Sunday, May 08, 2016

More than 2,000 American doctors are now calling for a single payer health care system.

Courtesy of the Guardian:

A group of more than 2,000 physicians is calling for the establishment of a universal government-run health system in the US, in a paper in the American Journal of Public Health. 

According to the proposal released Thursday, the Affordable Care Act did not go far enough in removing barriers to healthcare access. The physicians’ bold plan calls for implementing a single-payer system similar to Canada’s, called the National Health Program, that would guarantee all residents healthcare. 

The new single-payer system would be funded mostly by existing US government funding. The physicians point out that the US government already pays for two-thirds of all healthcare spending in the US, and a single-payer system would cut down on administrative costs, so a transition to a single-payer system would not require significant additional spending. 

“Our patients can’t afford care and don’t have access to the care they need, while the system is ever more wasteful, throwing away money on bureaucratic expenses and absurd prices from the drug companies,” said David Himmelstein, a professor in the CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College and lecturer on medicine at Harvard Medical School.

I have always felt, no not felt KNOWN, that the ACA was only a stepping stone toward an eventual single payer health care system in this country. 

And what's more the Republicans recognize that as well, which is why they are always talking about ripping it up and starting from scratch. And it is also why back in 2012 the insurance companies spent over 100 million dollars fighting against it privately while publicly seeming to support it.

This is also why it is so very important to get Hillary Clinton elected President.

She knows EXACTLY what President Obama's long term plan was for health care in this country, and she knows how to continue moving it forward. Don't forget this was what she wanted to do way back in 1993.

It is also why Bernie Sanders needs to shut the fuck up about it.

He comes stumbling in from the outside shouting about universal health care, without realizing that by promising to start from scratch he is threatening to undo all of the progress made toward that goal already.

Remember President Obama is playing three dimensional chess while the Republicans are playing checkers.

Apparently Bernie Sanders is playing Connect Four.


  1. Anonymous4:07 AM

    This right here is all you need to know about the 2016 election-- "This is also why it is so very important to get Hillary Clinton elected President.

    She knows EXACTLY what President Obama's long term plan was for health care in this country, and she knows how to continue moving it forward. Don't forget this was what she wanted to do way back in 1993.

    It is also why Bernie Sanders needs to shut the fuck up about it.

    He comes stumbling in from the outside shouting about universal health care, without realizing that by promising to start from scratch he is threatening to undo all of the progress made toward that goal already.

    Remember President Obama is playing three dimensional chess while the Republicans are playing checkers.

    Apparently Bernie Sanders is playing Connect Four."

    1. Boscoe5:25 AM

      Apparently we're all forgetting that Hillary said single payer would "never happen".

    2. Anonymous7:37 AM

      Boscoe5:25 AM

      It will never happen if we are not smart about how we get there. And that way is incrementally and by not trashing our democratic opponents.

      But you knew that, didn't you.

  2. Anonymous4:14 AM

    I am 80 years old. I just had to get hearing aides, which cost $3300.00 MT niece in the UK was shocked. The National Health Service provides them FREE over there. So taxes are raised a little, at least they get what they pay for, unlike the US "rip off"

    1. 66gardeners7:16 AM

      Considering the advanced technology in enhanced audio sound devices because of Bluetooth and such, you would think they'd get smart about covering hearing aids. The old hearing aids were not widely used, but that has changed.

    2. Anonymous7:45 AM

      $11K per year on our fixed income family is not a little.

  3. Anonymous4:25 AM

    Every year, my daughter hands me a card with something like this written on it. We all know every teenage girl becomes possessed with the devil at some point. It's their way of breaking the apron strings from mom and starting to see herself as an individual. I've heard my share of "I hate yous" and "You're ruining my life" and "I will run away with him."

    But in the end, ALL teenage girls recognize, when they become adults who now see the parents' side, that their moms are the wisest people on the planet.

    - - -
    My note from her:

    I know I haven't always been the easiest of kids,
    I know that raising me nearly made you flip your lid.
    I've learned to be strong, courageous and Independent too.
    I've learned to be the best woman I can be and I've learned it all from you.
    There aren't enough words in the whole world to describe our love for one another.
    No words can possibly explain the bond between a child and her mother.
    I love you, Mom!

  4. Has there ever been a known case of someone on their deathbed thanking their health insurance company and then remembering that company in their will?

