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« Bill Moyers & Michael Winship: Rx and the Single Payer | Main | Single-Payer: Is Nationalized Health Coverage the Way to Go? »

POLL: Do You Support the Obama Administration’s Health Coverage Proposal?

(Photo by Robin Holland)

In the JOURNAL’s exploration of health care this week, Bill Moyers’ guests were critical of the Obama administration’s health care strategy, which Reuters summarized as follows:

“Obama urged Congress to make sure any healthcare reform bill lowered costs, let Americans choose their own doctor and health plan and ensured quality, affordable care for everyone... Obama's proposal would establish a new government health insurance plan to compete with private insurers and cover the uninsured, but many Republicans and insurers argue that would undermine the private healthcare market.”

Single-payer advocate Dr. Sidney Wolfe of the nonpartisan public interest group PUBLIC CITIZEN told Bill Moyers that plans similar to what Obama is proposing have failed on the state level:

“In seven states, ranging from Washington to Minnesota to Maine, they have tried what amounts to a mixture of a private and a public plan. And in none of the states has there been any sustained reduction in the number of uninsured. It's way too expensive. As long as you have private plans in there, everybody still has to do all the bookkeeping and everything. So, it has failed. As Einstein said, ‘The definition of insanity is doing something over and over again, and expecting to have a different result.’ We've seen the same unsatisfactory, unacceptable result, in state after state after state after state after state, why mess up the whole country with it?”

We invite you to take our poll and share your thoughts in the space below.



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I am always looking for additional information on this topic as well as others. I found your site very informative and well written. Your layout is easy to follow and I appreciate your contribution to the subject.

J.A.Harris wrote, in part, "Too many people are saying get rid of the health care companies. Hello! There are already too many unemployed workers in the U.S."

Hello back at you! :-))

Look to the East, my friend, where there is an enviable 5% unemployment rate in countries without health insurance companies.

It is not a "job" to stamp "No" on every claim so that the boss can concoct a 1.8 BILLION dollar "package" for himself. Indeed, only special people have the kind of psychological profile to do that specialized kind of "work". By saving their "jobs", they'll have another 5 years at most before the infrastructure that supports the electricity and transportaion will crumble from neglect.

So stuff that paycheck in the mattress. Imported slave labour from third world countries will NOT be able to put humpty dumpty together again....they MIGHT make some candles for you, though. Just keep the flame away from th emattress, eh?

President Obama's administration should be commended for their diligent efforts to provide healthcare to every U.S. citizen. We are the greatest nation on earth. Yet, we do not offer healthcare to all of our citizens. The fact that it has taken decades for national healthcare to be enacted in the U.S. is an abomination. Too many people in this country do not have healthcare. Healthcare costs continue to increase every year in large part because of the power yielded by the pharmeutical companies on Capitol Hill. It seems that some of our elected officials have no concept of what it is like to be without healthcare. Some of them need to be reminded they are elected into office to protect all the citizens not just the citizens within their voting district. They need to keep their eyes on the ball and discontinue all of this partisan nonsense and wholeheartedly support the Obama administration in their tremendous effort. Additionally, too many people expect the healthcare system to be perfect the first time it rolls out. How many of us know that when new computer software rolls out it is not error free? The bugs are removed from the system and then a more efficient system emerges. The same concept applies to the healthcare system. The healthcare plan is not engraved in stone tablets; it can be modified. Free enterprise is the way to go, and the healthcare industry needs competition. Too many people are looking at what can go wrong because of Medicare and Social Security. Focus on the positive. When President Obama walked into the office he inherited a complete and total mess. He is not to blame for what happened. Yet, many people are condemning him. It is time to stop all of this petty bickering and enact national healhcare. To do otherwise would be unAmerican. Too many people are saying get rid of the health care companies. Hello! There are already too many unemployed workers in the U.S. Don't base life altering decisions on fear. We are still a courageous nation and national healthcare will only make us stronger.

America Some Republican are revealable they resign from congress to be lobbygow for the Health Care industry. Also some Health Industry owned other corporations that the American citizens depends on . It appear laying them off and unemploying the American citizens is a retalliation for supporting the President and to make president Obama look bad and than the people would blame him for the failing ecnomic econometrics in order to win the republican seats in the white house while hurting and dividing the United States. We are watching and not afraid. Republicans and others are complainting about everythng and doing nothng for America as a whole is treason withn it self. Please stop playing games with the Ameican psyche becaue the American people know what is going on . The Republican and white supremacy groups want our president to fail. Prsident Obama wants healthy policies for all American. America dont be deceived by the republican death to Healh Care plan. We want the freedom to choose our health care and have a public option to have a lower insurance cost for the poor and the middle class because in the united states racism is a foundation for division and money is a foundation for corruption. At this time over 38 millions American Citizens have no insurance.

Does anyone have good ideas on EXACTLY what the average citizen can do to influence this debate effectively? I've written my congressional representatives, as well as the leaders in House and Senate. I've sent money to the Obama camp's citizen-lobbying group. I would VERY MUCH like to join a million-person March on Washington---if only I knew of one, or knew how to get one organized.

I think those of us who find Mr. Moyer and his guests to be right-on in their opinion still need some guidance on how to really make our voices heard against the clamor of the insurance industry. I, for one, would also like to see health care delivery reformed, as in how general practitioners are reimbursed. My own doctor is wonderful and deserves to be compensated for that.

Wayne Brady:

That is what the republicans want to do--Too much Government. Listen, if you do not want government then leave the country, because governments usually are the ones in charge of a country.

Ronald Regan - is the cause of all the "No Big Government", only "Big cooperations" are the way to go. That is why wall street screwedup. Capitalism doesn't work, because that is communism by itself,and they only think of themselves - the few that control the people.

David Ring,

You must be a republican. People like you are only thinking of yourself and not for fellow human beings.

The rest of the world has healthcare for its people, and you don't seem to comprehend this. I don't know if this is because of greed and complete disregard of fellow Christians.

Dear Mr. Moyers: Thank you for the continued outstanding coverage on healthcare reform.
The human right to medical care is found in Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948. The United States voted for the Declaration. You may google the Declaration and you may find the Wikipedia discussion of interest.
Accordingly, I suggest that there is a basis for claiming medical care as a human right even if one is an American Citizen.

Doris,

Health care is NOT a natural human "right". It IS something that is very desirable, but it isn't something that we have a right to have. Neither is good health, but just like health care it is very desirable.

I agree with you that our "representatives" should represent us, and not drug companies, and other professions.

Many Democrats and Republicans do NOT support the Obama plan, nor do many of them support the new idea that health care is a right. They see that it will be a effective way to destroy the best health care in the world.

Certainly there is a way to fix things - limit medical law suits to a maximum of $250,000.

In my mind it is a telling thing that our Congress will NOT use the Obama health plan - they will retain their solid gold health plan - and their excellent pension system - lifetime pay.

Also look at the Constitution, does the Federal government have the authority to start a national health plan? Certainly the States of the Union do.

People in any state are free to have a state health plan. Some do like Massachusetts.

Be well,

David

Are the Republican party using their position to lobby for the Drug companies. Some Republican appears to care more about Death than Health for the American people. According to the Daily news, " After the prescription drug law passed at least 15 Republican members of congress and the federal government left Washington to become lobbyists for big Drug Companies. show on 60 minutes just two years ago the drug lobbies by binding Medicare so that its representative could not barter with the Pharmaceutical companies over the price of drugs. In my opinion Profit over health is the real reform for some Republican.

Are the Republican party using their position to lobby for the Drug companies. Some Republican appears to care more about Death than Health for the American people. According to the Daily news, " After the prescription drug law passed at least 15 Republican members of congress and the federal government left Washington to become lobbyists for big Drug Companies. show on 60 minutes just two years ago the drug lobbies by binding Medicare so that its representative could not barter with the Pharmaceutical companies over the price of drugs. In my opinion Profit over health is the real reform for some Republican.

Are the Republican party using their position to lobby for the Drug companies. Some Republican appears to care more about Death than Health for the American people. According to the Daily news, " After the prescription drug law passed at least 15 Republican members of congress and the federal government left Washington to become lobbyists for big Drug Companies. show on 60 minutes just two years ago the drug lobbies by binding Medicare so that its representative could not barter with the Pharmaceutical companies over the price of drugs. In my opinion Profit over health is the real reform for some Republican.

Did Ms. Jamieson say Single Payer is the same as Canada's government-run health care system? It isn't!

With Single Payer, the government's only role is to pay for health care, not to run it. In Canada the government pays for and runs health care. Single Payer means the government only picks up the tab but the providers do not work for Uncle Sam.

Air America’s Mike Papantonio has skillfully addressed the source of most of our government’s problems with a sobering accessment of the leadership of the Democrat party over the past thirty years. Mike expresses his views in a brief 3 minute video on YouTube that can be accessed with the following link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4c7Fd26CJE&NR=1

I disagree with Mike on one point, his characterization of the current Democrat leadership in the DNC, Congress, and the Administrative branch as Timid is a charitable assessment of what I would call just plain old self-interest.

The Blue Dog wing of the party (Southern Conservatives) left the party in droves in 1968 when the party’s Liberal wing made equal rights for minority Black Americans their prime agenda. That’s when the GOP membership swelled and as President Johnson said at the signing of the Equal Rights Amendment, “The Democrat Party has lost the South”. This foretold the fate of Democrats for several decades.

In the early 80’s, the Democrat party had been softened up to the point that the Blue Dogs were able to move back in with a policy of “Out Righting the Right”. The GOP obviously had a winning Pay-to-Play strategy and it was time for Democrats to wake up and smell the coffee. Fast forward almost 30 years and we have what long time consumer advocate Ralph Nader calls a “Two Party Duopoly”, two majority political parties that have maintained a false Left/Right paradigm while successfully blocking any alternative views; two political parties serving the same private interests. Hell yes the people are mad, this is not just about healthcare; they want their government back !

I thought America is the model of Democracy, but Single Payer isn't even allowed "at the table." That's not democratic...it's dictatorial. I don't know why so many are sounding off at our President. He doesn't have any real power. The insurance companies and pharmaceuticals (Wall Street) own and run this country.

My 28-year-old daughter became 85% disabled at the age of 20 and she's still fighting to receive SSI. I've paid into Social Security over $100,000 and I can't even help her. I do not believe I'll ever see a dime of what I've paid into Social Security. I do not believe in my lifetime that I'll see Single Payer healthcare. I haven't had healthcare coverage for 7 years. I can't pay my mortgage and the banks/mortgagers are a joke. And the joke's on me. Because I have no leverage against the ones in control...the ones that manipulate through fears and lies.

Once again, Mr. Moyer, I ask this question: Where does the sum of $47,000,000 uninsured Americans originate from? The 2000 census? Insurance companies? People circulating through the hospitals and/or doc's offices? How is this info gleaned? I know more uninsured people or ones on Medicare (coverage provided by our government)than I do people who pay for private medical insurance. I believe this number to be much, much higher than 47,000,0000.

Dazed and confused.

It's not that I want to be a heartless jerk, but I feel that we should do things in an effective way. History shows us that central government planning doesn't work. Big government benefits always get overpromised an we end up tens of trillions of dollars in the hole (Medicare, Social Security). Stealing from future generations efforts and success in order to mitigate pain now is by definition generational theft, and I view that as so fundamentally wrong. Big government programs always fail. Anyone have any proof of some that haven't? I didn't thing so. The solution is NO MORE big government programs. Strip away all regulation on health care, then step back and let the free market work. That'd be case closed.

It's not a very nonpartisan poll following directly on negative comments about it.

I am 46 years of age and at present acting as my father's primary healthcare agent / advocate. (with Durable Power of Attorney for all related health care issues) I am an Electro-Mechanical Designer (Computer-Aided) professional.

I attend all primary and Secondary specialist doctor appointments. I am not paid for this service. It is a full time endeavor that at times exceeds any and all my will power...I am mentally and physical exhausted only after this my two year stint.
(I am an active part of the Doctor and Specialist team members..I do clinical research and provide an unbiased report to the patient's Primary Care Physician...clinical notes etc...This as to ensure proper medical care for my father. (I am simply not just a Chauffeur, window dressing and or taking time off from work to socialize with Doc's or Nurses.)

If the president, congress and the senate would like to know the real truth I invite them to look over the binders full of medical data I have collected. (and the lack of a true nationwide electronic data retrieval system) This so the Doc's and Nurses can do even the most mundane of all task's...a Just-in-time...accurate medical history...that insures the quality of care that we would all like....You Know...the Quality of care that every Republican in government now takes for granted....
....And for some reason worries about the cost....I ask you what is your father, mother, daughter, son...etc....What value due place on a their life?....preserve the free market place...there is no free market place in the tearing eye of a homeless
Man or woman...a displaced family or a woman who has declared bankruptcy simply because that primary Insurer who you feel so strongly to protect has dropped her coverage...not enabling her to continue the chemotherapy that she needs to cure the cancer that would save her life...poor little pincus...poor little multinational insurer...tis...tis ...her life is but a small price to pay for profits on wall street....

I have taken an oath that every son should abide by....to simply help those seniors...navigate thru this beaurocracy called the Modern day medicine...Not proactive but reactive and driven not by these brave Doc's and Nurses but by the Pharmaceutical and Secondary or Primary insurance industry...(or those not eligible for Medicare) Most doc's are limited in patient consultation times and the very important imaging procedures that have and will in the future save my fathers life and the lives of countless other's is constantly questioned to simply reduce the bottom line.

