Because of all your calls and emails, Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), our ally in support of single-payer healthcare, received word that Dr. Oliver Fein, president of PNHP, has been invited to participate in tomorrow’s White House summit on healthcare. He will therefore be joining Rep. John Conyers in the meeting as a strong advocate for a single-payer healthcare.

Given this development, the demonstration outside the White House that was planned for tomorrow is cancelled.

While the number of single-payer advocates in the summit will be few in number, we feel we have won an important victory and that demonstrative activity at the White House may be important in the future, but will not be appropriate for tomorrow’s healthcare summit.

Remember, a clear majority of physicians and Americans support Medicare for all. The representation of single-payer at all (and future) healthcare gatherings should reflect this support. Our work has only just begun.

Please continue to urge your members of Congress and President Obama to support single-payer national health insurance, the only solution to our healthcare crisis. Please continue to organize in your community and congressional district to support HR 676.

Mark your calendars for the next national call-in day to Congress on Tuesday, March 10th. We will also ask you to fax your insurance bills to Congress. Stay tuned for details!

If you are in Washington, DC, please join us to demonstrate in front of the American Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) Conference on March 10th at 11am (Ritz Carlton – 1150 22nd Street, N.W. Either Dupont Circle Metro or GWU/Foggy Bottom Metro).

Thanks to everyone who called and e-mailed the White House about including single-payer views at the summit – you helped make this victory happen!

Showcasing the President’s commitment to opening up the process and enabling all Americans to hold their leaders accountable, the healthcare summit will broadcast on C-SPAN and on the web.

4 Comments

  1. Data 4 You on March 4, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    WHO’S LOOKING AT THE COMPENSATION OF THE HEALTHCARE INSURANCE EXECUTIVES?

    The health insurance companies have played a major role in our current healthcare crisis. They make huge profits and their CEOs make millions, while the rest of us are denied care.

    ANNUAL COMPENSATION OF HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANY EXECUTIVES (2006 and 2007 figures):

    • Ronald A. Williams, Chair/ CEO, Aetna Inc., $23,045,834
    • H. Edward Hanway, Chair/ CEO, Cigna Corp, $30.16 million
    • David B. Snow, Jr, Chair/ CEO, Medco Health, $21.76 million
    • Michael B. MCallister, CEO, Humana Inc, $20.06 million
    • Stephen J. Hemsley, CEO, UnitedHealth Group, $13,164,529
    • Angela F. Braly, President/ CEO, Wellpoint, $9,094,771
    • Dale B. Wolf, CEO, Coventry Health Care, $20.86 million
    • Jay M. Gellert, President/ CEO, Health Net, $16.65 million
    • William C. Van Faasen, Chairman, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, $3 million plus $16.4 million in retirement benefits
    • Charlie Baker, President/ CEO, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, $1.5 million
    • James Roosevelt, Jr., CEO, Tufts Associated Health Plans, $1.3 million
    • Cleve L. Killingsworth, President/CEO Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, $3.6 million
    • Raymond McCaskey, CEO, Health Care Service Corp (Blue Cross Blue Shield), $10.3 million
    • Daniel P. McCartney, CEO, Healthcare Services Group, Inc, $ 1,061,513
    • Daniel Loepp, CEO, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, $1,657,555
    • Todd S. Farha, CEO, WellCare Health Plans, $5,270,825
    • Michael F. Neidorff, CEO, Centene Corp, $8,750,751
    • Daniel Loepp, CEO, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, $1,657,555
    • Todd S. Farha, CEO, WellCare Health Plans, $5,270,825
    • Michael F. Neidorff, CEO, Centene Corp, $8,750,751

    This executive compensation could be used to provide quality healthcare for millions of Americans! We need to get the insurance companies and their lobbyists OUT of healthcare. NON-PROFIT, SINGLE-PAYER IS THE ONLY OPTION.

    If you want to learn more, go to:
    http://www.insurancecompanyrules.org/learn_more/the_roster/

    The solution? The United States National Health Insurance Act, H.R. 676. You can read about it here: http://www.healthcare-now.org/hr-676/



  2. Even More Data 4 You on March 4, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    A NEW STUDY SHOWS THAT SINGLE-PAYER REFORM WOULD BE MAJOR STIMULUS FOR THE US ECONOMY and would provide:

    ** 2.6 Million New Jobs,
    ** $317 Billion in Business Revenue,
    ** $100 Billion in Wages, and
    ** $44 Billion New Tax Revenues

    You can find out more about this study here: http://www.CalNurses.org/

    The press release is here: http://www.calnurses.org/media-center/press-releases/2009/january/nurses-to-congress-expanding-medicare-could-reverse-job-losses-and-repair-our-broken-healthcare-system-and-safety-net.html



  3. Write Baucus on March 4, 2009 at 9:57 pm

    Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT), who ruled single-payer off the table before he even started considering healthcare reform, is now pressuring the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to favorably judge his health plan as financially sound–even though it isn’t.

    According to CongressDaily (2/25), Baucus, other lawmakers, and some special interest groups have not been particularly pleased with what they view as CBOs conservative scoring of some supposed cost-cutting efforts that are needed to help offset the enormous price tag of overhauling the healthcare system under the Baucus plan.

    Baucus said if healthcare reform is to pass, the CBO needs to get ever more creative to find pathways to get the savings that we have to have (Edney, CongressDaily, 2/25).