  5. Randall4:42 AM

    Conservative Republicans seem to just HATE the idea of the "have-nots" being allowed to get access to the same health insurance as they have.

    Maybe if we could just set them down and explain that "single-payer" health insurance does NOT mean that The Rich can't have more and better insurance. That "single-payer" does NOT preclude EXTRA, Super-Duper insurance for the wealthy.

    Maybe THEN they would allow poor people to have access to doctors.

    1. Maple6:58 AM

      I'm not sure the Cons hate the idea of the less fortunate having access to the same health insurance. I think it's more that they hate the idea of, in any way, shape or form, PAYING for someone else's healthcare. Just like they hate food stamps, medicaid etc. Of course, they don't seem to understand anything to do with insurance of any kind -- their car insurance premiums help underwrite someone else's accident claims, same with their property insurance.
      Cons are not only mean, they're also ignorant!

    2. Anonymous7:33 AM

      They're not only ignorant, they're apparently especially favored by the universe. I can't count how many have self-righteously told me they shouldn't be forced to pay for insurance they'll never use, because they have their own "health savings accounts."

      I ask how much is in the account, and they proudly say something like 5 or 10 thousand dollars!

      Wow. These folks must actually be able to foresee that they will never be in an accident, nor ever develop any serious infection, chronic disease, or cancer.

      And if God DOES happen to make some kind of inexplicable mistake, their $10,000 will cover ALL their medical expenses!!!!

      Just shaking my head. SERIOUSLY? I broke my arm last year and had to go to the emergency room--just for the room, X-rays and painkillers (no bone repair) it cost over $5,000.00.

      Thousands more for the surgeon, the surgery, followup, and physical therapy.

      THANK YOU Obamacare!!!!! We would be bankrupt otherwise (yes, over a broken bone.)

      Guess who'll be stuck with the medical expenses when inconvenient reality forces these Cons to default on their bills?

      That's right, the rest of us. So much for individual responsibility, huh??

    3. It's why there's unaffordable "first class" on airlines. First class isn't subsidizing the economy seats and the airlines don't need to charge three times as much to break even on those seats. The purpose of charging such obscene amounts for first class is to keep the riff raff out. It's so that *those* people can't afford it.

      Anyone who thinks there isn't a class system in the U.S. is nuts. We are just more subversive about it.

  6. Anonymous5:45 AM

    Obamacare = Universal Insurance Coverage
    Single Payer = Universal Health Care

    The biggest lie from Clinton is that Sanders wants to "destroy" Obamacare. Clinton is the mother of universal health care in the US and she knows better than anyone that Single Payer would replace Obamacare, not destroy it. Her 1993 plan phased in single payer just like Sanders proposes. Clearly after 23 years she still hasn't gotten over the beating she took for her health plan. She's too meek on this issue and that's one of the two main reasons why I support Sanders. The other is foreign policy: Hillary is war hawk.

    1. Anonymous7:02 AM

      "Clinton is the mother of universal health care in the US and she knows better than anyone that Single Payer would replace Obamacare, not destroy it."

      Since she took that beating for trying to pass single payer back in 1993 and has been deeply involved in the ACA with President Obama, and in your words "kows better than anyone", I would think that she might know a little more than you what can be accomplished and when.

      And for Sanders and you to assume that you know better because you "THINK" that she is too meek, is the ultimate in arrogance and naivite and really demeaning.

      Does he think he can accomplish it just by saying so? She knows that she must get there in incremental steps.

      If that is your reason for supporting Sanders, then you are supporting him because he is playing you.

    2. Anonymous7:47 AM

      And when he cant do exactly what you want him to do in the first few weeks of his admin are you going to screw him over like the firebaggers did to President Obama in 2010? Yes you will.

    3. Anonymous12:17 PM

      7:02 - Calling someone naive when their opinion is different from yours is arrogant and demeaning. Don't think you're being clever. You and I both know you're really calling me Stupid.

      Clinton has no intention of making incremental steps toward single payer. That's one of the primary reasons she lost my vote. She's on record saying, "It will never happen." Clinton wants only to make incremental changes to Obamacare: on the top end by removing the Cadillac policy tax penalty, which hurts the revenue side of Obamacare and on the bottom end by trying to make the exchanges more competitive and relieve the high premiums and high deductibles that insurance companies are getting away with. It's on her campaign website. Weak, weak sauce.

