best health care systems in the world are single-payer systems. In addition to saving lives, it would end bankruptcies caused by medical debt and remove financial barriers to care.
“The single-payer solution meets President Obama’s three core principles,” said Tim Carpenter the national director of Progressive Democrats of America. “It would reduce costs, guarantee choice, and ensure all Americans have quality, affordable health care; it provides far more in savings than any other option being considered.”
HR 676, the National Health Care Act, currently has 77 Congressional cosponsors in the 111th Congress.
To see the full list of participating cities, please visit – http://www.healthcare-now.org/campaigns/may-30th-day-of-action/