"That when I was young my father worked many a day- long and hard and sacrificed that his son would have the best health care (through his primary provider and employee sponsored health plan... for 30+ years he toiled working at Western Electric Plant....stranding cable that has helped connect the world....this forerunner ironically paved the way for fiber-optic and computerized computed tomography (past MRI, MRA imaging, heart catheterization) that has so increased and enabled specialist such as the Cardiologist and Vascular specialist to provide the best care he can get.

He retired and because of proud Union...United telephone and telegraph Local and the parent AT&T, Lucent Technologies and Bell Labs etc.etc. Thankfully he still has a secondary insurer (pays 20%) that supplements his primary Medicare (pays 80 %) on the average. He must pay what is left over...which most often is written off...

Moral of the Story...We are all in this together...All health care worker's (the Doc's, imaging tech's and the unsung hero's of today's medical profession...The Nurses...these persons do not see a dollar when they treat or try to treat a patient...They
Too take an Oath to treat regardless of the patient's ability to pay...

In looking at the bill as it presently stands we have and don't have far to look to find the solution: single payer, government funded, privately delivered health care. It is Medicare. staff it....provide true government patient oversight.... fund it with the excess monies saved by reducing the waste in Kellogg, Brown and Route (KBR) OIL Profits....Tax...War Profiteers like Bush and Cheney so as to provide true state of the art proactive modern day medical coverage for the citizens of the USA.

I prose this situation.....

I am sent to fight in a Foreign war...(Iraq)...I come back missing both my legs...I am told by John McCain that I should wonder the states like " a lost Hansel and Gretel - figure " trying to find a doctor that can 1. can treat my stumps and 2. enable me to walk again properly....(pay for my own education to add to another problem)....and for added finical security please ship my job oversees to the country I just liberated... why not just save some time and effort... just shoot me first... Invade a Country...Steal their oil profits...Jack up the price of gas....so I can't drive my car from state to state...(I walk on my bair stumps or I wheel my self down the road)...join the national guard...get about 10 deferments...maybe I can then just by pass it all...with any luck I could be elected president (G.W Bush) and or vice president (Dick Cheney) of the United States...And the whole insanity begins again...

....this story is only one in of many....Wounded Marine Fights VA For Care
"Shrugged Off" by Veterans Administration After Failed Surgeries, Wounded Vet Forced to Seek Help on His Own

Casey Owens lost both of his legs in Iraq and suffered from a brain injury. Now he's fighting to get the type of medical attention he needs. David Martin reports

Reference Hyperlink.... http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=5210340n&tag=related;photovideo

And Let me state this under oath so you understand it perfectly...(attention The Honorable Darrell Issa of Congressional District number 49 of California - Republican) ....I Michael Karpowicz's wrote this statement myself it was not prepared by any lawyer or lobbyist on my behalf.)

There are two things I find very disheartening about the evolution of our healthcare debate in this country. First, there is no discussion about wellness. Whether you are a supporter of a single payer option or the public add on option, as I refer to it, without wellness we are doomed to fail whichever direction we proceed. We must begin taking a long hard look at ourselves, I understand Americans do not like to do this, but we need to ask ourselves why are we sick? The answer surrounds us every day. It’s a combination of the food we eat, our apathetic lifestyle, and very simply, laziness.

Wellness is a very diverse and broad categorization for many different topics. In this country there are many things that contribute to our unhealthy state. Most importantly are food and lack of exercise. The food that we are eating is by far causing most of the health problems in this country. Obesity will be the death of this nation. We have to move away from the fast food, packaged, fried crap that we are constantly seeking and become educated about what we are eating. America has this obsession with everything being quick, easy, and packaged. Let me enlighten you on 1 issue – there is no fast food that is healthy. That salad your eating covered in 2 bags of ranch dressing? Not healthy. Your Big Mac without cheese, still not healthy. The average American needs about 2000 calories a day to maintain their existing weight. Many fast food combos have this amount in one meal. This is pretty easy math, if you’ve reached 2000 in one meal…you get the picture. We need to become responsible for what we are putting into our bodies. All the chemicals, pesticides, high fructose corn syrup - these are the reasons you need to go to the doctor every week and spend $400 month on drugs.

Secondly, the single payer option verses the public add on. I am most disappointed in this aspect. How can we possibly think that a public option will help us? The problem we have now is simple. We are allowing healthcare to be a capitalist business with no controls. Healthcare and business are oxymoron’s, and anyone who thinks different is simply a moron. Healthcare is a fundamental right of a civilized country. Taking care of each other and providing life is what a neighborly, civilized country does. It’s not about who has money and who doesn’t. It’s about doing the right thing for everybody. A public add on option will not alleviate the insurance company and pharmaceutical death hold on the country. A single payer will. We need to remove the insurance companies and dictate to the pharmaceutical companies what we will pay, just like every other country. What I am proposing is not ground breaking or revolutionary, it’s been done several times successfully across the globe. We pay 77% more for our drugs than anywhere else. Why? Because we allow it to happen, no other country does. I’m even more tired of hearing people complain about the tax increases. Let me ask this: How much do you pay for healthcare now? In my household I pay $450 each month to insure my family. Can you honestly tell me your taxes will increase $450 each month for the government single payer option? Really stop and think about this. Look at your next check and see if you even pay $450 in taxes now. If your other concern is wait times, lack of coverage and the infamous “death panels”, take action and make your voice heard. This is America and last time I checked it’s supposed to by the people for the people. Make your voice heard. Let’s have America come together and write a single payer health plan that everyone wants. You have a voice, use it.

America its time to wake up and realize we need to change. Get off the couch, put the 2 bags of Doritos your eating away, turn off Dancing with the Stars season 35, throw the WalMart circular in the trash and educate yourself about the issues going on. Not the Fox News agenda issues, the real issues that affect us all. We have somehow come to an idea that being obese and unhealthy is socially acceptable, it’s not. This is not a partisan issue, this is an American issue. Mr. President, you can do better than a public option. Don’t just jump into a program to say you started something. Rather take the time to implement the right program and walk away saying “I changed the country for the better.”

Health Care for all is a Human right. The Health industry, The Insurance and the Drug industry is our new Jack City all about the money and using people who have issue with race to use their narrorw views to keep the old tradition status quo of hatred, miseducation and miscommunication to interfer with the progress for all American. I am tired of the people that lack understanding of Human rights continued to force their inhumane views on other American. The Have Money against the not have Money to continue to opress the poor the people of color using the system as a monoply to gain profit on human sickness and suffering in a system where the cause and the effect is cause by greed and man profit off the cure. In the past there was little or no regulation in the Insurance, Health and drug industry. In my Opinion the Drugs Companies, Health Care system and the Insurance Companies appears to be our legal Drug Dealers and needs regulation.
When I watch the Town Hall Meeting on TV it was sad to see white American continue to use fear and threats like in slavery pre and post civil right movement issues To force policies their way.

Geee! C Glisson.
Congress treats real issues such as Health Care & our Economy as Red Herrings hoping Mainstreet won't trace back the co-conspircy of elected Congressional members that have been selling America's best interest for a bowl of soup!

Failure to hold Congress Accountable & Responsible results in repeating the same ole mistakes, over & over!

PATCHING:
Healthcare
Economy
War machine
may happen, but CHANGE will come only after the Seniority System of Congress has been fixed!

So, rise to the bate & debate till ya'll are at each others' throat & be damned to repeat the mistakes of yester-year & today.

Billy Bob, Florida

PS there are many smart commentators here that can't see the forest for the trees.

Washington's vociferous defense of its arrogant decision to attack Iraq is small potatoes compared to the titanic, mobilized tactics of the health care industry to scare, misinform and dismiss Americans from coast-to coast.
What is stopping one of the most powerful, most educated and most democratic nations in the world from looking after the well-being of its own people? Does every decision in Washington these days have to be based on how much money is going into a politicians pocket? Even matters of life and death?
You call it socialism? Baloney. A national health care plan that actually looks after every citizen should be one of the most "American" of individual rights.
Every American should speak up on this one. While they can still afford to protest using a computer or a long distance call or a even an envelope and stamp.
Don Ray Smith
Louisville, KY

Government intervention through insurance industry subsidies and the like have over the past 3 decades destroyed the Charity care protective blanket that previously existed in our country. This rise of the for-profit insurance industry (a complete new layer of beaurocracy)has contributed to the drastic rise in health care costs, not to mention inflation, which the politicians conviently forget to mention.
A real solution to the health care mess, must be a reevaluation of the "health care insurance industry". There is a need for a reestablishment of the concept of catastrophic health insurance.
Tort reform is also a must before any serious progress in health reform is made.

Why would we think the GOVT can run a health care program when they can not run anything else, from the US Post Office to the Dept of the Interior.
And why did Obama just pass a bill allowing Hamas refugee's free entry to the US and also providing them with free housing and food as well as health care? WE ALL need to step up to the plate and get these LIBERAL'S out of office before they wreck this country.

Why would we think that the government can actually deliver the wonderful health care plan that President Obama describes? Is it because they have already done such a good job with Medicare, Medicaid, or with educating our children, keeping our borders secure...I could go on.

Do you realize that in my state of New Jersey it takes 10 weeks to get a vanity license plate? That's 7 letters on a metal plate! Try getting an MRI once the government is running health care. The whole proposal is preposterous.

I have worked in the Medical field for about 50 years. I have seen first hand what 3rd world medical care is like and I hope to God it never comes here under the name of a "Government run Health Care system"
Once it's in you will be praying that it can be changed. But by then it will be to late. We were once a very great and strong nation. Once I believed in America
I'm just not so sure anymore.....

Check out:
www.unitedforsinglepayer.org
Join our effort in the NW. Help Congress to put Single Payer Health Care back on the table.

Single Payer is the ONLY way for reform to succeed. The Public Option allows the Insurance & Pharmaceutical Industries to still have too much control. They've had over 36 years to get it right and look where they've taken us!

Healthcare should not be in the realm of profit-taking. HR 676 is an excellent bill and is the answer. The Legislators should quit fighting about WHAT will work and instead come up with answers to Obama's criticism: HOW to make it work without creating chaos. John Conyers must have some ideas in that regard. He said it would take 15 years to phase in HR 676. Let's get started!

Below is illustrated the type of insightful wisdom not derived from fact and selfish motive. Betsy Whitfill needs look no longer for an otherworldly sage for she is a sufficient teacher of humankind herself.
People's hands go straight to the purse as a soldier's salute to an officer or a cross gesture at the Catholic church door: a thoughtless reflex. In a society where services are elicited by threats and bribes, and the fabric of caring is threadbare Betsy continues to conceive of what would be expected under justice and common sense. I can only add what school principals often say, that "the ills of a failing society do not disappear at the school (or doctor's office, or hospital) door" so that the entire culture must miraculously transform if some semblance of what we conceive of as civilization is to continue. But then, we are all wondering how low the price of the 2010 Chevy Malibu can go (Idiots!).

No, not really. Obama's system is really superficial. What is really needed is a complete overhaul of the medical/surgical profession.

The issue of healthcare reform is stuck in the bipolar thoughtform of a competitive, "private enterprise", profit producing insurance run system as opposed to the competitive, "public" funded, politically-profitable (via lobbys) system. Neither is what most Americans want. The consciousness which has produced this bipolar thoughtform is trying to "change" it. That cannot be done. Completely new thinking is needed. We should contemplate a new approach to medicine (as opposed to the "healthcare industry"), based on the simple fact that when people get sick (and we all do), they need and should have medical diagnosis and treatment. We already know this to be a moral truth because we have a law which says that anyone who goes to an emergency room must be diagnosed and treated without questioning ability to pay. We already know this.

Expanding from that basic moral imperative, we should create a medical system which is not based on "business", ie competition and profit. Medical facilities, personnel, supplies, and the like should become strictly non-profit. Facilities should be exempt from taxation (like churches); personnel should be exempt from legal attacks and have a separate pay scale commensurate with cost of living; supplies should be made available on a cost basis only. These requirements will ensure that greed is removed from our medical care. It is greed which infects all of our "empires", social/political and economic. Until competition and the desire for power and profit are removed, no progress will be made.

Non of the comments here seem to address the real problems with health care in the US today. If our government would only do three things The cost of health care would be drastically reduced.

1. Stop all the fraud waist and abuse in the system both public and private.

2. Put realistic limits on Malpractice Suites,

3. Stop the sale of tobacco products in the US.

I think it is high time we stopped the bean counters and Lawyers from telling our medical professionals how to practice Medicine. Cleaning up the Food and drug administration would go a long way to help also. How many of our current drugs on the market today are causing more problems than they are solving?