      Like Biden said, we should be bold and think big. Clinton's thinking small about a lot of things, especially healthcare.

      7:47 - You don't understand Sanders and his supporters if you think it's about what We want Him to do and what we look to Him to do. The Sanders campaign is about Us. Together. We'll do it together. Fundamental change happens from the bottom up not from the top down. Change happens when millions of people stand up and say, "Enough". Pres Sanders will succeed because we will have his back. We'll stand up,we'll go to our state capitals, we'll go to DC, we'll tell our legislators, "Enough".

    4. Anonymous1:19 PM

      Anonymous12:17 PM

      I do understand Sanders and his supporters. I used to be one of them.

    5. Anonymous6:37 AM

      Anonymous12:17 PM

      "Pres Sanders will succeed because we will have his back. "

      Like you all had President Obama's back????? Pathetic.

  7. Connie5:47 AM

    What many people do not understand, nor can they because the insurance companies were very hush hush, is where health care was headed before the implementation of the ACA.

    I worked for ten years in the HMO non profit arena and at the end of my employment greed was the operating principle. People think a 10% hike is a lot? Companies were facing 20 to 30% increases, benefit caps of one million dollars were ready to introduced the year I left, and if you believe one million dollars is a lot of money you haven't been in the healthcare industry. Ever. What that meant for John Q Public was higher rates for less coverage. And heaven forbid you get sick. That million dollar cap was for life, per Insurance company. You max that out and you can't get a bandaid, even if it would save your life.

    The ACA is not perfect. In fact there are many things that need to be addressed, and would have if our politicians weren't more concerned with bringing down President Obama instead of taking care of the public that voted them into office. Some say health care is not a 'right'. Maybe, maybe not. However, if an honest person does the math it costs less to provide health care coverage for everyone than the system that was in place before the ACA (sickness managed through the emergency department).

    1. Anonymous7:07 AM

      Thank you for that. I work in the healthcare industry too and agree that people like Sanders don't understand how much opposition there was to the ACA from the right. They don't understand how much political capital it cost teh Democrats to apss teh ACA. And then the dumb progressives srayed home during the midterms and handed the keys to the car back to the republicans.

    2. Anonymous7:32 AM

      Yikes, sorry for the typos. I should have re-read my comment at 7:07 beore posting.

    3. Anonymous7:49 AM

      ACA was the first step in a long process to change the way we do health care. It isn't perfect but it is a damned sight better than what we had before. It was more insurance reform than health care reform in my eyes. It closed loop holes those insurance companies used to drive Mack truck through in denying coverage.

    4. Anonymous12:21 PM

      The ACA is not a path to single payer. 7:49 you are exactly right that it was insurance reform not Health Care reform. There are now people who are insured but still wait to see the doctor because of the high copays. Single Payer is Health Care Reform. We will never get to Single Payer with incremental changes to Obamacare. Single Payer will replace Obamacare.

    5. Anonymous1:24 PM

      Anonymous12:21 PM
      I've got news for you. I am a Candaian living in the US, my immediate family lives in Canada, my extended family lives in the UK, France Portugal, Germany, Switzerland. No system is perfect. They all struggle in way or another. Even single payor systems. That said, I still prefer single payor than the US system.

  8. Anonymous5:48 AM

    Want to read something fucking pathetic?
    My institution has a huge, yuuuuge, internationsl medicine program.
    We go to the middle east and offer world class care to rich arabs who pay cash. And now we are soliciting to China for their welathy to come pay cash for our world class are.
    Why? Because we can't afford to care for our own people because insurance dictates what we can do and what we will get paid.
    I care fr more arabic people than Americans and this is not an exaggeration. The americans get bumped to other institutions, not as world class.
    Dont get me wrong, I'm not against helping all peoples, but this is a purely monetary endeavor, clever and born of desperation.

  9. Anonymous5:52 AM

    I'm sorry, I lost track...which side of the coin...
    ummm...which face are we listening to today?

  10. Anonymous6:10 AM

    Irony is that democrats want the same thing as Sarah Palin. The status quo needs to go. And even the most intelligent democrat sees even obama is part of the shitty status quo. I see people everyday post how disappointed they are in his complacency and inability to create change. Bernie is it. Hillary is everything Ds falsely accuse Sarah of and that's a fact.

