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Single-Payer: Is Nationalized Health Coverage the Way to Go?

(Photos by Robin Holland)

This week, the JOURNAL examined the political and logistical feasibility of single-payer universal health insurance, which has broad public support but has been conspicuously absent from the health care debate in Washington and the mainstream media.

Bill Moyers asked Dr. David Himmelstein, co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program, to explain what single-payer means. He said:

“It’s what we used to call national health insurance, so government collects the money for health care from taxes. You don’t pay premiums – instead, you pay taxes, [which] pays all the bills. Hospitals remain privately owned and operated. Doctors remain mostly in private practice. But their bills go to the government insurance program, just as they do today with Medicare, but we’d be able to streamline the payment system if we had only one payer instead of Medicare being one among many. So a hospital would get paid like a fire department does today: you have one check a month that pays for the entire operation, and that means you can eliminate the huge billing apparatus of the hospitals and the doctors’ offices where we’re employing many people to do our billing.”

Advocate Donna Smith told Moyers why she supports single-payer universal health insurance over the present system or the public-private hybrid model proposed by the Obama administration:

“It’s a great idea from the left, which is public financing, combined with a great idea from the right, which is private delivery. And you put it together in one system that takes out the waste and the abuse that’s really happening, which is where all the money really goes in health insurance. Up to 30 percent of the costs have nothing to do with healthcare at all and everything to do with fueling the health insurance needs... We've got to have a national health program, we just have to do it. It's the only way we fix this mess. It's spun out of control, it's gonna bury us financially, it's gonna mortgage our children, and it kills people.”

Some are skeptical that the federal government is capable of responsibly running a national health insurance program. In the WALL STREET JOURNAL, columnist John Steele Gordon wrote:

“It might be a good idea to look at the government’s track record in running economic enterprises. It is terrible... Other than the source of its premiums, Medicare is no different, economically, than a regular health insurance company. But unlike, say, UnitedHealthcare, it is a bureaucracy-beclotted nightmare, riven with waste and fraud... Because of the need to be re-elected, politicians are always likely to have a short-term bias. What looks good now is more important to politicians than long-term consequences even when those consequences can be easily foreseen... And politicians tend to favor parochial interests over sound economic sense... The inescapable fact is that only the profit motive and competition keep enterprises lean, efficient, innovative and customer-oriented.”

What do you think?

  • Should the U.S. pursue single-payer universal health coverage? Why or why not?

  • Is single-payer universal health insurance politically feasible? Explain.

  • Are there any alternative models for health care that are being left out of the discussion or that you support?


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    Really liked this discussion on the Moyers program. I found this article gave a helpful summary of some of the progressive sentiment towards the reform package: http://www.indypendent.org/2010/04/21/obamacare/

    Hi everybody, I stopped by to blog again with you all and to show you how the cause and effect of a work of uniting the views of 173 million inter faced sites has forced Government to sign this Bill to Law and now it is where It needs to be, in Court. Officials seek to balance, I seek to un-balance because I want the same as 89% of the People want, a honest Reform.
    I am sorry but this Bill to Law needs to go back to formula. It is not built on equal standing between Social Grace of People and The People.
    First off, somehow there is just to many people that do not understand the function of the Governing Bodies within Government. First, there are around 60 Personal that hold seats that write these Laws, both Democrat and Republican. Then this Bill for Law goes up for a vote and there is around 500 or so Republican and Democrats that vote. The sling talk of this of being the Obama Bill is not Political Correct within the use of words.
    Now lets get to the issues of this Bill of Law being Unconstitutional.
    I agree this new Health Care Law borders on a Constitutional Infringement and within the rush of putting it into action, a balance of dollar issues is lost. The placement of threats against the People is in fact Unconstitutional, as will as force pay.
    Unfortunately the Law Suites against the Bill needs to be restructure within the Concepts Of Constitutional Infringements through the voice of the People it is this Voice that guides the destiny of the Country and the decisions within that Court. .For Example, the weight of 100 million people, and their words in Court bring weight of value to not destroy this Bill of Law but to take it back to formula.
    I must agree with people that this Bill to Law is built within the concept of Social Grace and I do not blame people one bit for the out cry of the burden place against Companies and people that make a great deal of money.
    The use of FASC Concepts 10% per cent on a yearly income that may have been used by Officials is in error because this forum of mine looks into the economic conditions within each home before a placement of payment can go forward, and we believe in the freedom of choice. {As of yet there has been no reply by Officials of Government if they used our Concepts.}
    To show people that I do not belong to any Governing Parties or Insurance Companies, please enjoy the Roll back Concepts of FASC under economy buster at our site.
    This issue we find unfair, According to information, that Tax Payers pay for over 75% of all Medical Cost for Government Officials. As it would seem this Social Grace, is not of a equal standing, as stated in Bill 101 of the New Health Care Laws. Government Officials are Civil Servants According to Law and should not be above the Law of this 10% Force Pay on a Yearly Income. Health care for U.S. Politicians receive the Countrys ,New health care plan to cover all government people (When the President, Senators, ... leaves office do they lose their federal employee health care or go on cobra like concept... Make them pay for their own Health care just as we do if they refuse to pay tax, what then ? { you can find this story also at the page for economy buster and the link } ...
    My big complaint is that the 10% based, Health Care Forum Bill 101 is lacking inter structure and will not help the economic effected people, and will burden people who all ready have insurance.
    This 1900 pages of Law is untested and only in theory. The fact still remains that because this Health Care System is a $100 Trillion Dollar per year system ,we feel that the Court should place this new Tax Theory { Bill to Law} under Court Supervision for 3 years, because of the failure of Officials to fix the existing Tax System. Without further in site of a balance, only a way to balance the existing in a concept that still eludes practical guidelines. As in I see no back up ideas like {plan B} and it, this Tax Plan is still based on a dollars being a constant flow of cash.
    According to information that there is a plan to lay off City and County workers, that it is considered cheaper to put them on unemployment and Social Services then payroll. What would be more practical is to have every other weekend off or for those who wish, each weekend off. This includes Postal Workers. Also as in Deer field Beach Florida a out side contractor has offered a Bid Per Purposed Contract and lay offs will be against employees under so much time in and on that County job.
    We do understand that Governing Officials are desperate for this Health Care Money, so as a concept of a way to balance trust again between Officials and the People, any Government official that has a Job Concept, they must put up a Bond as a Contractor would to build a project. Once the Job Conclusion has reached a successful point in it creation, Officials receive a refund.
    As stated before, this Health Care Dollar belongs to the People, and I do have this Little Health Care Bug in my Hands. The balance of the views of 250 million people and all this diversity created by Officials is slowly coming to a silence, because I speak for the People and I offer respect to the views in a building block to a Health Care Reform, because of my concept to reform Government within this Health Care Issue, and I would ask the United States Supreme Court to place this Health Care Dollar under Court Supervision until it is deemed worthy of a People right to be a part of or not.
    In 3 years our budget / deficit, can be a positive balance of $1.2 Trillion Dollars. But first we must put forward a Job, work force to strategically rebuild the United States in a anti / war crime forum. To place Factories where they serve that area of city or town.
    I watched for 7 years this failure reach where it is today, “ I saw this”, but there was no intervention by Officials. Officials had their hats handed to them by Scam Artist, and The Arabic Drug Empire, cave dwellers. This issue has not one thing of how I believe, I can only share with you what I have watched for over 30 years take place and there must be a unity by the people to bring a reform to this new Law and to our Government.
    No I am sorry President Obama, Officials need to earn trust again, and to become as one with the People. This is a way to say, look into the economic conditions at persons home before you over burden their lives, with this Bill to Law. This is why you was voted into Office.....
    FASC Concepts in and for Pay it Forward covers the web see why we have become the largest web site in the United States, and we give our thank to the thousands of people who post by us, as one voice.
    on google , yahoo, and aol www.fascmovement.mysite.com

    Henry Massingale opined, "I once heard that their was a saying that is within the Christian world, it is in the best of man that through a concept of God, that He smiles on those who help the poor. Now this is your faith, as shared with people."

    If you take out the self-serving interpretations of "god" that religionists of authority insist on for everyone else but themselves,

    it becomes clear as a sunny day

    that man does not have a mind capable of understanding

    ANY kind of "person"

    that would put out the intellectual effort to create a flower, for example.

    The CEO of United Health Care gave himself a 1.8 BILLION dollar package.

    Unfortunately, every other CEO in every other industry besides "insurance" was also crunching the numbers to get his OUTRAGEOUS piece of the minimum wage pie.

    So that 19,000 a year was divided and sucke into the trickle UP economy so much that DEBT was inevitable - right? Privatize the "profits", socialize the losses. The more you LABOR, the less you will have over time...?!

    The math is CORRECT though - ALL is sucked up into the Supreme Black Hole...

    And no "flower" in site...man just doesn't have that kind of mind...

    but he can believe he actually IS a "god"...


    To show the people of the United States that there is a plan to cover the sick and the poor, but to get Government Officials to see is a concept alone.
    To help cover the sick and the poor is a FASC Concept that states that to build a Health Care Forum within our Government Institution is a Peoples right to do so and this is Protect Under the Constitution as a Human and Civil Right. So in plan words if the poor and the sick could only afford to pay $5.00 to $10.00 per month this would to bring a balance toward the broken tax system, to add up this number 32 million to 100 million sick and poor people x $5.00 per month. This will place back into the system $116 million $to 500 million dollars per month. The cause and effect of this will reduce the purposed Health Care Tax Forum, to bring about a reduced effect so not to a over burden system. Take my faith in this and almost all the poor and sick would be happy to pay in and help rebuild the United States failed tax system. Also To bring about a balance of trust lost between the people and Officials.
    Under a Federal Health Care Group built by my friends and I. {You see the poor, as you see them}, as for them they see them self not poor, but of a different race of people and environment and have faith it that which was in the past that so many do not have a clue of what God and Country is all about.
    Will be up dated today 3/25/2010

    Issue 1.

    FASC tax and pay in Forum, A Concept to help the Poor and Sick.


    FASC Concepts of a guideline of income and a fair payment for the poor to the rich.
    CLASS INCOME MONTHLY PAYMENTS
    {A} formatt for people making up to $29000.00 per year, EST of monthly cost up to $40.00 per month
    {B} up to $19000.00 per year, EST of monthly cost up to $30.00 per month
    {C} up to $12000.00 per year, EST of monthly cost up to $20.00 per month
    {D} from 0.00 income to $9000.00 per year / cost up to 0.00 to $10.00 per month
    MIDDLE CLASS TO THE POOR
    {A} {B} {C} {D} classification based on one person If married policy can be devided or stayed. These are concept numbers to open the mind..............
    Submitted by Marh Hidabrand,asked would it not be better to build on , instead of droping off of the {A}{B}{C}
    {E} up to $49000.00 per year,EST of monthly cost up to $50.00 per month
    {F} up to $59000.00 per year,EST of monthly cost up to $60.00 per month
    {G} up to $69000.00 per year,EST of monthly cost up to $70.00 per month
    {H} up to $79000.00 per year,EST of monthly cost up to $80.00 per month
    {I} up to $89000.00 per year,EST of monthly cost up to $90.00 per month
    To balance a payment plan to fit within the bills, within a home..........{J} {K} {L} {M} exc......................
    Need to balance to stay around $200.00 for above income and below $300.00 for the rich ?
    The same incentives apply if husband and wife wish to pay separate.
    The same incentives apply for the poor, even if all they can pay is $3.95 per month. No one is cut out of the rebuilding of the inter structure of Health care and the USA.
    The money is a investment into our further and is to be tax free, just the money paid in.

    You may ask: what about Medicare ? {is it not possible to merge Medicare into this concept ?}
    With in this movement the {A} {B} {C} {D} will remove health care from a company so that a company can see into the building of other projects and put people back to work.
    With the formatted goal of the use of this new concept, to form a more perfect Union within the design of the Health Care program offered, we submitted the up to 2 Trillion dollars per year. This will build a safety net / a buffer to maintain balance.
    The billion dollars per year is at a high EST. based at $10.00 x 250 million people. As you can see the numbers above suggest a very high in pack of funds, we can not project a high in pack because dollars are not a constant.
    at 100 000 000 million people x 10= $1 000 000 000 billion low ball figures
    1 billion x 4 weeks = $4 billion dollars
    4 billion x 12 months = $48 billion dollars
    so at 100 000 00 the numbers would have to increase to $40.00/per month x $40.00
    $40.00 x 48 000 000 000 = $1 220 000 000 000 per year at 100 000 000 people
    In the US the progression is:
    Hundred - 100
    Thousand - 1,000
    Million - 1,000,000
    Billion - 1,000,000,000
    Trillion - 1,000,000,000,000
    Quadrillion - 1,000,000,000,000,000
    and the interfacing of the FASC Card www.federalactsecuritycard.mysite.com
    We need to see into the inter structure of the Presidents concept,without this right we can not help,no matter how much we wish to. It would seem that if you do not play follow the leader on just one concept ,that the door is not really open.
    We offer the following concepts and we believe that it will be one that all can respect.


    FASC Concepts of a guideline of income and a fair payment for the poor to the rich.
    This is a concept to build on.......a idea, a way to bring life to hope where there is none.
    CLASS INCOME MONTHLY PAYMENTS
    {A} format for people making up to $29000.00 per year, EST of monthly cost up to $40.00 per month
    {B} up to $19000.00 per year, EST of monthly cost up to $30.00 per month
    {C} up to $12000.00 per year, EST of monthly cost up to $20.00 per month
    {D} from 0.00 income to $9000.00 per year / cost up to 0.00 to $10.00 per month
    MIDDLE CLASS TO THE POOR
    {A} {B} {C} {D} classification based on one person If married policy can be divided or stayed. These are concept numbers to open the mind..............
    Submitted by Marh Hidabrand,asked would it not be better to build on , instead of dropping off of the {A}{B}{C}
    {E} up to $49000.00 per year,EST of monthly cost up to $50.00 per month
    {F} up to $59000.00 per year,EST of monthly cost up to $60.00 per month
    {G} up to $69000.00 per year,EST of monthly cost up to $70.00 per month
    {H} up to $79000.00 per year,EST of monthly cost up to $80.00 per month
    {I} up to $89000.00 per year,EST of monthly cost up to $90.00 per month
    To balance a payment plan to fit within the bills, within a home..........{J} {K} {L} {M} exc......................
    Need to balance to stay around $200.00 for above income and below $300.00 for the rich ?
    The same incentives apply if husband and wife wish to pay separate.
    The same incentives apply for the poor, even if all they can pay is $3.95 per month. No one is cut out of the rebuilding of the inter structure of Health care and the USA.
    The money is a investment into our further and is to be tax free, just the money paid in.

    You may ask: what about Medicare ? {is it not possible to merge Medicare into this concept ?}
    With in this movement the {A} {B} {C} {D} will remove health care from a company so that a company can see into the building of other projects and put people back to work.
    With the formatted goal of the use of this new concept, to form a more perfect Union within the design of the Health Care program offered, we submitted the up to 2 Trillion dollars per year. This will build a safety net / a buffer to maintain balance.
    The billion dollars per year is at a high EST. based at $10.00 x 250 million people. As you can see the numbers above suggest a very high in pack of funds, we can not project a high in pack because dollars are not a constant.
    at 100 000 000 million people x 10= $1 000 000 000 billion low ball figures
    1 billion x 4 weeks = $4 billion dollars
    4 billion x 12 months = $48 billion dollars
    so at 100 000 00 the numbers would have to increase to $40.00/per month x $40.00
    $40.00 x 48 000 000 000 = $1 220 000 000 000 per year at 100 000 000 people
    In the US the progression is:
    Hundred - 100
    Thousand - 1,000
    Million - 1,000,000
    Billion - 1,000,000,000
    Trillion - 1,000,000,000,000
    Quadrillion - 1,000,000,000,000,000
    and the interfacing of the FASC Card www.fascmovement.mysite.com
    We need to see into the inter structure of the Presidents concept,without this right we can not help,no matter how much we wish to. It would seem that if you do not play follow the leader on just one concept ,that the door is not really open.
    We offer the following concepts and we believe that it will be one that all can respect.
    A FASC Concept, Children should be covered by moms or dads coverage at no extra cost. I once heard that their was a saying that is within the Christian world, it is in the best of man that through a concept of God, that He smiles on those who help the poor. Now this is your faith, as shared with people.
    FASC Concepts covers the web and is now noted to be the largest site in the U.S.A.

     

    Health Care within a moral value, is to ,

    { GIVE LIFE TO HOPE WHERE THERE IS NONE }

    Henry Massingale
    FASC Concepts in and for Pay It Forward
    www.fascmovement.mysite.com on google. yahoo, and Aol.com
    please take the time and visit all my new friends on the net and if you wish to post with FASC Concepts you will be most welcomed. So join us and share your ideas as one in one voice.

    Awesome blog and post cheers. How long has this site been up now? I seem to be having slight technical difficulties getting to your RSS feed though. Lynn Rigoni

    No, there is no dooms day,but there is a United Health Care Forum being built....

    I wish to give a great big thank you to all my new friends on the Internet for posting FASC Concepts in and for Pay It Forward.
    This building block for a honest Health Care Reform has been a great experience and for any one who did not take part, you have truly missed out on what makes Americans Great. This diversity created by Government Officials has failed and now the eyes of 173 million American People watch as now, for the first time Government Officials sit down together as it should be. The out come is yet to be seen. But they know that a anomaly has been created and it is because of the restructuring of The Constitution, The Bill Of Rights, and The Declaration Of Independence, “has been used in it original created forum” as a factor of a peoples right to undo the amendments of Laws that protected Health Care Companies against the People, over a dollar.
    And I wish to say i write what is needed in order that some how I can undo all the wrong I have done in hopes that the slate will be wiped clean....
    Just because our children do not understand I wish to share this again,
    “For days I worked the word diversity in my mind and it came to me that because of this it is not Americas weakness it is our greatest strength. And this is how I will show you.
    Constitution-
    Bill Of Rights -
    The Declaration of Independence-
    United under one forum, builds what is called the Trinity of the Protection Of Laws. This is because these Laws were built by people of faith who gave thanks to God for this wisdom. One would have to see and admire the simplicity of the three as one and at the same time they maintain their independence.”

    On page 100 at our site is the early stages of what is called A Prime Directive for Health Care, so please drop on by and see 173 million peoples views in and for Health Care. And it should be known that this information on page 100 is true and documented in Law and History.
    Henry Massingale
    FASC Concepts in and for Pay It Forward
    www.fascmovement.mysite.com on google look for page 1 American dream official site.


    2/26/2010
    Wow, It was stated that Health care is not a moral issue,hmmmm
    Please allow me to share a little story with you. As I watched my mom die from cancer, and Health care Insurance Companies dumped on her as if she was no more than a dog dieing on the side of the road, i dropped from and out of this system for over 30 years, and now because of system failure, the IT, has come into my life. As I watch Government Officials fight over this Health care Dollar, it reminds me of a bright sunny day in Tennessee while on a friends farm and a little bug flew in to the ground, and the chickens went plum off, boy oh boy the scawking and the feathers went shy high, so I reached down and I took this scared little Health Care Bug from Government Officials, and I have it safely in my hands. As I searched for a way to help, I asked God to help me build a Reform that is of a moral building block for the better good of man kind and to rebuild the National Security of the United states Of America. And you would never guess what God has allowed me to see. This little blog statement you will find true,
    first;
    I wish to give a great big thank you to all my new friends on the Internet for posting FASC Concepts in and for Pay It Forward.
    This building block for a honest Health Care Reform has been a great experience and for any one who did not take part, you have truly missed out on what makes Americans Great. This diversity created by Government Officials has failed and now the eyes of 173 million American People watch as now, for the first time Government Officials sit down together as it should be. The out come is yet to be seen. But they know that a anomaly has been created and it is because of the restructuring of The Constitution, The Bill Of Rights, and The Declaration Of Independence, “has been used in it original created forum” as a factor of a peoples right to undo the amendments of Laws that protected Health Care Companies against the People, over a dollar.
    And I wish to say i write what is needed in order that some how I can undo all the wrong I have done in hopes that the slate will be wiped clean....
    Just because our children do not understand I wish to share this again,
    “For days I worked the word diversity in my mind and it came to me that because of this it is not Americas weakness it is our greatest strength. And this is how I will show you.
    Constitution-
    Bill Of Rights -
    The Declaration of Independence-
    United under one forum, builds what is called the Trinity of the Protection Of Laws. This is because these Laws were built by people of faith who gave thanks to God for this wisdom. One would have to see and admire the simplicity of the three as one and at the same time they maintain their independence.”

    On page 100 at our site is the early stages of what is called A Prime Directive for Health Care, so please drop on by and see 173 million peoples views in and for Health Care. And it should be known that this information on page 100 is true and documented in Law and History.
    Henry Massingale
    FASC Concepts in and for Pay It Forward
    www.fascmovement.mysite.com on google look for page 1 American dream official site.

    2/2/2010
    Ah, you all are so close to the truth so let me tell you what you have not seen yet, it is the tax forum being built because the Health Care Package is a $100 Trillion Dollar scoop.Wow I have the chance to share....
    I see something and it starts with Health Care vs. The People vs. The Dollar and it grows,
    I have weighed this issue Health Care Bill vs. Constitution, and if a Political Party Gains control over a people because if the Health Care Tax Dollars, then it is laws with out moral value.
    You see when tobacco companies became under fire the laws were based on a moral value because of the issues within.
    The moral building blocks from Bill to Law is not supported because these Laws are for increase taxes and force pay against the people and a increase tax forum in a wide coverage stated to be in the best interest of the Country.
    I dont see the moral building block of which the words for Health Care stands for. It is Health care vs. the dollar. Such issues as Health Care dollars for killing yourself, ideas of DNA tasting to be able to get Health Care “to pick the best and dump the rest, implants to get Health Care and so on. Welcome to the 21st century of Health Care Reform.
    exmp.,

    So this is Health Care Reform at its best, please allow me to share a concept that will open your mind in a way never thought of for a United Health Care Forum Concept. At first I stood alone and I wrote my first blog and little did I know that thousands of people and companies stood by it,
    I have waited to see the issues of tax increase and health care, something that may be wrote by President Obama,
    You see a lot of what I write, is in fact that, I do not seek Political support because I do not belong to any party. As for President Obama and theses 60 people that hold seat of Government who wish to build 1900 page of law to Govern this system because of this Health Care dollar. I watch them stumble about without a clue of how to fix this failed system. To see into this failure, you must allow this system to be seen as a forum for dollars of taxes created as a constant as a yearly figure. This prediction of dollar for the future, is in fact what I call Artificial Intelligence built on the hope that taxes will stay a constant figure. Our tax system today is also a failure and to build more Tax Laws against the Health Care issue will only bring cost up no matter what Government Officials state.
    To state it simple if Health Care Insurance Companies Unite and hand over this issue then the Officials of Government, then they will have have no choice but to turn their eye to the companies of medication and medical supplies and hospitals and Doctors who charge cost that is the cause and effect of this failure within this system.
    This Health Care Forum we offer is built on a moral value, a strategic forum to place issues to work ,that offers freedom to be a part of it or not. This force pay against companies, force pay against VETS, and so on, shows the lack of a moral building block within this Health Care Reform.
    What we offer is that, will, Lets use the AARP Health Care Insurance Company, and lets say that they have 30 million members. To show that this company can earn $150 million dollars per month and be released from the burden of medical cost, by what we wish to show as kind of Health Care Tax Forum that covers the needs of the people and much more. And a freedom of choice for a pay in to a forum to a Insurance Company for people who do not trust this system within The United States Government. A tax forum forces the Government system to work for the people and at the same time forces Government Officials to work for the people within this forum against unjust cost.
    To reach out to a company and sit down with them to build something never attempted in order to rebuild lives and the National Security of The United States as a moral building block without laws to Govern, but to protect this system from crime is what a moral law use to stand for.
    To show a $100 trillion dollar strategic building block by companies of freewill that step forward to help rebuild America. To build the most powerful anti war / crime forum ever conceived by such as I a nobody that only seek to only go back to work as a painter and rebuild his little company dream.
    As stated at first I stood alone against so many and I have found the uniting of people of different faith that seeks the same as I do. What makes FASC Concepts different, we do not ask for money and we opened a door for people to put their faith into themselves as a person and not what we say, to build on this and protect it under the concepts of law such as the Patriot Act. {A Moral Concept}. I do ask only this, please allow yourself to see into my mind of what I see that is needed.........
    There is a day coming that Officials of Government will see that the Laws built against God and Country was the first steps of the United States Of America headed for failure because it lacks moral value. This is what our enemies see, a Country of Laws that should of never been created by few against so many people of the USA.
    Is it so hard to see a concept for a Health Care Stimulus Package that builds jobs and life within a anti war / crime forum ? But it was the war and the crimes committed after 9/11/2001 of how I was allowed to see into the basic tax forum failure. And to rebuild the security within the Country. This tax forum against the Health Care Dollars is chump change and so is this $100 trillion dollars, when it is stood up next to the people. The true back bone of America is the people and their ideas to rebuild America in a effort to ready ourself against the next attacks on our land.
    I see something and I am that little dyslectic kid that finds it hard to write what I see, but as of yet I still have my hand raised high in hopes that the teacher with let me share.
    Henry Massingale
    FASC Concepts in and for Pay It Forward
    found on google.com. And yahoo look for page 1 american dream offical site.

    The clip interview only demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of basic economics by both parties.

    Nations get the government they deserve. Is the unfolding health insurance debacle and big bank bailout concentration examples of the type of democracy the World’s Greatest Democracy is attempting to sell, and if that fails, impose, on the rest of the world?

    Can you see this story is about as credible as the Smoking will make you sexy line? Why are Americans so self deluded? The World’s Best Health System is pointless if it has the World’s Worst Delivery System; yet the mantra is repeated ad nauseum - by those who have not used it.

    Why do American citizens so often support those who act against their interests: double the cost, half the value and the caravan rolls on? The US has been a nation of immigrants but for how much longer? In what area and in what order is reform needed to begin to fix problems which, from the outside looking in, seem endemic?

    People on both sides of this debate seem to continually miss the point of the debate, and to be ageist for moment, they forget the younger generation completely. The old are the ones who have the greatest voting power and who are the most engaged in this issue. So many of them don't want to have to pay anything that doesn't benefit them directly, but by ignoring this bill and trying to wipe it under the rug, they in turn are denying themselves potential savings as well. The plan is looking to regulate existing private insurance, to cease the denying claims, and actually stabilize deductibles. While the public option, note the word "option", would simply offer a plan to those who cannot afford any insurance
    I found an article that really gave good insight into the current debate. It was written by doctors and medical professionals, and just delivers some good facts and statistics about health care.
    http://www.ourblook.com/component/option,com_sectionex/Itemid,200076/id,8/view,category/#catid107
    There are so many aspects that need to changed, but everyone needs to look outside of their own bubble first.

    "bonjour, un annuaire de vide dressing va sortir en décembre et vous pouvez déjà référencer vos blogs dessus gratuitement.C'est l'occasion de créer un peu de traffic sur vos sites. voici le lien : http://www.clic-dressing.fr
    il sera bientôt possible de déposer vos ventes gratuitement et de faire votre shopping à travers les différentes page du site. N'hésitez pas à poster vos questions ou remarques à clic.dressing[at]gmail.com A+ Elodie"

    I'm no economic genius but to save 30% on health care seems like a sale to me. If we don't do anything health care costs could climb to $38,000 for every family per year within 9 years. Americans are afraid of change and the words universal care scares the socialist out of them. Lets stop giving the insurance companies the big profits and lets get a healthcare system for everyone. What kind of people are we anyway to watch people lose everything and and watch people die for lack of health care. American get with it.

    I believe that single payer, nationalized health care is the most sensible way to go, model it after the Canada system! Unfortunately, some people are of the belief that the for-profit insurance groups are the only answer and they have the only right to have the most say in how health care is implemented..

    Take profitering out of health care, let me spend Blue cross and blue shields CEO bonuses on my patients in the form of education, testing and time to do my job which I love....being a Doctor.

    Instead of thinking about the payers, we need to think about the care and the people as resources to be cared for.
    If socialized medicine is good enough for the troops, it's good enough for me.
    Draft the medical people into the military and be done with the debate.

    Say "liability equity" not "tort reform". J. Durbin is correct in saying language (terms) can be prejudicial and cloud issues. By confounding the issue of increasing medical mistakes and incompetence with the way medical services are financed and delivered the vested interests have mis-stepped. To whom are doctors and hospitals paying inflated liability premiums: the same insurance corporations selling health care insurance. So in fact patients and providers have common opponents: Insurance corporations and incompetent practitioners.

    How unjust it seems that tort reform caps judgments and limits filings for persons or groups irreparably harmed. Justice should exceed the market in importance because it improves conditions by taxing malfeasance and error, because it teaches good ethics and compels them in practice. In short, claims set a standard. Tort reform encourages neglect and mistakes, delays improved practice. Liability equity would regulate liability coverage instead, catching the real problem way upstream.

    So many times the common good is asked to compromise with the common evil of concentrated wealth and power in our society. "No child left behind", the Bush era pharmaceutical bill for the elderly and now the flawed compromise in medical delivery reform haven't taught us a thing. Compromisers, like the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, do not serve our common interests as well as stubborn advocates. We need some form of universal comprehensive medical delivery system that excludes profit now. Including the insurance corporations negates reform and teaches all the wrong lessons. We could also include "liability equity" for practitioners and providers. That would be a good start toward a major change in attitude, greatly needed.

    Paula Thoburn:

    What you say is totally true. I cannot explain it better, the dictators only think of themselves and not about the people.
    Why do everyday Americans don't realize this, are they too uninformed to understand what is done to them in the so-called Democratic country.

    The rest of the world has this system.