I support a "single payer" plan, and I am disappointed that President Obama has so far failed to appeal to the American people in the way he did prior to the election, to create an unquestionable consensus necessary to assure the passage of such a program. The President has the means to enlist every American in a public discussion on the issues of health and eldercare in this country, in the same ways we were mobilized and politicized by a Presidential campaign, for the first time in generations.
Farley Andrews


I'm not yet favorably impressed by the apparent direction of the
health care debate which I characterize/caricaturize as follows:
"less is more" incantations followed by
"preventive care" incantations followed by
the ghost of Henry Hyde rising from a
Maryland swamp and intoning his famous
injunction about health care: "don't get sick".
And the malarkey about saving money by
putting all those manila folders into a pc!
That is a red hering. (the savings to be had lie in the
difference between 18-20% overhead in for profit
health insurers and the 2-3% percent overhead in Medicare)
So to continue the satire, Henry Hyde rises out of the swamp
and says:
Okay, everybody
who doesn't have diplomatic immunity or congressional license plates or a membership
card to the Bohemian Club, all of you onto the
steamer, we have an appointment for you
down river in New New Orleans!

I voted for Obama and still think he is the best choice for President. I, however, do not think he is willing to take on both Congress and the Health Care Insurance Agencies to bring about true reform. In the end, I feel certain that the money from the insurance lobby will speak louder than the cries of those who are sick, dying, and without good health care options.

I "get" as a retiree an employer offered health plan that costs me over $2500 a year--and I pay deductibles as well as medication deductibles. If I were on Medicare only, I would not have enough coverage for the possiblilty of needing chemotherapy for the leukemia I have.
As I was at the hospital last week for my 2mo. blood draw to check on the leukemia, I walked into the cafeteria where there is a tv on every wall and 2 on some. I am told to unplug items to save and keep the air conditioner at over 70 and all the lights, all the cooking in the cafeteria and all the tvs on around the clock are being paid for by patients. This hospital is a "non-profit" so I get letters asking me to donate for new equipment---They seem to be more about coddling and entertainment than healthcare.
I will not be surprised if a video game room appears in hospitals . The hospitals, the doctors, the insurance companies and the government are robbing us blind--btw, I voted for Obama, and I have always leaned toward the Democrat ideals. I do not see any difference in the political parties anymore. Rhetoric and slick dealing by the congress and the administrations have revealed that we elect people who get rich through wheeling and dealing with our lives... We have become a nation of namby-pamby grumblers with nothing but arguments between ourselves and some who believe every word said by their favorite commentator....

I believe it is necessary to completely overhaul the health care system in the U.S. The time to act is now. And it is necessary for the us to develop a single payer health care system. However, it is also important for us to change the way we finance health care education. It is absolutely insane for us to believe we will be fixing the system by offering alternative insurance when the entire system needs renovation. We need to provide better opportunities for physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals to be trained. We need to move away from a system which emphasizes money of the health care needs of our citizens, and we need to provide a system which will immediately reduce costs to the nation. The present system is so broken that just putting a bandaid on it will only make it worse. A single payer system providing universal coverage is the best option. This must be supplemented with a program of providing education for doctors, nurses, technicians and staff that will induct new health care workers into the system without forcing them to think immediately about their own financial burdens. We also need to provide more incentives to people so that we do not have to drain talented people from other health care systems around the world. We need a single payer rational system of health care. I oppose the President's backing down from his promise to provide universal health care for Americans.

Health Insurance CEO's are some of the HIGEST paid in the NATION!! America is bright and inovative.If any country can come up with a health care system that is like socialized medicine only BETTER it would be the USA!! I am a nurse and have substandard health insurance. My CEO makes 1.6 million a year and calls itself a NONprofit hospital!!(HA!)WHAT is WRONG with this picture. Hospital and Health Insurance CEO's want to terrify the American public into believing that gov. run Health Insurance would be bad for us all! The only one it will hurt is the CEO's "pocketbooks". Wake up AMERICA, we have been RAPED long enough!Proper health care and health care costs should NOT be only for the elite!! This is a great Nation that needs to reunite it's (tax paying) people and treat them like human beings.SHAME ON the Health Insurance and Drug Companies for their complete and total GREED!

The American health insurance companies have become more trouble than they are worth.

Congress!!!!

Senate!!!!!!

President Obama!!!!!!!!!!!

You can stand up to these harmful corporations and put our country on the

SINGLE PAYER HEALTH CARE PLAN!!!!!!

If you are able to accomplish this,
You won't need the insurance industry money in order to win your next election. You will have our vote forever!!

Sincerely, Harriet Jones

The American health insurance companies have become more trouble than they are worth.

Congress!!!!

Senate!!!!!!

President Obama!!!!!!!!!!!

You can stand up to these harmful corporations and put our country on the

SINGLE PAYER HEALTH CARE PLAN!!!!!!

If you are able to accomplish this,
You won't need the insurance industry money in order to win your next election. You will have our vote forever!!

Sincerely, Harriet Jones

Though I have great faith in President Obama's intentions I do think he is continuing the notion that stamping out terrorist will make us safer. As long as innocent the people being killed remain invisible and not show and there ins profit in war our politicians, including the President will not have the will to change things. Remember Vietnam it took the soldiers and the media showing the cost of war to stop it.

I am a physician who believes that single payer is the only way to lower healthcare cost. I believe that President Obama is trying too hard to be middle of the road in this matter, but his popularity might get something done for those who are uninsured but I don't think it will lower cost in the long run. The only way to lower cost is to get rid of the private insurance corporations.

Keep the government out of our lices, our health, our families, our states. Do what the Constitution says, follow the laws. Respect and uphold our Bill of Rights. This president is determined to crush the 10th Amendment, the 2nd Amendment and re-write the Constitution to fit his muslim beliefs.
Hussein is an evil man.

This president is an abomination of this great nation, hellbent on the destruction of democracy and our Constitution. Keep the Federal government out of our lives, out of our States rights, and leave our Constitution alone.

let's face facts, folks, in the usa, "thems that gots, gets. thems that don't, die." since its inception, the usa has always extolled those who can "afford" or have "wealth" as being "more virtuous and worthier" than those who are in lower income brackets (or God forbid, poor!).
single payer healthcare would level the human "value" field, allowing health care (and continued life) to us peons who are of "less value." pretty sad, eh...but i do hear it all the time: "what's your problem? get a better education, get a better job, pull yourself up by your bootstraps..."
well, the fact of the matter is in this economy, i can't find a decent paying job, can't afford to get another college degree and also can't buy the boots, nevermind the straps.
still, does that give anyone the right to sit by and let me die because i don't make enough money to purchase healthcare?
where's the virtue in that?

After watching your show, I became an instant advocate of the single-payer approach. But then I read Dr. Atul Gawande's superb article ("The Cost Conundrum") in the 6/1/09 issue of The New Yorker. I commend it to you. Single-payer, government plan, private insurance, or a combination of the three will have little impact. Why? Because the real problem lies elsewhere.

It is scary to see Obama supporters following his lead, even when it leads to dead ends, clearly already defined. It's the same sort of ideological thinking that the left and center have criticized the Right, for.

So when there is a fundamental issue like this - it is critical to take a stand AGAINST the administration's position. Having the taxpayers pick up the bill for a failed health care system in order to keep the failed private system making money, is insane.

Let's be clear on this one.

We keep hearing about the 60 percent who favor single payer. I'll bet the good majority of the rest already have the government paying for their healthcare (i.e. medicare,medicaid,VA etc.), so they're presently happy and may be afraid of losing their
government sponsored care, which they obviously wouldn't with single payer. Once this is pointed out, those favoring single payer may surpass 90%.

The mainstream media, beholden to it's advertising paymasters (Big Pharma, Big Medicine and it's Health Insurance leaches) does it's best to stifle the conversation and skew the polling. If someone tried to slide "single payer" into a discussion on healthcare reform, I'd bet they'd bleep it out. The Senate has!

this is great stuff ....

great show, but lets face it, those of us who watched it, preaching to the choir. this kind of information needs to be on CNN and even better on OPRAH before it fires up the masses. it reminds me i watched charlie rose interview the brothers Emmanuel and health care was a topic as one of them is a doctor and wrote a book about this subject and so it would seem that there would be a kind of lobbying that only family can have when your brother is that close to the president. sadly though, . . . these are not the people with influence. instead of watching PBS and agreeing with each other, we need to become active and make ourselves heard by contacting our elected officials and making ourselves seen in mass. we may not have the $$$$ they do but together we have the #### and we need to band together and show that we are a force for change.

When I heard that California almost passed a health system with a singlepayer system, I was amazed. Where were the insurance companies and where were the lawmakers paid off by the insurance companies to scream bloody murder.They must have gone after poor Arnold. I think Governor Arnold S will live to regret his vetoe. He would have made history and California could have been on the books to testify nay or yeah on the single payer issue. Opportunity has passed us by in California thanks to our bobbleheaded governor.

Since single payer is not an option in Obama's health plan then we must insist that that the private insurance companies also include the elderly and the poor. Do away with medicare and medical. If they do not accept this responsibility...then I think a single payer system might be considered or may be the for-proit insurance companies should go non-profit.

Bill Moyers and PBS should be commended for having the courage to air the case for reforming our terrible healthcare system with the adoption of a single-payer system -- something our political leaders did not have the spine nor the vision to do.
Bravo.

I suggest a followup program addressing the big questions raised by single-payer proponents, for example: Have proponents of Obama's public option explain why they believe this mix of private and public insurance plans would work and make more sense financially than having just one equitable, national plan supported by taxes. Ask why administrative and senate leaders immediately labeled single payer as politically "not feasible." (I believe such a strong and popular leader could make it politically feasible if he chose to, especially if Sen Kennedy and our majority leaders stood their ground.) You could ask why the Senate choose to start the healthcare discussion with review of finance options? Isn't that a little __backwards? Or why the promise to slow the rate of growth/profits over the next 10 years is any kind of sacrifice on the part of wildly profitable health insurance companies? How could the public health option be made better than inadequate medicare and compete with private insurers who recruit "profitable" clients?

These are all critical questions that the public deserves answers to. And challenge them as to why they didn't listen to the polls? Help us understand how they can turn their heads away from all those elderly people who cannot afford their prescriptions and millions who have no healthcare, while pretending that continuing down the same crumbling path with a few new beans in our collective pocket will do the trick? I think leaving the private insurers in the healthcare system, seemingly calling the shots on reform, along with the drug companies, will strangle true reform and better quality healthcare for all. It's like cutting back poison ivy -- unless you get rid of it roots and all, you know it'll grow back.

I have always supported single-payer for all the reasons given here. However, the point made by George Mandeville is one that will need to be addressed: when we simplify things, what do we do with those thrown out of work? This is why I came up with the guaranteed income ( http://menswiki.wikdot.com/essay:basic-income ), as it truly is more efficient. Of course it requires national health care to be implemented also.

We must have single payer universal care. Out-of-work people still get sick. When they go to the hospital, they cannot pay their bill. Hospitals lose money and eliminate positions - even for nurses like me. With fewer nurses there is less care available for sick people, employed or unemployed, and the cycle will keep on repeating until we have people dying in the streets, literally.

My nursing position went away today. It's going to continue to get worse for everyone until we institute Medicare for everyone.

Thank you.

Laura Bramlette, RN

It is ironic that this country claims to be a democracy and yet our congress refuses even to discuss a solution, single payer, favored by a good majority of Americans.

As a retired nurse who used to work in "managed care" for a large health insurance company, I have firsthand experience with the inequities of health care under the private insurance "system." It doesn't work. We need a single-payer system. I support Pres. Obama, but I think he's trying to play both ends. I wish he'd just go for a single-payer system, i.e., expand and improve Medicare to cover every citizen.

Billy Don Moyers crew: Your "poll" seems constructed to favor the Obama plan (as several other posters have remarked), whatever that might be. You don't even know how a bar graph works: %2% is more than 36%. Sometimes I wonder what goes on at WNET... (note, at submission time Yes was 36% and No 52%)

Mike Weisburg: You are correct about Medicare having its problems. First, imagine a nation of millions of indigent and neglected elderly without Medicare. The imagine how it could be improved if folded into a larger uncomplicated and less contradictory single payer system. Yep, we have some pharmaceutical industry problems, some medical education problems and some medical industry corruption problems, but single payer is the first step to reform, and the learning vehicle for education, energy, mass transportation and a new simpler, healthier lifestyle. Obama talks like an elderly CEO trapped in a 20th Century mindset. How could we have elected such a backward man? We can't afford half-way measures when civilization is threatened.

I am recommending a general health insurance boycott to assert people power. Let's set a cut-off date for our premiums now.

I believe your report was extremely one-sided. Your experts all used Medicare as the ideal model for single payer system. They failed to really analysis Medicare and the impact on recipients. Medicare premiums for Part B have risen to $90 a month. The cost for Medicare co-payments has also grown and require participants to purchase additional insurance coverage for co-payments and deductibles. These costs have been become so excessive that the government has had to develop programs to pay for the Medicare premiums and deductibles for low income persons. The Medicare Drug Program is also inadequate and includes a significant donut hole that does not provide adequate coverage. The Medicare supplemental insurance and drug coverage insurance costs Medicare participant almost $200 a month plus the cost of drug co-payments. For a retired person with $1500 of income they will have a Medicare premium and insurance costs for drug and supplemental insurance costing approximately $300 a month. The program enrollments process for the supplemental insurance and drug prescription programs are so complicated that the government has had to train volunteer from the APPRISE Programs to counsel Social Security recipients. Employer and employee payroll deductions have proven to be inadequate to fund the program, A program that is overly complicated, highly costly to participants and cannot operate with participant and government funding is a poor model for the development of a national insurance program.