    Listen to Sarah. She says everything we do here. Her empathetic heart despite endless attacks is inspiring.

    1. Anonymous7:03 AM

      Troll alert. Not even subtle!

    2. Anonymous7:09 AM

      "Irony is that democrats want the same thing as Sarah Palin."

      That is possibly the most idiotic statement I have read in the last 8 years. And if you think Bernie is all rainbows and unicorn farts you are as stupid as Sarah Palin.

    3. Anonymous7:45 AM

      6:10-- You forgot to add /S at the end of your post.

  11. Anonymous7:39 AM

    Get real. Hillary Clinton does not support single payer any longer. Bernie Sanders does. Why are you putting out this disinformation?

    1. Because it suits their narrative. Gryphan must have realized that the anti-Bernie posts were generating twice the amount of comments/clicks than the tired Palin ones. Palin is over, and he's desperate to keep his blog relevant, and attacking Bernie and his supporters seems to be his new schtick. Unfortunately, it seems that in the process, he (by his own admission) is losing thousands of readers. Division within the Democratic party is a dangerous thing right now, we need untity and Hillary needs to figure out how she's going to bring the Sanders supporters over to her side.
      All this "Bernie needs to shut the fuck up" is juvenile and hurting the Democratic party. While Bernie doesn't have the support to win, he does have 45% of the primary votes so far, and dismissing those supporters, is dismissing nearly HALF of potential voters. HALF. The pro-Hillary crowd on this blog seems to think that she can pull off this election without the Sanders supporters, and that is nieve and ignorant.
      By all means, keep up the attack on Bernie and the people who share his vision.
      That's EXACTLY how we're going to end up with Trump the megalomaniac.
      Wake up, and quit eating your own.

    2. Anonymous11:37 AM

      The only she she disagrees on is how to get there. Why are you being so obtuse?

  12. Crystal Sage7:40 AM

    I am an American living in Canada and have seen both sides of the health care debate. I prefer the Canadian system even though I was lucky enough to have good coverage when I lived in the US. (Except after my job was eliminated and I was not covered. Fortunately, I was in good health.)

    Here, it's more about prevention. I go to my family doctor for regular check-ups and tests, knowing that if I need further medical treatments, I will not find myself in debt. I have had an MRI, eye surgery, X-rays and blood tests and I have paid nothing. Prescriptions are covered under another benefit. I can safely say that, if it were not for the Canadian health care system, I would not be alive today. People living in the US without some kind of health insurance are gambling with their lives.

    I hoped that Hillary's plan would be accepted in the early 1990s but I also knew its chances were slim. Now that she is close to the Democratic nom and with Obamacare in place, she is the only hope that the US can move towards universal health care.
    Bernie has great ideas, but I believe that Hillary can actually accomplish meaningful change

    1. Anonymous11:40 AM

      I totally agree with you. Same here. I am a Canadian still living in the US and I have decent coverage through my employer. If I ever got cancer, I would move back to Canada. But given the right wing vitriol and insanity, the only hope of getting universal healthcare in the US is with Hillary's measured approach. She has been at it since the 90's and knows how hard it is. I think she is playing a long game.

  13. Maple8:13 AM

    I'm still trying to figure out why Bernie supporters believe he, as President, could manage to bring in universal healthcare, free college tuition and all the other promises he has made, without the full support of both houses of Congress. I'm betting most of his supporters didn't bother to vote in either the 2010 or the 2014 midterms.....unicorns and rainbow farts indeed. Grow up, people, and learn how your government actually works.
    I thank my lucky stars every day to be a Canuck. I have American friends (all cancer patients, as I was) who fight with their insurance companies to pay for tests, medicines etc. It seems the first answer is always NO, and then their docs have to write letters, make phone calls, send faxes to persuade the insurer that Yes, indeed, this treatment IS necessary. Some have had to do fundraisers in order to pay their bills, but every one of them is thankful that the pre-existing condition no longer applies.
    Yes, single payer, or universal healthcare, would be wonderful for them and for all Americans, but it won't happen until the for-profit ideology is taken out of the healthcare equation. Sanders won't bring it about, I guarantee it. Hillary, who knows exactly all the ins and outs and possibilities might, so long as she has a Democratic House and Senate.