    Rush Lumbaugh said it correct. We are a capitalistic society and if normal day Americans don't realize this until it is too late. Who suffers?. The Dumb people.

    Last night we watched “Sicko” for the first time we wanted to get HC in a nutshell; I tried to take all the left wing spin out of it and simply listened to all the stories. I am shocked, appalled and frankly thought "Do we ever learn"?

    a brilliant attack on the wealthy, money, blinkers driven society.

    If MM had Pitt/Jolie as spokes people, there would be a lot more people listening...

    Bill, the perfect time to invite him to your journal, after the Clinton’s well intended national healthcare push (HR676)fail, he brilliantly picked up on that and tried to show us the ugly, money driven third world country we live in: the United States of America.

    It would be a good time to go back to congress after some of them so enthusiasticly pick up on the movie... where are we now?

    "Money, money, money its NOT funny in this broke ass land"

    Thank you for having guests that can speak about health care plans without obfuscated insurannce industry jargon like saying "single payer" instead of "similar to Medicare and Medigap". The politicians are selling programs to each other and in their own obfuscated jargon. As an end user, please ask the politicians to tell me what the insurance policy covers and what the full premium is. Please! Otherwise they are not communicating in understandable terms. Also I am pretty sure the premium is not a trillion dollars per month per person...it is more like my medicare part B which is $97 per month. So why are the figures given to the end users that way? Medicare is not going broke in 10 years as Obama claims...we will elect presidents and congressmen that will raise the premiums to pay for what we need and tax the greedheads' windfall profits to pay for it. (Yes we can because it was us who did it.)

    If US health insurance companies are superior why does Canada and England have higher life expectancy rates + better infant mortality rates than US.

    John Steele Gordon is so very afraid of turning healthcare provision to the federal government, but he seems to have forgotten that federally run Medicare is more efficient than the private health insurance business.

    Canadian single payer healthcare has better outcomes than the American system, with about half the cost.

    Alan

    Must be a doomsday predictor.

    Hope you are wrong!!.

    Even after exposing the truth through Wendel Potters interview, Americans still don,t get it.

    To Joe:

    your post June 28 refers. Did you watch the Obama Speech/.

    I hope you got your answer.

    >... ... geschafft!
    >>Jawohl Herr Kapitaen,
    das Schiff geht runter!
    >Tja Kinder! Not before November and not for the
    next thousand years
    will there be
    a new health care insurance
    policy in these waters!


    Torpedoing Health Care Reform:

    >Herr Kapitaen, das Schiff ist da!
    >>Sehr gut, alles in ordnung , we did the
    new Harry and Louise, and we got scary
    enough numbers screamed around so now the
    governors are on our side too. Sehr gut!
    Rohr eins fertigmachen!
    >Rohr eins fertig! Herr Kapitaen!
    >>This will be even easier than the last
    engagement. They have even less spine than
    Clinton. Rohr Zwei fertigmachen!
    >Rohr zwei fertig! Herr Kapitaen!
    >Torpedos .... LOS!

    Why not change the entire for-profit health care system to an old-fashioned, SERVICE-based NON-PROFIT system? Do I want anyone in the industry, any of the players making decisions about my health care if they are (as now the case) influenced by a profit motive? No! I want them to make decisions purely on the basis of medical need. Well, that's a non-profit system!

    Why is there no talk of this option?

    Once again, Bill Moyers gets it right, and doesn't throw softballs to industry experts. But how do we win? How can we have the louder voice? And why do those who lie, deceive and cheat continue to prevail? Is it simply a case of better marketing of one faction over another, and if so, how do we get the truth out there? Who's listening? Who cares? Thanks, Bill, for all the great reporting you've done over the years. Keep up the brilliant work. We're counting on you.

    To Regina, Pa:

    I don't understand why people like you never seem to watch programs other than MTV.

    This has been repeated over and over again: The Insurance companies and the the Republicans that don't want to change the system tell LIES. Every other CIVILIZED nation is having FREE medical aid. AMERICA and I mean North America is the only nation that is the richest but the middle-class and poor are not having health care. Have I said this for the LAST time.

    It is obvious a national health care system is what is needed but America has evolved into a country of pure greed. It's sole being is the promotion of greed as proven in our financial markets and government lackys who suck up to the corporate monsters who rule the country. Until we can over come the yeser missa boss attitude and start kicking these bums out we cannot accomplish anything for average Americans. I just hope we have finally had enough this time and something can truely be done.

    To Joe,

    You have a choice, pay throught your nose like the rich people do, or follow the single payer system. Most Americans don't realize that you are "Hood-Winked" into believing by the "LOBBYISTS" THAT YOU HAVE A BETTER SYSTEM. Grow-up. The Middle-class and the poor who represent the majority of people, are struggling. Their finances are being drained by the co-operations that run the Healthcare system. The Government, if they are the government of the people will be monitered by rules and regulations. Only them, there will be No bailouts or exploitations of land management. In other countries,next time you visit, we have a 99 year lease on our houses, also, the tax never increases every year. The people in this country don't know any better, so they follow, like sheep to the slaughter.

    YES, the U.S should pursue a single payer healthcare model, which is the ONLY system that can guarantee life time comprehensive healthcare for ALL.
    Anything else is unacceptable!
    It is also the most efficient system with low administrative cost, because the same coverage applies to every person. The cost is spread over the entire nation, and people pay according to ability via a percentage of income.

    The most popular phrase against a single payer system is that it is "not politically feasible". When this nonsense comes from our elected officials, who are the ones who CAN make it feasible, you know that there are other "forces", read MONEY at work. If the democratic -and republican... - leaders had the courage to support and demand single payer, it could happen.
    As far as their political future goes, I think they would be heroes for providing healthcare for all their constituents, and would be secure in their seats.

    As far as alternative health care models being left out of the discussion, single pyer is of course the most blatant case. Politicans have gone to great lengths to ignore, discredit and villify this ONLY solution to the healthcare mess.
    Also, what has not been debated at all is the German model, which is based on the private health insurance industry which is regulated by the government who guarantees comprehensive care and affordability. The insurance companies are left to compete on "frills", service etc.

    The whole debate in the U.S is surreal. How can there even BE a debate about building health care on companies whose main mission is to make profit by NOT providing care. Unbelievable!!

    Come to Washington on July 30th and rally for Medicare for ALL

    This is an open letter to President Obama and Members of Congress regarding health care reform that appeared on my Blog:

    I am a United States citizen currently a legal resident of Ireland. In order to achieve residency I had to live here one-year and give proof of my income (currently just under the U.S. poverty level for a single person--pension & SSI). Once residency was granted (eight-years ago), the only restriction was that I may not seek or accept employment here. However, as a resident of Ireland, I am entitled to all the benefits provided its retired citizens -- free health care, free prescriptions, free dental care, free eye exam and glasses, a travel pass that allows me to travel free all over the island by bus or rail. And, due to my low-income, I receive a rent subsidy.

    Two-years ago, I needed orthopedic surgery to replace my right knee. Once diagnosed, I waited only two-months for the operation. When completed I was in hospital for ten-days then went to a resident nursing facility for one-week where I received daily physical therapy. One-year ago, I was diagnosed as having pulmonary embolisms in both lungs and was hospitalized for twelve-days. The cost to me of these hospital stays, nursing facility, therapy and administered medication, was zero.

    I currently am taking several prescribed medications but have no idea what they cost as I obtain them free from my local pharmacy. Appointments at my local clinic to see the physician of my choice are also free.

    Sadly, the end result of having all the benefits I receive in Ireland renders it financially impossible for me to even consider moving back to the U.S. Needless to say, I do not intend to become an economic burden on my family who, themselves, have had difficulty maintaining their own heads above the financial flood of these past few years. Therefore, unless there is resolution of the health care crisis in the U.S., including remedying the paucity of the current Medicare Program, a move back to California in 2012 when I turn eighty is near impossible.

    At minimum, one would hope that the United States, which has a GNP/GDP immensely greater than that of Ireland, would at least provide its retired citizens the free medical and prescription benefits I enjoy here.

    My question to you is: Why am I denied the free medical care and prescription medication in my own country that I am provided by my resident country?

    Best wishes,
    Margie Bernard

    I wish every American could have seen this! Every American needs to see this!
    It disgusts me that nothing other than pure greed on the part of medi-businesses (Insurance, The AMA, drug manufacturers, for-profit hospitals)takes a front seat to the health and well being of Americans.
    47 million people in this country are uninsured.
    I was so angry to hear Congressman and Senators bash the proposal for a government sponsored health care plan.
    How can they even believe in their wildest imaginations, that anyone would CHOOSE to NOT have health insurance? The myth of those who want to go 'nekkid' is just absurd and proves how effective the high paid lobbyist really are.
    Shame on the Washington Post for giving permission for it's publisher to host that dinner for members of congress and for the insurance executives. I have just canceled my subscription.
    Good job Mr. Moyers, please keep up the good work. I especially enjoyed your closing remarks. You are right, it is all about money and all about greed!

    There is no such thing as health "insurance". We all need some level of health care.
    Health care has been around forever. (Even some animals tend for their kind)
    We are confusing the good of health care with the "goods" that have come to be associated with it in the past 80 years.
    The good Samaritan provided to another in need.
    For political or economic reasons, optometric, dental, psychiatric, chiropractic, acupuncture , etc services have historically ,at times, been excluded.
    Thank you for providing this information on PUBLIC
    BROADCASTING SERVICE. As with NPR, and PRI, quality programming is provided thanks to their talented and dedicated staff. The supporters endure pledge, are loyal and even bestow endowments in their estates.PBS has met with opposition from the same quarters that now wish to defeat single payer.
    As we use the internet for these communications, let's realize that it was begot by the Arpanet, which was established for the government.
    As with any endeavor, it is how it is designed and implemented that determines
    it's utility and effectiveness.
    Just look to GM, to see the analogy for the private ,corporate health insurance
    model.
    Too big, unresponsive to it's clients, and mismanaged.
    Some monumental, salient challenges require a national commitment.

    I do agree that there are changes that need to be made with health care, and i don't clame to have all the answeres: just a few great points that need to be considered backed by my personal life experiences.
    There needs to be rules laid down for health care so only people who deserve it are able to receive it, bare with me. I have two aunts who choose to abuse wisconsin's badger care, each with there own situation. I will start with my youngest aunt, Denise. Her husband and her use the public health care system. He smokes about 2-4 packs of marlboro reds (cowboy killers) a day. They also have a brand new $8,000 camper, $14,000 dollar harley, and a F350. Expensive "toys" for people who can not affors to pay for health care. Oh, not to mention she baby sits for cash that tye do not clame on their taxes. So on top of it all they get our hard earned cash back to abusing the system. Not to mention they were able to afford to buy a new house. There needs to be some sort of regulation in place that will take the camper, harley, new house into consideration. Some form, maybe new, branch of government that needs to regulate this knowingly abuse of the system. The branch shoud discontinue the health care of the parents until the situation is set straight, but the 3 kids, ages 6 and under are covered. Kid's can not be punished for desisions of their parents.
    Other situations such as my other aunt's situation, Jody. She has 2 kids, and 2 step kids. They also have a house and a harley, but can not afford their own health care.
    I know this may strike a un-American nerve with may readers, but it needs to be considered. In both situations the man and/or women should be fixed/or made to take form of agressive contraceptive. Many of the problems with America stem from people wanting everything done "now" and without any "real" work involed(No surprise obesity is on the rise. Until the ideology on the hard working american who lives within his/her means makes a return I truly worry about the progression of America. If there are any Question or requests for a more in depth explinations for policies that need to be changed: feel free to contact me at jkaph680@uwsp.edu Subject: Reply or call 920-470-2162
    Just a reminder actions speak louder than words!

    Hooray! I don't have to go to DC alone. On July 30 Celebrate Medicare's 44th birthday and lobby for single payer, public option, Medicare for all, universal coverage. The specifics are on Healthcare Now's website and the United Professionals website. Time to gather, demonstrate, lobby. We have a choice to make.

    There is no conclusion in all the above Blogs. It goes on and on, are people only interested in showing how intelligent they are, with no results!!!.

    The rest of the Government civilized world pays for the HealthCare of its people, especially the poor, and I mean the people who have to spend their hard earned money for the medical bills. What is left for their living?.

    To: John Dove,

    I thought I was the only one that realized this.....

    This brings on the effect, that when an american was doing his duty in Russia, he met an old russian woman in the country-side, and asked her, if she thought about coming to America, she exclaimed: "Staying in America" I would not give up Russia for no place in the World.

    This was an excellent piece. I only found out about it via another forum that I am on. Thank you for presenting it.
    The needs of us all for proper medical care in contrast to the insurance companies to parasitically use us is phenomenal. I know I have a medical condition that needs expensive medical care and drugs, and I am thankful that I have employee paid healthcare at the moment, but if that were to be gone, I would be bankrupt. I wish Congress would listen!

    To: Betsy Whitfill:

    I agree with most you say, only the one liner about that patriotic statement.

    Thanks.

    To: Betsy Whittfield:

    What kind of saying is that: It is lunacy!!.

    It doesn't mean a thing.

    Great piece about single-payer. However, I was a bit upset at the comment "Taiwan, of all places, said...". Was it really necessary to suggest that Taiwan is inferior to the United States?

    Dear Bill,


    ___I have the privilege of enjoying your Journal program on Friday evenings. I often come away from your discussions with cause for thought, and sometimes angst. I found myself particularly provoked after your recent presentation on the Obama proposal for healthcare reform.
    ___It truly disgusts me that almost every discussion or interview about healthcare reform asserts that we have no chance for universal single-payer healthcare ... that we have no chance to escape the bloodsucking clutches of the health insurance industry ... that we must suffer and die for the sake of parasitic insurance profits. This would be grief enough for me, but I can't escape being haunted by the realization that everyone, including you, seems to ignore the underlying disease that spawns such scandal. Why is no one screaming about the elephant in the room?
    ___We, the citizens of the United States, live in the world's most advanced banana republic. We have the best government that money can buy. Beside the graft and bribery that far too often fills our newspapers, our present excuse for representative democracy guarantees undue influence for wealthy individuals and corporations, mainly through our ineffective regulation of lobbyists and campaign finance. This is why we have massive tax cuts for the rich at the same time that the burden on the poor grows through increased sales taxes and fees. This is why there is no political stomach to oppose the continued outsourcing of American jobs. This is why the traditional independent media has been silenced by acquisition and consolidation. This is why there is so little public mention of the progressive decrease in real American wages. This is why we have a cadre of congressional Democrats jumping on the bandwagon to repeal the inheritance (unearned wealth) tax. This is why our usury laws have been gutted for the benefit of our poor bankers. This is why a one percent of the indebted seeking bankruptcy protection was suddenly too much abuse for poor corporate America. Between our spineless indentured elected officials and the endless torrent of corporate propaganda, there is little hope for the welfare of common men. We have a government of the people, by the rich, for the rich.
    ___Nonetheless, I believe that we could reclaim our ideal of democracy with a few simple, but radical, new laws.
    ___First, we should limit by statute all political campaign SPENDING by candidates, supporters, and opponents. Past reform attempts have clearly shown that any limits on contributions are futile. The terms "hard" and "soft" money are evidence of the hairsplitting and gaming that exists in the present system. Also, limits on contributions do nothing to stem the deluge of special interest propaganda that often lies and distorts. Hitler and Mussolini proved seventy years ago that repetition and saturation can bring success to the most outrageous propaganda. If wealth is allowed to saturate people with its message, it can drown out any opposing view. I realize that this idea falls afoul of ridiculous Supreme Court decisions that equate spending with the freedom of speech. Of course, I find no such implication in the Bill of Rights or the Articles of the Constitution; and letting these precedents stand would forever condemn Americans to suffer the whims of the affluent. I realize that the justices have a natural affinity with those they consider of their own class, so an amendment may be necessary. Obviously, the forces of wealth have made reform as difficult as possible.
    ___Second, we should criminalize as felony any exchange of value between government officials and constituents. Since U.S. citizens and government officials don't seem able to interact in a sensible and aboveboard manner, we should end all the gifts, the junkets, the meals, the tickets, the jets, the limos, the vacations, the favors, etc. All government employees and elected officials should be required to subsist strictly on the amount of government compensation provided. Any extra revenue streams for officials should be outlawed.
    ___Third, we should revise, reinstate, and extend the equal time provisions for politics over broadcast medium. This move might have two main benefits. Foremost, it would possibly mute the onslaught of big money. In addition, limits on exposure might encourage a return to discussion of the issues instead of buzz slogans and smear campaigns.
    ___In the same vein, it might be worthwhile to consider careful reinforcement of the libel and slander laws. I realize that smear campaigns have been part of American politics since the eighteenth century, but isn't it time that we matured a little? Isn't it reprehensible that we have elections decided by the best lies? (Please forgive my naivete.)
    ___Finally, I apologize for stealing your valuable time with my simplicity, but I tire of the endless attention paid to the results of our failings while the causes are ignored. Someone has to start talking about impossible changes in order for them to become possible.

    To Tim: You talk about "Rights" and the "Constitution" like they belonged to God the Father who came down and gave the people instructions on how to live. Your "Constitution" is something that was written by people who had slaves working for them, and your "Rights" does'nt mean that it should have been implemented by God.

    these so-called inferences can be amended, when the need arises, Don't you forget it.

    If the government run health plan is so great then why has the president and members of congress exempted themselves and their families from the plan that they are writing, the fact is they know their plan will give every american sub standard care and they want no part of it.

    Republicans are saying we shouldn't have a washington bureaucrat between ourselves and our doctors. As opposed to what we have now? Yeah, greedy wall street investors between us and the hospitals are a sure-fire way to make sure our health and well-being needs are put before profits...

    Instead of thinking about the payers, we need to think about the care and the people as resources to be cared for.
    If socialized medicine is good enough for the troops, it's good enough for me.
    Draft the medical people into the military and be done with the debate.

    Mike: Because we are anxious panicked hostages to familiar circumstances temporarily agitated persons like yourself can't expect a reaction when they exhort us to rebel and resist. It is not only that the medical system is more extractive than palliative, but also that it is poisoned by hyper-capitalism in its very conception. Young doctors now spend about as much educational effort on a business model as learning diagnosis and treatment. After all, they will be pharmaceutical salespersons and purveyors of questionable treatments when they graduate. I estimate only 10 % have a primary motivation of relieving pain and preventing disease. 90% think mostly of the potential income.

    And its no different with teachers or social workers or anything else, because we lie to ourselves and expect to be an exceptional wealthy star of any career. How else could one sign the loan papers? There's no shortage of nurses, just a shortage of people with nursing degrees willing to endure the sick medical system at the going wage rates.

    Why do I get on the train to Manhattan each morning? And why do I research, test and write the crap MS needs me to write (that I know is half-truths and lies) just to be part of something and get a check deposited bi-weekly? I do it partially because I was an unemployed actor most of my life and I know how it feels to be poor, and to let down your loved ones.

    If I had a couple children there would be a choice between fatherly duties and serving generalized human needs, but I even lack that excuse. I keep setting a quit date but it comes and passes. I'm ahead 45K on my petroleum futures right now and I can't stop. Oh, I give most of it to filmmakers and good causes, but I do more damage than it is worth. It just makes me feel competent and respectable, seeing that money moving through my hands.

    But is it healthy? Hell no! Our society and culture are sick and unsustainable, especially the medical system. We are nearing a point where all culture will be manipulated and synthetic, and where our planet will die. Neither aspect of life support is duplicable by scientific means. So you see all our business activities including what we call medicine are banal evil in practice and futile in outcome.

    We go on because we allow ourselves to be terrorized and deceived. We can blame media, induced fear, miseducation, backward religion, conformism, the need to be liked.... Most of us live in a shallow, dictated awareness and don't question authority, the given and familiar. We have become as used to our meaningless and cruel existence as generations of caged-raised chickens. Even our masters are little more than "capos" (visit a holocaust museum if you don't know).

    Imagine the medicine of egg and broiler production: the growth hormones, the antibiotics, the disinfectant sprays, the pruned beaks and claws, and the final solution. It's not that different from our psychotrophic drug regimens and mass medications and mutilations. That's why I can't work in a cubicle (have to have a window with a view); too damn much like a cage, and I might wake up and quit. Then where would we be?

    If American politics and corporations are joining each other to continually control and over-ride the American public's welfare. Why do we continue to except this disfunction in goverment? Are we a third world country yet? Does any one care? Where are our storming masses of people who demand positive change to take place? are they too busy keeping food on the table?

    I watched this episode when it first came out, and several times since - there is SO MUCH great info in it.

    I think of this as the most vital tool for proponents of Single Payer - and I regularly ask people that have questions about health reform to watch this! you really didn't miss a single thing, just brilliant.

    I really wanted to thank you, Bill Moyers, for covering this so incredibly well - it very well may be your finest work EVER.

    Much Respect,
    Heather

    The single payer tsunami is stirring. Congress is starting to feel that slight puff of breeze in between their endless bickering over the most arcane and irrelevant aspects of their going nowhere healthcare reform legislation. You can see it in their faces!

    The breeze picks up June 25th in DC.

    Mainstream media, be there. Show the world how America does it!

    Its been on the news today, the health care reform is going to fail. Imagine the naysayers delight!!. The Rich are going to have their way because of LOBBYISTS. Is this a Democratic nation?. They conquered the Indians and stole their land. Now, they are murdering the poor people and there is nobody to stop them. They should follow the system of the European countries,That is my last stand.

    Single payer health care and Why are the rich getting richer in the American Dream.
    I am concerned that single payer is at the top of the list to be ignored in order for the rich to get richer. I just received email contradicting most of your program on single payer health care. It is from a person that is well thought of in Oklahoma. I have always thought of her in a good light and I had to look up on the web exactly why this was so. Below is a short text I found of her on the web:
    "Neese made history in 1990 as the first woman nominated by a major political party for Lt. Governor of Oklahoma. Prior to that historic campaign, she founded Terry Neese Personnel Services along with five other companies in the personnel, farming, ranching, and real estate industries.
    Terry Neese is a motivator for women's issues and entrepreneurs. One of her companies, GrassRoots Impact, is a corporate and government public policy strategies firm with rapid response surveying capabilities. GrassRoots Impact's clients include American Express, Intuit, IBM, Verizon and many other top global corporations. GrassRoots Impact excels in crafting a communications strategy and fine tuning "the message" that corporations and government agencies need in order to reach out effectively to women and minorities in business."
    The below email sounds like what the insurance companies would create. If we have trusted people sending out misinformation on behalf of insurance companies, whether it is directly for them or indirectly, then money is the American reality no matter what the American Dream is. If we cannot hold such bulk emailing of influence accountable to the correctness or misinformation they promote, then the loyal followers will swallow it and we shall stay here in Wonderland.
    START OF EMAIL (pictures not included)
    "Free Our Health Care Now. Action steps below ...Everywhere I go, small business owners tell me something needs to be done to make health care more affordable and available to small business employers. According to a survey by Towers Perrin, businesses will spend $9,552 per employee this year. As costs go up it makes it very difficult to continue to provide coverage.
    Unfortunately, too much of the debate in Washington is focused on either/or - either we have a government run system or we don't. We only have to look as far as Canada to realize that nationalizing health care does not work.
    Some in Washington are pushing for reforms that will move the US health care system closer to that of Canada's or Great Britain. If this is successful, you will have fewer health care choices and your access to care will be more limited. The government, not you and your doctor, will be responsible for determining whether you receive care. You will be "wait listed" for critical diagnostic tests. You may wait two or three years for surgery. You may not have access to life-saving cancer and other drugs. You will pay higher taxes. These are not fear mongering statements--they are facts proven in countries where their government runs health care. Can you tell me one thing that government has run that is successful? We can reform health care without the government taking it over!
    It's not often that I reach out to you on something like this. When I do, you can rest assured that I am VERY concerned about this for myself, my family and my friends.
    You can help stop this government takeover of health care. Send a message to the White House and every member of Congress by signing the petition at www.freeourhealthcarenow.com. If you agree with this petition, please forward this to your family and friends and associates. "
    END OF EMAIL
    I summarize my concern with my belief that as long as misinformation is simply a tool and there is no consequence for using such a tool, in fact there is reward for using it; our American Dream will stay polarized with no single payer health system to the benefit of the rich getting richer. Is there anything to be done or are we just stuck in Wonderland?
    Concerned, Mark Bartusch

    To: Bill Moyers

    Can you approach congress and question them, if Europe and other first-world and some third-world countries have health care for their people, why is America calling their patients, "CUSTOMERS". iF YOU DON'T BELIEVE THIS, COME TO ARIZONA AND FIND OUT.

    I would like someone to give the arguments against those made in this document:
    Twenty Myths about Single-Payer Health Insurance
    International Evidence on the Effects of
    National Health Insurance in Countries Around the World

    http://debate-central.ncpa.org/topics/2002/book2.pdf

    The rest of the world, and I mean the civilized world has health care for its people, only AMERICA, THINK ABOUT THAT. Why is America called a Capitalist country and nobody is making a Fuss about it. I thought it was a DEMOCRACY!!!.


    Some say health system would be too expensive America pays most in world for health care but is last in the world in total care. Savings in the system would pay for it all

    With the exception of Bill Moyers, all the media has been publishing biased reporting against health care reform. They are ALL against any sort of reform. Why? It's obvious. All the media is employed at big companies and have good private health care coverage at work. The very last thing they want to do is upset the gravy train. NO ONE is reporting on the hardships of the uninsured. NO ONE! It's sickening and is going to be the undoing of any progress on health care for the uninsured.

    Why is it that Health Care reform is only needed for the Underclass and nobody else seems to comprehend it. The Rich,are not involvedd, they smile on the TV, giving their views from Food to Entertainment and America sits idely by without saying anything. Why?.

    To Maylli:

    America doesn't care obout its people, Don't people realize this?

    To Betsy Whitfill:

    Thank you for explaining what you did, at least somebody can explain this kind of Empathy to the American People. Fact is they don't know better, all they can do is "Let it ride".

    “Momentum for a health care overhaul built this week after Obama obtained a pledge from medical providers to find $2 trillion in savings over 10 years to help pay for his plan.”

    What is with all this national health care funding smoke & mirror noise? The money would come from “those that pay” the heath care bills now.

    The existing United States health care system is funded in two ways, government (from taxes) and the individual. Those are the only two customers of our health care system that pay.

    The health care system break-even costs must be met or it goes out of business.

    The costs for those who cannot pay are passed on to “those that pay”.

    The budget for a United States national health care system is the annual amount spent by “those that pay”.

    The French “national health care system” is the 2nd most expensive in the world. For all its warts, the health of the French people reflects well on that system.

    If we cloned the French system (with its warts) in the United States our cost of health care per individual (“those that pay”) would be reduced 50% and the health of “all” the American people would dramatically improve.

    The business community (excluding – you know) must be drooling over the opportunity for dramatic reduction in the cost of labor (medical premiums) with improved employee health (increased productivity).

    It is my intent to point out that the cost (budget) for Universal Health Care in the United States is already funded. Any politician that questions, “how we are going to pay for Universal Health Care” should be identified in the media as a stooge for special interests.

    As funding is not a problem, then the focus should be on taking the best from the Universal Health Care programs other nations have (leave the warts – we will create our own) and get on with implementing Universal Health Care in the United States.


    When Robert Reich spoke of single-payer not being "politically feasible" he neglected to mention the primary reason for this. It's not so much that the voice of the people is being drowned out by the voice of the lobbyists, as it is the amount of corporate cash going into the pockets of "our" representatives.
    Unless the people can outbid the corporate interests, it does little good to outvote them.

    The real legacy of Ronald Reagan's generation of free market conservatism may be that, even when liberals describe and try to sell government-run health care plans, they describe an alternative "public option" as one that will provide the public more CHOICES and COMPETITION and ability to NEGOTIATE FOR LOWER PRICES. These are Republican principles, flat out. Other than abortion, its never been a Democrat idea to give anyone more "choices." But a government-run health care plan will certainly not be negotiating lower prices - it will be dictating lower prices. Each of us will be making up the difference through higher income and other federal taxes, and suddenly our doctors won't be returning our calls for the 90 percent of us who do have health coverage.

    The real legacy of Ronald Reagan's generation of free market conservatism may be that, even when liberals describe and try to sell government-run health care plans, they describe an alternative "public option" as one that will provide the public more CHOICES and COMPETITION and ability to NEGOTIATE FOR LOWER PRICES. These are Republican principles, flat out. Other than abortion, its never been a Democrat idea to give anyone more "choices." But a government-run health care plan will certainly not be negotiating lower prices - it will be dictating lower prices. Each of us will be making up the difference through higher income and other federal taxes, and suddenly our doctors won't be returning our calls for the 90 percent of us who do have health coverage.

    Calling Health Care a individual's Human Right might not be the best way to describe it. It might be better understood as a social responsibility. There is a difference.
    If, for example, you fall off a boat, you do not have a "right" to not drown. If you die, your rights have not been abused. Likewise, I have no obligation to risk my own life to save you.
    If, however, I am holding a life preserver in my hand and I refuse to throw it to you, then I have failed in my responsiblity as a human being, and might even be charged with a crime.
    No one is asking anyone to sacrifice their lives to save the uninsured. But collectively, a very small exertion on our part could save thousands of valuable lives.
    Single Payer health insurance is a life preserver that will cost us very little and might save us a great deal. The uninsured might not have a "right" to that life preserver, but we do have an obligation to throw it as accurately as we possibly can.
    In other words, an individual might not have a "right" to health care, but that doesn't relive us of the responsibility to provide it. Their clear need trumps our "right" to sit back and do nothing.