Ask those who are afraid of single payer--what does the health insurance "industry" produce? It "makes" nothing (but paper work). It does not encourage new procedures or medications ("experimental" equals "denial")--nor does it provide care. It dictates to the actual providers of care what they are allowed to do. Everyone seems so afraid of "government interference"---well when Medicare speaks insurance companies listen because they know there will cost savings to them (the insurance companies)--but do those self same companies reduce their premiums to us?
If we want to break through to the "other side" we have to speak in words and concepts they hold dear-hence:
Workers' Comp---single payer removes the need for this --thus freeing up the cost burden to small businesses and the injured can trust their medical providers
Tort Reform--it removes the need for large medical cost settlements--thus relieving costs to several areas--homeowners insurance with slips and falls--car insurance with legitimate medical costs and the real problem of fraud--cities and other municipal entities won't be as prone to the "deep pocket" lawsuit
Small Business--as the identified engine of economy---being freed from some or all of the Workman's Comp bill ( plus the hours and manpower to deal with the paperwork)-- being able to retain people who might have looked to larger companies or stayed with them because of medical issues --should breathe new life into them.
Doctor/Patient Relationship--the amount of time and effort a doctor's practice has to spend wading through a myriad of arbitrary rules of multiple insurance companies --the five to fifteen minute appointment scheduling which ires the patient (and makes the latter more inclined to sue if things go wrong ) is dictated by the regulations of those insurance companies either implicitly or explicitly. Network coverage-- which doctor is part of which circle of coverage--Surely these are a more direct impediments to the doctor/patient relationship than "Washington".
Unions---if Business sees Unions as the boogey man--one of the strongest selling points of unions to potential members is the health coverage---so single payer takes away some of that steam.
Every time I think of Max Baucus' comments I get so furious I worry about my blood pressure. But what if we could produce a simple commercial (or YouTube video?) that simply scrolls the name of each member of Congress and the Senate (include the POTUS the DNC and RNC as well) with the amounts of money they received from the health "industry"--insurance companies, trade groups, PACs, big Pharm etc. (include seminars and junkets too) next to each name. The audio would be a loop of Baucus' statement "there are no votes for it" --constantly repeating that statement as the names and amounts of money spent scroll on the screen should be effective.
Just some thoughts from the peanut gallery--thanks for your time reading this----Nurse Judy


Thanks for covering this issue so well. Another outstanding program!

Early in the interview with Himmelstein and Wolfe, before Moyers introduced them, he stated that the health care business promised to cut health care costs voluntarily over the next ten years. That's not exactly how things went down. First, industry executives didn't make any promises. They said they would "try" to ... blah-blah-blah.

Now about their blah-blah-blah ... When we say that they will try to cut costs, that statement results in a very different impression than the one that would be made by saying that they will try to reduce the rate at which costs will increase.

This isn't just word-parsing. It's important for Americans to know that the current Obama health care reform proposal, written by the medical industrial complex, has as one of its main objectives that of maintaining the profit stream for the private insurance industry.

With all the racketeering and chicanery going on in DC, the laundering of millions through ACORN; along with the dishonest & criminal behavior of members of Congress, the Legislature, and the judiciary;why would any sane person want Obama & his minions get his hands on health care?

I am very disappointed in Obama on this issue . I agree the only way to fix this broken for profit system is to scrap it all together . But instead of what I had hoped for I am learning that once in Washington even those with the best intentions can be corrupted by twisted Washington values , the almighty dollar . Obama has lost my support completely over this issue .

Let me clarify-- their POLICY was to loan out crutches for free. They didn't do it because I was "poor."

My only fear about a single payer system is that the giant U.S. hospitals will continue their wasteful practices and stick the bill to the government. Doctors too need to look within and see where they can reduce costs by re-using equipment and not over-prescribing medication.

Re posting by jpinsatx "MERGE Medicare with Medicaide into one single "Income Based" system for poor and elderly citizens."

Interesting idea but it still suggests that we need separate systems for poor and wealthy people. Our country has long assumed that some people are too poor to afford social services like child care, family leave, and health coverage and that others are so wealthy that they need to "pay their fare share". This assumption is part of why the middle class is shrinking. Poor folks are better off if they stay poor and middle income people like my $80,000 a year 2-income family are constantly loosing ground because we're spending our savings and running up credit cards because of child and health care expenses. In England folks pay %15 of their income to the national health care system. I already pay that much out of my salary for Blue Cross even though my employer covers the lion's share-- and I'm still trapped in an HMO and pay through the nose should I want a second opinion or want a doctor closer to home. The idea that people would want to "Choose" between different health care plans is a farce. If they could, people would all choose the same plan-- no copays, no deductibles, and the freedom to go to any doctor-- so make this plan the only choice and cut out all the bureaucracy. Unless you've lived in Europe or Canada, you cannot imagine how much better it could be.

I lived in Germany which is similar to the Swiss system described by another poster. Not only were there no waiting lines but if you have an emergency any local doctor's office will fit you into their schedule that day. The one time I had to go after hours to a Berlin emergency hospital I was one of only two people in the waiting room. I spent a year there uninsured and whenever I went to the doctor the bill was always under $100. When I needed crutches the local doctor loaned me a pair for free! We need to look at reducing waste and spending in hospitals as well to solve this problem.

"Any attempt to nationalize medicine will end in failure and revolt. The deceit and contempt of PBS to represent itself as a neutral facilitator in this endeavor, to move America away from capitalism and democracy, is well established. Just as you have manipulated the outcry and true statistics against the agenda of the current administration, your numbers of viewers will continue to decrease."

Deceit and revolt? Your an expert in your field and your field is what again? Please name one industrialized nation of which is currently victim of such deceit and revolt as a result of their nationalized healthcare.

The so called trust you put in your Government is a joke if you simply "trust" them to leave you alone.

Moving America away from Capitalism and Democracy? It is only in a fantasy world that one could identify America as simply democratic and capitalist; both ideologies that, like any ideology, is subject to the eye of the beholder. These words are spit out so much, along with their anti-mass socialism that any one person arguing for or against has not even the slightest clue to their reality application. Find me a Democratic system that does not bolster socialist beliefs, or a capitalist society that does not host a wound of deceit.

Thank you, Bill Moyers, for this excellent program.

To PBS: Would you please fix your poll? I support President Obama's basic principles: lower costs, universal access and coverage for all, promote quality care and primary prevention. However, we will not achieve these goals by including insurance companies in the mix. The President has disappointed me very much by suppressing the voices of single-payer advocates, not allowing them to be heard, and by apparently caving to the power of rich insurance companies. Massachussetts is going broke right now with their health care reform that kept insurance companies in the mix. Every state that has tried to include insurance companies in their state reforms has discovered that this does not work.

Medicare works well except where the insurance companies are involved with Part D, which we need to throw out. Medicare is not a Canadian plan, it is an American plan and seniors who have it are happier than seniors who have a for-profit insurance plan.

I've taken petitions for H.R. 676 around my locality, and most people who hear about it see the logic and like the idea and sign. The problem is that our representatives have been pelted with threats and money from the insurance companies. These corporations have bought our representatives and our government. They will not listen to us and they refuse to listen to single-payer advocates. Do we have taxation without representation? What will we do about getting our government to listen to us and say yes to single-payer? And moreover, corporate America is the problem. What are our solutions? Can we replace insurance companies and achieve health care reform without solving the bigger governmental reform problem? What will it take to accomplish this? I don't think we can afford to wait until the corporations turn us into New Bangladesh!

last night while watching Bill Moyers interviewing doctors on single payer health insurance the screen went blank. All other channels were OK. Was it Dish network or KQED that had the problem? I suspect foul play

Any attempt to nationalize medicine will end in failure and revolt. The deceit and contempt of PBS to represent itself as a neutral facilitator in this endeavor, to move America away from capitalism and democracy, is well established. Just as you have manipulated the outcry and true statistics against the agenda of the current administration, your numbers of viewers will continue to decrease.

Why does this poll show the YES option as further ahead than the NO option? Clearly the NO is further along at 51% than the 36% YES.

Bias in the media? nahh! It's clearly an "unintentional error".

The AMA, hospital corporations, doctors, pharmaceuticals, etc. are held in check by the insurance companies. Who is going to hold everyone in check if the insurance companies are out of the picture? Greed is the name of the game.

Single payer is only step one, but would reduce processing costs by billions. Next there must be some control on the industries insistance on expensvie tests, when there is little evidence they will provide useful information. Finally, pharma and the insurance industry must be brought to account for their scamming the system.

Larry Wise

The only real answer is to keep insurance companies out. Have medicare for all. This is impossible in our current system in which the lawmakers are subservient to their corporate masters. Eventually there will be civil disobedience but we are a few decades from there.

to: Campbell Brown CNN 5-24-2009

Campbell, Great to have you back! You seem to be the only mainstream media anchor with enough spunk and fortitude to defy your network bosses on this one. Please read on:

More and more of us out here are sensing that the mainstream media is suppressing the debate on single payer healthcare. The recent Diane Rehm show Mon. 5-18-09 and last fridays Bill Moyers Journal shined a light on the malfeasance and treachery occurring in the US Senate by Senator Max Baucus with his pathetic attempt to block single payer advocates a seat at the table. 50-60% of Americans prefer single payer, yet he won't allow us in. We all know why!

Campbell, you want a mainstream coup? You have one. Go to the Bill Moyers Journal website and read the massive number of comments from viewers following his discussion on single payer. If you haven't watched the show. Please do, it's chilling! The single payer tsunami is out there and Senator Baucus can't hold it back. It seems mainstream media is complicit in this obstruction, which is even more appalling for obvious reasons. It too can't stop this historical manifesto.
The medical industrial complex, through it's ads, has silenced the mainstream media and their bribes to Senator Baucus and the rest of the spineless Senate has in effect shut down our democracy!
Their day of reckoning is here! Campbell, walk with us! No bias no bull!

Sincerely, Lou Meyers

Thank you for " bringing this to YOUR Table" !! I find it facinating that "alternative Medicine" is not EVEN being talked about at ANY table... and yet, MOST Americans have saught it out because they find that Alopathic medicine does not handle the causes of most of their health concerns. When are we going to see our food as our medicine and get rid of the fda as well as the
(w)health insurance and pharma co's, that keep us Sick !!!

This is how a party with a majority loses it's power - spinelessness.
They sell-out the public interest, thinking the piece of flesh they cut off from the general good does little harm - until so much flesh has been cut off over the years we are dying. But each "representative" convinces themselves that they did not deal the death-blow to the nation's citizens personally.
Lincoln faced down the most difficult challenge in his time, knowing he "would be damned in Time and Eternity" if he failed. He unshackled a people. Will our representatives unshackle, or shackle us?

TUCSON, AZ:

Speak out on Single-Payer!

Join us from 5pm to 6pm on Tuesday, May 26th with your energy and respectful pro-single-payer signage for an animated, informational event at the entrance to the parking lot on Camino Seco and E. 6th Street.

Then we will move into the Giffords’ Town Hall to give our testimony. Make sure you RSVP to Giffords’ office!


Gabrielle Giffords Healthcare Town Hall

There will be a Giffords’ sponsored “Community Town Hall” on healthcare reform from 6pm until 8pm on May 26 in the Sahuaro High School Auditorium, 545 N. Camino Seco, Tucson.

Giffords would like to hear recommendations and comments from consumer advocates, business leaders, healthcare providers and constituents like you.

To participate in this important discussion, RSVP to Giffords’ Tucson office at (520) 881-3588.

MAKE SURE YOU RSVP SOON!

The reason our health care
is so expensive is that
the government programs
use most of the money for
offices, utilities, gov't
employees w/benefits and
retirement; they never pay
the actual cost of care.
That's why private pay and
private insurance companies
are over billed...to make
up the difference. We need
to govern with our heads,
not our hearts. I feel that all government health
programs should be for catastrophic need only. I'm
tired of paying for other
people's health care so they can get tattoos, body
piercings, etc. and go see
all the new movies! I used
to work in urgent care and
ER; nobody was allowed to
be turned away because they
couldn't pay! But you can
bet that I paid through the
nose when I went to the
ER with heart symptoms..I
forgot to call the crooks
at Blue Cross and ask their
permission. So I paid not
only the cost for my own care, but for two other
people as well. Get the
government out of health care and cut costs...it
was affordable before Medicare and Medicaid!

Hmmm… Health Care for ALL Americans is Simple!

1) MERGE Medicare with Medicaide into one single "Income Based" system for poor and elderly citizens.

2) REQUIRE insurance companies to provide the same basic coverage for ALL Non-Medicare/Medicaide citizens, regardless of health status, at affordable rates.

3) ALLOW insurance companies to "Profit" by offering additional benefits and options to those who qualify and are willing to pay the difference.

As for Funding…

1) Changing from an "Emergency Treatment" to a "Preventive Care" system will save local communities billions, maybe even trillions of taxpayer dollars!

2) Small business will be able to compete globally and hire additional taxpaying employees!

3) Wealthy seniors will pay their fair share!

4) The tremendous burden on future generations will be greatly reduced!