    1. Anonymous12:28 PM

      Because it's not about Bernie doing these things. It's about Us doing it Together. It's about people standing up and demanding single payer health care. Demanding tuition-free community colleges and state colleges and universities. Demanding controls on Wall Street.
      You can't have listened to a Sanders speech and not understood it's not about Bernie, it's about all of us together standing up and demanding change.

    2. Anonymous1:25 PM

      I have listened to Sanders's speeches. It may not have started out being about him, but it is now.

    3. Anonymous4:55 PM

      "...but it won't happen until the for-profit ideology is taken out of the healthcare equation."


      And that is the fundamental change required to allow us to begin making the shift toward universal basic healthcare.

      Think how complicated it is to even define and agree on what "basic healthcare" means. I come from a very long line of physicians who went into medicine for all the right reasons. I've seen first-hand how much sacrifice and hard work goes into becoming and being a good doctor -- and I'm talking about "good" in every sense of the word. Doctors are usually not the culprit when it comes to the healthcare industry (yes, there are greedy ones who act immorally, as there are in every profession).

      It could even be argued that insurance companies are not the culprit IF it's in fact their duty to maximize their shareholders' profit. Right now, profit is their stated goal, and that profit motive with regard to healthcare has to change if we truly want the dissemination of the "healthcare product" to be different from the buying and selling of soap.

      To change people's fundamental belief about healthcare is a huge undertaking that can only happen incrementally, from without (via legislation) and within (with attitude shifts that support aforementioned change with their votes).

      But consider how, even today, there are Americans who don't truly, fully believe that all men (okay, people) are created equal.... And while we had a civil war to deal with the matter of slavery more than 150 years ago, people's fundamental beliefs about equality, or most things, cannot simply be legislated.

  14. Anonymous11:44 AM

    I have followed your blog since 2010, but I am getting real sick and tired of the anti-Bernie posts. Bernie sanders does NOT want to start from scratch, he has said multiple times he wants to build on the ACA. You don't have to support him for president, but don't even suggest that he needs to "shut the fuck up" about it. He has been fighting for a single payer health care system since he entered politics 30 years ago. The Clinton campaign keeps saying that he wants to start from scratch and it's just not true.

    1. The problem is that if Sanders were to be elected and go into office talking about a single payer health care system he would hit an impenetrable brick wall, just like the one that Obama came up against in 2008.

      President Obama adapted his health care plan to circumvent the resistant and put policies into place, like doing away with preexisting conditions and expanding Medicaid, that would make the move toward single payer much easier.

      As the Guardian article states two out of three people are already on some form of single payer, and some states, like Colorado, are already moving toward implementing it on their own.

      People are not seeing the forest for the trees and do not seem to recognize Obama's long term plan.

      Hillary Clinton DOES know what it is, and I have every confidence she plans to move it forward.

  15. Anonymous12:57 PM

    Oh, for shits sake, Gryphen! We get it - you hate Bernie Sanders! But stop posting incorrect information about Sanders' position and path to Single Payer Health Care versus Obamacare. No wonder why you're losing readers.

    1. Anonymous1:27 PM

      Just like some Bernie supporters. When you can't win the argument on merit, insult the host.

  16. Universal health care would save money, cutting a lot of bureaucracy and paperwork.

    But it would also cut into the profits of the big medical insurance companies. Since they own their own congressmen you can imagine the fight UHC would have in this country. If any UHC act also undercuts those sky high non-compete med costs Big Pharma will be fighting it too.

    1. Maple7:07 PM

      Insurance companies, pharmaceutical houses and for-profit hospitals. I shudder at the number of hospitals that are owned by what amounts to a few major corporations. First priority is NOT patients, it's shareholders. And as for healthcare facilities owned by the Catholic Church -- consider that if those facilities were publicly funded, they would not be able to treat/care for patients based on restricted Catholic doctrine (contraception, abortions etc.)
      Gryphen is absolutely correct: Obama ran into a brick wall (and some of those bricks were even Democrats) concerning single-payer. If there's a major hole in that brick wall after the November election, Hillary will drive through it as best she can.

  17. Anonymous1:53 PM

    Of course Gryphen can write whatever he wants. But my guess is that a good deal of the IM readership are Bernie supporters. And column after column, Gryphen is insulting his readers intelligence for supporting Sanders. Nobody is insulting the host.


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