    After we get single payer health care, lets go after the AMA and ADA and drug companies so we can bring the cost of care down even further. The AMA understands the law of supply and demand, which is why they keep the number of doctors low, and the cost of education high. If the President told the AMA to increase the number of medical students by 10% a year or lose its monopoly on practicing medicine, we would have more doctors. If we required them to work for two years in a family practice before taking on a speciality, we would have more family doctors. If we allowed nurses to do the things they know how to do, but that currently require a doctors signature, it would drop the cost of getting basic care dramatically. If the government funded research into promising home remedies that were low-cost or free (the drug companies won't) then we could take better care of ourselves.
    Insurance companies are robbing us blind - but they aren't the only ones. From top to bottom the sickness management system is completely dysfunctional.

    Today the US stopped broadcasting TV signals in analog and converted to digital TV signals. Millions of dollars (at least) and untold hours of publicity went into this conversion. Yet while we were able to effect such a technological change, somehow, our nation is unable to change our health care system, because it would be too hard to change. Food for thought.

    It's June 12 and we are still at it....

    David Swanson | The Rise of Single-Payer Health Care
    http://www.truthout.org/061209R
    David Swanson, Truthout: "Health care reform plans are being drafted and passed around on both sides of Capitol Hill, but the plan with the greatest number of Congressional members behind it was first introduced as a bill six years ago. With two new co-sponsors having just signed on, Congressman John Conyers's single-payer health care plan, HR 676, now has 80 Congress members supporting it."

    Kucinich explains HR 676, Aug. 2006
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZbAwrycIc0

    All those in favour of not supporting the HealthCare for the Poor. What GOD or Religion are they Following?

    Single Payer is the best plan but the name causes image confusion so I was inspired to think of a new approach when I heard that in spite of growing public interest going over 50% approval, it was only mentioned 5 times in the New York Times last year ~

    ~ Care Assurance Network ~
    Creative credit for self-sustaining participation;
    * Relative regularity ~ habit training as primary care value growing
    * Response ability ~ exceptional development case work networking
    * Respect paid as C.A.N. dues ~ redistribution of supportive resources

    ...as a branch of economic value stimulation, health services are representative points of sharing mutual support.
    ...the informational process recognizes contributors with merits for participation.
    ...the acceptance of even uncommon truth is the social fabric that weaves the best integrity for investment in innovation.

    I am responding to the Robert Reich quote just posted:

    I have no idea why President Obama has not yet made an appeal to the American people, supported their involvement in public education and discussion on issues which effect local politics for all of us (?), and challenged us to insist upon local changes, which support what he knows to be the "change" necessary at the federal level for "real recovery". Roosevelt (in the Great Depression) supported work and workers from the "bottom-up", and so far we have only "bailed out" those who created the problem at the "top"... Maybe it will come, but "real recovery" (?), probably not, until it does.

    Farley Andrews

    We can all talk, but can we all act. Any Suggestions!!!?.

    I support a single payer system because I think our current system have become too complex, too bureaucratic and too expensive for individuals and companies.

    But I think it’s laughable that people think our federal government taking over the payments will increase efficiency. Care will become politicized, corrupted and managed by a massive bureaucracy that has little reason to streamline. Think of California, Massachusetts, NASA, the DoD or the post office. I remember the post office wanted to close a redundant computer center and save $30M per year. It was shot down by the local congressman because of the loss of jobs. Imagine shutting down a poorly run hospital.

    So, Bill and Dr’s Himmelstein and Wolfe, you can save the infomercial (you guys could have been selling the Bassomatic the way you piled it on). You had me at the current system needs to change. But stop accusing people who have doubts about the rosy world you describe as right wingers who are in the pockets of the insurance companies. I’m for a single payer system because it’s the significant lesser of two evils. But I’m not naïve.

    I come from a "Third World Country" and Healthcare was free. Imagine Free!!!.
    Here in America the so-called "Land of the Free" you have nothing that is Free. Who is to blame, but the Government that is not interested in the Welfare of its people. Why?. Because this is what Capitalism is all about.

    Single Payer is the best plan but the name causes image confusion so I was inspired to think of a new approach when I heard that in spite of growing public interest going over 50% approval, it was only mentioned 5 times in the New York Times last year ~

    ~ Care Assurance Network ~
    Creative credit for self-sustaining participation;
    * Relative regularity ~ habit training as primary care value growing
    * Response ability ~ exceptional development case work networking
    * Respect paid as C.A.N. dues ~ redistribution of supportive resources

    ...as a branch of economic value stimulation, health services are representative points of sharing mutual support.
    ...the informational process recognizes contributors with merits for participation.
    ...the acceptance of even uncommon truth is the social fabric that weaves the best integrity for investment in innovation.

    In your article you referenced a number of people in support of the single-payer healthcare system. Yet you never showcased the opposing views. Why is this?

    Don't worry, I am not looking for a response, I already know what it is...

    To go straight to single payer, 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, and Paul Krugman’s warning to distrust the private insurers reinforces the reality that we have no more time to waste in the pretense of nicey-nicey. 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. If health contracts are generally one calendar year (unlike cell phones) and the feds have an Oct. 1 fiscal year, let's pay out $1,000 X 3 calendar year months remaining for 119 million people. That's less than $360 billion--chump change by Wall Street bailout standards. Any companies that refuse the deal will have to explain to their stockholders why they are rejecting such largesse and/or preferring to go straight to bankruptcy. The US taxpayer will recoup this buyout investment in one year, based on widely shared estimates of savings, and after that, we are ahead by trillions.

    The voices of people everywhere are being heard. We the people speak:

    http://www.truthout.org/060709Y

    First of all such programs about single payer system should be shown on regular network channels like cbs,nbc,fox so that millions of Americans can see the truth about how insurance companies are robbing people and make them bankrupt.

    Of course not, because these networks and congressmen are paid by the insurance companies not to air such programs.
    I do not understand the fact that if you lose your job you lose your health benefits.
    That’s absurd. How can health benefits and employment be linked together. And then you start looking for private insurances, and they reject you because of your pre-existing condition, or your premiums and deductibles are sky rocketing.

    Even if the Obama plan says the insurance companies cannot reject people based on pre-existing conditions, the insurance companies have lot of other ways to make money by denying more claims and making the process more difficult for patients and doctors.
    There is no set standard and there is nobody to oversee these companies.

    I am a pharmacist so I know how people are frustrated everyday with their health plans. Most of the time they do not cover the medications that they need, and higher copay for brand medications. In this country, with these private insurance companies running the lives of people, as long as you are healthy no problem. But for average middle class Americans, if you fall sick, you are buried with huge medical bills, leaving you stressed, anxious, more sick and bankrupt. You think that you will be covered for the most part if you have a serious illness because you paid your premiums regularly every month. But when the time comes, I don’t know what happens to all the money that you paid all the years where did it go? You are slapped with thousands of dollars in medical and insurance bills.


    Washington has used tax payer money to bail out wall street companies, but they do not feel the health of American people is important, they don’t care. Shame on the congress that they are getting paid by the insurance companies to keep their mouth shut. There has been so much discussion and analysis about wall street, bail outs, car companies etc on prime time television But why not about universal and single payer health care system and its benefits. The government is bailing out wall street companies with tax payer money despite of their foolishness but who is going to bail out people who are bankrupt because of the insurance companies. The media is also to blame because they get money from drug companies and insurance companies.

    I did believe in Obama when he said universal healthcare, but he is not keeping his promises by suggesting public/private plan which is not going to work. Why is Washington making it complicated. This is the 21st century, U.S is the wealthiest and industrialized nation in the world with a broken health care system and no president is doing anything about it. Are other countries in the world stupid or fools to have single payer system? Isn’t it odd that only U.S in the entire world has private insurance system despite of the fact it doesn’t work. Single payer system is not perfect but it works.

    I am amazed at the growing responses from doctors and nurses who can see clearly that the current health care system does not work and growing number of people dying because of it. It is the responsibility of the American people to speak up because the congress does not care ( they are taken care of by the private insurance company ).

    I am overwhelmed by the support of the people for single payer, and yet the congress does not see it. How can that happen? Let us join hands and make this happen. This is the year of change.


    Those still checking into this blog may be interested in the President's letter to Senators Kennedy and Baucus regarding Health Reform Legislation:

    June 2, 2009
    The Honorable Edward M. Kennedy
    The Honorable Max Baucus
    United States Senate
    Washington, D.C. 20510
    Dear Senator Kennedy and Senator Baucus:

    The meeting that we held today was very productive and I want to commend you for your leadership -- and the hard work your Committees are doing on health care reform, one of the most urgent and important challenges confronting us as a Nation.

    In 2009, health care reform is not a luxury. It's a necessity we cannot defer. Soaring health care costs make our current course unsustainable. It is unsustainable for our families, whose spiraling premiums and out-of-pocket expenses are pushing them into bankruptcy and forcing them to go without the checkups and prescriptions they need. It is unsustainable for businesses, forcing more and more of them to choose between keeping their doors open or covering their workers. And the ever-increasing cost of Medicare and Medicaid are among the main drivers of enormous budget deficits that are threatening our economic future.

    In short, the status quo is broken, and pouring money into a broken system only perpetuates its inefficiencies. Doing nothing would only put our entire health care system at risk. Without meaningful reform, one fifth of our economy is projected to be tied up in our health care system in 10 years; millions more Americans are expected to go without insurance; and outside of what they are receiving for health care, workers are projected to see their take-home pay actually fall over time.

    We simply cannot afford to postpone health care reform any longer. This recognition has led an unprecedented coalition to emerge on behalf of reform -- hospitals, physicians, and health insurers, labor and business, Democrats and Republicans. These groups, adversaries in past efforts, are now standing as partners on the same side of this debate.

    At this historic juncture, we share the goal of quality, affordable health care for all Americans. But I want to stress that reform cannot mean focusing on expanded coverage alone. Indeed, without a serious, sustained effort to reduce the growth rate of health care costs, affordable health care coverage will remain out of reach. So we must attack the root causes of the inflation in health care. That means promoting the best practices, not simply the most expensive. We should ask why places like the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, and other institutions can offer the highest quality care at costs well below the national norm. We need to learn from their successes and replicate those best practices across our country. That's how we can achieve reform that preserves and strengthens what's best about our health care system, while fixing what is broken.

    The plans you are discussing embody my core belief that Americans should have better choices for health insurance, building on the principle that if they like the coverage they have now, they can keep it, while seeing their costs lowered as our reforms take hold. But for those who don't have such options, I agree that we should create a health insurance exchange -- a market where Americans can one-stop shop for a health care plan, compare benefits and prices, and choose the plan that's best for them, in the same way that Members of Congress and their families can. None of these plans should deny coverage on the basis of a preexisting condition, and all of these plans should include an affordable basic benefit package that includes prevention, and protection against catastrophic costs. I strongly believe that Americans should have the choice of a public health insurance option operating alongside private plans. This will give them a better range of choices, make the health care market more competitive, and keep insurance companies honest.

    I understand the Committees are moving towards a principle of shared responsibility -- making every American responsible for having health insurance coverage, and asking that employers share in the cost. I share the goal of ending lapses and gaps in coverage that make us less healthy and drive up everyone's costs, and I am open to your ideas on shared responsibility. But I believe if we are going to make people responsible for owning health insurance, we must make health care affordable. If we do end up with a system where people are responsible for their own insurance, we need to provide a hardship waiver to exempt Americans who cannot afford it. In addition, while I believe that employers have a responsibility to support health insurance for their employees, small businesses face a number of special challenges in affording health benefits and should be exempted.

    Health care reform must not add to our deficits over the next 10 years -- it must be at least deficit neutral and put America on a path to reducing its deficit over time. To fulfill this promise, I have set aside $635 billion in a health reserve fund as a down payment on reform. This reserve fund includes a number of proposals to cut spending by $309 billion over 10 years --reducing overpayments to Medicare Advantage private insurers; strengthening Medicare and Medicaid payment accuracy by cutting waste, fraud and abuse; improving care for Medicare patients after hospitalizations; and encouraging physicians to form "accountable care organizations" to improve the quality of care for Medicare patients. The reserve fund also includes a proposal to limit the tax rate at which high-income taxpayers can take itemized deductions to 28 percent, which, together with other steps to close loopholes, would raise $326 billion over 10 years.

    I am committed to working with the Congress to fully offset the cost of health care reform by reducing Medicare and Medicaid spending by another $200 to $300 billion over the next 10 years, and by enacting appropriate proposals to generate additional revenues. These savings will come not only by adopting new technologies and addressing the vastly different costs of care, but from going after the key drivers of skyrocketing health care costs, including unmanaged chronic diseases, duplicated tests, and unnecessary hospital readmissions.

    To identify and achieve additional savings, I am also open to your ideas about giving special consideration to the recommendations of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), a commission created by a Republican Congress. Under this approach, MedPAC's recommendations on cost reductions would be adopted unless opposed by a joint resolution of the Congress. This is similar to a process that has been used effectively by a commission charged with closing military bases, and could be a valuable tool to help achieve health care reform in a fiscally responsible way.
    These are some of the issues I look forward to discussing with you in greater detail in the weeks and months ahead. But this year, we must do more than discuss. We must act. The American people and America's future demand it.

    I know that you have reached out to Republican colleagues, as I have, and that you have worked hard to reach a bipartisan consensus about many of these issues. I remain hopeful that many Republicans will join us in enacting this historic legislation that will lower health care costs for families, businesses, and governments, and improve the lives of millions of Americans. So, I appreciate your efforts, and look forward to working with you so that the Congress can complete health care reform by October.
    Sincerely,
    BARACK OBAMA

    Today, regardless of how you run the numbers, the average U.S. citizen is paying hefty sums for healthcare either directly or indirectly through taxes, expensive services, pricey pharmaceuticals, and subsidies to the private health care industry.

    While policy makers should consider the 'lowest cost' options (which is why a single payer plan should be looked at seriosuly), the most important outcome of any policy would be to provide universal access to health care to all our citizens.

    The fundamental question at stake is whether or not we, as individuals and as a society, have a moral obligation to our fellow citizens to subsidy their healthcare when they are, themselves, unable to pay. Or, do we instead continue to support a system that provides incentives for businesses to make a profit from the suffering of people?

    By some accounts, the United States is one of the wealthiest nations in the world, yet, we have people in this country dying from treatable health issues simply because they do not have access to health care.

    This reality goes against every humanitarian fiber in my body and every time I think about it I agonize over being part of a system that causes people like my neighbour, my co-worker, or members of my family to suffer.

    We have a moral obligation to do the right thing and make sure that every person in this country has access to health care.


    Note: I had to leave the http links out of most of the web sites because my blog was probably being mistaken for spam and filtered out. Sorry for the inconvenience.


    Hi Linda Mae,
    I think you have such a frightened world view and low expectations for our country.
    The America you envision is not the America that most of Americans envision.
    Or are you so badly mis/uninformed?
    Single-payer (improved and enhanced Medicare for All) is and has been almost completely censored by the corporate broadcast media (except for Ed Schultz of MSNBC and a few more I'm sure) and corporate print media.
    So the tiny bit of room single-payer gets on Bill Moyer's Journal is only fair.
    You said, Linda, there was no sense of debate.
    Well, the single-payer solution has been completely left out of the debate for years by the corporate media to begin with.
    There was no debate at the recent Senate Finance Committee roundtable discussions on health care reform because the physicians and advocates were not allowed a seat at the table. Eight of them were arrested for trying to get a word in edge-wise.
    Senator Baucus (D)-MT who led the discussions has received over a million dollars from the health insurance industry and big pharma since 2004.
    Yeah, there is no debate all right, you've got that part right.

    It should be asked: Why is single-payer being so heavily censored?
    If it was such a horrible idea and system, the corporate media (and health insurance industry and big pharma) would welcome this info to be revealed.
    It's only been mentioned with the fear and smear tactics by the corporate media.

    An important question has to be asked: How come in nearly every field of human endeavor America is able to do things as well or better than the rest of the industrialized world (with health care for all) except provide an efficient cost effective health care system for its own people?
    I liken single-payer to that of a wheel. By its very construction it rolls smoothly on a continuous smooth edge. What if a bicycle or car wheel had fifty edges?
    That would be a very bumpy and unpleasant ride but this is the state of our horribly expensive, wasteful, fragmented, employment linked, dangerous, deadly non-system of health care that America has, which you think is just fine.
    As the early wheel improved, becoming lighter using spokes and lighter and stronger materials, bearings... so too can America fine tune single-payer.
    We're America. We can reach for the stars! United We Stand! Right??? Isn't this right???

    Leaving this aside, just by facts alone, the Congressional Budget Office and General Accountability office crunched the numbers back in the early nineties to conclude if we phased in single payer we would save enough money to adequately cover everyone's health care in America. There are so many other studies that verify this too.
    It's just a matter of phasing out the wicked health insurance industry (middleman) which is sucking away our health care dollars towards CEO salaries and bonuses, golden parachutes, etc.
    Health care is not a commodity, period.

    The present health care reforms are just a ruse to leave the health insurance industry in the mix, continuing putting billions of dollars into the health insurance industry pockets instead of directly into health care to cover the uninsured and under insured. This whole health care reform going on in D.C. is just a farce. Billions of dollars annually will continue to pay for the CEO's and executive's toys and lavish life style while millions of Americans are left to be health care beggars with stripped down bare-bones health insurance, co-pays and deductibles; Also, the health insurance industry kept in the loop will continue to be a drag on business and our economy. The politicians not behind The U.S. National Health Insurance Act, HR 676 (or state versions of this Bill), are sell-outs; it's that simple, folks.

    Progressives are socialist, communists, or fascists? Leaving aside how ridiculous a statement that is, if you're implying only progressives endorse single-payer then check out:
    www.republicansforsinglepayer.com.

    Also, Dr. Paul DeMarco recently wrote an op-ed for the Spartanburg (S.C.) Herald Journal explaining why as a conservative he supports single-payer and the principle of mutual aid:
    www.pnhp.org/news/2009/may/universal_health_car.php

    Also, the conservative editorial board of Times Union (Albany, NY) ran an editorial May 19, take a look:
    www.pnhp.org/news/2009/may/put_singlepayer_on_.php

    Also, the conservative businessman Jack Lohman a strong single-payer advocate has a web site:
    www.throwtherascalsout.org/eNewsletter94.htm

    I have a question: Is Japan a socialist or communist country? Or Germany or Taiwan? They all have a true non-profit health care system with Taiwan having a purely single-payer system. Do they have their share of problems with it? Yes, but they are exaggerated and taken out of context by special interests. The fact is that life threatening illnesses are taken care of immediately and other industrialized countries do a lot more with about 1/2 to 3/4 of what we spend; none of these countries or any other industrialized country has anywhere near the health care woes of our country.

    Besides, when in the public sector, the people can influence change much easier. The Canadian Health Coalition is an example.
    The overwhelming majority of Canadians support their Medicare system and would never exchange it for ours. The same goes for the other industrialized countries.
    There would be a mass riot if it was tried.

    America's wild west mentality health care non-system causes about 18,000 deaths annually, untold mental and physical pain and suffering, about 50% bankruptcies (yes 50%) due in part or fully to medical related bills (of which about 75% had health insurance, but the deductibles and co-pays sunk them), people stuck in jobs they don't like to keep their health insurance, loose their insurance when they loose their jobs, a drag on small businesses and the economy. The corporate media does not cover this on a regular basis.
    Meanwhile, health insurance CEOs and executives are enjoying their mansions and yachts.
    This might be the highest expectations that some people have for our country but I think most Americans think we can do a lot better.
    As long our corrupt politicians continue looking out for their wallet (not giving a damn) or political life, instead of the good of the people and country this will continue.

    For those of you who want to hold on to your HMO, POS, etc., if you get really sick or injured you'll see how fast your bills will start to mount from the co-pays and deductibles which might very well bankrupt you. This would be an additional stress while you're trying to heal, and stress is not good at all for healing.
    Also, why would you want to have your health care linked to your employment?

    The Canadian Health Coalition in a letter to President Obama has exposed the smear tactics of the Conservatives for Patients' Rights which recent TV ads here in America
    has been smearing the Canadian Medicare system. Rick Scott, the sponsor of the ads was removed from office in 1997 by the board of directors during the largest health care scandal in the United States. His company Columbia/HCA was forced to pay $1.7 billion in fines for overbilling state and federal government health plans.
    Go to:
    www.pnhp.org/news/2009/may/health_coalition_att.php
    and click on: tough open letter to President Barack Obama

    Also check out a very good article at:
    http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/francis/archive/2009/05/12/health-care-lies-about-canda.aspx

    We single-payer advocates work hard and were raised with good work ethics. I and my brother-in-laws are from working class roots too. They all worked hard and are in the middle class bracket, however, single-payer isn't even a second thought for them and my sisters..."Of course we need it." So, I don't get your point about hard work.
    Besides, single-payer would allow us to enjoy our lives better...a lot better. This is just the point.
    It would be good for small business owners and the economy too.

    Single-payer is the most fiscally conservative plan. This isn't an issue of conservative, liberal, socialist, fascist, but simply expanding and improving Medicare to everyone for a happier, more humane, less stressed out, and more productive country.
    With that said, in some ways my family might have somewhat conservative views.
    There's give and take and I think the hardcore single-payer critics are way too caught up in the dogma of their beliefs to put everything into perspective and realize single-payer is the best choice for America.

    Please go to www.healthcare-now.org and sign the petition to congress for The United States National Health Insurance Act, HR 676, and see how you can get involved.
    It (HR 676) has tremendous national support.

    Let's attain a government of, by, and for the people instead of a government of, by, and for the health insurance industry and big pharma.

    Republicans don't want to support the Single-Payer system but they like the idea for donations to Welfare systems because not only do they claim Tax credits but they like the Idea of "Handouts".

    I am a supporter of Single Payer but more than that I am a supporter of the average person educating themselves about the issues that will affect them and their families.

    I and another like minded co-worker tried to organize a Pizza/Movie night with our female co-workers (off site) to show Michael Moore's film Sicko. I told them that I would provide the food and drink and I just wanted to show them the film and talk about it. I made it VERY clear that I was not trying to convert anyone I just wanted to show them this issue and get their take on it.

    Well no one was interested. The reasons basically came down to - 'Well, I've got mine so why do I have to worry about anyone else?' and the film is "too heavy" and that is not how they want to spend an evening. One woman is from Texas and has an almost pathological aversion to any federal government involvement Many said "Why should I have to pay for someone else to have health care? Obviously not knowing that we ALL pay for the uninsured, but HOW we pay for them is hidden in higher premiums and higher prices, not just for health care but throughout our economy. My friend and I were disappointed to say the least.

    Maybe it is human nature that until something affects you personally you cannot bother to put yourself out there, maybe it is our American culture of individualism and anti-government that prevents us from feeling empathy and anger about this issue. Perhaps people sense that this is a bigger issue than health care and really involves our entire political system and culture and so it overwhelms them.

    I think this may be some of the reasons you don't see big rallies or protesting in front of Health Insurance companies, like Aetna and Wellpoint. The majority of people are covered by health insurance, they think they have nothing to worry about and so are too complacent. Again, ignorance is bliss as most do not know that even with health insurance there is no guarantee that you will receive the care you need or that it will be paid for.

    While I groan inwardly over my co-workers misconceptions and their apparent belief the outright lies , like America has the best health care in the world, I don't fault them as much as I do the press which refuses to cover this issue honestly and continues a virtual black out of the single payer option. Most of what I have learned about this issue I had to ferret out from the sites on the internet, read books at the library and investigate government sites such as the DOJ (Fraud) or the Office of Budget and Management (statistical studies of health care costs).

    So I guess we have free speech but not a free press. One can FIND information if one digs but do not depend upon the press for information in this day of corporate owned newspapers and news rooms.

    I truly believe that if Watergate happened today NO ONE would know about it!

    My friend and I are trying to come up with other ways to educate our co-workers on this issue without offending anyone. I was looking forward to having a discussion with them on this issue - oh well.

    Maybe if I offer a door prize.......?

    I strongly support single payer insurance. The scare tactics are just that, scare tactics. With what is being talked about now (a "public option") it is fair to say it will fail. The healthy people will end up with private insurance, and the sick people will end up on the public insurance. This unbalanced system is doomed to fail.

    Private health insurance needs to be a thing of the past...

    All this talk and no action. Why are we just talking and all these intelligent people have no definite action. I can't understand it. Is this what was protrayed in "A Civil Action"

    John Steel is just one of the many Republicans that want to keep the masses under their control.

    .

    Hello...

    I had posted earlier in this thread and returned to see what has transpired since.

    Many fine points have been made for the support of a single-payer type system as an option to those who wish that type of coverage.

    One point that stood out was this quote from J Nemec @ May 30, 2009 10:01 PM:

    "Socialism? INSURANCISM is the 'ism' to be aware of in the Healthcare debate. Why not an "exorcism" of INSURANCISM?

    "Insurancism" in it's present form of profiting off the health and well being and/or sickness of others could very well also be called GREEDISM.

    The current operating procedures of the for-profit corporate health insurance companies has deteriorated over the past 20 years to the point that the only important thing in the business is the bottom-line profits and what increase in yearly income is generated for the stock market investors from publicly traded corporate profits.

    As I had posted earlier, here is an eye-opening stat from Health Care for America Now:

    Profits of the 10 largest publicly traded insurers increased 428 percent from 2000 to 2007, from $2.4 billion to $12.9 billion.

    I ask you, the reader...

    Has your wage or salary gone up 428 percent?

    A public single-payer plan must be included in this overhaul and provided as an option to those who wish to have it in place of their current coverage so as to leverage the for-profit companies to keep their health premiums competitive. Plus, there needs to be this option with strong government oversight for those less fortunate who currently have no coverage whatsoever without them being at the mercy of some paper-pusher located on the 24th floor of some high rise.

    Think about that ...

    House Bill 676

    Senate Bill 703

    Read them ... if you haven't already done so.

    Thanks again for providing this forum.

    OldenGoldenDecoy

    .

    .

    Betsy:

    Great point ... And very well said.

    OldenGoldenDecoy

    .

    Max Baccus is telling us proponents of Medicare for all, a single payer system, that it won't pass in Congress. Well, folks, who is Congress to tell the American people what we can have and what they say we cannot have?

    Congress (except for D. Kucinich) is of the consciousness which created the healthcare crisis! As A. Einstein said, you cannot solve a problem with the consciousness which created it. Until we can elect new congress people to represent us, protest is the only avenue open.

    As a self-employed individual, I have tried to navigate this insurance issue. It is complicated...and I only have to worry about myself as I am my only employee.

    What I find interesting is hearing that we need people like me to help keep the economic downturn from getting worse. I don't see how that can happen. It isn't even the tax issues I face as a small business owner...that's a whole other ballgame.

    One would think that affordable preventative health care would be a prime concern. After all, isn't it more cost effective to stop or control a problem before it gets out of hand?

    I am not asking for a handout. I am asking for a solution that allows me the ability to have health care coverage...like anyone in our government. If I develop a serious illness an amass the usual bills we have become accustomed to, I lose my house, my career, and possibly my life. I risk becoming a burden on the Social Security system which in turn affects my fellow tax payers.

    Maybe a single payer system as a base with the obvious option to purchase a private policy to make up the differences, an above and beyond kind of thing?

    I wouldn't even mind a raise in my taxes if I felt the profiteers in the insurance, pharmachetical, and medical industries would not be able to find a way to profit from even the single payer proposition. And, that's already happening because the powers that be know things will have to change. They are just scrambling to find a profit loop hole. When those loop holes are found, we'll have a single payer system..with a deductible.

    "... but since when is health care a birthright? When in the past several; millenia of human history did that happen? Where does the right come from? It isn't in the Constitution. Is it a "natural right?"
    from Tim.

    Health care defined as medical care, which means diagnosis and treatment of disease, is a human right. It was born out of the realization that all human beings get sick and, when they do, they should have medical diagnosis and treatment.

    Medical care is not a right defined in the Constitution because it is not limited to the US public...it is a human right.
    The concept has evolved out of an evolution of consciousness, which is ever more inclusive of the common needs of people everywhere. As a humanity, we are subjectively united in our basic human needs: nourishing food, safe shelter, adequate health care and all the education needed to make for a stable, self-sustaining citizenry.

    I have BCBS of Georgia, They insure 80% of the people in this rural state. As stated earlier the insurance giant has negotiated away 75% of the bill in most cases. How is this not a single payer system? By changing the system in America to these social ideas we will dissolve all jobs from every sector and the only thing left to do is fight wars, started by the ruling class. When the government owned post office buys a car from Chrysler do they pay full price no they pay 40% because they buy a crap load of vehicles. If you don't have insurance or don't have access to a PPO or a discount plan is that the fault of our government NO. I see all of these liberal minded people who want it both ways. I have the right to this or that service, In these other countries they pay, their employer pays, their gas tax, sin tax, carbon taxes all pay and you can't afford to live like we do in the United States. Hollywood they don't have, Warren Buffet they don't have, Music industry they don't have. If you want Cuba move to Cuba where Doctors male $15/month. If you get sick and don't have insurance and blame the system even though you could have afforded it, but choose to have a new car, or take the low road just hate paying your fair share can we blame the Government.

    "Socialism" versus "Insurancism," the Single Payer Debate:

    Why isn't single payer plan on the table as a major solution? Please see this report on Bill Moyers -- interviews with good doctors who know what they are talking about. Why not a good look at "Insuranc-ism" instead of "Social-ism?" One could not help but post this after coming across a report on "single payer" insurance on a Saturday evening. It's from a show that some may possibly disapprove of but there is wisdom in it. One can hope one might risk reading this post, and then browse to the interview yourself. PBS. Too many have lost their way.

    But wait! There's more!

    Do No Harm...will the insurance companies take this oath also along with the good Doctors if "single payer" is ignored?

    I'd never thought of "single payer" in the same way as supporting a fire station or a police station or a library. Wasn't it Ben Franklin who put our fire stations in place, and he is remembered with glory.

    It brings to mind that there is a difference between social services and "socialism," and it's not a fine line.