Reply to "Wayne Brady": I have asked. A Canadian friend's sister recently underwent open heart surgery and a long hospital stay "no cost at all to her ... and the care was excellent". Many of us have asked and the answer is clear: The U.S. ranks number 1 in health care expenditures and 37th in health results. We're already paying more for health care than countries (like Canada) that already have single-payer. We just get less for our money, such as 47 million uninsured and half of bankruptcies caused by medical bills, most of those for people who were insured when they first got sick. People who have Medicare are more satisfied with their coverage, have easier access to and more choice of physicians, are more likely to get needed services, and have fewer medical bill problems than people covered by employer-based health insurance plans.
http://www.commonwealthfund.org/Content/Publications/In-the-Literature/2009/May/Meeting-Enrollees-Needs.aspx
Government has proven to be more efficient and cost effective in paying for the health care needs of even the most sick and vulnerable of us, while insurance companies avoid sick people, devour a third of premiums on administrative costs and profits, and seek to avoid paying for actual health care whenever possible.

I voted "no" in the poll on supporting Obama's "public option". Adding a "public option" while retaining the private health insurance system, mandating purchase of their products, and subsidizing their profits with our tax dollars is not fiscally responsible and doesn't fix our health care system. I will support President Obama's health care reform efforts when he once again supports a national single-payer health program. That would be change I can believe in.

Socialized medicine has never worked. Ask someone from Canada or England.

The Obama Health Care is just one more step toward single payer health care.

We should be getting government out of health care not more involved.

Note that the bars for the "poll" results above don't accurately represent the numbers stated. :^)

Any discussion of the "Obaaama" plan should include the outrageous abuses going on right NOW in non-profit clinics with federal funding, and the mostly-unknown strictures of such pretend-medicine as the California Medi-Cal program.

Note also that the single-payer show was blacked out IN PROGRESS -- near the beginning -- on Bay Area pbs station KQED.

Obama said very clearly during his Presidential campaign that he did not support a Single Payer Healthcare System. So, why are so many people, who support a Single Payer System and who voted for him, disappointed today?

Almost daily (within the past yr) I've heard someone's personal, wrenching story related to their health care experience in this country. Either they have no insurance or they have it, but the price tag is getting out of sight.
How many more must suffer before this country wakes up to "curing" our broken health care system?
SINGLE PAYER is the only way to go that will work.
Thanks for your excellent program.

I am not sure if this country can afford to lay off the health unsurance industry all togther. That would leave so many unemployed, and the transition would be so tricky, that the Repablican Party would have a hay day.
Please read below how Swizterland deals with health care, and it works.
There are only non-profits, and health care is mandated. This eliminates that Insurance companies can select the type of patients they allow in once and for all, since under the Swiss system they can not deny access. Since there is risk sharing by all, the companies can pay reasonably good sallaries to their emplyees. What has us taken so long to look at a great private system which works well for all?

The Swiss system:
The social health insurance guarantees medical treatment in case of illness or accidents, if not covered by the accident insurance.
There exist 94 different insurers (“health insurances”), which are not allowed to strive for profit. In case one of the insurers becomes insolvent, the costs of governmental services will be covered by the so-called common institution.
The insurers are not only responsible for the refund of services, but they also support the health aid together with the cantons (are the common leaders of the Swiss foundation for health aid).
Every person with domicile in Switzerland has to be insured (every person staying in Switzerland has to become insured within 3 months). You can individually organize that. The insured party can also choose freely his/her health insurer. Every health insurance is compulsorily obliged to admit every applicant, who has his/her domicile in the area of activity of the health insurance, for the basic insurance. As far as the additional insurance is concerned, which includes all services exceeding the obligatory basic insurance, the insurers are free to choose which contracts to take out with whom. They are allowed to reject applicants and they can freely determine bonuses.

Why does it appear that Obama is backing down on supporting a health care system that will eliminate "the piggie in the middle" and our own greedy terriorist in the form of health insurance companies that reap huge profits by refusing to pay for needed health care services. Health insurance companies listed on the stock exchange? What is that! And, all the countries that currently have some sort of single payer system seem to manage them fairly well. Change is what we asked for and not the line that "we already have a system in place". Could it be that the health insurance industry has its claws in Obamas back. Looks that way to me. A Single Payer sytem is the only one that will work. Please, ask the public and not the greedy industry executives or the politicans who received contributions from industry parasites. Conflict of Interest?

Whoops, I forgot below to voice my opinion that for all the reasons given on this show...half & half does not make sense in terms of reducing the time consumed by Dr's staff having to deal with 1500 paying entities...or reduce the task of monitoring 1500 separate collections of various means to deny care. OTOH in the rest of the industrialized world (where the richer halfs are not so obsessed with taking everyone else to the cleaners and shaken'em down for every penny)...single payer eliminates both of these concerns. All these politicians elsewhere have to say to their voters who want more privatization and more neoliberalization is...look at all these folks in the U.S. losing their shirt to their HMOs. Nevertheless, as both docs pointed out I believe, only the single insurer needs to be a federal entity.

Consider this: state workers in my state...in my area...soon are going to have their health insurance issued and provided by the local humongus entity that provides most of the local healthcare itself! The reason? Oh, you'll save money in fewer needlessly duplicated labs.

???

Yep, well, Bill Moyers got right down to the heart of another matter. But this one is so important, right up there with campaign finance reform...maybe more important. I guess it's not terror, but it is horrifying. You think you're going to the hospital, but in the back of your mind you're wondering if it's gonna end up like Kafka's castle, especially regarding the bill(s) which will arrive after you return home (mysterious and inscrutable). The current system is bogging industry down here in the homeland for sure [but it's a mistake to leave out the influence of years of "free" trade and years of gutting bank speculation regulation].

"So much for lower overhead." Indeed.

Wolfe and Himmelstein were great. I missed Donna Smith, and haven't read her interview transcript yet.

I hope Bill Moyer's interviews about a single payer healthcare system will cause public opinion to insist that our government officials at least consider it.

Thanks Bill for having the courage to address health care in a logical manner. I wish the rest of the media could forgo their profits from insurance companies to adress this important issue. Your program stimulated me into action! I sent the following opinion to my congressmen and President Obama.

Based on many years of our personal experiences dealing with insurance companies during our son’s diagnosis, kidney transplant, aftercare, and drug induced Hodgkin’s disease, the only health care reform that makes sense is to expand Medicare into a national single payer healthcare program.

I realize that the drug and insurance industries have an almost insurmountable grip on the legislative and executive branches of our government but they are the root of our healthcare problems. We are very concerned our President and Congress will once again believe the promises the insurance industry has made and broken many times in the past.

An enormous amount of our premiums are wasted on administrative fees, CEO salaries, advertising, legal fees, and lobbying. Not only do insurance companies try to ensure that consumers receive minimal medical care for a premium price, but result in doctors, hospitals, and patients spending an enormous amount of time and money in an attempt to acquire medical care purchased in good faith. Too many times these delays are deadly! The persons responsible for delays resulting in death are not held accountable or are rewarded with millions in severance packages.

In my opinion, President Obama’s goal of letting private individuals purchase the same insurance as government employees is ridiculous! I worked for the government. My government authorized Blue Cross premiums are $356.59 per month with the government’s share $763.88 for a total of $1120.47 per month. A tax credit of $5000.00 would purchase less than 5 months coverage per year. This insurance covers far less than many of my colleagues in private industry and is more expensive. Not even upper middle class individuals can afford to purchase this government sponsored insurance! It worries me that President Obama is too concerned that single payer healthcare would disrupt the present healthcare system. When Medicare began, within less than a year 95% of eligible people were enrolled. That was far from disruptive and greatly benefited and enhanced people’s lives.

Why have many industrialized nations eliminated insurance companies from their healthcare systems? Why are these countries supplying better healthcare at a greatly reduced cost? Could it be that insurance companies are only interested in increasing profits and in avoiding supplying healthcare? We already have socialized mail, police, schools, fire, and libraries. Why not healthcare?

I hope our duly elected representatives in the White House and Congress will find the courage and integrity to support a single payer healthcare system that eliminates the greed, corruption, and waste the insurance industry injects into our healthcare system!

Single payer health care offers advantages our current system of health care does not have.The majority of people agree the Health Care System is broken and needs reform.
The question is what kind of reform? Will it be a version of the status quo?
Doctors and health professionals are bogged in time consuming paperwork.
Insurance companies raise premiums for sick and older people. Insurance companies welcome younger healthier people who are unlikely to fall ill. Insurance companies deny necessary life-saving health care in many cases.

A single payer system would enable direct billing to a single payer which would have funds set aside for health care.

Insurance companies operate for profit. A sick patient or people at greater risk for becoming ill for reasons such as genetics, economic status, or age are a risk and therefore costly, meaning decreased profits.

Neither the government nor the public nor their representatives have control over the numerous insurance companies that exist, so insurance companies are not accountable for their health care decisions. Insurance companies are resistant to any kind of accountability. Insurance companies fund political campaigns and exert influence over health care legislation.

People have been questioning the current health care system over time as to how it really serves health care needs. People are not receiving the health care they need and conscientious doctors and health care professionals are not satisfied with the current health care system. We applaud them and their support of a single payer health care system. We appreciate their fighting together for the rights and needs of patients.
Iris and Holly

the more i look into obama/baucus health care reform the more it looks like just cementing the lock that health insurance vipers already have on our country's health future.

unless they listen to single payer this proposal is doomed. especially when you throw in compulsory coverage by private insurers. this does not play well in middle america and it would be political suicide to try to cram it down our throats.

i am a voter in montana and i am pretty sure baucus does not care about another term but democrats who prize their political positions had better shy away from this if they know what is good for them. the majority of us democrats view this as a corrupt and stupid move without single payer.

Most of the developed world has a single payer system and by all accounts a population that on average lives longer, is healthier, less anxious, and happier than ours. Yet the polling on this site has 48% of respondents saying NO to creating just one government-run plan to compete with private health insurance. How do you explain this? As a naturalized citizen, I am not getting why the average american seems to care more about who wins American Idol than on whether his/her neighbors have access to health care.

I have MS and thanks to our state program,TNCARE, kicking thousands of us 'uninsurables' off, I haven't had health coverage for four years. I voted for Obama hoping for real change. I support the single-payer health insurace. I'm getting older (47) and should be getting regular screenings...pap test, maomongrams, etc. do I risk going and finding out something is wrong and then not be able to get treatment? I live in fear every day that my MS will return and I won't be allowed to get the care I need or risk putting my family in finiacial difficulties. I'm writing to congress now. Thanks for your show...very motivating.

Quiet but insistent voice? I don't think so. It's a little hard to be quiet and insistent when your kids aren't covered by anything but medicaid and doctors invent excuses to avoid medicaid patients.

No. It's time to raise the roof at the top of our lungs. Quiet and insistent has been and continues to be too easily ignored and/or escorted out of the conference room and arrested. Given how they were treated, might as well be loud and insistent.

Watched last night's discussion. Today I signed up for the Obama health care reform kickoff event June 6th. Single payer supporters must bring a quiet, but insistent voice to the debate.

I watched the May 22nd Journal. I believe it's the best way to go. However, I would like a full explanation on how it works, simple staight forward. Where do I find the story?

Excellent show.
The best since "Buying the War". Thank You!

I supported Ron Paul passionately in his campaign and would support Bill Moyers for president in 2012 with TWICE the enthusiasm against Dr No if he runs again.

Sad that very few in this country watch The Journal and sadder that such a small percentage of those who do, speak out anywhere but on this "safe" forum... just like my Ron Paul peeps...

Also, too bad the American public can find time to watch American Idol, phone in their votes & anxiously await the results (week after week) but they are not willing to invest just one more hour per week to Watch The Journal & hear something other than the highest bidding "elitist propaganda" that saturates our newspapers, radios, CNN & Fox News.

Thank God the privatization of PBS became a partisan issue during the Bush Administration, otherwise the single payer health care option would never have received National coverage.

I thought I was dreaming! There it was on national TV - an actual intelligent, in-depth discussion of "Single-Payer"! Thank you, Bill Moyers, for breaking ranks, for violating the unwritten gospel that "thou shalt not even so much as mention the words 'Single-Payer' for fear it might actually make sense to the American people and, therefore, they might overwhelmingly demand it."
One point I'd like to add. Bill pressed his guests on the fact that getting rid of the middlemen, the insurance industry, would be quite extreme and "disruptive." So what? Isn't this the history of our country? We changed from an agrarian to an industrial society; an information/digital culture to now a renewable, green age. No doubt businesses, people were and will be displaced. It's all about adaptation. Isn't that what our fabulous "free market" is supposed to be all about?
If the insurance industry is cut out of the healthcare pie, I have no doubt they will find some other way to make their billions. It's about supply and demand. If the people no longer demand their kind of insurance, then, hey guys, get out that old, great "American ingenuity" and figure out something the people want without jamming it down our throats.
This is called progress! Every big "disruption" in our history - women's suffrage, civil rights, Anti-Vietnam War - was brought about because the masses of ordinary people saw the light and demanded change. They started the parade and eventually the politicians volunteered to lead it. Healthcare reform - a Single-Payer, non-profit system - is just that kind of human rights struggle. Obama where are you?

Obviously, the money spent on the administration of health care in the U.S. is a drain on the economy. The wasted money is, however, neither dumped into a pit nor used entirely to increase the already enormous wealth of what are generously called entrepreneurs. Most of that wasted money goes to pay the wages and salaries of hard-working people, who work no less hard just because their efforts are ultimately of no use to the rest of us. A sudden switch to a single-payer system would either put most of these people out of work or not save very much money. We should not let this stop us from making the needed reforms, but we need to consider carefully the economic repercussions of adding yet another few percentage points to the already burgeoning numbers of unemployed.