    Baucus told the head of CBO last Wednesday that the CBO will play a significant role in efforts to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system because the agencys cost assessments will make or break this enterprise. Experienced observers assert that this is Baucus way of pressuring the agency to come up with figures to justify the kind of healthcare reform Baucus wants.

    The fact is, the CBO has issued a series of recent studies which have found that most savings claimed, in the effort to keep private-for-profit insurance companies in the mix, do not exist.

    Alternatively, a single-payer system would save more than $350 billion per year, enough to provide comprehensive, high-quality coverage for all Americans.

    Tell Senator Baucus we need accurate numbers not creative figuring. Single-payer should be on the table and should be given a full and fair hearing by the Senate Finance Committee.

    Tell Senator Baucus to put Single-Payer Reform on the table: http://www.change.org/ideas/294/view_action/sen_baucus_we_need_accurate_numbers_not_creative_figuring

    Write to Senator Max Baucus here: http://baucus.senate.gov/contact/emailForm.cfm?subj=issue



  4. Helen Scott on March 8, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    I have a crushed foot due to a semi’s trailer-end hitting my car while it was changing lanes without signaling on the highway and no one saw its tag number. I may need a third surgery. I pay $527.00 monthly for the public schools group insurance which is $21.00 more than my long term disability. I work as a Teachers Assistant in the Public schools. In Feb. 09, I paid $700.00 between insurance, office visits and drugs when I got the flu. This cut into my husband’s limited income. I cannot maintain insurance at this cost, and I am sure the same is true for millions of Americans. I have asthma, and another chronic illness which exempts me from private insurance under pre-existing clauses. The Administration’s recent plan concerning Corbra will not help people like me since I have not been terminated, but am an inactive employee. I pay Cobra rates. If I drop my insurance, I would be denied insurance for a year if I were able to return to work within the next 2 years.

    In the 70’s my mother was approved for Medicare and had been a patient of a Tulsa, OK Internal Medicine specialist. I watched the Doctor tell her he was dropping her as a patient because he would not accept Medicare. She died within a year of that incident due to leukemia. I attended Bryan Institute in Tulsa and became a Medical Assistant in 1981. In the front office training we were instructed to NOT setup appointments with patients unless they came to the office with cash or had the specific insurance the doctor’s office accepted. Just having insurance did not guarantee access to medical care. It turns out this is how many doctors in Tulsa, Ok run their offices. I am not attempting to indict all doctors, I am aware they hire accountants to take care of billing so they can focus on patients, but this has led in my opinion to some doctors being blind to this crises, while other are concerned about it.

    I have learned there is huge ignorance about Medicare, Medicaid and free clinics and myths about doctors having to accept payments among our state and federal representatives. Many are unaware that in Oklahoma if you are over 18 with no children you won’t qualify for Medicaid unless you are on Social Security Disability, or if a person is approved for SSDI the day after filing, Medicare will not start for two more years, or that free clinics will not prescribe medication for chronic illnesses since they were basically set up for urgent care, or that in Oklahoma medical care is legally a service and payment is due at the time service is rendered and as far as Oklahoma courts are concerned doctors do not have to accept insurance even if they contract to accept it, nor do they have to accept payments even if they agreed to verbally. This is part of the reason the cost of medical bills lead to filing for bankruptcy. Medical bills should now be part of any credit report!

    I was diagnosed with with a chronic illness when I was 8, and have lots of first hand experience with insurance companies discriminating based on pre-existing illnesses, despite the fact it is cheaper in the long run for a patient to be prescribed medication, and get follow up care than risk the expensive problems associated with lack of care. I knew a person that started his medical practice working for the military, and when he went into private practice he was appalled at the profit made on such things as X-rays and other medical procedures. My insurance list Zirithmothax as a tier 3 drug so I have to pay $54.00 even for the generic. I checked online and found Zirithmothax much cheaper than the insurances companies co-pay. The lower co-pay may be all someone could afford so they often switch from brand names to generic even though is not recommended by the FDA. I realize without HMO’s many people could not get any group insurance due to pre-existing clauses. It is time to stop this discrimination.

    We need a free Better Business Bureau which reports complaints and quality rating on physians, which does not currently exist. I have had doctors that never examined me during visits, or performed required blood work to monitor medication. Some doctors never do any diagnostic testing prior to prescribing antibiotics. They continue to use the patient to “pratice medicine” on. We have the medical technology to accurately diagnose whether a patient has a bacterial infection, or a fungal infection, but it isn’t used, primarily due to the insurance industry. 99% of doctors never inform patients of adverse effects of medication. Patient education and having knowledge of side effects helps prevent major tradegies.

    Stress and worry of not knowing how one is going to pay the doctor, or prescriptions, and then the added worry the doctor will intentionally ruin your credit if the insurance refuses to pay what you thought you contracted for, making it even harder to find employment, or housing only causes people to become more ill, cosing more money for care in the end.

    Many Doctors are overpaid, and underqualified, and the AMA does nothing but protect the physians. I have never met a poor or even middle class income doctor, or hospital CEO, yet they call themselves “NON PROFIT ORGANIZATION”.

    It is time for the US to step out of the third world regimen of allowing its citizens to die in the street due to lack of appropriate care, so doctors and hospital executives, and insurance CEO’s (which often are doctors) can remain wealthy.