    There are many who, if they get sick in the current system, have chosen to take their chances rather than fall deeper into the pit of red tape.

    Of course, what would you do if you were a CEO that stood to lose so much money from a single payer plan? Could you close your wallet and open your heart?

    Now, in this one's role as a facilitator, one wishes that there were fewer caught in this silly system, on all sides, and there are those who feel lost in a system that does not technically permit the use of the word, "healing."

    (But Love never fails.)

    I wasn't sure what single payer was before this report. Grateful to know there are men and women who really care about others. This is a time for true Heroes. Who doesn't hope that our new President will turn true to the people's need as a National Healer?

    Socialism? INSURANCISM is the 'ism' to be aware of in the Healthcare debate. Why not an "exorcism" of INSURANCISM? This "exorcism" must first occur in the human heart -- a shift of point of view, a quiet re-calibration within. This is a time when people (however afraid of the Insurance companies) require new vision, new hope, and true education.

    Thank you.

    I think the reason they get away with charging people those grotesque fees is because nobody knows what's going on. It's unbelievable that you can go to the doctor, hospital, or lab without being given an estimate of the cost, or at least a written fee schedule for their services, before you agree to be treated. This lack of information prevents individuals from making informed decisions before they assume thousands and thousands of dollars in debt. Every other business provides a fee schedule up front.

    We need to stop making excuses for the medical providers, especially as it pertains to the reimbursement formula that they are pressured into by the insurance industry, and expose the whole system to the light of day. Doctors are forced into those reimbusement formulas by the insurance companies, or they won't put that doctor on the list of approved providers for that insurance plan. If they don't agree to accept their reduced reimbursement formula as I've outlined below, they stand to lose a large portion of their patients as customers.

    Further, I think they may be prohibited by the contracts they are forced into by the insurance company from public disclosing the insurance companies mandated reduced reimbursement formula and fee schedule to their patients. The insurance companies have a stranglehold on the doctors. This lack of public awareness promotes the situation we are now faced with - people being bankrupted by those grotesque fees when they go to the doctor. It's time for full disclosure so we can debate the actual facts, not those deliberately obscure resource-based relative value scales, global payments, and average outpatient expected payments. It's time for the smoke and mirrors cover-up to end.


    I’M GOING TO REPEAT IT AGAIN FOR EMPHASIS SO WE DON’T LOSE SIGHT OF THE PROBLEM BECAUSE IT IS SO OBSCENE:

    Most of the major insurance companies have a contract with the medical providers (doctors, labs, and hospitals) to give them a reduced price for their services, which is typically about 65% of the ‘base’ price that is charged only to uninsured patients. Their contracts further stipulate that the insurance companies have to pay only 50% of the base price for the first charge on a given day, and 25% of the base price for the remaining charges for the same day, less the patient’s copay. The formula is:

    BASE PRICE x .65 x .50 = 32.50% of the BASE PRICE for the first charge on a given day.

    BASE PRICE x .65 x .25 = 16.25% of the BASE PRICE for the second and subsequent charge on a given day.

    This means that the insurance companies pay only 16 – 33 % of the base price less the patient’s copay. Thus, you can generally say they pay about 25% of the base price for any medical bill they get. This also means that whenever the doctors and hospitals want to raise their price to the insurance companies by $1, they have to raise the base price to the uninsured by $4.

    THIS FORMULA IS COMMONLY USED BY MOST OF THE MAJOR INSURANCE COMPANIES. This happens every day. I've seen these bills myself.

    To illustrate:

    If a medical procedure "costs" $1200, the insurance company is only asked to pay $300 on behalf of their insured patient, while the uninsured patient would be told to pay the full $1200, which is a $900 UPCHARGE!

    If a medical procedure "costs" $12,000, the insurance company is only asked to pay $3,000 on behalf of their insured patient, while the uninsured patient would be told to pay the full $12,000, which is a $9,000 UPCHARGE!

    If a medical procedure "costs" $120,000, the insurance company is only asked to pay $30,000 on behalf of their insured patient, while the uninsured patient would be told to pay the full $120,000, which is a $90,000 UPCHARGE!

    If a medical procedure "costs" $400,000, the insurance company is only asked to pay $100,000 on behalf of their insured patient, while the uninsured patient would be told to pay the full $400,000. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHAT THE INSURANCE COMPANY IS BILLED AND WHAT THE UNINSURED PATIENT IS BILLED IN THIS EXAMPLE IS A $300,000 UPCHARGE!!!

    I was told a SIMPLE X-RAY will cost me $1,000 without insurance. The insurance company will only have to pay about $300.

    An MRI costs $5,000 without insurance. The insurance company will have to pay about $1,600 for the same test.

    It is my understanding that the actual cost of a medical procedure is closer to what the insurance companies pay, or 25% of the billed fee. The 75% “penalty” is what the uninsured get charged because they don't have insurance.

    Payment system is pretty complicated, probably too complicated for a newspaper or magazine article.

    Lots of systems for lots of insurance companies, but some places to start are resource-based relative value scale, outpatient prospective payment, global payment.

    Veronique, I don't care if anyone quotes what I said. In fact, I think everyone should take a look at how they are being affected by that formula. They should outlaw that formula immediately and demand they charge everybody the same price.

    Unfortunately, I regret that I still don't want to be identified. Thank you for anything you can do to help get rid of that formula. It's not the same as having insurance, but it would be a great help to people who are facing those grotesque bills.

    Veronique, I regret that I don’t wish to identified. I wrote this information so others could look into it to find out why medical bills are so high and causing families to file for bankruptcy. I hope people go to their pile of bills and look at their medical insurance benefit statements. If they don’t have insurance now, they may have had it in the past. If not, perhaps they have relatives who have private health insurance who will let them look at their insurance statements. For many years, I got those statements from various insurance companies and didn’t understand what all the calculations were about. Then I took a medical billing course in an act of desperation to get a permanent job. That’s where I learned about the magic formula that is used by most major insurance companies. I immediately realized the implications of it. Since then, I’ve seen it again on insurance statements for family members, but I’ve never met anyone who knows about it.

    It seems to me that if doctors, labs, and hospitals charge the uninsured 4 times the actual cost*, it’s less likely that they’ll pay their bill. This means that only the insurance companies will pay the bills. Then, to generate revenue to make up for their losses, medical providers have to raise their fees to those who are paying the bill (the insurance companies). However, if they have to raise the fees to the uninsured by $4 for every additional $1 they want to get from the insurance company, they make it so that even less of the uninsured will pay the bill. This can only result in rapidly escalating fees for everyone.

    Note: The contract the insurance companies have with the medical providers (doctors, labs, and hospitals) to give them a reduced price for their services is their “schedule of reasonable and customary fees”, which they have calculated by averaging fees for the same service from different providers, as I understand it. This amount can vary from one provider to another. I guesstimated it to be 65%. I’ve never seen it be close to the provider’s stated regular/base fee, which is charged to the uninsured.

    * As I recall, the practice of charging the uninsured higher fees was designed to be a punitive measure for not having insurance. I think that practice started in the 80's.

    Someone needs to check out the news that Canada does not call health care a RIGHT for its citizens because of lawsuits in which Canadians did not get the health care they needed in a timely manner. The legislation came about in order to stop the lawsuits. Commentors really need to google the Canadian Self Study Health Care Report and read it very carefully. This system is often used as a model and it shouldn't be.

    Watch the famed Michael Moore Healthcare Documentary online free.

    Sicko: http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/sicko/

    One final thought. If you have a disabled adult child on medicaid who you try to put on your insurance policy only to find multiple unreasonable and, in the end, insurmountable barriers that make it impossible to get health insurance for your child... If, you try to find a doctor for the adult child on medicaid and are unable to because of the difficulty in finding a doctor that will take medicaid patients... If you are unable to get your adult child in to see a doctor and if you are, as a result, unable to get adequate medical care for your child, how can you, as a parent, use your own health insurance to see a doctor for yourself?

    Answer. You can't. You don't.

    It's simple. We just march on Washington and demand that members of Congress give us the same health plan they've got.

    Fair is fair.

    Of course, you've got to get people to march...

    I
    I'm a French journalist and I wanted to have Jennifer Charles' permission to quote her analysis in a book I am writing. Thank you. Vérnoique

    OK. Not to rain on this parade, but since when is health care a birthright? When in the past several; millenia of human history did that happen? Where does the right come from? It isn't in the Constitution. Is it a "natural right?" I really don't think we need to be talking of "rights" etc., and really just need to focus on the policy here. Maybe I'm just being nit-picky, but I think we get farther discussing what needs to be done to implement the policy we want rather than trying to fire everyone up with more "gimme gimme gimme" rhetoric.

    In posting this comment, I admittedly have yet to watch this episode of Bill Moyers, which I will promptly do. However, perusing the blog comments previous to pleasured viewing is always enlightening, as well as equal parts frustrating and puzzling.

    I say frustrating and puzzling because amid all the supposed support for "single-payer" advocacy, and universal health coverage (versus the old phrase of socialized medicine), I have seen few references to the actual struggle required for enacting this change. I'm not sure if this results from the traditional lack of historical perspective which seems to handicap most Americans' understanding of class struggle, conflict, and civil/human rights, but it astounds me to no bounds when we treat issues which keep resurfacing every decade or generation as something novel and frightening, and there-by believe the change which is needed will come from our elected officials--who have a rather dreary track record in terms of sweeping healthcare revolution.

    This country has been through various versions of the same health-care reform movement dating back to the 1830's and 1840's, when the first struggles for factory-workers' rights came to the foreground, (i.e., not losing their jobs due to illness or injury, often inflicted by the risks of their very work; having access to medical care provided by the factory-owners/employers when said workers fell sick or were injured, etc.). These issues evolved through the 20th century in multiple other forms, perhaps the most familiar being the Medicaid/Medicare bills which came to head through the 50's/60's/and 70's, and the grassroots efforts of 80's and 90's in pushing for wider access and affordable coverage for patients with HIV/AIDS.

    In addition, one can add the Community Health Clinic expansion of the 60's and 70's, which was snuffed quite effectively for funding cuts by the mid-70's, and so became associated with the charity-care service it is currently relegated to.

    Incidentally, there were efforts to introduce Universal Health coverage going on in the 1930's and 40's, all of which were stomped out for varied reasons--prime amongst them, private health-care lobbyists in Washington who funneled the paranoia of the times, citing communist/socialist conspiracies, and the involvement of the AMA in it's explicit defense of specialized/segregated care over a broader base of access for all people, provided by primary care providers working in a preventative/community health-care model. Why these past efforts failed or were so limited in terms of their original form (i.e.,why Medicare is only for disabled or elderly rather than for all people), resulted from the very little citizen involvement in any of these past efforts at SWEEPING healthcare change. This has been interpreted as a prime failure, both in terms of legislating for universal healthcare, and as a reflection of our supposed vibrant PEOPLE'S democracy.

    The participation of socially minded healthcare professionals is essential in this movement, but I heartily believe for all the wonking/honking/and online blog efforts from doctors, nurses, social workers, etc/etc, there will be no drive to mobilize an effective and compassionate healthcare reform unless you try to rally your patients--THE COMMON CITIZENS--as well.

    The point I'm trying to make here is that for all the legislative efforts regarding "Medicare for all, bill 676" or some such non-sequitor, for all the Bill Moyer's episodes and Michael Moore specs, until you have individual communities made up of citizens advocating for their own rights, of which healthcare is simply a single issue amongst so many in our gradually dissolving democracy, we will fail.

    And for the segmented successes which this country has made upon issues of broadening access to quality-funded healthcare, it has happened due to the grassroots efforts of citizens--seniors marching for Medicare, HIV/AIDS patients and their loved ones, rallying for their right to equal health-care access and coverage.

    We cloud this argument in terms of consumer choice, and private insurance industry "cost-to-benefit" analyses, to confuse and befuddle both the American citizen and people who would be advocates of universal healthcare coverage. The argument becomes a matter of consumer choice and not one of basic human right, and this is the fundamental flaw upon which all legislative efforts stand. This healthcare movement needs to be a revolution, no reform, and it goes beyond class, educational status, socio-economic demographic, or employment benefits.

    I am in agreement with others who are quite confounded as to why Americans seem so blase and complacent with this issue. The answer is we're quite good at responding to polls, and posting on computers--not so good, anymore, at direct community action and grassroots, get-out-on-the street-and-march-on-Washington. We work 3 jobs to keep our benefits, without realizing what we've lost in the interim in regards to our civil rights, and so healthcare goes un-reformed, and public involvement is unrealized.

    In the late 60's and early 70's, when local neighborhood advocacy groups suddenly woke-up to the dreary condition of America's inner-city precincts, the gaping disparities in illness and disease outcomes between poor localities and inhabitants of more affluent neighborhoods, the Community Health Center movement was born. It was coupled with the civil rights struggle, and for a brief span of time, flourished in potential.

    One wonders, as the economy withers, and more people lose their jobs, or take pay cuts to simply keep their dismal paycheck, and communities suffer as a result, how Americans will respond this time around, both to advocating for their own right to publicly supported universal healthcare, and realize it in the context of human-rights, rather than a "healthcare privilege" or a "benefit".

    I applaud the single payer plan because it will foster the idea that health care is a birthright not a privilege.

    Thank you for the great discussion on single payer programs. The simplicity of single payer programs is clearly confounded by the financial interests of the insurance industry. Perhaps it will take further disintegration of our financial systems before the inevitable embrace of the single payer system is finally adopted. I hope not, but I fear this will be the outcome

    Should the U.S. pursue single-payer universal health coverage? Why or why not?

    Of course the U.S. should pursue single-payer! The reasons were abundantly made clear in your interview with both doctors, Mr. Moyers!

    1) Eliminate the private health insurance industry whose job it is to limit access to healthcare and whose primary focus is profit

    2) Single-payer is the only plan that actually provides universal coverage. It allows for private hospitals and doctors to continue to function in a private practice and they bill the government their expenses, which is paid for by taxation on every citizen.

    # Is single-payer universal health insurance politically feasible?

    Yes, it is politically feasible. All it takes is for the head of the house of representatives, Pelosi, Senator Harry Reid and Obama to champion single-payer and hold town hall meetings throughout the United States educating the misinformed masses about what is actually single payer. It is not "socialized medicine" but actually providing national health insurance for every man, woman and child. Citizens can still choose whatever doctor they wish. Uncle Sam pays the tab.

    # Are there any alternative models for health care that are being left out of the discussion or that you support?

    The only alternative model that is not being sufficiently discussed and is being left out of the national debate on health care is single-payer. And this is because the private health insurance industry is dead set against it as it would lead to the destruction of their model of providing health insurance.

    The private health insurance industry is a hideous institution that will do everything in its power to fight single-payer. If only the American people would wake up and learn the truth about single payer. They would support it in droves.

    IT’S IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND THE WAY THE MEDICAL PROVIDERS CALCULATE THE BILL FOR THE UNINSURED. THIS IS OBSCENE, BUT NO ONE SEEMS TO BE AWARE OF THIS.

    (Please bear with me while I provide this long example again. I tried to revise it so it’s more understandable. I got some information from someone I know in Canada. I’ve spent many years analyzing the income and expenses of individuals and families and have also studied medical expenses. I know the only way to get the picture of what is happening inside people’s homes is to follow it through on a step by step basis. My situation is not nearly as bad as most of the other uninsured, at least not yet, but this is how families and individual’s lives begin to be destroyed by this system. One average illness or accident and it’s the beginning of the end for your family as you can see if you follow the billing examples I gave.)

    Whenever people complain about the rising cost of health care, they are usually talking about the rising cost of the insurance premiums that are deducted from the paychecks of employees who have health care benefits. It seems that some people are having a difficult time paying the $30 - 50 dollar increase in their monthly premium. This is a problem the uninsured would like to have.

    It seems that no one knows about the payment formula that the insurance companies force on the medical industry, or how it is applied to the uninsured.

    Most of the major insurance companies have a contract with the medical providers (doctors, labs, and hospitals) to give them a reduced price for their services, which is typically about 65% of the ‘base’ price that is charged only to uninsured patients. Their contracts further stipulate that the insurance companies have to pay only 50% of the base price for the first charge on a given day, and 25% of the base price for the remaining charges for the same day, less the patient’s copay. The formula is:

    BASE PRICE x .65 x .50 = 32.50% of the BASE PRICE for the first charge on a given day.
    BASE PRICE x .65 x .25 = 16.25% of the BASE PRICE for the second and subsequent charge on a given day.

    This means that the insurance companies pay only 16 – 33 % of the base price less the patient’s copay. Thus, you can generally say they pay about 25% of the base price for any medical bill they get. This also means that whenever the doctors and hospitals want to raise their price to the insurance companies by $1, they have to raise the base price to the uninsured by $4.

    THIS FORMULA IS COMMONLY USED BY MOST OF THE MAJOR INSURANCE COMPANIES. This happens every day. I've seen these bills myself.

    To illustrate:

    If a medical procedure "costs" $1200, the insurance company is only asked to pay $300 on behalf of their insured patient, while the uninsured patient would be told to pay the full $1200, which is a $900 UPCHARGE!

    If a medical procedure "costs" $12,000, the insurance company is only asked to pay $3,000 on behalf of their insured patient, while the uninsured patient would be told to pay the full $12,000, which is a $9,000 UPCHARGE!

    If a medical procedure "costs" $120,000, the insurance company is only asked to pay $30,000 on behalf of their insured patient, while the uninsured patient would be told to pay the full $120,000, which is a $90,000 UPCHARGE!

    If a medical procedure "costs" $400,000, the insurance company is only asked to pay $100,000 on behalf of their insured patient, while the uninsured patient would be told to pay the full $400,000. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHAT THE INSURANCE COMPANY IS BILLED AND WHAT THE UNINSURED PATIENT IS BILLED IN THIS EXAMPLE IS A $300,000 UPCHARGE!!!

    I was told a SIMPLE X-RAY will cost me $1,000 without insurance. The insurance company will only have to pay about $300.

    An MRI costs $5,000 without insurance. The insurance company will have to pay about $1,600 for the same test.

    It is my understanding that the actual cost of a medical procedure is closer to what the insurance companies pay, or 25% of the billed fee. The 75% “penalty” is what the uninsured get charged because they don't have insurance.

    The most upsetting thing about rising health care costs is not that the insured patient’s deductible is rising, but that their insurance companies have forced the medical providers to charge the uninsured four times (400%) of what they, the multibillion dollar insurance companies, pay, on average. To make this possible, they have put forth the view that people who don’t have insurance are lazy, unskilled, stupid, or unwilling to contribute to an insurance plan. However, most of the uninsured are working, but their employers will not provide insurance. While they are busy convincing the public that the attitude of the uninsured is the problem, they have neglected to show the truth about what they are charging to private individuals for insurance. Their private insurance plans cost about $700 to $2,000 per month, while the typical uninsured worker earns only $1,200 to $2,400 per month before taxes. It’s very difficult, if not nearly impossible, to pay for food, housing, transportation, etc. with these wages, long before health care costs are added.

    If you assume the average person who gets insurance at work pays a monthly premium of $100 per month, it means they pay about $1,200 per year in premiums. Further, if you assume they pay about $50 per month in copays, it means they pay about $600 per year out of pocket for medical expenses. Thus, the average person that gets insurance at work contributes about $1,800 per year for health care out of their own money. Most of their health care is paid for by their employer, and is untaxable. (Generally, this adds another $12,000 in untaxed benefits to the annual income of the insured employee. Compare this to the uninsured individual, who earns less (even before the untaxed value of the insurance premiums are added), and is typically forced to pay the extra $1,800 “penalty” just for one diagnostic test, and is in no position to get follow-up testing, doctor supervised care, or any treatment. Instead of having the playing field leveled after putting out the $1,800 penalty, which is comparable to the out of pocket expenses of the insured patients, they continue to extort massive sums from the uninsured. There is simply no reason for the uninsured to even go to a doctor because they can’t afford to find out what is actually wrong or get the subsequent treatment.

    The majority of people who have health care provided by their employer would not be able to purchase health care if their employer stopped providing it. They are not "better" people than the uninsured. Where I live, jobs that pay $20,000 to $30,000 (with a growing number who have no medical insurance) per year are the norm, but the media gives you the impression that there are a lot of people who make much higher salaries, $50,000 - $100,000. Only those employed in the medical industry get the higher wages. There are very few people who can afford to purchase health care insurance without a subsidy from their employer; there are very few uninsured people who can afford to pay the grotesquely inflated medical expenses that are 400% higher than what the insurance companies pay. There is a war being waged by the medical industry against the uninsured, who are held in contempt by many in the medical industry. Any contact with a hospital will ruin their lives and destroy their families – bankruptcy, foreclosure, homelessness – it is virtually inevitable. The health care providers don’t care. They feel it’s their duty to charge these grotesque fees to the uninsured.

    Some people seem to believe that it is our fault we don’t have insurance because we don’t work for an employer who provides insurance, and we don’t purchase it. First, there are very few jobs offering insurance today. The people who have insurance from their employers got it years ago in most cases. The jobs with insurance are few and far between. The insurance offered today, is unaffordable to the people who can’t get it at work. The jobs without insurance pay much less than the jobs that offer insurance. It’s like getting hit from both sides – lower salaries AND no benefits. Then, the biggest insult is that we get charged 4 times what the people with benefits and higher salaries get charged when we seek medical care. It’s unbelievable what poor math skills the people in the medical industry have when they decide who can afford to pay the most for the same treatment. It’s also ironic that the “caring” profession is so cruel and inhumane toward people who can’t find a job with insurance.

    Personally, I tried to purchase an inexpensive health insurance plan. They charge me $100 per month, the same amount as the premiums paid by those employees who get insurance from their employer, except that my employer doesn’t contribute a dime. I want to contribute, to pay my fair share, so I signed up. Unfortunately, the cut-rate insurance company I pay benefits to won’t pay for much of anything. My annual limit on benefits is the amount I pay for my premiums, which is $1,200. The health plans provided by most employers have annual benefit limits typically of $200,000 to $500,000 – quite a bit more than my $1,200 limit. (That’s one thousand two hundred dollars versus two hundred thousand dollars or more!) Unfortunately, I had to go to the emergency room and they wouldn’t pay any of it. My other visits to the doctor’s office were excluded by my cut-rate insurance company through numerous deductibles and copays. They only real benefit I get is that some doctors will reduce their price to people on that plan, which I understand is simply an agreement for the doctor to offer me a lower fee without reimbursement by the insurance company. Essentially, the insurance company keeps what I pay to them, and some doctors will reduce my bill without insurance reimbursement, but no serious tests or emergency care. It’s a joke. (Since I am partially disabled and haven’t had medical insurance or serious medical care in 6 years, I need real medical care, at least initially.) If the doctors would just give me the reduced rate without using the insurance plan, instead of charging me 4 times the actual cost, I would be able to use the money I now pay to the cut-rate insurance company for premiums to pay the doctor’s bills.

    I want to state that I am a “temporary” employee without benefits who has been working at the same job for several years. I sit next to many permanent employees who have benefits. Several years ago the company I work for stopped hiring permanent employees with benefits. However, they still needed warm bodies to keep the company running so they invented “temporary” positions that don’t offer insurance. In the geographic region where I live, hiring “temporary” employees without benefits, to supplement full time employees with benefits, to save the company money is a common practice. Therefore, you could say that the “temps” are keeping the company alive so it can pay the benefits to the permanent employees. Thus, we are subsidizing the benefits and salaries of the permanent employees by giving our services for half price. Then, we get charged 400% more for our uninsured medical expenses! That sounds fair doesn’t it?

    I just got off the phone with someone I know in Canada. They pay a 13% hospital tax on most items except food, such as cars, gas, furniture, soda, laundry detergent, etc. I don't know how their income taxes compare to ours. They have to wait about 2 weeks to get an appointment with a doctor. She thought she recalled having to wait about 6 weeks to get an MRI in a non-emergency situation. She wasn’t sure how long you would have to wait for care if you had cancer. She expressed difficulty finding a doctor she liked (2 moved, she didn’t like 2 others). All her medical expenses are paid for except that she pays $65/mo for a prescription plan. She is very old, so it was a little difficult to sort out every part of what she was saying, but she was positive about the Canadian health system overall.

    Thanks, Bill Moyers, for all the years that you have given your honest and unique assessment and provided such special information to our citizens. There is no one on any TV station as brave or as fine as you are.

    We truly would need a non-biased Single Payer Plan and may even save money by providing another alternative, integrative medicine. We need safer and better methodology for those who have life-threatening reactions to prescription drugs and others who want to prevent surgery. Thank you for this opportunity to express our views.

    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 care, which they obviously wouldn't with single payer. Once this is pointed out, those favoring single payer may surpass 90%.

    The mainstream media does it's best to stifle the conversation and skew the polling. If someone tried to slide "single payer" into a discussion, I'd bet they'd bleep it out. Congress has.

    I lived in the UK/Ireland for several years, and had both my babies there (one in England, the other in Ireland.) I found the system to be simple, effective and efficient. It seemed that doctors were far less wasteful there. Recently, here in Los Angeles, my dad was hospitalized, and I saw the amount of waste that goes on--nothing is re-used, everything is disposable. Gloves, tubes, you name it, every ten minutes something went into the trash. It is shocking, not just for the prices we pay, but for the cost to the environment in squandered plastic. I've heard the elderly, conservative friends of my father claim that in the UK you have to go an a waiting list if you need surgery, and that the system is terrible, but I can tell you that isn't true. Their system is more efficient and supportive than ours, by a long shot. And it is free to everyone. Not just the poor. Health care is something they simply don't have to worry about. I want to ask you all to imagine what your current circumstances would be like if your income taxes were a few percentage points higher, but you didn't have to pay for health insurance, and you didn't have to pay for your children's (or your own) college education. And both systems worked better than they do here (at our exorbitant prices.) I'm currently working as a pastry chef at a job I hate because I get health insurance through it, and fear taking a job I want because I'd have to pay hundreds of dollars for health insurance and, though I would make more money at the new job, all of it would go toward tuition, since my (still pathetic) higher salary would cut drastically the student grants I get for my two college-age daughters. This system is broken beyond repair. Let's ditch it and adopt one that all other industrialized countries have embraced long ago--free (or almost free) health care for all.

    The truth is simple: single-payer WORKS. We see it demonstrated in other countries. The alternative DOESN'T WORK. We see that every day in this country.

    It's a no brainer. The fact that it hasn't happened is only proof of how powerful corporate interests are in our political system.

    If you'd like to understand why we are not likely to get single payer, you need to change your paradigm to one related to cost. I can explain it if you want to take the time. I live near Boston which you no doubt visit from time to time.

    Yes, we should pursue the single-payer option and it SHOULD be politically feasible.

    I recently sent the message below to my elected representatives. Haven't heard back from them yet.

    "You and other federal employees have the best health care money can buy, thanks to the generosity of the American taxpayer. What if you began paying for your own health care so you'd have a better understanding of what the rest of us are dealing with, with high costs and poor coverage? That savings could then go into a fund to help pay for candidates who choose to run using a public funding option (Fair Elections Now Act).

    "The math is simple. Campaign contributions from those who favor the status quo are why we don't have a health care system that works for most Americans. Public funding of elections will allow those candidates who choose it to work for the people instead of the special interests."

    The comment made by Mr. Gordon that " The inescapable fact is that only the profit motive and competition keep enterprises lean,efficient,innovative and customer friendly" is far from the truth unless of course you can afford one of the new boutique practices. I cannot and neith can most of the people in this Country. He takes an elitist view of healthcare which is how many politicians and corporate bosses see this. Our healthcare system in this Country is one of the most user unfriendly systems. I cannot begin to tell you of the nightmares my husband and I went through when he had to go to an emergency room in California. The record keeping, and the phone calls and the retelling of our story to the hospital billing office took over a year to straighten out. This is not what I call efficient, innovative or customer friendly. Mr. Gordon needs to step into some of our shoes before he and others like him open their mouths to give advice.
    Single payer, is the wisent, mot cost effective, and efficient method of providing healthcare for all of us.

    .

    Thanks for the heads-up Maragret

    For those here who found Margaret's post for the May 30th: National Day of Action a bit confusing you may wish to use this direct link.

    healthcare-now.org/campaigns/may-30th-day-of-action/

    Additional links at that page on the left side of the window will assist you in finding the actual locations in your particular area or region.

    Thanks again Margaret.

    OldenGoldenDecoy

    .

    For those of you ready to take action:http://www.healthcare-now.org


    May 30th: National Day of Action

    Nationwide Rallies for Improved Medicare for All
    Join thousands of single-payer supporters in a nationwide week of action to support improved Medicare for all (HR 676).

    Single-payer activists will be gathering all over the country to say, "Healthcare, yes; Insurance companies, no," and to show solidarity with demonstrations at the AHIP (American Health Insurance Plans, a private health insurance lobby) conference in San Diego.
    If an action isn't already in your city, plan your own day of action! It can be a town hall meeting, demonstration in front of a local insurance company, film showing, vigil, or your own unique idea. Let us know what you'd like to start planning by contacting info@healthcare-now.org.
    47 million Americans are uninsured. Private insurance rates are rising faster than inflation and our incomes. By 2025 the cost of private health insurance will exceed our projected income.

    A national, single-payer healthcare system is the only healthcare reform option that will cover every American resident while saving us billions of dollars. The majority of Americans want it. The majority of physicians want it. The only thing missing is the political will in Washington.
    Improved Medicare for All: We can do it!
    Sponsored by:
    The Leadership Conference for Guaranteed Health Care
    Healthcare-NOW!
    Progressive Democrats of America
    CNA/National Nurses Organizing Committee
    Physicians for a National Health Program
    Americans for Democratic Action
    Green Party
    Take Action
    Join Us!