No one seems to be addressing this question, which by the way pertains to all improvements that require the elimination of 'make work' jobs. Can you imagine the effect of eliminating waste in education? The simple truth is that a huge portion of a our so-called service economy is utterly unproductive, save for the economic stimulation generated by putting spending money in the hands of the otherwise surplus labor force. While it would cost less just to give them the money and make them stay at home, the social costs of depriving them of the illusion of productivity might be too great for this to be feasible.

We have done a sorry job of incorporating technological efficiency into our economic system. The railroads died in part because they carried the burden of a feather-bedded work force that was a legacy of technological advances. We have largely incorporated a form of feather-bedding into our economy as a whole. Two facts stand out. (1) We are glutted with manufactured goods that we don't need, but buy because we are convinced by a very persuasive marketing system that we want more and more stuff, most of which is quickly discarded. (2) Only a small portion of our potential labor force is needed to produce all of these goods.

Fuller employment will require either more make-jobs, more efficient marketing of things we do not need, or a revolutionary shift of human energy toward projects that actually improve the quality of our lives. If anyone thinks that the current economic system can move us toward the last of these options, I would like them to explain why it hasn't moved us in that direction up to now.

Socialism may be a dirty word in the U.S., but to paraphrase Winston Churchill, who would horrified to find himself used to support such a notion, socialism may be the right decision that we make after having exhausted all the other options.

I live in Canada, and have a Canadian doctor, who told me a personal story. About three years ago, he secured a job offer that would double his annual income. After some soul searching he decided to stay in Canada and not move to the US. Why? He has some doctor friends who went for big money too, but returned disillusioned to Canada. They reported to him that they spent a disproportionate amount of their time (several hours per day) with administrative work, dealing with insurance, and not enough time with patients. The comments of Himmelstein ring true, at least my own doctor's comments support them.

Until last night I tended to accept the Kool-aid of a public plan along side the chaos of heterogeneous plans of an uncoordinated and unregulated market place. After seeing the nurses turned out of hearings, and learning that a single player plan does not even get consideration in your Congress, I have become convinced that your Congress has even more numbed brains than the Canadian Parliament. A single payer scheme will dramatically cut US health care costs, now the highest in the world, and I have become equally convinced that Obama, your Congress, and some ideologues march to a pied piper and unwittingly attempt to lead Americans off the cliff. Americans delude themselves when they think single payer means socialism, or that the quality of their health care would fall.

Americans need to wake up and smell the roses. Many countries have health care as good as that of the US, and spend a lot less money for it. Americans need to look at Europe, for example, or Canada, or Taiwan, to observe working models that do not socialize health care, and achieve advantages of economies of scale and homogeneous regulation, while allowing medical personnel to practice in private health care facilities.

In Canada for example, my doctor works out of a private clinic, so do all specialists I visit, so does my dentist, and eye doctor, along with my private pharmacists. Single payer does not require public provision of service, just as insurance allows private delivery of service. I mentioned several categories, as the single payer scheme in Canada does not cover some health care, such as dental work. Nothing special about Canada's way, other jurisdictions do things a little differently, sometimes with more success, sometimes with less.

We need more programs similar to yours that tell the American people what they need to know. However our politicians are still in the hands and pockets of the lobbyists. Do you think a Million Citizen march on Washington might get the message across.

I was heartbroken when I saw Obama speaking at that townhall meeting. The language he used to explain his healthcare proposal was so evasive and deceitful that it brought on a feeling of hopelessness.

Which one? The one doing away with Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and raises taxes so Wall Street can have gambling losses replenished so they can once again report unbeliveable profits and sucker in the 401Ks?

No, I am not for that one.

Billy Bob, Florida Vote out the Congressional Zombies

Check out www.pnhp.org, www.medicareforall.org,
www.healthcarenow.org, and they have links to many other web sites---in addition, there are many state-based organizations working for single payer at the state level. The media has cooperated with the legislators in keeping this a secret, but May 30, there will be rallies across the country for single payer--join one or create one in your area. President Obama's plan will probably not work, but we all need to work together against the for-profit insurance companies.

What is being left out of the discussion is the impact of our current vast cultural revolution away from any "one size fits all" system to a diverse and decentralized one. What do we do about "alternative" medicine? What about means to maintain health that even science shows is effective and that might cost money but don't depend on medical doctors and hospitals? What about the idea that smaller groups might put people more in touch with each other's needs rather than a faceless national bureaucracy? The bigger the system, the more the impact of waste by any random individual can be rationalized by saying "no one will notice." Let's discuss the idea that perhaps above a certain number of people in a group, there is no economy of scale! Within a population of a few thousand randomly selected people, there is likely to be the same rate of incidence of disease and occurrence of accidents as there is nation wide. Perhaps it is cheaper to administer a lot of smaller groups? Please!

Re: National Health Insurance (of any type - single payer or private)

Reality check here.

We want everything for everybody and at low cost. It can't be done. We can do only two out of three.

This program completely misses the mark. Medicine is an extremely flawed paradigm. It is NOT Health Care it is Sick Care! It fails us miserably even at sick care. We spend more money on “health care” than any other country, yet we have some of the unhealthiest people. New estimates suggest that medicine kills over 700,000 people per year making it the leading cause of death in this country. Why do we, as a nation, want to fund this system? The idea of insurance (whether publicly funded or private) keeps us in the mindset that health is not our responsibility. Insurance should be available for Emergencies only. This is the main area where medicine excels, in heroics. If you want a single-payer system then have it be for the emergency room only! I agree with some other posters here that we need to look at Alternative health care to the answers to most of our health care problems. Alternative Healing methods like chiropractic, acupuncture, naturopathy, etc. teach the individual to take personal responsibility for one’s health and well-being, and offer proven, natural, and cost-effective solutions. “But what about treatment for cancer,” some will say. Chemotherapy, the sacred cow of medicine, has never been proven, is totally barbaric, and there are other safer solutions. A perfect example of how pervasive the idea of medicine is: Look at today’s news story of a mother running from the law to get natural treatment in Mexico for her child who has cancer…the government is requiring the child to get chemotherapy. I don’t think any of us want Big Brother telling us or our family members how to take care of our bodies. Single payer is simply the government getting more involved in our lives.

It is outrageous that discussion of singe-payer health care has been suppressed by politicians in the pocket of the health insurance industry! Thank you, brave nurses, doctors and others who are willing to protest and be arrested for this cause! As an insulin-dependent diabetic with no health insurance this is a huge issue for me and, if at all possible, I'll be marching with you next time!

I am so disappointed in Obama's decisions on so many things at this point, but health care may be the worst of it. I will continue to fight for a single payer option, but if it doesn't happen, I am leaving the democratic party.
It's a fast death with republicans in charge, and a slow death with the democratics in the lead. It's still death and I will cast my future votes for my life. I will no longer participate in the charade. Bastante!

By the way, I should point out that the Recovery Audit Contractors is adding another layer of bureaucracy and expense to this.

Why? They're hiring auditors (not necessarily with enough education or knowledge, who make money via refusal to pay) to come in to audit doctors and hospitals. Hospitals are hiring people to appeal the RAC's refusals. This is not a money saver.

I do NOT support Obama's plan because it doesn't go anywhere near far enough. Single payer healthcare, universal healthcare, whatever name you want to call it. That is the only thing that will work. The sooner we realize it, the less money we'll waste. Furthermore, getting out of the mideast would be an excellent way to pay for it.

We have a situation of multiple professions working together to increase medical costs. Doctors/Lawyers/ Insurance compaines/Administrative costs....It's a web of interaction where doctors fear malpractice suits so they often order expensive procedures to cover their bases. Then the insurance companies do not pay promptly or at all because every dollar held onto is part of their profit strategy. Mix in the lawyers suing doctors, insurance, and drug companies and there is the blue print for escalating costs. All of this is enough to require half of the hospital space to be devoted to administration.
Meanwhile the cost of a single band-aid is over $8
due to the paper work to process it.

Yes, single payer makes sense. Yes, getting insurance companies out of the mix would be a major step toward healing a broken system. It is only one issue among many that needs rethinking.


When you have a for profit health care system people die or go bankrupt for no other reason than pure greed and remember this 20% (co-pay) of alot is alot.

The only viable solution is to remove insurance industry red tape and profit from the equation. They do nothing to enhance care or reduce costs. A waiting period is nothing compared to having care denied or facing bankrupty. Get real.

A comment from Canada on wait times. It is probably true that if you compared the wait times of Americans and Canadians receiving a similar procedure, say hip replacements, Canadians might have to wait a little longer. Except, how do you factor 'never', which is the lot of many of your citizens, into that wait time comparison. All Canadians for whom procedures are medically necessary are entitled to receive them regardless of financial status. That's fair.

My Letter -

Hello,

I am writing to let you know that I support public health care. Something along the lines of medicare for everyone. My daughter has an autoimmune disease, and her lack of coverage once she gets to be an adult puts her at increased risk for not being able to get insurance, not being able to afford insurance, and last but not least not being able to support herself as an adult because of medical care.

Please take this issue seriously. Reforming the insurance companies is only putting a band aid on a problem that is to large for a band aid to fix. We are only one of many that need this option. Most that need this aren’t in the position to ask for it, so please don’t forget those of us that need this help.

It isn’t that we want anything for free, we are willing to pay increased taxes, we are willing to go the extra mile, and we are willing to back up that which is needed and should be available to all with what is needed to support it. We all know that insurance companies are in the business of making money, not in helping people that need help. Reform isn’t going to change this, it will simply put limits on what they can do. With reforms there will be people that slip through the cracks. There is no way that legislation in this fashion can effectively count for everyone, for every change that is discovered in the medical field and so on. It is fair to say that this will just create a system that constantly needs updated, and people that are constantly not getting what they need while the legislation to make fix the missed situations is being figured out.

Thank you,

Terra

(And I thank you for a great program!)

I live in Yountville, CA, and to me this program was really an eye-opening show. To me seems like either 1) President Obama is trying to forget his promises about reform in health care or 2) the insurance companies (already in bed with this administration), are using money obtain from their greed-run system to prevent Obama and congress from doing their job. I couldn't watch the whole program though, it was stopped half way due to "technical difficulties" on KQED Ch 9. Thanks to the show's transcript I was able to read what was said on the other half of the show. This was really a very good program.

I object to this poll. It needs to ask:
Yes
No- I don't think the government should have a healthcare plan
No- I don't think insurance companies should be in the healthcare business
Don't Know

The reason why 'no' are widely divergent

I also didn't get to see the program on KQED about single payer health care... half of it was blocked out in San Jose, CA.

The only way to ensure Americans can contain medical cost and keep doctors doing what doctors should be doing is to eliminate the blood sucking middle man... American's health insurance companies. Please contact your Representative and let them know we need at least a "Public Option" in order to turn the tide on the super-greedy insurance and drug company executives!

Let put the "WE" back! We can do it!

As a supporter of single payer, and aware of the money and power behind stopping it, I was not entirely surprised that KQED, my PBS chanel,was blocked half of the Moyers show tonight with "technical difficulties" posted on the screen.
It will be difficult, but we must fight for single payer if we want a viable health system.

I was confused by the wording of your pole. While I voted 'yes', I actually support the Single Payer System (which is not advanced by the Obama Administration). I wish Obama would find the courage to join this cause. The fact that he hasn't speaks volumes about his true nature - how disappointing he is! This country desperately needs a single payer system now. We should not settle for less.

Arthur: I have experienced the limitations of our current health plan and the striking measures that the Insurance Companies take to deny coverage and raise prices. Along with them the pharmaceutical companies make obscene profits selling their drugs to us at higher prices than to other single-payer systems such as Canada. I wholeheartedly vote for the single payer system. When in France I became ill and was astounded at the quality of care, even for a non-citizen. When I asked for the bill, they informed me that there would be no charge..wow!

Heayoung: I came from a country, South Korea, where medical care is a government single payer plan. For nominal affordable fee, every one has an access to quality health care. An easy access to medical care including choosing your own doctors helps people to take control over their medical needs. There is no system works 100% but there are systems that work for majority. We need to change the fundamental idea about health care in America. Health care is a human right, not a profit making enterprise. It's unethical that to let people die for profit. I support the single payer plan.

I have lived in CANADA 14 years and my family has not had a hard time finding a doctor.Yes there are wait times but I think the system is better.Most of the time the abuse I see is people going in for a stuffy nose taking up doctors/emergency room time and people who really need care have to wait.Also CANADA only has 31 million people(CALIFORNIA has more). They have a huge doctor/nurse shortage being alot move to the states for better weather(shorter winters)and more money and buying power with it.The system is not without flaws hands down I believe it is way better.Back when I was still home my family doctor was looking to retire saying he could not treat his patients and it was not fun fighting with insurance companies.

Back in the mid to late 70's I worked in a bank, part of my job involved collecting past due accounts. Occasionally I had to collect on loans where the borrower had been injured or had become ill and unable to work for extended periods of time. Many of our loans were written with Life and Disability policies. It was part of my job to contact the disability insurer and to help collect benefits to keep the loan from becoming too far delinquint. It seemed to me then that the insurance companys went to extrordanary lengths to keep from paying or to delay payment as long as possible. I decided then that insurance company's were essentially leeches on society. Nothing in the intervening years has changed my mind.