    Healthcare-NOW! is always looking for volunteers and organizers who are committed to passing national, single-payer legislation in the US. As a national organization, we are connected to over 400 activists in all fifty states. Join us!
    In the past, we have organized nationwide protests, vigils, teach-ins, and road shows that have garnered national attention.
    So please, contact us if you’re interested. You can email us at info[at]healthcare-now.org or call 800-453-1305.

    10 Ways to Take Action Now
     Call your congressional representatives and ask that they cosponsor and actively advocate for HR 676. Call toll free 1-866-338-1015
     Donate to Healthcare-NOW!
     Organize a Road Show event in your community or state. View our Road Show page for ideas on how to organize.
     Vote for candidates who support HR 676–find single-payer candidates at www.sickocure.org.
     Circulate a petition supporting HR 676 - Download the petition here
     Host a screening of SiCKO or other movies (see our recommended movie list) that highlight the U.S. healthcare crisis. Discuss the problem and the single-payer solution.
     Organize a Truth Hearing in your congressional district. Find out how on our Truth Hearing Page.
     Demonstrate in front of insurance companies. Find out how in our Protest Toolkit.
     Tell your story. If you or your loved ones have experienced a healthcare horror story, share it with the Healthcare-NOW. Read Death by Spreadsheet.
     Distribute information to your coworkers, friends, and family. Find great handouts on our Resources Page to share with anyone or order booklets and information from the Resources page.
    Days of action happening in:
    Albany, NY - May 27th
    Atlana, GA - May 27th
    Augusta, ME - May 30th
    Austin, TX - May 30th
    Billings, MT - May 16th
    Boise, ID - May 30th
    Boston, MA - May 30th
    Chicago, IL - June 2nd
    Cleveland, OH - May 30th
    Denver, CO - May 30th
    Des Moines, IA - May 28th - June 3rd
    Elmwood Park, NJ - June 5
    El Paso, TX - May 30th
    Fenton, MI - May 21st
    Fort Collins, CO - May 30th
    Gainesville, FL - May 28th & 30th
    Grand Rapids, MI - May 30th
    Greeley, CO - May 30th
    Hastings-On-Hudson, NY - May 30th
    Iowa City, IA - May 30th
    Indianapolis, IN - May 20th
    Kent, OH - May 30th
    Lawrence, KS - May 30th
    Los Angeles, CA - TBA
    Louisville, KY - May 28th
    Madison, WI - May 29th
    Middleton, CT - May 28th
    Minneapolis, MN - May 31st
    Nashville, TN - May 30th
    New Albany, IN - May 30th
    New York City, NY - May 30th
    Northfield, MN - May 30th
    Philadelphia, PA - May 30th
    Pittsburgh, PA - May 29th
    Phoenix, AZ - May 30th
    Pontiac, MI - June 16th
    Portland, OR - May 27th
    Princeton, NJ - May 31st
    Pueblo, CO - June 2nd
    Reno, NV - May 31st
    Rochester, NY - May 30th
    San Diego, CA - June 3rd
    San Francisco, CA - May 29th
    Seattle, WA - May 30th
    Sioux Falls, SD - May 30th
    Springfield, MA - May 27th
    Tacoma, WA - May 30th
    Tampa, FL - May 28th
    Topeka, KS - May 30th
    Towson, MD - May 30th
    Wheaton, MD - May 30th
    White Plains, NY - May 30th
    Your city or town not listed? Let us know that you'd like to organize an event on May 30th.
    CAMPAIGN HEADLINES
    Single-Payer Activists met in Nashville, TN for Healthcare Rally
    October 6, 2008 - Debby Hester of Healthcare-NOW! Nashville and PNHP in Tennessee were able to get a speaker on... Read more»
    Activist Report Back from Healthcare Rally in Houston, TX
    A report from Houston TX - Houston’s RALLY for Health Care Reform was held on 10/4/08 and marked our first single-payer... Read more»
    CNA walked Golden Gate Bridge in support of HR 676
    Single Payer Activists led by 1000 convention delegates from the California Nurses Association walked San Francisco’s...


    "Don't despair, Chris, for someday these same persons will be chronically ill,injured, disabled, infirm, needing medical attention they can't afford or have a loved one they care about in those straits. Not even the most positive outlook or an obsessive-compulsive lookout can keep one safe and healthy forever."

    Though I try hard to keep away from posting, I felt compel to respond to the persons comments.
    I was looking, thinking and analyzing the issues from same points of views as you
    and all others on this board. Thanks, keep up the good work.

    NO ONE should try and profit off of your health. Profit and Health do not mix, just like oil and water. Unfortunately the people who decide are on the side of profit. They need to be stopped and voted all out of office. My family came to this country becasue we belived it was a democracy, where the will of the people is stronger than those who have money. Let's hope democracy continues the way it was intended. One last thing, Shame on Barack Obama or changing his views on this issue to lean towards the side of profit.

    Chris: There is such a thing as an argument from blissful ignorance. And there is such a think as mistaking personal good fortune in the present for meritorious superiority. You will find that those who oppose single payer healthcare extremely , short sighted, self-centered and of limited experience as concerns illness, suffering and medical bills. These kinds of persons would oppose highway building, thinking they could hack through the frontier in their SUV and then charge others a toll. You will often find they are in a predatory employment or work for someone who is. Don't dispair, Chris, for someday these same persons will be chronically ill,injured, disabled, infirm, needing medical attention they can't afford or have a loved one they care about in those straits. Not even the most positive outlook or an obsessive-compulsive lookout can keep one safe and healthy forever. As in the recent pandemic scare, we realize the truth that humanity is a herd, that health is collective and pervasive, and that no citizen in this crowded world can ever go it alone anymore. What you see in the opposition is obedience to the exploitive class in hope of crumbs and trickle, or maybe a tantrum against the undeniable reality that organizing for health care as a right is good and will lead to other improvements and reforms. When people realize that we need no parasites to make this system work they will find other applications of the model (i.e.:collective self-employment, community food and energy production).(Picture a hardy individualist treating his own cancer with survivalist tools and you will understand my reasoning, Chris.)


    Posted by Gary Halpin,
    "I will not try and stop you. All I ask is you make it voluntary to join and
    voluntary to opt out. Then maybe others, like myself, can attempt to build
    a true free-market system, which will also be 100% voluntary to join and leave.
    Isn't this freedom of choice? Isn't this fair? Or does universal healthcare
    FORCE everyone into it, whether they want it or not.
    Isn't this no freedom? Isn't this unfair?"

    FREEDOM of CHOICE, FAIR, EQUALITY, JUSTICE, LAWS,
    TRUE DEMOCRACY ETC. is when the people are EMPOWERD TO
    EXPRESS THEIR "WILL ON ALL ISSUES"!

    To make it "fair, freedom of choice..." etc. for ALL,

    "AMEND THE CONSTITUTION"!
    EMPOWER THE PEOPLE TO EXPRESS "THEIR WILL ON ALL ISSUES"!

    IT WILL BE "VERY VOLANTARY"! It Will be on the table for every one.
    As someone said, "JUST THE WAY THE DOCTOR ORDERS" FOR ALL.
    You state, "Isn't this unfair?" You do want "to be FAIR", don't you!
    Place "ALL ISSUES on the BALLOT, so we can "ALL EXPRESS OUR WILL".

    It is not a "FREE-MARKET SYTEM" when the three TRILLION DOLARS were
    appropriated and approved by OLIGARCHY to bail out the corrupt banking system,
    and left a "12 year child to die of infection, or let a women bleed to death on the floor....".
    A parent "did not have $80.00 dollars" to pay a doctor, to save a "child life"!
    A parent, a "mother", one of 50 millions, uninsured lost a child!


    Many commenters make the erroneous assumption that single-payer is somehow "socialized" medicine.

    As a Canadian, I will reiterate that this is not correct. The government acts as an insurance company that pays self-employed physicians. Our doctors don't work in clinics paid for by the state: they pay for their supplies, their rent and all the other costs of running a business out of revenue from treatments.

    This is a key reason why our system is so much more efficient than the US system: our doctors have to find efficiencies to maximize profit. At the same time, in the US, doctors serving insured patients have an artificially lowered rate of costly patients, because these are disproportionately eliminated by the system.

    We understand what socialism is, and our medical system isn't it. I fear that the term, used in the generally right-wing comments betrays more an inclination to fear, uncertainty and doubt than a basic knowledge of the issue.

    To President Obama: We are starting from scratch, because presently, we don't have a health care delivery system that benefits everyone. To Mr. Baucus, your day of reckoning, and your deep-pockets relationship with the health insurance industry, is at hand, and will soon be put to an end. For the millions of uninsured families, your energies may be duly directed toward an active political surge of pressure and loud voices until the one and obvious single-payer health care plan is forged. Imagine, boys and girls, a nation of citizens and their employers who never again have to add the cost of health care to their contract negotiations, only salaries, vacations and bonuses. Imagine how much more money would be available for such without healthcare being thrust upon corporations and small businesses. This would be an automatic economic stimulus package as well as a universal healthcare plan for the nation. The silly sounds of single-payer naysayers will only get sillier as time wears on.
    Amen.
    MH Pathfinder

    It is NOT ONLY the insurance companies. It goes much deeper - to the very roots of our society, and we need a huge and comprehensive reform.
    Think about causes and then - costs of obesity and so-called 'life-style disease' of our people.
    Think about pharmaceutical companies, their endless commercials and their super-profits, too.
    Think about thousands of heart surgeries that should have been replaced with preventative treatment, and their costs also.
    Think about a doctor who charges his patient and patient's insurance $200 for the 1.25 hours in a waiting room and a 15-min of 'do-nothing' consultation that follows. (This is from my very own and very recent experience).
    I guess, nobody knows now what solution we should go with. The whole system seems to be deeply rotten. But we have the rights to try and we still have - I just hope - the voting power to fix it.

    Margaret Heckler,

    Great post and thanks for the ''ugly'' HC Industry stats !!!!!!

    Why is the MSM silent about all this, as many of us have wondered? Are they also part of this ''Corporate Conspiracy'' that we have come to suspect ??

    I also think single-payer is the goal, but with unemployment rising, perhaps an abrupt switch would only cause that to be worse. It would also give Republicans a talking point in coming elections, since Obama campaigned for choice. He probably knows that it will become single-payer sooner rather than later if it just gets started!

    Bill,
    Thank you for your program on this particular subject. I was not aware of what single-payer healthcare was. Your program provided a lot of information for why single payer healthcare makes a lot of common sense.

    I was happy that pbs finally gave some time to this issue. No doubt about it, there is a media black out on this issue and the American people should be up in arms at just that insult to our democracy! Having said that I was disappointed that your poll did not include a vote for single payer. I am against any plan that includes the for-profit companies. I am against any plan that is just another patch on this leaking dike of an excuse for US health care.

    It might interest people to know that the US Justice Department has collected over $21 billion dollars (yes, BILLION! ) in fraud settlements since 1986 from insurance companies and other health care companies engaged in fraud against the government (Medicare, Medicaid etc). For fiscal year 2008 the DOJ secured $1.34 Billion in settlements and judgments of which $1.12 BILLION were related to health care. (DOJ Report released 11/10/2008).

    When our politicians, government officials and the President say there is not enough money for a single payer system I say how can that be if the health care CEOs are making more money than any other industry's CEOs (for example, Aetna CEO Williams makes $19.8 million in total compensation (WSJ April 2009) and the US government has recovered $21 billion from crooked health care insurers and other companies. And this is just the fraud committed against the government - how many more billions have each state's attorney general secured in fraud cases against consumers? When I hear Senator Max Baucus and the lobbyist Karen Ignagni state that we have to come up with a solution to our country’s health care problems that is “uniquely American” I want to scream – what does that mean? That we cannot learn from other countries how to fix this issue? That only a capitalistic solution will be an “American” solution”?. What is “uniquely American” in this debacle is that we are the ONLY industrial nation that allows its citizens to go bankrupt because of medical bills, we are the ONLY industrialized nation that spends 1/3 of every health care dollar on administration, marketing and salaries, We are the ONLY industrialized nation that does not regulate the drug companies, we are the ONLY industrialized nation that lets its citizens die because of how much money they have or the color of their skin – if that is how we define “uniquely American” I want no part of it!

    A recent fraud case that may interest people is a class action law suit brought against United Health Care, Aetna, Wellpoint, Oxford, CIGNA and others by NYS Attorney General Cuomo. Turns out that the data base used by the insurance companies to calculate reimbursement rates for out-of –network providers, owned by a company called Ingenix, is itself owned 100% by United Health Care, - is nothing but fake numbers. United Health Care just settled for $50 Million, Aetna for $40 Million and they paid $350 Million to the AMA in settlement. "For the past ten years American patients have suffered from unfair reimbursements for critical medical services due to a conflict-ridden system that has been owned, operated and manipulated by the health care industry."(Attorney General Cuomo Announces Historic Nationwide Health Insurance Reform - Jan 13, 2009).

    When President Obama states that he will not be the one responsible for "destroying the health care industry" he is defending known crooks, liars and murderers! I say to the President that he should have no qualms about destroying this so called "industry" as it has no qualms about destroying America. The for-profit players will not be happy until they have bankrupted this nation and suck Americans dry. We have more to fear from them then we ever have from “terrorists”)!

    Respectfully,

    Margaret Heckler
    Stratford, CT

    I just sent this to Speaker Pelosi at AmericanVoices@mail.house.gov

    Dear Speaker Pelosi,

    Please prevent Max Baucus and the health profiteers from turning the health care debate into the healthcare de bait and switch. He says everything is on the table - then says single-payer is not on the table. Maybe you should form an independent commission of people who do not derive campaign funds and other revenue from this industry to analyze the merits of single-payer. It would be more beneficial than this rush that reminds me so much of the Bush administration approach on important matters. This country needs a factual comparison of private insurance and single payer's effects in the USA and other countries regarding access to care, health costs and outcomes. We need real FACTS - not the opinion of those who profit and should be disqualified from the process. I wrote a poem for the occasion.

    Our social safety net is torn,
    because in the USA we were born.

    The industrialized world has medical care,
    but not over here, only over there.

    Our medical coverage is poor,
    the insurance predator is at the door.

    Our nest egg and healthcare are broken,
    but Max Baucus and the lobbyists have spoken.

    Our government says their help we don’t need,
    will they overcome greed when we bleed if we plead? 

    They say single-payer is off the table,
    let's vote them out as soon as we're able.

    But the C.E.O.’s will sleep tight tonight,
    because they got the TARP and don’t share our plight.

    They can’t understand - why all the fuss,
    If their security blanket suffocates the rest of us. 

    I support a single-payer national health care system because our present system is broken at its core. All that is required to create a fair and equitable system is political will, and that will can be mobilized if a sufficient number of Americans speak truth to the entrenched power and greed of private-sector insurance carriers and providers with a single word: "Enough."

    Gary Halpin must be one of the healthy Americans with no preexisting conditions who thinks there is a "free market" of health care choices. The insurance industry has actually made sure there is "no market" for millions of Americans with preexisting conditions.

    Insurance only works when the costs are distributed over the whole market, not just the healthy ones. HR 676 is the solution.

    .


    In reference to Linda Mae @ May 26, 2009 3:31 AM

    Health Care in the US is currently, and has at least for the past 60 years been subject to "rationing" by the forces of for-profit corporations, both from within the insurance and the provider interests. No ifs, ands or buts...

    Although, I do apprecaite the input from the likes of Linda Mae in these discussions. It highlights exactly why there is a majority of thinking people in our country who now see the clear need to move progressively forward into the future and not be weighed down, nor stuck in the past by those who feel that the status quo is perfectly fine with them, so it must be fine for everyone else.

    Linda, as an old dearly departed friend of mine once wrote:

    "Always try and keep what's real near. If what's real makes you feel secure. Or reality might disappear..."

    Now... as you sail on through life... may the warm wind at your back be your own.

    OldenGoldenDecoy

    .

    .

    To Amigo @ May 26, 2009 1:10 PM

    I hear you ... and hundreds of thousands hear you too.

    OldenGoldenDecoy

    .

    This was in response to the comment that there was no sense of debate about the single-payer issue. It is true that most of the program time was allocated to single-payer advocates. Considering that there has been an almost complete shutout of the single-payer idea in the corporate-owned mainstream media (except for negative comments that are frequently based on untruths), and considering that not even one single-payer advocate was allowed to sit around a table of 15 "well-connected" guests at the Senate Finance Committee Roundtables (although polls have indicated that more than 60% of the people favor this option), I would say that Bill Moyer's coverage was very fair. He was trying to give some badly needed "equal time" although there is no way that one program can make up for the years of "unequal time" sponsored by media outlets that have a financial interest in keeping things the way they are.

    So there is obviously a high demand for this magical single-payer, universal health care system, which will completely nationalize (i.e. socialize) the medical industry. While most proponents believe it is the free-market that has failed, I would estimate that we are already well beyond 50% of the medical industry being nationalized, socialized, and an even higher percentage being regulated. In other words, it ain't no free-market system.

    So here is my offer. Since there is such a demand for magic, why can't all those who are in favor of single-payer, or universal healthcare (UH) pool their resources and go for it. I will not try and stop you. All I ask is you make it voluntary to join and voluntary to opt out. Then maybe others, like myself, can attempt to build a true free-market system, which will also be 100% voluntary to join and leave. Isn't this freedom of choice? Isn't this fair? Or does universal healthcare FORCE everyone into it, whether they want it or not. Isn't this no freedom? Isn't this unfair?

    People sing the praises of the employer-based insurance system but not only does it not cover the unemployed, it ties people into jobs they don't want. It holds many talented people back from potential entrepreneurship, something this country should support.

    Based on talking to my friends, if they could get decent healthcare outside their current employment, they would quit and be self-employed.

    Hence, employer-based insurance keeps employees from quitting even as pay and working conditions are lousy. It traps workers and keeps them from going out on their own an innovating, and probably competing with their former employers!

    Perhaps that's why businesses lobby against single-payer. It may be the last thing keeping their labor force captive.

    Carol B
    (self employed for 17 years)

    There are several fallacies within your argument, Linda Mae.

    Not everyone whose finances are effectively ruined because of medical bills files for bankruptcy. We didn't. That doesn't change the fact that the insurance company we had went to great lengths to get rid of us nor does it change the fact that the price tag on just our child's medicine alone was more than 3 times our entire income which was why the insurance company went to such great lengths to get rid of us.

    The health insurance industry rations health care currently for people of all ages. One need not wait till the age of retirement to have one's health care rationed. The economy and people's fear of bills that they cannot pay is rationing health care right now.

    By the way, how many people without insurance do you think your local hospital can treat and still keep their doors open? They don't get their medical supplies and pharmaceuticals free. Doctors and nurses don't get their education free and like the rest of us have education loans that they are expected to pay back, mortgages, and monthly bills.

    And last but not least. Republicans and their philosophy of unrestrained capitalism have finally succeeded in making what they call socialism look good.

    Bill Moyers should have called his program an infomercial for Single payer health care. There was no sense of debate. It sounded scripted and I wondered where the teleprompters were hidden. Furthermore, the "facts" that were bandied about were either lies or slanted. It was a slick piece of media with the aim of convincing someone who has not looked into the issue - completely looked on both sides - to jump on the bandwagon.

    I also wondered how much George Soros had contributed - either directly or indirectly - to the performance. Bill did the same type of "program" with the McCain Feingold bill - but forgot to tell the audience that the speakers were all under the same Soros umbrella.

    I liked how Dr. H skirted the issue of the need for rationing in the future. Also, 16,000 physicians are not a groundswell. Plus, they all forgot to mention Tom Daschle's comment about Americans need to realize that they will die and cannot expect services which will extend their life 5 years because the money will go to younger citizens. Plus, Mr. Soros has pushed for the right to assisted suicide for those in health problems. That will save loads of money.

    No one mentioned the extensive Canadian Health Care Study Report - done by the country itself. I am not surprised because it paints a dire picture that I doubt many Americans would like. It takes months to get procedures which we get in weeks. You can google Canadian Health Care Study and find the report. It is long but well worth reading.

    I was moved by Donna's comments but surely she knows that if she had been living in Canada, she'd be dead by now. She was lucky to be living in here. I have friends from Canada and they think our insurance is best. Many of them try to come to the states for care that they cannot get at home. They say that the young kids don't worry because they are healthy and don't need the services that we over 60 need.

    I think a country that will ration health care to its citizens over 60 - and it will be even worse than now with Medicare and Medicaid - is immoral. My parents are 90 and 92. I've been so happy to know that I have strong genes. Now I am not so sure. I will not be able to get the services that they have received. That would make them a drag to the single payer system.

    Mr. Moyers should just change the title of his show to Bill Moyers Socialistic One World Vision. I thought the comparison of Single Payer to using a town library to be so insulting. The fire department as well. The difference in cost is so staggering that it is ridiculous that the comparison was made.

    Massachusetts is struggling. I know.

    It is blatantly incorrect to say 50% of bankruptcies are due to insurance. Also, it is against the law for any hospital to turn away a patient because he cannot pay. "industrialized" countries and it will not happen here in out future if this travesty called single payer comes true.

    Mr. Moyers created the need for McCain Feingold using his position on PBS. He tried to do the same with this issue. I swear that the taping took place after hours of rehearsal and a good meal with lots of wine. They were positively giddy. Or, perhaps they were just high on the idea that those who watched the broadcast would be ignorant enough to believe it.

    Mr. Moyers needs to admit that his show is an offshoot of the Obama, Soros connection. I also wondered how many of his "sponsors" are funded by Soros. I was told that the ACORN "mother" house is the address for at least 200 - 250 "different" groups. I don't have time to check out addresses and it wouldn't help since we all have Mailbox companies in our towns to use as addresses.

    Why is the only alternative proposed by Progressives, that is Socialists - or Communists, or Fascists - that we tear people down rather than help build others up? We don't need hand outs; we need hand ups. Educate. Build self confidence and responsibility.

    Remember that companies provide jobs and jobs allow us all to enjoy our lives. I don't care how much money some one makes as long as I make enough to serve my needs through my hard work.

    Finally, has Mr. Moyers redistributed his wealth yet? If not, he can send me $15,000 so I can buy a few things I want. Or, he can donate it in my name to his local hospital so that they can fund a clinic. I wait for Mr. Obama to decide that all media should have a salary cap - actors, reporters - those like Mr. Moyers.

    Mr. Moyers has lost his credibility to argue an issue without bias, slant, and with truth. How can we make a decision with this one sided pap?

    In response to "Are there any alternative models for health care that are being left out of the discussion or that you support?" I'd like to point out a bill already before the Senate called the "Healthy Americans Act". Here are some features of this proposal:
    - It's universal and compulsory coverage that's as good as members of Congress get today
    - Its coverage doesn't go away, even if you change or lose your job, retire, go to school, or become too sick to work
    - It's been refined and reviewed extensively since January 2007, including reviews by the Congressional Budget Office, the Joint Committee on Taxation, and the independent consulting firm Lewin Group
    - Employers would no longer provide health coverage; instead they'd convert the current cost of coverage into additional salary for employees, who would use this money to buy insurance, which they would be required to have
    - Getting rid of the $200 billion a year employer tax deduction would free up funds to subsidize insurance up to 400 percent of the poverty line, which is $82,000 for a family of four
    - Families who have incomes under $40,000 a year will have less out-of-pocket expenses than they do today
    - Families between $40,000 and $50,000 would pay about $7 a month more
    - Families between $50,000 and $150,000 would pay about $28 a month more
    - In return for these increases, families get guaranteed coverage that they would never lose for any reason, coverage that would be more comprehensive and include prevention benefits
    - Over a dozen Senators from both parties co-sponsored it, including senators such as Lindsey Graham, Joe Lieberman, Arlen Specter, Lamar Alexander, Mary Landrieu, and Bill Nelson

    .

    Thank you for providing this forum for discussions. I had posted this earlier in the thread and have noticed that no one has commented on the questions I brought up, so here is the post once more. Mainly for those who didn't see my original post.

    I am 62 years old. My wife of 40 years is 58. We still continue to be able to afford private coverage. We are both very active and in good health. We both continue to be employed.

    Can someone tell all of us what the combined CEO's and fat cats and various board of directors salaries and advertising and marketing budgets are of the top 10 publicly-traded health insurance corporations?

    Then to add to that, what's the stock market investors cut of the action?

    Plus don't overlook this. What is the amount for the lobbying and legal expenses for those lobbyists in both Washington DC and every state in the Union?

    Oh, and then there are the expenses paid out for the various associations who run copious amounts of bat-crazy spin-and-spew fact twisting BS through the myriad of print, TV and internet news outlets throughout the country.

    What's all the above add up to?

    And here is an eye-opening stat from Health Care for America Now:

    Profits of the 10 largest publicly traded insurers increased 428 percent from 2000 to 2007, from $2.4 billion to $12.9 billion.

    Has your wage or salary gone up 428 percent?

    Now let's get serious, how much does all of that truly benefit the doctor/patient relationship?

    On an end note: Our family of three has had the fortunate opportunity to have had health care coverage continuously with the same system since 1982. Over that 27 year period our total outlay for the premiums has been $175,500. Presently our coverage costs $725 per month for only the two of us now. Thanks to our genetics, our lifestyle of healthy living practices, preventative care, and our fortunate situation of no catastrophic hospitalizations -- over that same period of time our total doctor and medical bills, including co-payments have added up to a yearly average of $859.72. That's a grand total of $23,212.50 over the 27 years. I wonder if there's any chance of getting a rebate on what we've saved the system?

    And just imagine the hundreds of thousands, no make that millions of people who haven't been as fortunate in that same time period.

    Think about it ...

    House Bill 676

    Senate Bill 703

    Read them ... if you haven't already done so.

    Thanks again for providing this forum.


    OldenGoldenDecoy

    .

    Personally, I can't wait until Walmart and Walgreens Drug Stores open their little clinics. Afterall, it was Walmart who came to the aid of the people in New Orleans when the government would not. Moreover, while Obama promised a lot during the election, he seems to peter out when it comes time to put the money where his mouth was. At least I'll be able to get some simple services from Walmart. I don't know what to do about the more complicated issues. I have noticed a trend, though, where such low cost clinics are being located only in very, very impoverished areas. While I don't live in an area like that, there are plenty of people here who don't have, and cannot afford, health insurance, but no one pays attention to us. I have no faith that a feasible solution will be found for the uninsured. The premiums for a government plan will probably be unreasonably high. Any talk of having a medical "savings account" is ludicrous. They assume the uninsured have much higher incomes than they do. The people in the government aren't in touch with average people.

    IT’S IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND THE WAY THE MEDICAL PROVIDERS CALCULATE THE BILL FOR THE UNINSURED. THIS IS OBSCENE, BUT NO ONE SEEMS TO BE AWARE OF THIS.

    Whenever people complain about the rising cost of health care, they are usually talking about the rising cost of the insurance premiums that are deducted from the paychecks of employees who have health care benefits. It seems that some people are having a difficult time paying the $30 - 50 dollar increase in their monthly premium. This is a problem the uninsured would like to have.

    It seems that no one knows about the payment formula that the insurance companies force on the medical industry, or how it is applied to the uninsured.

    Most of the major insurance companies have a contract with the medical providers (doctors, labs, and hospitals) to give them a reduced price for their services, which is typically about 65% of the ‘base’ price that is charged only to uninsured patients. Their contracts further stipulate that the insurance companies have to pay only 50% of the base price for the first charge on a given day, and 25% of the base price for the remaining charges for the same day, less the patient’s copay. This means that the insurance companies pay only 16 – 33 % of the base price less the patient’s copay. Thus, you can generally say they pay about 25% of the base price for any medical bill they get. This also means that whenever the doctors and hospitals want to raise their price to the insurance companies by $1, they have to raise the base price to the uninsured by $4.

    This formula is commonly used by most of the major insurance companies.

    To illustrate:

    If a medical procedure "costs" $1200, the insurance company is only asked to pay $300 on behalf of their insured patient, while the uninsured patient would be told to pay the full $1200.

    If a medical procedure "costs" $12,000, the insurance company is only asked to pay $3,000 on behalf of their insured patient, while the uninsured patient would be told to pay the full $12,000.

    If a medical procedure "costs" $120,000, the insurance company is only asked to pay $30,000 on behalf of their insured patient, while the uninsured patient would be told to pay the full $120,000.

    If a medical procedure "costs" $400,000, the insurance company is only asked to pay $100,000 on behalf of their insured patient, while the uninsured patient would be told to pay the full $400,000. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHAT THE INSURANCE COMPANY IS BILLED AND WHAT THE UNINSURED PATIENT IS BILLED IN THIS EXAMPLE IS $300,000!!! This happens every day. I've seen these bills myself.

    It is my understanding that the actual cost of a medical procedure is closer to what the insurance companies pay, or 25% of the billed fee. The 75% “penalty” is what the uninsured get charged because they don't have insurance.

    The most upsetting thing about rising health care costs is not that the insured patient’s deductible is rising, but that their insurance companies have forced the medical providers to charge the uninsured four times (400%) of what they, the multibillion dollar insurance companies, pay, on average. To make this possible, they have put forth the view that people who don’t have insurance are lazy, unskilled, stupid, or unwilling to contribute to an insurance plan. However, most of the uninsured are working, but their employers will not provide insurance. While they are busy convincing the public that the attitude of the uninsured is the problem, they have neglected to show the truth about what they are charging to private individuals for insurance. Their private insurance plans cost about $700 to $2,000 per month, while the typical uninsured worker earns only $1,200 to $2,400 per month before taxes. It’s very difficult, if not nearly impossible, to pay for food, housing, transportation, etc. with these wages, long before health care costs are added.