Thank you, Bill Moyers, for all your programs, but especially for this one. I have been working for Single Payer (SP) and the questions and answers to and from your guests help us find answers when people criticize SP.

There is so much confusion! People need to understand that the public aspect proposed by Obama and SP are not the same.

There is also a lot of misinformation and manipulation!

You were not preaching to the crowd. Having this program, I'm sure, will open many people's eyes, and that's what we all need to do, and can do, thanks to your help.

We cannot give up, either. It's what we need morally and economically. There is no other way.

Our President and Democratic Congress have been a terrible disappointment. They need to hear from us, and realize we realize they are working for the Corporations, not their constituents.

PEOPLE, NOT PROFITS

Below is the letter I wrote to congress and President Obama on May 12, 2009.
Dear Representitives, Senators and President Obama,
I would like to urge you to consider a single payer health reform bill run by the government as a solution for fixing our health care system. There are many reasons I think that this is the best alternative.

I believe we need to cover everyone in our society and any plan that does not cover all of us is a failure in my estimation. Universal health care, with an emphasis on keeping people well saves money. It gets people to seek care before problems become catastrophic. A universal, single payer system insures that compensation paid for through our taxes goes directly to the providers or producers rather than to insurance companies who push paper and collect dollars rather than do anything that keeps people healthy. If payments go from government to the providers, isn’t that enough of a middle man? I don't believe that health care should be a "for profit" business. The middle men in the insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies have gouged both the front line providers, that is, the people who actually perform the services or create the solutions AND those who receive the services. That is not an optimal use of tax payer’s dollars.

Keeping it as simple as possible, with the proper oversight, is the most efficient. Congress needs to look after the greater good of the country, not just look at what donations they are getting for their next campaign. Insurance policies are as difficult for the average person to decipher as mortgage or credit card agreements. If the government single payer plan is adopted, at least we have a chance to control the contract between the people and their health care providers. That will also eliminate the need for health insurance lobbyists. I think that if you actually produce real health care reform, you won't need that extra cash from the insurance and drug companies, the people will elect you on your effectiveness.

One of the arguments against the government running the health care system is that government would be corrupt and wasteful and would not be effective at doing the job. This is propaganda. This is a myth. It doesn't matter whether those who run the programs are public or private. What does matter is that they are honest. Current events have proven that when business runs the programs, corruption and inefficiencies can and will occur. It is not important which part of our society runs any given service or program. Both government and business are made up of people. The way the people behave is key. What IS important is that whoever is in charge is ethical, honest, efficient and hard working.

It must be recognized that there is a fundamental difference between business and government. In business, the profits go to the companies, mostly in executive compensation, then to stockholders, then to the people producing the product or service. In government, the profits would go back into the treasury, and there is oversight on compensation to those who oversee the programs and produce the services. At least that way, the taxpayers are the stockholders. I would much rather see our tax dollars going towards paying down our debt than going to pay for some executives vacation home.

Included in the Universal Health Care program must be prescription coverage. It is a disgrace how the drug companies are gouging consumers. I’ve seen the breakdown on common medications, profits are astronomical! I believe it is important to continue research and development, and that should be compensated. It is worth noting that much of that research is done at our universities, which are already subsidized by the taxpayers. Somehow, that never seems to show up when the business executives are crying poor. Perhaps we should take the research and development out of the hands of business and put it back in the hands of the academics and researchers that actually produce the solutions to our health problems. Let the drug companies concentrate on production and distribution.

I understand that this is hard for Congress to change. I am watching the progress on health care reform with great interest to see if those of you in congress are going to choose right over might (or private compensation). It may be that all of us, Congress included need to simplify our lives. The great minds of history point to accomplishments that contribute to the greater good. Sometimes we lose sight of why we have government in the first place. People need a successful and universal health care system. One of the things that humans contract government for is safety and welfare. Healthcare reform is historical, an uplifting of the entire citizenry. Now, that would be progress for the history books, and our grandchildren. The health of our species and indeed the health of our planet is the most important thing you have on your plate as our representative. I wish you well and hope that at the end of the day, you will have positively touched the lives of all of us, our children and our grandchildren

President Obama's promise to radically reform health care (for the better) was the #1 reason I voted for him, so I hope he follows through on his promise.

I believe that in the end Obama will be a good President, but if he wants to be a great one, he will have to be much more aggressive in promoting universal, single payer healthcare. If he can't get it to happen, it will be up on the table again in another 10 years. Having been on Medicare for 7 years already, it really doesn't make any difference to me, but I have a son who though insured over the last 20 years has been financially ruined by chronic, though not devastating health issues.

I am an American who has lived in Canada for the past 5 years. I think it is naieve to suggest that currently-insured Americans would be willing to sign up for the compromises that would inevitably result from a transition to a single payer system. Since moving to Canada, I have experienced the types of trade-offs that result from this system. Namely:

- Lack of physician access. It is nearly impossible to find a family physician who is accepting new patients in many parts of the country. As doctors retire, reduce their working hours, or relocate, many patients are left with no primary caregiver - an essential role in the system that requires family doctor referrals for nearly every specialty. Without a family doctor, Canadians are left to utilize walk-in clinics and emergency rooms for their primary care. When our primary care doctor went on maternity leave last year, we were left with the urgent care clinics as our only option because there was no doctor willing to take her patients on during her leave. When she returned and decided to work part time, we had to beg her to keep us in her practice, as the likelihood of finding a new doctor for a family of 5 was low.

- Exceedingly long wait times for procedures and specialist appointments. My doctor referred me to a specialist to follow up on a condition discussed during my physical. I received a call 11 MONTHS later to set up the appointment - which was then booked 3 months after that phone call. A recent visit to a radiology clinic revealed that they were booking screening mammograms out into 2010.

- Cost-driven care decisions. When my 3 year old son required a tonsillectomy to address sleep apnea issues (which took 6 months to get to a specialist to diagnose), we were informed that while there was well-established evidence of a superior procedure that was regularly practiced in the US, that the costs for this approach had not been approved as part of the Health Region's offerings. The "ablation" procedure had less pain, faster recovery, and fewer complications than the traditional tonsillectomy, but based purely on the cost for the procedure, it was not available here in Alberta at that time.

The Canadian system does help ensure that catastrophic illness is not an immediate route to bankruptcy, and if you require urgent care for a life threatening condition, there is generally good care delivered by compassionate medical professionals. But the process of getting access to care and the level of care delivered is not always equivalent to what is available to insured Americans. And decisions regarding care are frequently dictated by budgets and system policies vs. doctor discretion - which is not that different from the dynamic of large insurers/HMOs.

The descriptions of the Canadian system cited during the interviews on this evening's show do not represent the full picture of the Canadian healthcare experience.

After viewing the show on "single payer" I quickly went online and made a donation to the PNHP.
It's obvious that this is an up hill battle against the established capitalist insurance system in bed with our representatives.
Rhetoric won't ensure our "Right" to health care-action will. Do something.

Thank you so much for your program on universal single payer health coverage. Please continue to focus on this important issue.
I am a retired ob/gyn nurse practitioner who was constantly frustrated by the limitations placed on my care of patients by insurance industry.
One would think after his mother's struggle with her insurance company Obama would now lead in our need to eliminate insurance companies strangle hold on health care. As one who vigorously campaigned for him, I feel betrayed.

Thanks for the program. Yes we need single payer now. The power of insurance co.'s, drug companies and for-profit health care providers over Congress would be diminished if we had public campaign financing. Nothing will change until members of Congress care more about their constituents than their re-election coffers.

Let's try this. If Obama wants to really save money, lets target the savings to equal that of Canada, Taiwan or an average of single-payer systems in several counties. There is NO WAY that the insurance/drug industry will voluntarily cut costs that can equal an efficient system.

We all pay for fire protection, and we must do the same for health care. What chaos we'd have if the fire department were privatized in the same Byzantine non-system we have for health care.

Your question near the end of the segment with the Dr.'s about limits was a good one. Here's an answer. We currently limit health care coverage to those who are healthy or can pay for it and those that qualify for Medicaid--leaving more than 45 million people uninsured. Most industrialized countries have successfully found a way to ensure EVERYONE, and there are some limits on what will be covered. No one can pay for everything for everyone. We CAN pay for most things for everyone.

The item you left out of your program that is so important is PREVENTION. Any single-payer system needs to include education and prevention so that there will be fewer sick people to treat.

The problems we have now are lots of sick people, many people who don't pay into any system of health care, skyrocketing costs and no system for education and prevention.

The longer we put off single payer, the more it will costs and the longer more people will needlessly suffer.

Bottom line is that public outrage must outweigh the money that buys Congress. Please do the research, but I'd estimate that 98% or more of the 535 members of Congress take contributions from insurance co.'s, drug companies and for profit health care industries. Enough public outrage before August could change the equation, but it looks like the fix is in.

I had hoped President Obama would lead the public to show such support for single payer that the Congress would have to go along. It is disappointing that he is not even talking about single payor. Hopefully this is just some sort of strategy.

Health care should be a right and not a priveledge. That is the starting point. This gives single payor the moral high ground.

From my vantage point:

1. I could run my MD office with one nurse and a computer if we had single payor.

2. Half the space in our new hospital wouldn't be administrative if we had single payor.

3. There would still be administrative hassles in dealing with the government (yes, like Medicare), but I wouldn't get the feeling that there was some underlying profit motivated malicious intent like I get in dealing with private insurance.

4. I might be paying more taxes, but I wouldn't be paying an insurance premium plus deductible that is more than half the amount of this years State plus Federal tax.

Like in his campaign, Obama needs our grassroots support for a single payor system.

Once upon a time, insurance was more of a mutual aid society than a source of profit for capitalist owners. Insurance could be mandated, by statute, by Congress, to be run as a non-profit corporation, whether NGO or governmental. Single payer model can exist as a non-profit trust.

I get my insurance care from Kaiser-Permanente, a not-for-profit HMO with its own hospitals, high-tech machines, and providers, both primary care and specialist. It works fine. I used to be snobbishly insistent on choosing my own doctor, etc. (even if I paid out of pocket). That "freedom" of choice was burdensome and misleading, since I couldn't get decently coordinated care and had endless hassles.

"Insurance" should be a mutual aid compact among us, and thereby a self-help society. It should not be an "industry" unnecessarily generating massive profits for a few predators.

David Bockoven, RN

Thank you, Bill Moyers, for this excellent and informative program. I am a RN and am in favor of single payer health care. I am also a cancer thriver and would not continue to do so without health coverage. Further, I have a brother who has lived in Switzerland for over 20 years. He will not return to the USA to live because of the lack of universal health care. Benefits there are so much better.
I am wondering: the 2 MDs on the program this evening were both primary care physicians. Are MDs in specialty areas for single payer as well?
Thanks.

The insurance industry torpedoed the California single payer initiative in the 1990s. Now the insurance industry has bullied the Obama administration, and they've capitulated. What a shame.

Single payer is the only way to go. A public option along with private insurance will not work.

single payer is the only way. such greed is shameful. shame on you all who take away this plan.

single payer is the only way. such greed is shameful. shame on you all who take away this plan.

Thank you to Bill Moyers to have Donna Smith, a nurse, to speak about our health care system. Nurses see patients in hospitals 24 hours a day. I agree with Donna that we need a single payer system. Mary S. R.N.

Your question as stated in the Poll is somwhat flawed.
I support Single Pay as a
solution to the mess that we are in, but his plan I
cannot support. We need to change immediately to a
national insurance policy
run by the federal governament with primacy on
all issue and eliminate thegreedy middlemen in the
Inusrance Inustry. Perhaps
your question shoud have
offered more alternatives.
Once agtain THANK YOU FOR ANOTHER BRILLIANT PROGRAM.
You have provied the voters with the necessary
raw materials from which a
campaing can be established. But it needs
expanding and translation into bread and butter issues of the American voter to undersatnd and support.

I support "Single Payer". But as a second best, given the unlikelihood of its passage (Your gusts noted the lack of presidential backing for it), I support a plan not talked about, but one that would achieve most if not all the administrative costs savings resulting from single payer. This plan was one proposed by Ken Terry, editor of "Medical Economics". That plan too would radically restructure the current private insurance system, replacing it with regional priavtely owned companiess hat would be regulated like public ulities. Thta would demolish or at least mute the notion of "government run" health care. It would provide basic coverage.
A residual quarrel I have with Himmelstein and the PNHP is that neither single payer nor this substitute, though it would yield a large amount of health acre cost saving, would by itself attack the (multiple) causes of ever-rising health costs, which may be gtrouped as(1)nefficiencies in health care delivery and (2) excessive use by insured patients. For them, copays are low--not high as Himmelstein and his partenr contend--thus encouraging unnecessary appointments and procedures. It is not at all clear how comprehensively Obama's plan deals with the cost facotrs, tough I suspect rather little, especially given his near upcoming deafdline for passage.
Moreover, the lack of self-care (inadequaqte rpevention, lack of exercise and poor-diet fed obesity, combined with the aging of baby boomers will totally overwhem the health care system, rendering private vs. public financing almost a moot point.