    If you assume the average person who gets insurance at work pays a monthly premium of $100 per month, that means they pay about $1,200 per year in premiums. Further, if you assume they pay about $50 per month in copays, it means they pay about $600 per year out of pocket for medical expenses. Thus, the average person that gets insurance at work contributes about $1,800 per year for health care out of their own money. Most of their health care is paid for by their employer, and is untaxable. Compare this to the uninsured individual, who earns less, and is forced to pay an extra $1,800 just for one diagnostic test as “penalty”, and is in no position to get follow-up testing, doctor supervised care, or any treatment. There is simply no reason for the uninsured to even go to a doctor because they can’t afford to find out what is actually wrong or get the subsequent treatment.

    The majority of people who have health care provided by their employer would not be able to purchase health care if their employer stopped providing it. They are not "better" people than the uninsured. Where I live, jobs that pay $20,000 to $30,000 (with a growing number who have no medical insurance) per year are the norm, but the media gives you the impression that there are a lot of people who make much higher salaries, $50,000 - $100,000. Only those employed in the medical industry get the higher wages. There are very few people who can afford to purchase health care insurance without a subsidy from their employer; there are very few people who can afford to pay the grotesquely inflated medical expenses that are 400% higher than what the insurance companies pay. There is a war being waged by the medical industry against the uninsured. Any contact with a hospital will ruin their lives and destroy their families – bankruptcy, foreclosure, homelessness – it is virtually inevitable. The health care providers don’t care. They feel it’s their duty to charge these grotesque fees to the uninsured.

    Some people seem to believe that it is our fault we don’t have insurance because we don’t work for an employer who provides insurance, and we don’t purchase it. First, there are very few jobs offering insurance today. The people who have insurance from their employers got it years ago in most cases. The jobs with insurance are few and far between. The insurance offered today, is unaffordable to the people who can’t get it at work. The jobs without insurance pay much less than the jobs that offer insurance. It’s like getting hit from both sides – lower salaries and no benefits. Then, the biggest insult is that we get charged 4 times what the people with benefits and higher salaries when we seek medical care. It’s unbelievable what poor math skills the people in the medical industry have when they decide who can afford to pay the most for the same treatment. It’s also ironic that the “caring” profession is so cruel and inhumane toward people who can’t find a job with insurance. Personally, I tried to purchase an inexpensive health insurance plan. They charge me $100 per month, the same amount as the premium for those who get insurance from their employer, except my employer doesn’t contribute a dime. They won’t pay for much of anything. My annual limit on benefits is the amount I pay for my premiums, which is $1,200. Unfortunately, I had to go to the emergency room and they wouldn’t pay any of it. My visits to the doctor’s office were excluded through numerous deductibles and copays. They only real benefit I get is that some doctors will reduce their price to people on that plan. Essentially, the insurance company keeps what I pay to them, and some doctors will reduce my bill, but no tests or emergency care. It’s a joke. If the doctors would just give me the reduced rate without using the insurance plan instead of charging me 4 times the actual cost, I would be able to use the money I now pay for premiums to the cut rate insurance company to pay the doctor’s bill.

    A government health care plan will work best if the private insurance companies are not allowed to participate. The private companies are adept at luring individuals to purchase insurance from them and then forcing out the sick ones. If the private insurance companies are allowed to remain in the pool with a government insurance plan, they will cherry pick the healthy people, keeping their premiums and profits for themselves. This will leave all the costs for treating the sick people, which are normally paid for with premiums from the healthy people, to the government insurance plan and the tax payers. Without premiums from the healthy people, a government/ tax payer paid plan will be extremely expensive and probably financially out of reach for most of the uninsured.

    jscottu post:
    "Most of the people posting on this site should be ashamed of themselves."
    "But don't try to pervert the law into giving you something that the law doesn't possess."

    The laws have been created and approved by an "OLIGARCHY" for self enrichment!
    All the laws that are in effect, were not and have not been approved by the people at the ballot.

    Millions of people paid taxes that was used for someone else health insurance while
    "50 millions do not have insurance" though they have paid taxes!
    "WASHINGTON - Twelve-year-old Deamonte Driver died of a toothache Sunday.
    A routine, $80 tooth extraction might have saved him. If his mother had been insured."
    You state, "If you want health care...PAY FOR IT. Or WORK FOR IT."
    Where would the 12 year old go to work, "to PAY FOR IT"? With an unemployment
    at 10%, that is, over 30 million people in the nation are unemployed, not to mention
    many millions work at minimum wages.
    Three trillions dollars were used to bail the Banks - the corrupt
    institution that were on rampage at the expense of the public, that has to
    pay that debt. Debt that resulted of "dysfunctional government".
    It appears that you do not have a clear view of the problem that lies ahead!

    it's frustrating to have heard so much good info on benefits of single payer on your program and then to have a poll which doesn't give single payer as a preference.

    how would you know i favor single payer if i vote no on obama's half baked proposal?

    there will doubtless be problems with single payer as there are with medicare, but at least everyone will be in it together and can lobby more effectively than they can with corrupt greedy insurance companies who make money by not providing health care.

    Dang, this is a huge blog, I can't seem to find its bottom. However, Gordo's chief blunder is that he derails at the very start of his argument:

    >It might be a good idea to look at the government’s track record in running economic enterprises. It is terrible...

    Whether his critique is more-of-the-same skullduggery or sincere, albeit misinformed, skepticism is not known. Be that as it may, the ideal solution is cited on Moyers' very blog here. From the TV segment, Donna Smith sez:

    >It’s a great idea from the left, which is public financing , combined with a great idea from the right, which is private delivery.

    Once we can clear the air of THIS smokescreen -- along with the onus of the appellation "socialized" -- we OUGHT to be in the clear for swaying a huge groundswell of citizenry to the single-payer paradigm.

    I was dismayed that the single payer idea is not even being seriously debated in Congress. What can I do and where can I go to give our congressional leaders the courage to seriously consider this proposal.

    What a load of BS from J.S. Gordon of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. He obviously didn't watch the program. If the profit motive keeps corporations lean,customer oriented, etc., why are we baling them out with trillions? Why do they have non-medical clerks deciding who doesn't get care? etc. etc.
    Les Walker

    Excellent observations, Mr. Murray. About time somebody said it.

    If single payer (socialized funding) is good enough for the police, the fire department, the army, air force, marines, navy, and coast guard, why isn’t it good enough for medicine? Why this crazy aversion to the term, “socialized”? It seems most Americans are proud of all the previous branches and don’t go around calling them communists even though we communally fund them. Something has crept into our national psyche and made us crazy.
    Okay, crazier than usual.

    I believe the undesirable social circumstances we encounter today are relative to loss of American identity; to a loss of respect for personal worth; by congressional leaders;-- and after God was removed from social affairs,--by constituents as well. It almost seems overlooked that the 'difference' in western civilization--is that all progressive changes flowed out from the heart of the people;--that this 'heart' is described in words as--equality--talent--truth--freedom--compassion--justice--; American success flowed from personal character strengths,--surrounded personal convictions and perseverence,--words as devotion, honor, divine inspiration'. Over the past 50 years, we have moved from reliance on individual ingenuity--and the community diversity and prosperity that flowed from these free agents;--to a state of dependency on some central corporate authority. It seems 'outside-in' direction has always been the human inhibitor. A return to compliance with the "Laws of Nature and Nature's God" seems the need; and as these can't be defined, but are written in our hearts; to free the person to be the 'best he/she could be' may well have been the secret to American success;--if so, the only resolution to the dilemma of the injustice relative to medical care would be to free the profession from the world of 'buying and selling',--and return it to the 'heart' of the physicians,--through a National Health Care system based on recognition of our 'humanity',--the enigmatic IDEALS our constitution seems arranged to defend. I think we have reached a stage in likeness to the precedent to the fall of Rome,--where social reward flows with those who express mastery of the knowledge,-and allegiance to the rules of a current era;--a collective mind of mankind, which although expanded,-- remains inaccurate, incompatible--and most likely projects an image of reality that still is not 'real',--will fade as did theirs. That a primary component in the collective mentality of western civilization was to seek personal guidance from a God of Love; was a precedent to progress; should deserve further consideration; perhaps what we can't define; can't fit into our reality founded on the appearance of physical objects; is in fact what is REAL!

    Filmmaker Michael Moore did a great documentary on this issue a few years ago, titled "Sicko." It is time we take out the DVD (if we already have it, or if not, buy a copy) and play it again.

    The mysterious Obama plan is not defined yet. And it needs the approval by the medical industrial complex who is the only one at the table with their cronies in Congress. They want to kill any so called "public option" absolutely, or practically by all means to protect its ability to continue profiting from our pain and suffering...

    There should not be any illusion of a healthcare reform without a complete Single Payer system, one well tested in all other countries, as the program by Moyers attest to. Watch the PBS Frontline program "Sick Around the World" by click the name link below.

    Unfortunately, those making decisions not only have their premium health insurance, they are also paid by the industry to deny the same for the majority of Americans.

    Healthcare is a right and healthcare is a public service, not cash cow for special interests.
    Think and act - it is only upto us all again to make real change in 2009.

    My understanding of the Obama Plan for Health-care is to create a government function to be ‘insurer of last resort’ and to enable it to compete with existing private plans. Over time, it could be expected that, with it’s enormous leverage and competitive advantage(e.g Medicare), the public plan could / would evolve into the final ‘single-payer.’

    So, isn’t the Obama plan simply a more pragmatic means to that single-payer end?

    I think the only one posting on this page who should be ashamed of themselves is you, jscottu. Bastiat was a fool. It's true our government doesn't work right, but it isn't the concept of goverment thats at fault, it's your wonderful private sector. They're the ones bribing the weak-willed senators and congressmen into helping them drive costs up. The healthcare industry is extortion, plain and simple. American capitalism amounts to little more than sugar-coated piracy. At least our elected officials can be held accountable to some extent by losing elections. Unregulated business is like giving the keys to the bank vault to Black Beard and trusting in his honesty. How stupid is that??? I also find it funny that a guy who, in the same post, comments on job loss and then turns around and tells people to WORK & PAY for their over-priced healthcare. You can't work and pay for something with no job, buster. As to the absolutely ridiculous view of the Libertarians about paying medical costs out-of-pocket, no one shy of a tycoon could pay out-of-pocket for healthcare in this pirate nation. Its the neo-con posters on this blog who need to do the growing up. Utter anal- retentive selfishness is a trait passed by most people once they get past preschool.

    In reply to the absurd post about "single payer food": Food is a predictable expense, unlike the medical bills arising from a health crisis which can bankrupt even an employed, insured person in short order. Nevertheless, the government does have a taxpayer-funded social program to help the neediest among us purchase food: Food Stamps.

    Five (5) Essentials to fixing the US health-care system:

    1) Get politics (and Congress) out of the new system's implementation - ala Mr. Daschle's "Med Fed" suggestion.

    Until we have universal publicly-funded federal elections, members of Congress will continue to "dance with those that brung them".

    2) Employ and adequately empower the most capable, fully independent forensic accountancy services available.

    Until we KNOW exactly why medical costs have risen at MULTIPLES of underlying inflation for a generation, any attempt to manage them is a fool's errand.

    3) Comprehensive outreach to solicit critiques and suggestions from our medical complex's front-line folks: uninsured, under-insured, and marginally- insured patients, nurses, physician's assistants, pharmacists, clerks, custodians and secretaries.

    Provide clear, bullet-proof whistle-blower protection (and meaningful incentives) in the process of identifying existing and prospective waste, fraud and abuse.

    4) Examine and challenge the underlying rationale for numerous (some rather bizarre) underlying assumptions/policies inherent in our existing health system.*

    5) Revoke the corporate charters of financial intermediaries which have failed their original purpose. Health maintenance organizations have long argued that by consolidating and streamlining the provision of health care - with a critical focus on effective prevention - they could provide health care most efficiently.

    Put quite simply, have they? **
    -------------
    * Some existing underlying policies/assumptions:

    - Having the government (read: taxpayers) reimburse medical universities for limiting enrollment in physician training programs

    - That a tort system which either allows egregious claims or protects incompetence actually serves our society or the cause of justice.

    - Because of their commitment and the high cost of their education and training, physicians are entitled to a gross ANNUAL income nearly equaling the ENTIRETY of that educational expense.

    - Drug companies are entitled to high profits and preferential patent protection - while the government (read: taxpayers) provides much of the underlying basic research for free.

    - While most hospitals are cost-plus "cash cows", many maintain their non-profit status through a seemingly limitless array of financial legerdemain.
    -----------
    ** Will HMO/PPO & other for-profit providers be required to pay back the billions in public monies to be invested in developing digital medical record-keeping?

    Or will this become yet another taxpayer "give-away" to one of the financially fattest and most profitable corporate industries?

    As I sat through the show listening to everybody debate the issue on healthcare reform I was really inspired to see all the nurses and doctors out on the streets protesting for healtvare reform. In sight of that it is a realization that something in our country needs to be done and soon cause this issue effects everybody. Like me I am laid off and have no healtcare for my family (wife and daughter). But I only saw one problem with everything that everybody was proposing and that was they keep turning to a government to help fix our problems for us even when through out history the govenrment has been on the side of big insurance and pharmacutical companys. So I would think the results in time would revile the truth about them and where their hearts really lay and that is with money. So why would we keep turning to this body to fix our problems when every time they say yes they will do something and when it is done it ussually cost us more out of pocket then anything. So what I would propose instead of having them vote and fix problems for us all the docters and nurses that care about healtcare reform why dont we as people of the USA pull our money together and start our own universal heathcare plan where oh ever signed up just payed a tax and it went to a body or organization thats ran by docters so that they could pay the bills. No there would be alot of kinks that needed worked out because of money damn near every problem would be evolved around money but I know there is more than enough people in this counrty that could pull together more than enough money to get it started and sastain it but the problem is people would have to sacrfice their lifestyles for such a huge plan. And that would by the biggest problem is that we are not willing in this counrty to sacrfice our way of living for the better of all so what do we do turn to a corrupt government and demand things but dont want to pay for them. Then we demand so much that they seem to listen so when they start to listen we a the people back off and just trust them. Then they do their proposales and we say it sounds good they pass then when or co-pays go up we just take it and say nothing because guess what we still have our little lifestyle so to make up for it to keep our lifes the same we just go to the docters less and less to try to make up for the rising cost of healthcare. Its a big cycle of bs and we the people need to break it not turn to a body the has proven over the years to do more damage then good. But if we could come to the reality that we live outside of our means here in this counrty, pull our money together and started our own universal heathcare plan that could compete with the private insurance companys that would be the best thing to do. Plus its vwery simple to understand if we put our healthcare in the hands of the government to pay for healthcare it would be very bad 2 generation down the line because no matter witch way you look at it the government is in huge debt to the FED Resreve and guess what the reserve loves the big insurance and pill company because they help the FED keep us in perpatual debt to them through government so turning our helthcare over to the government will be turning it over to the FED and their beliefs. Just look at it like this we turn it over to government they do a good job running healthcare we all love it and get it for a small tax but to pay for the difference they would take out loans from the FED to pay for it then 15 years later the FED calls in the debts of the people kinda like they helped the banks implod or economy now, then what our grandchildren will just have to suffer cause our wrong doings, because we didnt wanna suffer now and give up our mansions and yaths and jets and stuff like that. But if we would just give some of our materalistic things that mean nothing at the end of life so that we could pull our money together and creat a system from the people for the people that wouldnt give any dictarol power to any form of government over our healthcare but we the people would have the power to provide people with proper healthcare that we all want and desrve.

    C.K. Emmons writes:
    "I am dismayed that the failing Massachusetts health care experiment is being seriously considered as a model for the nation."

    No surprise: it's the Chicago Way, Deval Patrick having been Axelrod-Kerry's mob-friendly prototype for "Obaama".

    There seems to be no remedy -- now that Baucus et al. have turned off the Congressional fax machines, to stop the tide of single-payer demands -- but to GO to DC and over-turn the rotten-apple cart.

    Dr. Newhall at health-justice.org is gearing up for 25 June.

    Get there: it'll be great -- our very own Tiananmen Square, perhaps ...

    Most of the people posting on this site should be ashamed of themselves. Your children can't find jobs because the government has messed up the economy. But you want the government to give you something for nothing (healthcare). Yes, I know what you will say (you will be paying "insurance premiums"). But the adults among us know that it will end up just like Medicare...decisions made by bureaucrats and the whole system going broke. If you want health care...PAY FOR IT. Or WORK FOR IT. Or ask for charitable help. But don't try to pervert the law into giving you something that the law doesn't possess. Frederic Bastiat destroyed your big government arguments way back in 1850 in his book "The Law"...you can read it free online.

    Note previous post by Katherine Benziger: The leadership of moveon.org has chosen NOT to support single-payer. If you, like me, have been a member of this organization and disagree with their decision, let them know. If enough of us let this ostensibly "grassroots organization" know what we think, maybe they'll reconsider.

    Of reading some folks concerns about just "one side of the argument", I believe that is exactly what has occured in the healthcare debate in the senate and of course the Obama healthcare summits. Single payer was excluded and in some cases, its backers led away by cops.

    Much of the media has taken the lead from the fearless leaders and not explained the dynamics of single payer type programs.

    Bill Moyers did a good job of going over the single payer option in the short segment. I believe that was the purpose of the segment, not a full blown healthcare discussion.

    No health care plan will really work as long as profits are put ahead of well-being. I find it odd though that the very people who need help with this issue...including myself...are the backbone of this country. We are the very people whose taxes are used to provide coverage to everyone but ourselves. What would happen if we all just woke up and said enough? Demand that every member of congress pay their own insurance. We have become too complacent with our society.

    This show emphasizes why these debates need to have representatives from both sides; FOX doesn't claim to be unbiased but then it's not on a government subsidy.

    Without hearing both sides ( and reading from the National Review is Not my definition of fair representation ) the invited guests get a chance to make statements unchallenged ( e.g. that nationalized health care has in any way worked in other countries - Canada has long waits and a healthier population to start with; UK is a disaster both in terms of finances and outcomes ). Many other countries in the world have systems that walk people to their graves.

    Now let me cover a few points that were briefly mentioned :

    1) certain states (MA springs to mind) tried some form of socialized medicine. It rapidly proved too expensive i.e. costs rose in the covered group. Outcomes were not any better.

    If something fails in the lab, should you ramp it up ? ( in a sense, policy decision makers need themselves to adopt the type of clinical trial mindset they impose on industry )

    2) The government is not about asking, it is about telling, so the coercion issue ( nonchalantly dismissed by Bill's guests ) is still in play. Most of these socialized medicine plans substitute one segment of the health care industry ( the insurance industry ) leaving the throbbing cost centers of the other segments untouched. ( do you believe that the for-profit insurance industry has missed the opportunity to squeeze doctors or hospitals or do you think it is not allowed ? )

    The coercion comes in to play not when you choose a doctor but when you choose an insurance company. After socialized medicine there will be no more competition in the (government controlled ) socialized insurance industry.

    Some insurance plans are better than others. By tying medicine to the government you are tying your health fate to the government's budgetary constraints ( which in the era of trillion $$ deficits is something to consider ) - expect to see more innovative treatments become "elective" or "experimental"

    Besides which this does not address the original problem which was cost containment, not extension of benefits to the uninsured i.e. this whole health care debate started not because people worried about the uninsured but because costs were running out of control (12%-16% increases year on year ). The drivers of these costs ( aging population, new treatments & devices, better outcomes which result in people getting sick from something else later on ) are still there. Putting the whole thing on the government's books does not alter these costs ( has the government shown itself to be better at cost containment than the private system e.g. in the states that did have partially socialized medicine ? )

    Also, the problem of the uninsured arose in part because small companies experienced large cost increases in their insurance bill and decided to drop coverage. Socialized medicine does nothing to change that; it merely ads a payroll tax to force companies to buy the government insurance.

    Now all this would be Ok if the government were willing to set up an insurance company that COMPETES ( on even ground ) with private insurance. If its costs are so low, it should have no problem doing so.

    ( and btw, if marketing + profit costs are so much higher than government inefficiency, why don't we socialize any other industry ? - the truth is that over time, government costs tend to grow, whereas industry must compete and must offer consumers a good value. With a government monopoly, you have no chance to opt out. )

    Our social safety net is torn,
    because in the USA we were born.

    The industrialized world has medical care,
    but not over here, only over there.

    Our medical coverage is poor,
    and the insurance predator is at the door.

    Our nest egg and healthcare are broken,
    but Max Baucus and the lobbyists have spoken.

    Our government says their help we don’t need,
    Will they know when we bleed if we plead and we plead?

    But the C.E.O.’s will sleep tight tonight,
    because they got the TARP and don’t share our plight.

    They can’t understand - why all the fuss,
    If their security blanket suffocates the rest of us.

    .

    Thank you for providing this forum for discussions.

    I am 62 years old. My wife of 40 years is 58. We still continue to be able to afford private coverage. We are both very active and in good health. We both continue to be employed.

    Can someone tell all of us what the combined CEO's and fat cats and various board of directors salaries and advertising and marketing budgets are of the top 10 publicly-traded health insurance corporations?

    Then to add to that, what's the stock investors cut of the action? Plus don't overlook adding the amount for the lobbying and legal expenses for those lobbyists in both Washington DC and every state in the Union. Oh, and then there are the expenses paid out for the various associations who run copious amounts of bat-crazy spin-and-spew fact twisting BS through the myriad of print, TV and internet news outlets throughout the country.

    And here is an eye-opening stat from Health Care for America Now:

    Profits of the 10 largest publicly traded insurers increased 428 percent from 2000 to 2007, from $2.4 billion to $12.9 billion.

    Have your wages or salary gone up 428 percent?

    Now let's get serious here, how much does all of that truly benefit the doctor/patient relationship?

    On an end note: Our family of three has had the fortunate opportunity to have had health care coverage continuously with the same system since 1982. Over that 27 year period our total outlay for the premiums has been $175,500. Presently our coverage costs $725 per month for only the two of us now. Thanks to our genetics, our lifestyle of healthy living practices, preventative care, and our fortunate situation of no catastrophic hospitalizations -- over that same period of time our total doctor and medical bills, including co-payments have added up to a yearly average of $859.72. That's a grand total of $23,212.50 over the 27 years. I wonder if there's any chance of getting a rebate on what we've saved the system?

    And just imagine the hundreds of thousands, no make that millions of people who haven't been as fortunate in that same time period.

    Think about it ...

    Conyer's bill: HR676!

    Read it ... if you haven't already done so.

    Thanks again for providing this forum.

    OldenGoldenDecoy

    .

    So glad Moyers elicits facts without agitating and interrupting just for "entertainment's sake". Thank heavens there is a news commentator who is more interested in the facts of the case than his own ego.

    Single payer sounds like a great solution, except for one thing. The triumvirate concept of Rome was to prevent domination by any one of the trio. Our government (bless it) is founded on that same principle with the legislature, congress and president supporting/watching each of the others.

    The triumvirate of our health system is the health insurers, medical association, and pharmaceutical industry. Each and all of those have been guilty of greed and overpricing. This isn't to say that every doctor is over-charging patients, but there are organizations and hospitals which accomplish just that. And we all know the degree to which pharmaceutical companies go to regain funds for their R & D.

    If the insurance companies are deleted, what will keep pharmaceutical and medical expenses under control? Not saying that the medical insurance watch dogs are efficient, but they do accomplish a certain amount. At times it is destructive, admittedly, but at least there is some overseeing being done.

    What program is in the works which could accomplish putting a lid on the expenses of all 3?

    Until that is created, how can health expenses truly be lowered to the level that the consumers and/or the government can afford it? If one is deleted, the other 2 are left without that controlling factor, and expenses are still beyond reason.

    Lu Roberts

    Thank you to the doctors and nurses and to Moyers for explaining so clearly the benefits of a Single-Payer health alternative.

    I hope the information provided will lead to a groundswell of popular support that, in effect, will create a "people's lobby" in contradistinction to the buying of Congressional votes with insurance industry money.

    Great show! I cried,I got angry, and really feel like marching in Washington. Single Payer is undoubtedly the answer, not only to save lives, make us a more humane country with a major stress removed from all of us, but will also dramatically improve American business bottom line. Not Medicare for all, like I once thought, but Single Payer Universal Health Care, with no deductible, no co-pays, no billing to individuals. Thank you, Bill Moyers. Thank you all doctors and nurses.

    If jscottu likes competing so much, why not dump him and all his neo-con ilk off in the jungle, or the arctic somewhere and let them slug it out with the wild animals (and each other) and see how quickly they change their minds. None of them would last a week. Competition IS the problem. Cooperation is a much better plan. Single payer all the way, mister.

    Thank you Mr. Moyers for presenting a point of view that supports the provider rather than the insurance industry. Discussions of the healthcare crisis rarely include opinions from the most important component of the healthcare system; doctors and healthcare providers. The public assumes that doctor's high fees are the problem. This is really only a diversion from the real issue delaying reform. That issue being insurance company profiteering from denial-of-care. Over the last decade physicians have watched the managed care system destroy doctor-patient relationships, through restricted networks and massive paperwork burdens to deny coverage. This forces doctors into hiring more staff to reprocess denied claims even though we collect smaller and smaller fees. Doctors have lost the ability to think about a complicated diagnosis or long-term outcome. Instead they push a drug consumption agenda and compound problems with off-legend drug prescribing and uncontrolled polypharmacy. Consequently, adverse drug reactions are the 4th leading cause of death in America. Why is this tolerated?

    If we abolish the multiple fee schedule system currently used by insurance companies to burden and undervalue healthcare delivery, billions of dollars will be saved. There are two ways to accomplish this; the first would be establishing set fees for all procedures. The alternative method would be the elimination of the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) system owned by the AMA. This is the coding system used by doctors to bill insurance companies. Instead the doctor would be paid on a time-based system regardless of the procedure. This type of system would encourage the best practice outcomes rather than promote cost shifting to high dollar procedures.

    Doctors demonstrating the best results should be rewarded and these successful treatment paradigms should be replicated throughout America without interruption or interference, whether from insurance company adjusters, drug companies or other special interest groups.

    We need to force insurance companies to pay a reasonable, livable hourly-wage for physicians! This will improve the quality of health care and stop the ruthlessness required to be in business as a doctor today. I realize there are many diagnostic and operative procedures that are overpriced; this will take considerable negotiation with hospitals and doctors to reduce costs associated with advanced technologies. However, I think doctors will be happy if they have a guaranteed reimbursement for services and bonus system rather than the chaotic reimbursement system run by insurance company profiteers.

    Thank you for your dedication to healthcare in America.
    Dr. Jerome True

    I counted around 400 comments so far, of which over 90% were favorable to single-payer, many passionately so. If each person who made those comments sent a copy to 10 friends today, and half of them sent to 10 friends tomorrow, and so forth, in twelve days we could tell the entire adult population of the US about single-payer!

    I love this show and this program was great. Thank you for informing the viewers that Canada has a good single payer health care system.

    Your guests are right- as a Canadian, if they were to revoke it, I would join the revolution! Not only can we choose our doctors and hospitals and specialists, we have preventative medicine. Once a year I automatically get a mammogram screening (my mother and grandmother both had and died of breast cancer). In addition, my husband is on a list to get a colonoscopy every five years due his family history.

    I can't believe that a country with the wealth of the US, allows its citizen's to go bankrupt in order to get the health care they need. It would seem to me that greed has taken over your country not only on Wall St., but also on Main St.

    If having single payer health insurance in my country is viewed as socialist by the conservative right in the U.S., call me a socialist. I live in a civilized country which lives the words "do unto others as you would have them do unto you". For a country like the U.S. whose citizens profess to be the most Christian in the world, I find it hypocritical that their actions don't reinforce this.

    I agree with the poster that we need publicly funded elections. In the meantime, though, Americans need to focus their energy in a massive single issue demonstration throughout the nation -- on single payer. Our sold-out leadership has defeated the hopes and energy of a country that wants single payer in mass numbers, but individually, each person does not believe enough in their own heart that they can make a difference in a system that is owned by the blood-sucking health insurance and pharmaceutical industries -- without American voices joined up LOUD in unison.

    Single payer has to be insisted on now. The US has the huge advantage of having the medical profession on the side of single payer – and how splendid to have such analytical, articulate and dedicated spokespeople and Drs. Himmelstein and Wolfe and Donna Smith. Now we need the 60+ percent of the rest of us to take to the internet, the phones and the streets.

    Long ago -- in 1963 -- at the London School of Economics, I was fortunate enough to be taught by Richard Titmuss, leading architect of the British National Health System. The major obstacle faced by Health Minister Aneurin Bevan was the medical profession. Titmuss studied private, pre-insurance industry, health delivery in the US in depth and peppered his lectures with breathtaking examples of money-making abuse, including unnecessary treatments in wealthy areas, ghost surgeries and severe shortages of doctors and hospitals in poorer parts of the country. We could hardly believe what we were hearing but we understood that these were precisely the abuses that had occurred in Britain and led to passage of the NHS in 1946.

    Sadly, unlike Britain, the US, replaced one abusive system of private delivery with another. Unfortunately, Britain nationalized service provision as well as financing. I believe the lesson is that there is no alternative to public financing of private health services – Canada got it right.

    We need very loudly to remind President Obama that during one of the debates, he firmly said “Health care is a right.” That was the message that Titmuss delivered to us students so powerfully fifty years ago. Indeed, seventy years ago it was the conviction of Nye Bevan, who later wrote in In Place of Fear : “ … [N]o society can legitimately call itself civilised if a sick person is denied medical aid because of lack of means.”

    The following excerpt from a previous post on May 24 is an argument against private health insurance companies not against the government:
    "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."

    Let's dump the BCBS "crooks."

    Thank you Bill Moyers for one of the best Journal's ever. The single- payer discussion brought home very forcefully to me that while we live in a democracy because we get a vote, our influence stops there. Until our political campaigns receive public financing the voice of the people stops at election. From then on our representatives are owned by special interests: health care, insurance, finance, milatary, pharmaceutical, and the rest. To survive they must become pawns of powerful lobyists and we become dust in the wind. How sad for our children and those who will inherit our broken system.

    Unbelievable. After more than 40 years of lies about how great Medicare is, the left wants to throw Medicare under the bus to go all the way to a single payer (government payer) system. The same garbage about "how great the Canadian system is" (it isn't). All you have to ask yourself is the question "is Obama's new plan going to be voluntary or mandatory". We both know the answer to that. If it is mandatory, it is inefficient and goes against the American ideal of liberty and small government. As for the 2 doctors being interviewed, what profession WOULDN'T want the government giving them money so they don't have to compete for a living.

    I have Medicare. I have almost unlimited choice of provider and it has helped me enormously not to be limited by a list of providers or by a geographical area. Even though my former HMO allowed me to go to a well known teaching hospital, they missed my thyroid cancer and never had a physical therapist who could help me instead of making me worse. When I got Medicare all that changed for the better with fewer hassles, without costing the system more. Actually prompt and effective treatment saved the system money. Yeah for single payer.
    By the way I can think of several ways to save Medicare money and make the patient paperwork still easier without cutting the doctors' fees, but that is another message. One suggestion: read articles and books by Relman.

    Single payer sounds like a plan to me. I've heard as many pros as I have cons from foreign expatriots who either praise, or balk at the current U.S. system. The long waits and poor care arguement doesn't seem to hold water. Plus, in regard to the forieigners who praise our 'wonderful' system, I'd say they probably came here with profiteering as their goal, so it's little wonder they'd praise parasitical capitalism. As to that silly 'love it or leave it' mantra of the Nazi-esque neo-cons, a lot of us would leave if we had the money to do so. Yeah, even leaving the good ol' USA costs money. Also, one of the virtues of freedom is the ability to change something if you don't like it. Neo-cons are always spouting off about freedom, but don't seem to understand it very well. Freedom may not be free, but freedom with consequences isn't real freedom. They had that kind of freedom in Iraq under Saddam. Obama is a spineless puke, but McCain would have been even worse, so, as usual, we are left with the lesser of two evils. I doubt anything will change in America without a massive public uprising of late 60s magnitude.

    Vince

    I am dismayed that the failing Massachusetts health care experiment is being seriously considered as a model for the nation. Since the Buckley vs. Valeo Supreme Court decision declared that "money is speech", couldn't mandates to purchase health insurance from for-profit private insurance companies be considered a violation of free speech rights? A significant proportion of the money that is paid in premiums is then taken and used for campaign contributions, lobbying, and the hiring of former government employees as lobbyists (all in the name of free speech). However, free speech includes more than one component. It involves the right to say what you want to say, but it also involves the right not to be forced to say what you don't want to say. How can the government have it all 3 ways? Our Constitution guarantees the right to free speech, Buckley vs. Valeo declares that "money is speech", and citizens are being forced to participate in the "free speech" of health insurance companies by paying money that is then used to say things that they personally disagree with. How can this be legal? Seventy-three percent of Massachusetts residents (overall), from the districts where the referendum was on the ballot, voted for single-payer and against mandated private insurance last fall. Shouldn't the ACLU be challenging private insurance mandates in court on the basis that they violate free speech rights? Couldn't Massachusetts residents file a class action lawsuit? If insurance mandates are to be legal, technically, shouldn't Buckley vs. Valeo have to be overturned first, so that persons who are forced to buy health insurance couldn't argue that their free speech rights are being violated through the use of their money?

    Having just watched the program, I'm heartened by the powerful, rational arguments made in support of a single-payer healthcare system that would ensure universal healthcare, and take the burden from employers of having to buy insurance for their employees - an insane system in the best of economic times. In the UK, some people who can afford it may also buy into a private insurance (BUPA) on which they can call for more rapid treatment for a non-lifethreatening condition if there is a waiting list; this could be an additional option in the USA too.

    While I couldn't agree more with your two commentators, for the most part, I wish that proponents of national health insurance would remember that they need to convince the people who DON'T agree with them! All national health care systems (now including Canada) have a two tiers -- if you want to pay extra for private insurance, in order to get a few more advantages like cable TV in your hospital room or champagne after you have your baby or whatever. National insurance forces a better product from private insurers. Also, of course, as far as Harry and Louise go, basically all insured Americans are "restricted" in their choices of doctors now, since they belong to HMOs. As the doctors pointed out, the bigger the umbrella, the more choice. What I don't understand is why those Americans who've gone bankrupt from medical bills aren't out there marching with the doctors and nurses -- I'm inclined to believe that until that happens, nothing will really change.

    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

    Perfect solution: all healthcare business is nonprofit. Providers still get their deserved salaries. Since R&D expenses for Pharms are covered by gov grants, no harm there. Perhaps a cap on pharm and ins ceo's would be in order.

    Flat Tax??? Give the Republicans their wish as concerns this issue. Flat tax all income, no cap, to pay for Universal Health Care/Medicare for all.

    >What makes John Doe next door more deserving of care than me?? Is it because he makes more money??
    Exactly-- isn't that the great American dream? Make lots of money, get all the good stuff? Can't afford health care? Simple choice -- go bankrupt or die.

    As a Canadian I feel so concerned for the 'average' American but I'm afraid that you have given so much power to your big corporations in insurance and big pharma that this is a mess you'll have an almost impossible time getting out of. Maybe the coming second Great Depression will be a blessing in giving you social progams the ordinary person deserves. Why should the banks and car companies be the only ones to benefit from socialism?

    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!

    Bill Moyers Journal on single payer health care has given us the weapon needed to counter all the distortions and lies thrown up by those who fatten their coffers from the current system.
    When viewed it will destroy all their false fear loaded ads and convert all the fence sitters that Single payer is the only true fix. If we can not believe our front line troops, the doctors and nurses then who are we to believe?
    Now we must see this grand tool is viewed by all and it must be done quickly for the time is short to fire the revolt needed to bring public pressure to bear to offset that of the Insurers on those in power.

    A single payer system would save on administrative costs but there was no discussion on how it would control the real drivers of increasing medical costs: increasingly expencive tecnology, liability, unhealthy lifestyles etc..

    Ed's point is right on. These drivers of increasing medical costs are fed by the personal choices every person makes. People must want to cooperate for the greater good. Corporate entities are really just people who want to make more money every year. You know the reasons why...we all do, including physicians, nurses, techs, patients, etc.

    Technology is corporate. Lawyers and insurance are corporate. Smoking is corporate, though shrinking in value. Medical education is increasingly corporate because the costs of the buildings, insurance, payrolls, utilities and supplies are corporate costs plus profit. In each case, money is the object.
    All down the line, at each level, everyone wants and expects to get a profit...and more and more each year. When a product is created for the "healthcare industry", it is marked up many times its real cost to produce plus reasonable profit. Insurance companies stand behind (way behind) Medicare in what they pay.

    Take the "business" out of medicine.

    More pain and suffering will be needed before we learn to share.

    The health care industrialists do not take the Hippocratic oath. They are in business to make money like any other business. Our reality is sick individuals are loosing their savings and lives, and their families are stressed and broken under the current system. That said, I do not think we need to completely dismantle the present system but our elected officials need to set in place regulations that do not allow the insurance companies to set policies or continue practices that are life threatening and onerous to their customers. When the CEO of an insurance company can earn one dollar for every 700 made by the company-something is very wrong. As a teacher in Wisconsin my salary was capped under then Governor Tommy Thompson. It is still capped. The people of Wisconsin believe this is just because they have been told it keeps their property taxes down. I am amazed that this same electorate does not seem as outraged at the cost of health insurance compared to the profits and salaries being made by the heath insurance companies. There is something off about what is acceptable business practice in the public domain versus what is acceptable in the private domain. I am encouraged by the many courageous medical professionals and patients who have come forward to expose yet another broken system. Sincerely, M. Vasquez

    Great show. although I am concerned that there seems to be an assuption that medicare could be expanded to everyone. If you ask any doctor/hospital they will tell you if all of thier patients had medicare they would go out of buisness. The reembursement is frequently not enouph to pay the expences. That is why some states require doctors to accept medicare to get a medical license to make sure someone is forced to work for nothing. A doctor who actually paid for his education (not his/her dad) would never go to medical school since medicare would never pay enouph to pay back the cripling dept. This is how our government is controlling the cost at this time.
    A single payer system would save on administrative costs but there was no discussion on how it would control the real drivers of increasing medical costs: increasingly expencive tecnology, liability, unhealthy lifestyles etc.. In other countries with Government run programs these costs are controlled by rationing and stiff regulation. Acually that would be fine with me but people need to know what the trade off is.
    Ed

    Senator Baucus' stammering when asked about single-pay was telling. "It won't pass" was his answer. So he - one man - refuses to bring it up with equal time as lobbyist-sponsored proposals for discussion...
    Senator - and you should be prepared to discard that title at the next election - please do us all a favor and take that high-paying lobbyist job now so we can have someone in your seat that might actually want to help the public good.

    I live in Canada and like most of the free world we have nationalized health care and it works. Everyone pays a small premium and when you get sick you go to the doctor of your choice and get what you need whatever it is. Don't let the money changers fool you on this, it works and your country needs it, employers can't afford to pay for health care all by themselves.

    Thank you for your presentation of the Health care problem. I support single health payer and really appreciate your airing of the subject. Good on you!

    Thanks, Karon.

    As always, Bill Moyers has created an informative program that demonstrates what many of us already know...single payer is the only option for affordable healthcare. When will Americans demand what the rest of the world already has? One group that is mobilizing is www.singlepayeraction.org. Everybody in. Nobody out. Take away the $400 billion that is paid to the healthcare industry and insurance companies for administration costs and bring the 47 million plus that are uninsured into an affordable plan. It is mindboggling that we allow these elected officials to continue to get away with this.

    International corporations would like to be rid of health care costs for US workers and especially their retired workers. They would be in favor of single-payer health care for their won bottom line.
    BTW: there is food insurance. It's called Food Stamps.

    The single-payer plan should be limited . . .
    Posted by: Larry Schanz

    We already have a system that limits healthcare based on private profit, it's a bit premature to start talking about limiting benefits in a program that has yet to be implemented.

    The insurance run healthcare system is denying any coverage to several million Americans based on their ability to pay and limiting doctor specified treatments and medicines to many of those who do have coverage. If this plan is implemented, every American will have access to basic healthcare and the loss of 20,000 Americans a year due to no access will cease to be a national embarrassment. I'm afraid that those who expect to get their Tummy Tucks and Liposuction procedures through the new system will be sorely disappointed !

    What is the cost to us, the taxpayer for Congress members' healthcare? Are they covered by this government-sponsored healthcare for life, even after they leave office? On our side of the fence, a person with Dick Cheney's health problems, we would be denied (or pay an exorbitant premium price for) healthcare because of a pre-existing condition. I would love to know what the cost to the taxpayer was for HIS health coverage. It seems to me that congress members have no incentive to get good health for US because WE have provided excellent coverage for THEM? If we had this information, could they be shamed into getting a decent system set up for the american public? How about an amendment to Constiution - If the american public doesn't have good healthcare, neither does the congress. If they were in the same boat are we are (all of us dealing with the same disfunctional system) I bet something would get done post haste. Insurance companies like the work-based insurance system b/c people who are working are most likely fairly healthy.

    BOTTOM LINE - greedy "health" insurance companies are protecting their profits at our expense. Everything the health insurance companies throw out there (majority of it lies) against a national health care system is FEAR-inducing to scare folks into keeping the current, broken system that lines their pockets with profits.

    The single-payer plan should be limited to people with valid Social Security numbers.
    No service for illegal aliens.
    There should be a high co-pay for office visits to keep people from abusing the system. Preferably, national health care should be for major medical only. When the patient does not pay any of the costs, they don't care what it costs.

    Tim wrote: "Why don't we have a single-payer for food? Why don't we get rid of all supermarkets, and let the government play the single/solitary/monopolistic middleman for food? Do people really think getting rid of the "wasteful" market competition among food distributors would actually save money and bring higher quality and quantity of food? .... the problem is being monopolist. Monopolies are inefficient; "

    With respect, medicine is, like food, a necessity of life. When some food is too expensive, people choose cheaper food or go to the local food bank. There is, as yet, no such thing as food insurance. Additionally, government is only monopolistic because we the people have barely exercised our civic duties to "throw the bums out" when our public servants do not act in our best interest. Democracy is time consuming, and requires an educated middle class. How are we doing? Market competition in medicine is what has raised the cost unsustainably. When we take the "business" out of medicine, it will return to the profession it is supposed to be. The only way to take the "business" out of medicine is to have public medicine. So single payer may not be the nirvana we seek, but it is the next step for the greater good. People, and physicians are people, need to do things for the right reasons, not for money/profit. America needs a change of heart. Greed is not good. Love is the way forward, and sharing resources is the only method to provide justice in healthcare.

    It may take more pain and suffering for us to be motivated by something other than personal gain.

    As the government continues the status quo "dysfunctional" the intent is to sweep
    "the single payer health insurance" issue under the carpet.
    After campaigning for a CHANGE now
    " Obama says we can't have single payer health insurance".
    I too "have one thing to say to him on the subject:
    YES WE CAN!"
    Stop providing us with the old MANTRA!
    The solution should be at the ballot and not in the hands of the OLIGARCHY!
    The people should not be forced on the streets to demonstrates for what is RIGHT
    and PRIVILEGE!
    "AMMEND THE CONSTITUTION"
    EMPOWER THE PEOPLE TO EXPRESS "THEIR WILL on ALL ISSUES"!

    The Senate version of the Single Payer bill is called the "American Health Security Act of 2009", it is available on line in .PDF format and is 172 pages long. Everything you every wanted to know about claiming your right to full healthcare coverage !

    As far as Medicare and Medicaid is concerned, the bill stipulates that these programs will be folded into the Single Payer program when and if it is implemented. Some special cases are exempt such as military healthcare delivery which has always been a single payer program funded through the Pentagon Budget.

    Excellent show this week on health care reform. It really helped provide great insight into the current state of our health care system, and the great alternative to that system that is Single Payer. Not even my wife, who is a Registered Nurse, knew what Single Payer health care is - that is how little known this alternative plan really is to the American people. We need more discussions like this to make people aware of the cruelty and moral bankruptcy of a profit-driven health care system, and to get the American people mobilized to force our representatives do what must be done - shut down the health insurance industry and enact a tax-payer funded Single Payer system in its place. It's time to end our shameful legacy of profits before people.

    The program was excellent. I am totally in favor of single payer health care and getting the greedy insurance companies out of the health picture. I manage a small non-profit and there is no way I could pay for health insurance for my employees and even if I could the coverage would be skimpy and loaded with exclusions for pre-existing conditions, etc. I greatly appreciate the work of the California Nurses' Association, Sidney Wolfe of Public Citizen, and David Himmelstein of Physicians for a National Health Program.

    My friend in Australia, which has a single payer system, has been battling cancer for ten years and tells me that her only expense has been the gas for her car to get her to the hospital!

    Thank you Bill Moyers for your informative program on single-payer--the only sensible health care reform. As has been made clear, our elected representatives in the white house and on capitol hill are not listening to us. (I'm a big Obama fan, but very disappointed in his cave to the insurance industry.) As Mr. Moyer's guests pointed out, if we had leadership from Obama, Pelosi, and Reid, single-payer health care WOULD get passed. It's what the majority of Americans, including doctors and nurses, want. With congress throwing away pro-single-payer faxes, keeping their voice-mail-boxes full, and arresting people who speak out in the senate, what is left for us to make our voices heard?

    Two suggestions have been made in earlier comments:

    1. A mass demonstration in Washington DC. This would require an organizer to pull all single-payer proponents together in DC on a single day while congress is in session.

    2. Boycott the insurance industry. This would require sacrifice on the part of the currently healthy: forego employer-based health insurance and self-pay for routine care until the insurance industry no longer has the funds with which to purchase our government.

    I don't know anything about this single-payer stuff, but if it would cover spine transplants, I'm all for it.

    http://photos.upi.com/topics-Thomas-Daschle/d7c31f395ed3b9aa113237b9f75b6c92/Thomas-Daschle_12.jpg

    Tim,

    You are wrong in terms of health care. Until Medicare Part D was rammed thru Congress (thanks AARP, which made megabillions off that), Medicare was VERY efficient. I think overhead was like 3%.

    Single payer worked just fine and Medicare could simply be expanded.

    We are paying many times more for healthcare than any other nation, so why isn't the health of our citizens number one?

    It's not.

    Social change has come hard. The middle class was built on a great deal of sacrifice and a lot of bloodshed.

    Is it realistic to expect to get a universal health plan in this day and age by demonstrating, writing letters, and making phone calls?

    What has to happen to get Medicare for all? As radical as this may sound,
    perhaps we need to bankrupt the health insurers first. Of course, this requires risk and sacrifice.

    How do we bankrupt them? Every healthy person and family would need to drop their private insurance, leaving only the sick. Boycott has been historically effective in bringing about social change.

    If we're serious about this, we must be willing to sacrifice for it.

    There is a strong, solid and quiet voice in this which is the researcher-physicians who are on the cutting edge who do not want single-payer or Canada-style healthcare because they feel it will cut off opportunities for cutting edge research. I this this issue has to be addressed head on, because I believe these people have a thumb on the scales; they have authority, and I think somehow, they are using (it's a symbiotic relationship perhaps) the insurance industry to strong arm Congress because it serves their interests (and their work is important). There are few of them, relatively speaking, and they don't need to put themselves out publicly as long as the insurance companies and lobbyists are doing an adequate job fighting for their side, but they are there, and politically speaking their views have to be taken into account (if you ever want to win on single-payer).

    Perhaps it is a matter of separating out, analytically, health care from medicine. That may sound strange, but "medicine" is a field of research--and it has been a lucrative one for some (unlike other intellectual activities in most fields). I don't know how insurance companies and medical research work together exactly, but I do think that logically it makes sense that insurance companies are somehow helping medical authorities, who then turn around and support the medical insurance industry. The point is, if the proponents of single payer simply try to denounce insurance comapanies as greedy, saying their position is all about profits and nothing else, they are going to run into the buzz saw of "medical authority" which likes the "private" system because it pays for their research--which is a public good, btw. Authoritative medicine and medical research as an intellectual practice must be dealt with apart from medical practice that is clinical and patient-care focused. This dilemma must be addressed head on.

    Perhaps, as part of any proposed single-payer health CARE proposal, there should also simultaneously be a companion proposal to fund cutting-edge research, some huge grant program for research hospitals and physicians who are working in labs, and doing science, etc. Put the two together, and get the medical authorities on board--drive a wedge between the insurance industry and doctors who just want to do research and make a good living doing it.

    I have two short questions to those non-believers, if our insurance system is so great why aren't are countries adopting our technique of providing insurance? Why aren't residents in these other countries what to support such a system as the US Insurance System?

    A short time ago I watched a documentary that Michael Moore provided by traveling to countries outside of United States who provide health care as a single payer system, United Kingdom, France, Canada and even Cuba. It is well worth watching. His documentary concurs with what Dr's Sidney Wolfe and David Himmelstein. I wish Bill Moyer would air Moore's take on comparing the US insurance system with those of other countries.

    Even Obama says we can't have single payer health insurance.

    I have one thing to say to him on the subject:

    YES WE CAN!

    Has anyone paid attention to how real life fire stations are run? They are far from being efficient. When a firefighter job is open, there are hundreds if not thousands of applicants. The positions are way over-paid! That's why many states and cities are going bankrupt!

    Why don't we have a single-payer for food? Why don't we get rid of all supermarkets, and let the government play the single/solitary/monopolistic middleman for food? Do people really think getting rid of the "wasteful" market competition among food distributors would actually save money and bring higher quality and quantity of food? Sure, all the "waste" on Sunday fliers will be eliminated. You can experience that kind of efficiency first hand in North Korea! It's not about socialist or fascist or any other political persuation per se; the problem is being monopolist. Monopolies are inefficient; whatever "-ism" only comes along later as a fig leaf to brainwash the public into tolerating the deteriorating living standards resulting from the inefficiencies of monopolies.

    As a US citizen, now living in Sweden, I say bring on social heath care! The quality and accessiblity I have to health care is far better than anything I had in the US. THe argument against single payer are scare tactics by the industry.

    Thank you Bill Moyers for bringing single payer health care reform to the table. This is the one forum on the air, that allows viewers to have all the necessary information to sift through in order to make intelligent decisions. Nurse/organizer, Donna was
    inspiring and articulate. Drs. Himmelstein and Wolfe made insightful comments that enlightened. It is becoming obvious that big health insurance/pharmaceutical dollars are controlling Congress and the President. I must say that it was a disappointment to hear Obama talking single payer advocacy a few years ago as a Congressman and then doing an about face as President. All the more reason to hold him to the fire where his words and promises are concerned. Yes WE CAN turn him around, if the people come out in droves in support of true health care reform and break through Max Baucus's fortress. We can and we will!

    We need to have a massive rally in Washington for Single Payer, just like the Civil Rights Movement; it is no less important. Who knows how to organize this? Let us know where to go and we'll be there with signs and banners. They take to the streets in France, Britain, everywhere else in the world; yet in the U.S. we have become like sheep, just accepting our fate. Just as we filled the streets of Washington when Obama was elected, let us fill the streets again for Single Payer!!

    For an example of a heavy-handed reaction to expressing support for the single payer system, go to health-justice.org and see the outrageous reaction of Congressman Waxman's office.

    I supported Medicare for all long before Baucus sold his seat to the insurance industry.

    The 5/22/09 Bill Moyers' Journal program is an intellectually honest investigation of our broken healthcare system.

    Any politician even attempting to deny voters Medicare for ALL should be ousted from office in upcoming elections to protect the many from the few.

    Thank you for the show you did on May 22. Diane Rehms did a similar show on Monday of this week. I got inspired to write my Senators and Representative. I will follow that up with phone calls. Jim Wallis says that to change the direction in Washington you have to change the direction of the wind. If enough people make their voices heard, our politicans will start to understand that the wind has changed. Thank you for reporting on this issue--please keep the heat on!

    Please see below how the Swiss system work. We need to eliminate the for profit world in healthcare, mandate that everyone is to be insured.

    he 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.

    From a purely mathematical perspective, single payer is clearly the most logical choice. Right now, we are paying not just for health care, but also for the administration of literally hundreds of different insurance plans. Take the insurance companies and their profits--which are considerable--out of the equation, and health care instantly becomes less expensive. Providers won't have any less incentive to compete, so the free market can still work (to the extent that it works with health care) in that patients can still choose their own doctors. But we won't have to spend additional money, paying people whose first responsibility is to their share-holders rather than patients.

    Let's put aside what we've been told by the insurance companies and do what makes sense.

    Annette Kay said (in part):

    "I am now on Medicare and have never had a problem here in this country when it looked like I needed hip surgery. I immediately got an MRI and a bone scan and an appointment for a hip replacement two weeks later."

    It seems like the "socialized" part of the good old American medical system (Medicare) came through for you. And I am supposing you did not experience long waiting lines, cruel public servants chosing your doctor for you, substandard care, etc.

    Wow, socialized medicine seems to be working fine in America! Let's extend it to everyone!

    The program was excellent. I am totally in favor of single payer health care and getting the greedy insurance companies out of the health picture. I manage a small non-profit and there is no way I could pay for health insurance for my employees and even if I could the coverage would be skimpy and loaded with exclusions for pre-existing conditions, etc. I greatly appreciate the work of the California Nurses' Association, Sidney Wolfe of Public Citizen, and David Himmelstein of Physicians for a National Health Program.

    My friend in Australia has been battling cancer for ten years and tells me that her only expense has been the gas for her car to get her to the hospital!

    I cannot let e rubins comments "that all single payer people want is someone else pay their bills, what business has the government run well--and you want them in charge of your healthcare costs" go unanswered. Single payer WILL NOT BE FREE. There will be a reasonable tax from a large insurance pool to be paid instead of outrageous increasingly unaffordable insurance premiums and higher costs of goods and services that result from employer based health insurance. Employers pass the cost on to YOU--YOU PAY NOW! Employer based health insurance just makes our goods and services less competitive. The cost of health care will not begin to decline until we stop feeding the middlemen of a huge and unnecessary insurance company bureaucracy whose greatest accomplishment to date has been to leave 47 million uninsured, an equal number under-insured and untold thousands who have died or gone bankrupt. YOU call that an accomplishment! As for the government Medicare and Social Security are among the most sucessful programs of all time. Do you call the roads on which the countries commerce runs and on which you drive YOUR car a failure? Are the education system, police, fire deparment, defense, NASA, failures? I have Medicare and YES I DO want a government run healthcare system. I want healthcare that is in the patients and the countries medical and economic best interests and not that of insurance companies. Medicare and Social Security are not called the third rail of politics for nothing! Touch it and your dead as Republicans learned again this last election cycle.

    There have been many excellent comments from mainstreet on Bill Moyers healthcare program but is anyone in the Congress or the White House listening? The people with the power to enact the change probably will not read your commentaries. As one commentator suggested, we have DO SOMETHING. Check the commentaries again for suggested phone numbers and web sites such as voting bloc.org. I suggest Obama's web page, www.whitehouse.gov which urges you visit healthreform.gov to get more information and join the discussion on health reform. "We want to hear what you think about healthcare reform" "share your story and ideas". I say let him have it with your comments. Sign the petition for HR676 on Healthcare-Now.org and support their activities any way you can. Michael Berla is right on with campaign finance reform, Washington is for sale. At the local Democratic party meetings I tried to get a resolution on campaign finance reform adopted. I failed for now but perhaps you will succeed. You can find phone numbers and email addresses to contact your congress people on the issues at www.house.gov and www.senate.gov.

    When will are these single payer people admit all they want is someone else to pay their bills.what business has the government ever run well,NONE,and you want them in charge of your health care costs.

    There is one Very Large Problem with a single payer health care delivery system. The problem to be specific is that AMERICA DOES NOT HAVE ONE!!!!!!!

    "I'm not looking to overthrow the U$ Government. The Corporate $tate already has" John Trudell.
    As long as our rotten not caring certainly not health care system is run for profit by our corporate rulers we, the people lose.Just like our for profit jail system puts us all behind bars for minor crimes mostly committed because of unlivable slave wages. But the greed and plundering of our collective wealth by our Corporate rulers goes unpunished. Could we waterboard them?

    Senator Baucaus and all Congress people in the pockets of insurance companies and banking industries are a disgrace. They could care less about their constituents. This issue makes that charge abundantly clear.

    How is it that a nation as rich and powerful as the United States allows so many of its citizens to go without the health care they need? How many lack health insurance? How many cannot afford it, or bankrupt themselves because of medical expenses, even when they have health insurance? How could our government of, by and for the people permit such preventable tragedies to occur?

    Listen to Senator Baccus: “Well, just to be honest, it's not on the table - the only thing that's not - because it cannot pass. It just cannot pass. We can't squander this opportunity. We can't spend - we can't waste capital on something that's just impossible.”

    It is not surprising that Senator Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, cares nothing about a national health insurance program that is supported by the majority of the public, doctors and nurses; cares nothing about the thousands of people who die every year because they can't get health care; cares nothing about the more than one million citizens who go into bankruptcy every year due to medical debt - even though most of them had insurance when they got sick.

    This is the same Senator Baccus who voted to defeat Illinois Senator Durban’s legislation that would have given judges the ability to adjust distressed homeowners’ mortgage terms in bankruptcy proceedings and avoid foreclosure. Senator Durban asked, “Why is it in this country, in America, that we can find hundreds of billions of taxpayers' dollars from hard-working people all over the United States to come to the rescue of bad banking decisions, rotten investments, mortgages that were fraudulent on their face, but can't summon the political will to do something about 8 million families in America who are going to face foreclosure?” He answered his own question, "Frankly, this place is owned by the banks."

    A similar question, why is it in this country, in America, that we can find hundreds of billions of taxpayers' dollars to come to the rescue of bad banking decisions, rotten investments, mortgages that were fraudulent on their face, but can't summon the political will to do something about the millions of our fellow citizens who can’t get the health care they need or go bankrupt due to their medical debts? The answer is the same old story. Senator Baccus is a large recipient of health insurance and drug company donations. Facts mean nothing to most Senators because they respond to only one standard tool of advocacy: money, and lots of it. The Senate is not only owned by the banks, it is also owned by the current wealthy health care corporate interests. The Democrats are no different than the Republicans. Our government is not of, by and for the people. It has been bought.

    Justice Brandeis once said, “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.”

    There have been many excellent comments from mainstreet on Bill Moyers healthcare program but is anyone in the Congress or the White House listening? The people with the power to enact the change probably will not read your commentaries. As one commentator suggested, we have DO SOMETHING. Check the commentaries again for suggested phone numbers and web sites such as voting bloc.org. I suggest Obama's web page, www.whitehouse.gov which urges you visit healthreform.gov to get more information and join the discussion on health reform. "We want to hear what you think about healthcare reform" "share your story and ideas". I say let him have it with your comments. Michael Berla is right on with campaign finance reform, Washington is for sale. At the local Democratic party meetings I tried to get a resolution on campaign finance reform adopted. I failed for now but perhaps you will succeed. You can find phone numbers and email addresses to contact your congress people on the issues at www.house.gov and www.senate.gov.

    It's tragic that AMerican leaders have been so cowed by the Insurance and Pharma Industries that they will shy away from the only sensible solution: Single-Payer Healthcare.

    I was absolutely riveted by the program. And felt a surreal chill realizing that I'd not heard a thing about the protests by health professionals on the mainstream news! This was all censored? Creepy. This show makes 60 Minutes look like scrap paper. What would happen if this program was shown at prime time on NBC?

    Nothing of value will happen on this or any other critical issue facing America as long as private money determines who is elected. The only way out is public financing of election campaigns. Public financing underlies the entire reform effort in the U.S.

    To list of the Rallys around the country next weekend go to:

    http://www.healthcare-now.org/campaigns/may-30th-day-of-action/

    Hope you cover them!