Al Hirsch

Sadly, all these impassioned, supportive words are like preaching to the choir. How do we break through the political wall, constructed and financed by the health insurance corporations, while political decision makers hide behind it to avoid their constituents? How can the will of the people continue to be ignored and derided by congress and the senate? Let's do what we did for Civil Rights! Demonstrate, hit the streets, commit acts of civil disobedience. Eight doctors and nurses disrupted Senator Max Baucus's "hearing" on health care reform. You didn't hear about it? Major media has joined the political code of silence against Single-payer healthcare.
Do you believe healthcare is a civil and moral right? so, let's fight for it?

HR676 Single Payer - Nothing less

I am completely ashamed that I voted for Obama. I had a great deal of hope that this current corrupt system of health care delivery would be flushed. And now, I see that Obama has caved in to the power of the insurance industry.

I am 51 years old. I have health insurance but I can forsee a time in which having health insurance may not be affordable for me. Just in the time that I need it. Profoundly disappointed in the lack of leadership from Obama.

The insurance companies must go. Period. We need a single payer system. I am a small businessman who cannot afford to provide health insurance for my employees. Not even remotely feasible. And I think that some of the forcasts for 57 - 65 million without health care in 10 years are being wildly optimistic. Employers are rapidly getting rid of health benifits. My feeling is that 1 in 3 will be without insurance.

As a country, we should be ashamed.

I am in favor of a single-payer plan here in the United States. I have heard many of my friends and family members spouting-off fears that have been fed to them about what would go wrong under such a plan. I, however, have had a different experience.

I was in New Zealand in 2002 when I ended up in the emergency room with Pancreatitis. I ended up spending a week in the hospital there and received excellent care. New Zealand has "socialized medicine." I didn't have to wait for care. I was treated immediately, carefully, and kindly. Since I wasn't a New Zealand citizen, I had to pay. It cost me $700.00 U.S. dollars.

One year later, I ended up in the emergency room again with Pancreatitis. This time I was in Tennessee. I had the same diagnosis, the same treatments, the same medicine, and I was there for the same amount of time. This time the bill was $15,000.00. I know that others have much more dramatic stories to tell, but I wanted to share my personal experience. I have seen with my own eyes the difference in cost and care.

While I was being treated here at home, I experienced some seriously poor treatment. I was given an overdose of Morphine when I arrived on Saturday evening and woke up in a hospital bed on Monday still wearing the clothes that I had been wearing on Saturday night. During my week in the hospital my I.V. was allowed to run dry several times causing the I.V. to have to be re-inserted. I left the hospital with track marks. And for this special treatment I paid an additional $14,300.

We need to pull the plug on our current healthcare system.

The Canadian Health Care system is ofton quoted as a successful one payment system. As a Canadian I would like to give some in put to the discussion. I am 75 years old and while it is not perfect, it has looked after my individual health over the years to ensure that I am in still good health at my tender age. I credit this to having always had an annual physical (because no additional cost was involved I always took advantage of it as I believe prevention is cheaper than cure), so any potential problem were found early on and therfore solved with a minimum of cost. Thereby a saving in the log-term.
I have always been able to choose a MD of choice. I can go to any hospital ER for treatment in an emergency. I can always get in most case free all the necessary vacinations
when going overseas for business or pleasure.I also can go to the lab of my choice to get any lab-work requested by my MD.

I really enjoyed the coverage of the single payer health care plan and agree it is the only way to acheive the goal of covering everyone with high quality, affordable health care. It really exposed the failure of government to stand up to the private health insurance industry. Thank you Bill Moyers for airing this when no other major media has done it. We need lots more similar programs.

It is profoundly disappointing that President Obama, for whom I voted and had such high hopes, has apparently succumbed to the usual Congressional and Senate rhetoric on the issue of health care.

What he needs to do is conduct a national referendum, and trust the American people, who probably will not be voting in sync with Congress.

Why the straw man: "Do you support the Obama administration's health care strategy of creating a government-run plan to compete with private insurance?"???

Why not ask the honset question: do you support true choice of health plan for everyone so the best plans will be found by competition for my business by giving me and everyone else the best total care for me and everyone else individually?

Healthcare reform will never occur in America until forthy to fifty percent of healthcare premium paying individuals stop making their monthly premium payments.

The problem isn't the 14 million un-insured individuals, the problem is the millions of individuals who continue to feed the healthcare insurance industry.

Halting healthcare premium payments will reform healthcare in America over night.

I support the Single Payer HR676 and S703 and nothing less. The MA plan has already failed, again, to contain costs and extend fair coverage to all at affordable rates. Why emulate a failed plan? Even the President thinks Single Payer would be the way to go if we could start from scratch. I say - let's start from scratch.

We need to come up with a bold new proposal that will put single payer back on the table. It is time for a buy-out and takeover of the basic health care insurance industry.
Plenty of data show that hybrid plans--mixing private basic health insurance with various public options--will not work. You simply cannot play a mini-game of compromise when the macro game is zero-sum. The failure of the Massachusetts plan, with skyrocketing costs, is one strong clue. The insurance industry's own think tank modeling by the Lewin Group is another:

"The Cost and Coverage Impacts of a Public Plan: Alternative Design Options," The Lewin Group, April 6, 2009
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51315&id=15917-514436-qjmes9x&t=8

The report, with the health insurers as its customers, reinforces my contention that most private health insurers will go the way of the dodo, either slowly or rapidly under variants of the "hybrid" plans mixing public option with private plans. The only question is, how much more money will we waste in this experiment before realizing it would be cheaper to go straight to single payer? Our Gray Panthers of Washtenaw County, MI, opposes these public option hybrid plans because, if adopted, they leave private insurance companies an open field for cherry-picking the healthier and younger clients without pre-existing conditions, maximizing profit and forcing the public plan to accept all the sicker and poorer clients, and therefore the major burden of health care costs.

To deaden the insurance company opposition, we need to buy out the contracts held by private basic health insurers we don't already own through AIG. This is your basic hostile takeover. The federal government should offer them the prorated amount of the premiums on contracts with time remaining after the start of the single-payer program. This is generous, since they'd keep this is almost pure profit. Since health contracts are generally only one calendar year (unlike cell phones) and the feds have an Oct. 1 fiscal year, let's pay out $1,000 X 3 months remaining for 119 million people. That's less than $360 billion--chump change by Wall Street bailout standards. Most estimates of national savings under single payer range around $350 billion a year, so a buyout would have an amazing investment payback of less than two years! And the years going forward are then $trillions in pure return for the citizens of the USA.

Any private health insurance companies that refuse the deal will have to explain to their stockholders why they are preferring to go straight to bankruptcy.

1) The Lewin report addresses one hybrid variant that allows all employers to participate via a payroll tax (assumed to be mandatory).

>We estimate that the Obama-like health reform program described above would reduce the
number of uninsured by about 28 million people. If we assume that the public plan is open to
all individuals, the self-employed and all firms, the public plan would enroll about 131.2 million
people (includes some uninsured who become covered). The number of people with private
health insurance would decline by about 119.1 million people (Figure 3). This is equal to about
70 percent of all people currently covered under private health insurance (excludes
supplemental coverage for Medicare beneficiaries).

2) Another variant would be to require large employers to stay with private insurance. However, since this would
cost them 30% more in premiums than the above payroll tax, and contribute to keeping the economy at a crawl, there would surely be a class action lawsuit by the large employers.

>As discussed above, the President’s campaign proposal would have limited enrollment to
individuals, the self-employed and small employers. Large employers would not be permitted
to cover their workers through the public plan. Under this scenario, about 42.9 million people
would be enrolled in the public plan (Figure 3). The number of people with private coverage
would fall by about 32.0 million people.

Figure 8 on page 14 of the pdf is worth a look. If I am interpreting the predictions correctly:

Firms that currently provide private health coverage employ 115 million people.

The model predicts that only 18.4 million would continue to be covered with private coverage under health reform.
15.8 million would be covered under private HMO coverage.

Of employees of firms now providing private health coverage, 73.2 million would be insured in (dumped onto) the public plan.

Jan BenDor

Washtenaw MI Gray Panthers Team for Single Payer Health Care

As a physician for 40 years, I have seen our health care system failing. We don't have far to look to find the solution:single payer, government funded, privately delivered heatlh care. It is Medicare. We need an expanded and improved Medicare for all. It has been working here for over 40 years. We need to take the for- profit private insurance companies out of the picture. They add cost but no value to the health care system. The majority of physicians and citizens are for it, only the politicians who are paid by the huge and powerful health insurance and pharmaceutical industries are against it. When will they listen to their constituents?

Single-payer healthcare (Expanded Medicare) is the only plan with a social conscience.

The republican healthcare plans offered didn't present satisfaction surveys on private health insurance. However, the nonprofit Commonwealth Fund conducted a survey that favored Medicare, “Meeting Enrollees' Needs: How Do Medicare and Employer Coverage Stack Up?” (http://www.commonwealthfund.org/Content/Publications/In-the-Literature/2009/May/Meeting-Enrollees-Needs.aspx).

Furthermore, the health industry negotiates executive salaries, costs of buying beds, office supplies, computers and other high volume purchases but hasn't effectively reduced the costs of drugs like Medicare has. I didn't see that in the republican plans either.

Which elected official will stand-up against big-pharma to lower costs? Or, how many elected officials initiated lawsuits against atypical antipsychotic drug manufacturers due to overcharging states for the drugs and the harm these drugs caused (typical side effects of hyperglycemia and diabetes--and billions of dollars awarded through the courts to states increasing patient costs)?

I'm against Obama's pplan because it keeps the insurance companies in the mix.
Single payer is the only workable way to go.

Obama's plan will not save any money with the insurance companies still in the mix. He did not support single payer during his campaign, which was the main reason I could not vote for him and went third party instead.

It is upsetting to me that the President, Congress and the vast majority of the media have entered a conspiracy of silence about single payer healthcare. This system makes the most sense to me. Medicare has an extremely low administrative expenses ratio. Single payer would allow the government to negotiate fair prices with the pharmaceutical corps and take away their windfall profits.

Single payer would introduce real equality, improve children's health, senior health and make doctors' lives a lot easier by eliminating the nightmare that is the insurance bureaucracy.

In my view single payer is both a fair and realistic option. Fleur

It's too painfully obvious a single payer system is what we deserve and need. Any plan put forth by the administration that isn't single payer is just an "OBAMANATION".

Working as a Physical Therapist, I see many of the problems with our current healthcare system. I think one of the greatest points about our current system is that the administrative costs are way out of control, above 22% vs other nations who have nationalized healthcare, they are less than half as much. To take this point a step further I looked at another stat not brought up in the program and that was made by Professor Elizabeth Warren in her study on medical bankruptcy is that 50% of those who filed for bankruptcy were for reasons of medical debt. Of those 50%, 75% had health insurance. It showed that just because we think we have it, we aren't covered for everything, unlike other national healthcare programs. And why did those 75% that had insurance fail? Because of co pays, deductibles, pre existing conditions, and denial of coverage. This country's system of health insurance for profit is broken. It's the reason that we are at #37 in WHO rankings. If the health insurance industry model is to make a profit, they will continue to degrade our coverage until we aren't covered.
The healthcare model that has takes care of the most people with the lowest cost is inevitably one that focuses on overall pt outcomes and not on profit. Therefore it has to include preventative care. It should also be rewarding those medical professionals that perform the best preventative care because it means lower costs in the long run to the system, something that England does well with. It’s time we cut out the middle man (private health insurance) and go to a 1 payer system, non profit coverage.
The next point to make along those lines is the economic impact that our current system holds. Our US businesses are competing on a global open market now. Jobs are quickly going overseas for cheaper labor and cheaper costs that include –Not Having To Pay Employee Benefits Like Healthcare! Is it any wonder that US businesses are cutting the “fat” (Supplemental Healthcare) so that they can compete better. Just look at Walmart. It may have the lowest prices, but it also has some of the lowest benefits offerings to employees. It’s naïve to think that this kind of trend won’t continue until the majority of us will have to find health insurance on our own without our employer’s help.
With both those points in mind, we Americans are going to cont to get squeezed at both ends by increasing non coverage by our insurance and increased costs passed on by our employers. The only answer is national healthcare under a 1 payer system.

In my opinion single payer is the only way to really reform our health care system. I am an RN currently working within our system and it is so frustrating to see people who could be helped, but because of their particular insurance or lack of insurance, they will not receive the care they need. Some people with insurance are as disadvantaged as those without insurance depending on the particular type of insurance that they have. No system will ever be perfect, but single payer will level the playing field and hopefully will address prevention of illness. Prevention of illness will help all of us, and it is very cost effective!

Our Center for Economic and Social Justice has worked with a number of doctors in developing a strategy for delivering universal health care with minimal government control or use of taxpayer funds, except for health vouchers for the poor. Bill Moyers has interviewed in the past both Louis Kelso and Mortimer J. Adler, whose revolutionary vision for a more just transformation of free enterprise economies is the basis of our paper, "The 'Doctors' Plan' for Saving America's Health Care System." It can be downloaded http://www.cesj.org/homestead/strategies/national/healthcare-exsummary.pdf.

Other plans threaten the sacred Hippocratic Oath as the underpinnings for preserving the personal relationship between health providers and health consumers. Ours empowers health providers and consumers, from the bottom-up within a more comprehensive and revitalized market economy. Other plans concentrate power over the health system. We invite serious comments.

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