    In the past 50 or so years we as a nation have tried to pass universal health care several times by several different names. For many reasons it has never passed. Now we have another surge to try and get it through the congress and have it signed into law by the president.

    This time the supporters of the project are calling it "single payer" coverage. The new system is supposed to eliminate waste by simplifying the way healthcare professionals are paid for their care and services. Supporters, many of them doctors, nurses and other professionals think it is a good plan, however those that oppose the system such as health care insurance and pharmaceutical companies are mounting expensive lobbying and advertising campaigns to stop the passage of this important legislation.

    The opposition to the system is using the tried and true scare words to stop the proposal from being passed. Those words are socialism and communism. They say if a universal health care system passes we will become a socialist or communist state rather than a democracy. And, these are the same folks that think bailing-out the financial system which includes Wall Street, banks, the auto industry and insurance companies then taking over the running of the companies is perfectly all right.

    According to the supporters of "single payer" their system will reduce the cost of health care by cutting out billing procedures and the way approval is granted to the providers for various necessary medical procedures to patients. The idea is to simplify the system. The problem is that insurance and pharmaceutical companies see the new system as a way to cut into their profits.

    These are the companies that spend millions of dollars lobbying congress and advertising to influence the public. The advertising people include the "Swift Boat" folks. You may remember them from the Bush - Kerry election.

    Average persons in the country need to come together as a group to try and sell this important project. Write your congress person become an activist. If we can spend trillions of dollars on wars and bailouts for the financial industry we should be able to provide universal health care for our citizens. "Single Payer Coverage" seems to present a way to have this happen.


    Yes, single-payer health care is the way to go.

    Please!!!! What happened that transmission was cut off during Bill Moyer's program 5/22/09?

    I listened in vain last night to your show about single payer insurance - no mention whatsoever about the exorbitant liability inurance premiums paid by doctors to protect their butts from the litigious american public. I have been made to think that these premiums are part of the high medical costs in our country. gc

    Pres. Harry Truman proposed universal single payer health care the year I was born in his special address to Congress May, 1947. Here we are still talking, talking, talking about an issue other developed nations have already addressed. Yet here we all are 62 years after Truman's address, pacified and fear-filled as we pay our taxes with little return on government's responsibility -- safety and well-being of its tax paying citizens. What an excellent Journal on May 22, 2009 -- obviously, it's time for long overdue citizen action demanding what other developed countries have --- health care is NOT a for profit enterprise. See everyone in Washington, DC and around the country lift our citizen voice to make single payer health care a reality. Thank you too California RNs and doctors taking action and featured on the program.

    I am in support of the single payer program. I am a 34 year old female. I am employed. I have no health insurance, and don't make enough money from my job to pay for insurance. The last time I had health insurance was over ten years ago. I have a need for health care. I sustained a knee injury when I was a teen, and it tore ligaments and cartilage. I need to have surgery to fix it. Obviously being uninsured, I can't afford to pay for such a surgery, and insurance companies regard my knee issue as a pre-existing condition, and therefore deny me any coverage. My knee may not seem like such a big deal, after all it isn't terminal cancer. However, it has severely limited my mobility and hence has contributed to me gaining over 100 lbs over the past 10 years. The weight gain puts more pressure on my knee, which is now even worse than before. It has become a sort of domino effect. The weight gain puts me at higher risk for diabetes, which runs in my family. When I had insurance 10 years ago, I told my doctor about my knee, which he brushed it off and thought of it as nothing more than me being a worry wart. In reality, the insurance company would deny my surgery, making my need for insurance completely pointless. I have been waiting patiently for something to be done about our health care system so that I may get this issue taken care of. I find the selfish and ignorant behavior of the insurance companies disgusting. I also don't understand the fear behind socialized medicine. Is there really anything so wrong with everyone having quality care? What makes John Doe next door more deserving of care than me?? Is it because he makes more money?? Is that really fair? I thought we were all created equal.

    New Health Care Structure

    Part of the reason for the high cost is that health providers don't get paid for many of uninsured. Rising prices cause more people will do without insurance. The results have been an upward spiral in health care costs.

    The goal of a new health care system could be to get everyone in the system, have competitive pricing, and not to disrupt the health insurance plans that people currently have.

    People without health insurance could have a health tax that their employers would send to the government. The employer would have the option of paying all, part, or none of this health tax.

    Self-employed people and people receiving other types of income would send the tax to the government. People could opt out of this tax by getting their own qualifying health coverage.

    The health tax amount would be determined by age and dependents. This tax would not be more than a certain percentage of a person's total incomes. The percentage of income allowed for the tax could be higher for older people.

    Of course health insurance companies would try to insure the healthest people, leaving the higher risk people to be insured by the government. To somewhat offset this insurance companies could be required to take a certain percentage of their customers from the government.

    This type of health care system and various other types of health plans could be tried by different states. The federal government could adopt one of the best plans, then states could still opt out of the federal plan with their own plan.

    First of all, Ms. Smith and others in her organization are heroes. Also Dr. Himmelstein and Dr. Wolfe are outstanding advocates on this issue. It’s about time that someone stood up and explain the difference between single payer where the government is the administrator and socialized medicine where the doctors and hospitals work for the government. This needs to be done every time the opponents of single payer try to confuse the two.

    Single Payer is the only way to go. Health insurance companies are a business, like any other, whose primary purpose is to make money. This is no different than a company that sells software or shoes or anything else; the product they are selling happens to be health insurance. They make money by selling policies for more money than it costs them to payout on those policies. By definition then, no health insurance company is going to do anything that upset’s that equation like covering people with preexisting conditions. The healthcare crisis therefore cannot and will not ever be resolved while profit seeking businesses are providing health insurance.

    I do however think that in order to control costs patients need to have some financial stake in their medical care. A progressive system of premiums, deductibles, copays and out of pocket maximums based on gross income would be most equitable. As would premium surcharges for smokers, the overweight, substance abusers, felons and anyone else engaging in controllable behaviors that increase their risk of needing medical care. An increase in the employer portion of the Medicare tax would subsidize the cost of a single payer plan since most businesses would save tremendous amounts of money by no longer providing medical benefits.

    And finally, a PPO approach to paying physicians would ensure choice and maintain the competitive model necessary to maintain excellence. The physicians that have made a name for themselves can opt out of the PPO plan if they feel that patients are willing to incur more of the cost themselves in order to be treated by the best physician. They would by paid a percentage of the charges billed. Those in the PPO will be paid at PPO rates.
    I will be publishing a book shortly with the specific details of how a single payer plan could work and how it would be paid for.

    The reason President Obama didn't just jump into the national health insurance issue and came up with a hybrid plan is that we continue to have frightened voters. Voters that are soooo afraid we'll turn into a socialistic country. Hello!! we are a socialistic/capitalistic hybrid economy. One that has worked very well up until now. the capitalistic side has developed major problems (lack of oversight, greed) and the socialistic aspect of our economy is going broke because of the meltdown in our financial markets (job losses, lost tax revenues). I think Obama's plan is a good start, but will the Dems in congress let him get this going?

    I am a Family Physcician who has been in practice for over 30 years. I have seen countless numbers of patients who ultimately did not get the care they needed because they were either uninsured or underinsured. Some have died or have faced financial ruin as a consequence. As the leader of the world's free nations our country should be ashamed that we let this continue, all for the sake of preserving a broken system of healthcare financing that enriches those who support it.

    Medical practices are very inefficient from a business perspective. Electronic Medical Records will not resolve this problem. The primary cause of inefficiency is the maze of rules and requirements that physicians and their staffs must negotiate in order to get care for their patients.I have been continually frustrated by the ongoing complexities and roadblocks to care that surface daily from insurance companies. It's a travesty that our elected officials won't even allow an open debate about the virtues of a single-payer system that would go far to allow doctors and nurses to spend more time caring for patients and less time playing the insurance game.

    I strongly support a single-payer system. We need Medicare for all, financed by the billions currently paid in premiums to the health insurance industry. Single-payer will give patients more choice, and doctors and hospitals will then have to compete on the one element that they should ... Quality of Care.

    From a financial perspective, the U.S. can't afford not to do this. We already pay more than double per capita than any other nation in the world for healthcare, and our population outcomes for health and longevity are dismal at best. U.S. businesses are hampered by the cost of healthcare while they try to compete globally with companies who are free from this requirement.

    I believe that single-payer would be politically feasible if the public would have access to an honest debate about its virtues. Currently the public is bombarded by propaganda that is motivated by special interest groups who want the current system to survive in some form. I believe that if the public truly understood the facts by honest discussion and debate, Medicare for all could happen now. The time is right but the level of public misunderstanding about this is incredible. Some of my most conservative patients who are covered by Medicare have been heard to say, "don't touch my Medicare whatever you do!!" Yet they see "Medicare for all" as a system of socialized medicine.

    I know of no alternative models of healthcare financing that would be affordable and that could so dramatically improve access to care for all. The time for a single-payer system is now. It must be included in the health reform agenda and discussions.

    Here is a recent post from newsletter@Health-justice.org about congresspersons receiving faxes from Americans wishing to express their views about "healthcare reform" which is being shaped in DC and without input from people who will be impacted:

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Have You Been Ignored Long Enough?
    Are You Mad Enough About It Yet?
    Memorial Day Weekend, 2009
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Dear ........
    Here's the story so far. On Friday, many of you sent a fax from our website telling the House Energy & Commerce (E&C), Ways & Means(W&M) and Education & Labor(E&L) committees that you did not want to keep the insurance you have and you did not want forced purchase of health insurance. Because the combined membership of those committees is about 150 congresspersons, your faxes were sent directly to the fax numbers of the committees themselves. The expectation was that your faxes would be delivered to committee members by the committee staff as part of the government employee's duty.
    Instead, by mid-afternoon, the E&C staff was faxing back to our fax vendor all the faxes they received. By late afternoon, they were faxing them directly to our Salt Lake office. In late afternoon, I called to inquire why and was told (rudely) by an employee that they were not supposed to give these faxes to Congresspersons and we were not supposed to send them faxes. Moreover, I was told, the employee knew that some or all of the faxes were coming from fake email addresses because they (the employees) had phoned the persons on the email signature and confirmed that these persons had not sent any fax.
    A short while later, I received a call from "Max" at the E&C committee who rebuked me for sending faxes, told me they had to unplug their fax machine, said he had investigated me and I was a "radical" and asked whether I knew it was a Federal offense to "break" government fax machines (he is wrong.) He assured me that he would not prosecute me but that maybe Nancy Pelosi would, except that she had "bigger fish to fry."
    What really concerned me was this: Max said the E&C staff were throwing all the faxes into the trash, except for one copy that they would show the chairman, Mr. Waxman. He suggested that the only way to contact the congresspersons on the committee was to have individuals from their district send individual faxes to their individual congressperson.
    Recognizing that if faxes were going into the trash, nothing was being accomplished, I diverted all faxes being sent to the committees (E&C, W&M, E&L and Senate committees) to our email (for future use), while maintaining the fax flow to Pelosi, Baucus and the White House.
    I then immediately sent an email to you suggesting that the chairs of the subject committees (Waxman, Miller and Rangel) would like to hear your opinion of their committee staff. I gave you the relevant office phone numbers.
    Within minutes of that email to you, I received multiple phone calls from you asking why you were unable to contact the named committee chairmen. It seems that you all had the same experience and I confirmed this with my own calls. Waxman's voicemail was full and there was no way to leave a message. You could and did leave messages with Miller's voicemail. Rangel's phone just rang and rang without answering.
    Of course, those of you that called me were frustrated and angry. Many of you expressed a feeling of impotent rage; others felt that if this is how our government treated us, we should simply withdraw and protect ourselves, essentially becoming gun-toting enclave-building isolationists. Still others expressed despair at their personal situation and the unbelievable arrogance that has destroyed the hope we expected with Obama.
    Obviously, Washington insiders, including our elected and unelected employees, are doing their very best to ignore what we are saying. We have known that for months. Now we know it is taking a direct and threatening form of actively trashing our message.
    The question now is: What do we do? How angry are we? What can we do? I am setting out some options below. I really want your thoughts. I would do this by way of a poll, but this feedback seems more important. There are about 4900 people who directly receive this email. If you send me 4900 responses, I will read every one of them. I want your help in deciding what to do and how to do it.
    i don't want to give up, but i am just one person and cannot effect change alone. I need your ideas and your help. Send them to me by email here.
    Sincerely
    Clark Newhall MD JD
    clark.newhall@health-justice.org


    The Three Options I See
    Be Polite
    Give Up
    Get In Their Faces
    Option 1: Be Polite and Follow the Rules Congressmen Want Us To Follow
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    We can continue our campaign of faxes and phone calls but we can make a 'pick list' for each fax so you can pick which congresspersons or senators your fax should go to. That way, you can send faxes only to your own elected representatives. This is the method that has been and continues to be used by all other organizations attempting to influence Congress. Call it the "grass roots" method.
    The obvious drawback is that the impact of several hundred faxes on one message is eliminated. The supposed advantage is that Congresspersons pay attention mainly to those missives (phone calls, faxes, etc.) that come from their own constituents. Supposedly, fifty faxes to Congressman X from only his constituents is more effective than 5000 faxes from voters all around the country. What do you think?
    .

    Option 2: Give Up
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Given that we are ignored -- given that Obama is not going to lead us to real health reform -- given that Baucus and most other legislators are owned by the insurance industry -- given that you and I do not have unlimited money and time--
    Given all these givens, why keep trying? Face it, we are screwed. Whatever we do is futile. Let's give up.

    Option 3: Get Louder and Closer
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    I don't mean louder telephone calls or more faxes. i mean travel to Washington. All of us. Everyone else we know that can and will come. 1 thousand, 100 thousand or 1 million. Whatever we can muster. Gather on one day. Make a loud noise.
    I have been told that it costs $12 per person to organize a mass event. I have been told that organizing a mass event in Washington will require at least two months and ten organizers.
    I don't have the money or the employees to do this. You and I would have to do it together. You would be the organizers. You would be the fund-raisers. You would be the people gathering and you would be the people getting 1000 other people to gather. All on the same day. All in Washington. All with one purpose. Get Congress and the White House to listen to the demand for real health care for all.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    phone: 801-363-8888 Email: clark.newhall@health-justice.org
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Let democracy work if there is one like other countries.

    It is time for the NATIONAL REFERENDUM on SINGLE PAYER.

    Universal Health Care System is the only way to go forward in this civilized society. It has been proven to function very well in other civilized countries and it will work in America. Let's the doctors take the charge, not the insurance companies.
    In addition, it will save America 400+ billion $$ a year, the money that could be spent to solve many other problems facing our country today.
    Alex

    Single-payer makes all the sense in the world. The opposing arguments are not just 'faulty,' they are well-financed lies.

    BUT, we must consider this part of our 'political reality'...when it comes to the upcoming Health Insurance Decision, the 800 lb. gorrilla in the room is not exactly "the insurance companies" as such (though it seems to be) — THAT is too simplistic: wealthy adversaries vs. unorganized citizens, opposing sides of a debate. No, it's not that scenario.

    It is FEAR.

    The insurance industry, through its own means and methods we may never be privy to, has worked hard to create a climate of fear and disinformation (1) in the public, and (2) for members of Congress.

    There is the surface fear, fairly easy to recognize:

    Pass single-payer and you will:

      [For patients:]
    • lose choices or
    • have long waits for 'rationed" medical care', or
    • even die waiting for treatment.
      [For Congress:]
    • You will lose your re-election due to lack of funding

    Remember: there IS no debate. The "opposing side" (single-payer) has been excluded, eliminated, jailed, if necessary.

    Not only do thousands of patients die from this imposed phony "health system," so does democracy.

    That's the public face of the Fear. To get hundreds (nearly all) of US representatives to behave in a manner contrary to popular opinion, to medical advice and to statistical evidence, I believe requires a fear more deep-seated than the simple (but effective) threat to campaign funding.

    We are talking about a deep-rooted fear of 'consequences' if insurance companies are placed outside the healthcare loop. What those consequences are, we do not know. This whole sham 'debate' over universally mandated health insurance, smacks of the same mafioso-style language and posturing as well as limit-setting that we saw in the "Bailout debate." Remember? "We are in charge, Do as we tell you now, or there will be consequences ("the market will collapse, there will be 'disruption' ", etc.)."

    The irony, of course, is that in all likelihood, any representative supporting single-payer and (gasp!) promoting it, would get overwhelming constituency backing, enough to win, and enough to counter and even expose the agenda behind the insurance-paid attack ads.

    No, the kind of fear we are talking about is one that can get high-rolling public officials like Bernanke and Paulson to tell an entire nation "Pay up now. And don't ask us to say what we will do with the money."

    This belies POWER. A power so strong — outside our government & mdash that we are to pretend we do not, dare not, cannot, see it. "Don't look into the sun. Don't look at the emperor's face. Misfortune and death await you." Sound familiar? Have you seen that kind of strong-arming before? If it looks like a duck,...

    Ohh...yes, sure, part of this is speculation. When you examine the collective behavior of the players, however, an invisible force becomes apparent. No one can make such mountains move without deep threats and coercion, shrouded in mystery.

    The Power-Makers must not be questioned.

    When too many look too close to the sun, democracy melts. Rational and desirable things have a way of sliding "off the table."

    Help increase the wages of Senators like Baucaus by voting them out of office! It's a Win-Win! They will get the high-paying lobbyist job they are practicing for, and you might get a representative that has your interests at heart. Might. Better keep an eye on their behavior and voting record.

    Thank you for airing single payer. It truly is the only path to good health care for all americans. All health care (including those who have no insurance) is presently being paid for now by premium payers and tax payers. Unfortunaley it is extremly costly to pay for the uninsured at the emergeny room rather than prevention and early internevetnion at the Doctor's office. I would submit the first step to new helthcare model should be to decide what we want. Do we want good health care for all or only a few? How do measure good health care? I belive we should define these measures and see how other countries and our current system measure up. I would suggest that infant mortality; life span; coverage; and percentage of GDP as examples. I would encourage you to start the debate to force both political parties to define the paramaters for a good system and then evalute current models in other countries to find the best starting point. Why, if there are know problems with other models that we cann't fix them. Again thank your for your show. I find it to be well balanced, accurate and of great value.

    Lobbiest and Corporate Money, yet another reason to implement Congressional Term Limits. Hard to do when the target group is the corrupt members of Congress who are the gatekeepers !

    Thanks for the program. Yes we need single payer now.

    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.

    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.

    I worked in reproductive health care for many years of my life. I learned way back then, and it still applies that the only way people are moved to make change happen is when THEY are affected directly. Legislation will be considered and created to provide all Americans with quality health care when member of Congress truly experience what it is like NOT to have it. I suggest that since so many of our businesses and industries are dropping healthcare coverage to save themselves and to lower costs, that the Federal government follow suit. Let's remove health care as a "right" for members of Congress for the next 5 years and see if we can then get them to listen and consider single-payer health care for all Americans. Novel idea...but why not!? Donna

    Not-For-Profit in the Arena of Needs

    Why must a for-profit insurance company stand between a person’s health and medical needs and those prepared to provide the professional service? Why not administer the ‘insurance’ from a public (government) non-profit platform?

    Who should profit from a person’s need for medical care or disability maintenance? Should anyone profit? Why should the gross-charge for medical care include a profit above and beyond the actual cost of production-distribution-administration and prorated training, design, and development and be a part of the economic model for the provision of our essential needs? Are food, water, energy, shelter, provisions for health/safety, and transportation essential need? Are these rights or privileges? Is survival of the fittest the our operating paradigm, or is compassion?

    Specifically – health, medical, pharmaceutical, and prevention - businesses and services which comprise a 15 percent of our present GDP are essential to each individual’s life. Is the idea of profit for these services exploitive, if not a form of extortion? The brokers and middlemen that are now interjected between the consuming individual and the service provider/product should become unnecessary, with the improved levels of - communication, automation, and education – available today. Could an enlightened, educated, and responsible citizenry be self responsible for maintaining accountability for the efficacy of the administration of these services, and the acceptance of risk? Do we now have a model on the internet, AngiesList, that attempts to accomplish this? Is this not the place for litigation, but instead a place for the ‘free marketplace’ to weed-out, or entrust, where individuals’ actions to purchase and use are the judge and jury? If we and our educational institutions work correctly, we can dramatically improve our own oversight of medical care, and if we are individually conscientious, we can exercise higher levels of preventative medicine as well as preliminary diagnostics and even treatment prescription. If we individually fail to assume responsibility that fault lies individually with us. What defines a non-profit business? Who or what agencies monitor those not-for-profit businesses, define the policies appropriate of non-profits, and enforce those policies? Why would anyone want to establish and run a non-profit business? Could true not-for-profit health care related products and service significantly reduce the cost of health care? Or, on the other hand, are health care and the insurance management/access industries currently mainly operating as not-for-profit, thus making this argument moot? Is this truly and issue of individual responsibility, and if so how do we foster greater individual responsibility?

    Another take of the problem of health care costs was developed by the CATO institute in 1994, in which the primary premise is the over-use of medical services because of ‘ease-of-access’ to the system. You can follow the link here to the article Cato Policy Analysis No. 211. In addition, Cato argues that ‘third-party’ payments (government/medicare/medicade, and insurance companies) are paying the bills, enabling the patient, and thus encouraging higher costs. Is it a combination of these observations? Are we trying to provide for the delivery of too much health care? What is too much? Too much for whom?

    Last, how do these arguments relate to the other essential needs of food, water, energy, and shelter?

    Note: I and my employers have paid insurance premiums in excess of $200,000 over my 40 year working career. I’ve never been hospitalized nor have I used more than $10,000 of coverage over my lifetime to this point. I have just retired, and now have to pay a COBRA premium of $800 a month for myself for the years between my age 63-65 for similar coverage, just myself. When I become eligible for MEDICARE, those premiums (all combined) will no longer apply to my future healthcare needs, they will belong to the insurance companies that no longer will provide for me, let alone my wife. Incidentally, my wife and her employers paid similar amounts into her health insurance plans. She has had more medical expenses than I, averaging about $1000 a year. Combined we will have paid in well over $450,000 to our private for-profit health insurance companies. I’m happy that others, less fortunate may benefit from our insurance (kind of like taxes), but I’m not please with corporate shareholders, and administrators, upper level corporate managers profiting off of my contributions. I might say the same for those selling pharmaceuticals, or medical supplies, or medical test equipment, or administering home healthcare, etc. I think my family would have done much better to have banked, on our own in a savings account our monthly medical insurance premiums. I might say that for all of our insurances (auto, boat, home, life, mortgage).

    IT’S IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND THE WAY THE MEDICAL PROVIDERS CALCULATE THE BILL FOR THE UNINSURED. THIS IS OBSCENE, BUT NO ONE SEEMS TO BE AWARE OF IT.

    Whenever people complain about the rising cost of health care, they are usually talking about the rising cost of the insurance premiums that are deducted from the paychecks of employees who have health care benefits. It seems that some people are having a difficult time paying the $30 - 50 dollar increase in their monthly premium. This is a problem the uninsured would like to have.

    It seems that no one knows about the payment formula that the insurance companies force on the medical industry, or how it is applied to the uninsured.

    Most of the major insurance companies have a contract with the medical providers (doctors, labs, and hospitals) to give them a reduced price for their services, which is typically about 65% of the ‘base’ price that is charged only to uninsured patients. Their contracts further stipulate that the insurance companies have to pay only 50% of the base price for the first charge on a given day, and 25% of the base price for the remaining charges for the same day, less the patient’s copay. This means that the insurance companies pay only 16 – 33 % of the base price less the patient’s copay. Thus, you can generally say they pay about 25% of the base price for any medical bill they get. This also means that whenever the doctors and hospitals want to raise their price to the insurance companies by $1, they have to raise the base price to the uninsured by $4.

    To illustrate:

    If a medical procedure "costs" $1200, the insurance company is only asked to pay $300 on behalf of their insured patient, while the uninsured patient would be told to pay the full $1200.

    If a medical procedure "costs" $12,000, the insurance company is only asked to pay $3,000 on behalf of their insured patient, while the uninsured patient would be told to pay the full $12,000.

    If a medical procedure "costs" $120,000, the insurance company is only asked to pay $30,000 on behalf of their insured patient, while the uninsured patient would be told to pay the full $120,000.

    If a medical procedure "costs" $400,000, the insurance company is only asked to pay $100,000 on behalf of their insured patient, while the uninsured patient would be told to pay the full $400,000. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHAT THE INSURANCE COMPANY IS BILLED AND WHAT THE UNINSURED PATIENT IS BILLED IN THIS EXAMPLE IS $300,000!!! This happens every day. I've seen these bills myself.

    It is my understanding that the actual cost of a medical procedure is closer to what the insurance companies pay, or 25% of the billed fee. The 75% “penalty” is what the uninsured get charged because they don't have insurance.

    The most upsetting thing about rising health care costs is not that the insured patient’s deductible is rising, but that their insurance companies have forced the medical providers to charge the uninsured four times (400%) of what they, the multibillion dollar insurance companies, pay, on average. To make this possible, they have put forth the view that people who don’t have insurance are lazy, unskilled, stupid, or unwilling to contribute to an insurance plan. However, most of the uninsured are working, but their employers will not provide insurance. While they are busy convincing the public that the attitude of the uninsured is the problem, they have neglected to show the truth about what they are charging to private individuals for insurance. Their private insurance plans cost about $700 to $2,000 per month, while the typical uninsured worker earns only $1,200 to $2,400 per month before taxes. It’s very difficult, if not nearly impossible, to pay for food, housing, transportation, etc. with these wages, long before health care costs are added.

    The majority of people who have health care provided by their employer would not be able to purchase health care if their employer stopped providing it. They are not "better" people than the uninsured. Where I live, jobs that pay $20,000 to $30,000 (with a growing number who have no medical insurance) per year are the norm, but the media gives you the impression that there are a lot of people who make much higher salaries, $50,000 - $100,000. Only those employed in the medical industry get the higher wages. There are very few people who can afford to purchase health care insurance without a subsidy from their employer; there are very few people who can afford to pay the grotesquely inflated medical expenses that are 400% higher than what the insurance companies pay. There is a war being waged by the medical industry against the uninsured. Any contact with a hospital will ruin their lives and destroy their families – bankruptcy, foreclosure, homelessness – it is virtually inevitable. The health care providers don’t care. They feel it’s their duty to charge these grotesque fees to the uninsured.

    I have a pre-existing condition and am self employed. I was declined by every health insurance company licensed in the state... so 7 years ago, I sold everything and left the USA.

    I now have UK-based private insurance (tho I do not live there) for $190/mo covering my wife and I everywhere in the world except the USA.

    I'd like to be able to return home one day. For now, I am required to pay taxes to a country I may never set foot in again.

    The Helena Independent Record the local Helena MT newspaper asks for news tips on its website.

    I posted a tip about Baucus's refusal to acknowledge the overwhelming national support of a single payer health care system.

    Maybe you can think of addtional tips for Sen Baucus's home newspaper.

    Of course we need a national health plan and single payer is the way to go. The life span of the health insurance industry must be ended. Of course they will struggle until their last gasp.

    A Challenge to Our Newspapers

    Each city and village in this country should encourage their local paper to inform it's citizens to let congress and the president know that we the public want the 'single payer" plan for the health reform of this country.

    Copy of email sent to Senator Baucaus this morning

    "Dear soon to be ex-Senator Baucus

    You have sold out your constituents and the rest of America by refusing to acknowledge the overwhelming national support for a single payer health care system.

    You should be ashamed of yourself for the betrayal of the public good.

    May you rot in hell."


    Suggest you all write him also to express your opinion. Just google "baucus" to get his email.

    Why have we been having this discussion for so many years? I think it's really time for a change. If the big health insurance companies and big Pharma don't see the handwriting on the wall--too bad. We're the only first-world nation which has an out-of-date health care system. Why? Because we have a for-profit system.

    As your guests so eloquently stated, it's time for a movement in this country, and I believe that's happening now. There is a group on the web called Health Justice which is also fighting for a single-payer system. I think "Sicko" was the film which pointed out the various health care systems in other countries which were working fine and which we could probably model if we chose to do so--I'm not sure why Americans are so afraid of the Canadian system. But that's not the only model that's working.

    What do we do next if we can't march on Washington like the brave nurses and doctors who chose to do so? Write to Congress. Call them. Join groups you know who support this kind of system. It makes sense.

    I currently have employer-paid health insurance; that cost is $1200. per month for those who select the plan (Blue Shield). I have to pay half out of my pocket every month in order to be covered; I am a single person with no children. I am subsidizing those who select the same plan who have families. Is that fair?

    Exactly Bill. Thank you. I want the same health care opportunities that our members of Congress currently enjoy for EVERYONE. I want to eliminate an insurance system that does not insure.I want access for all. How can those elected folks possibly support this cumbersome, scary and dangerous mess that exists for the majority of our citizens?

    Health insurance is not the same as health care. Insurance is for accidents.
    For those who are fearful of the dirty word “socialism”, why are they not concerned about the fact that we the taxpayers are bailing out Wall Street and the banksters with trillions and counting, (which is corporate socialism) with no strings attached?
    Obama has said that Single Payer would be the best approach if we “were starting from scratch”. By removing the age restrictions and expanding and improving Medicare to include all Americans, we could have a truly unique American health care system.

    The same special interests that have given us the most expensive, poorest quality health care among developed countries (37th rank) are now suddenly pretending to be champions of reform. Their legislative agenda is a patent effort to stop the public demand for a meaningful universal health care system through a Single Payer- Medicare For All. The fact that over a million Americans face bankruptcy every year due to medical debt- even though the majority had insurance at the time when they got sick is ignored, as are the needs of the American people. The recent decision to close thousands of auto dealerships as part of the neo-liberal IMF/World bank austerity/structural adjustment style programs that are being shoved down our throats by the “change” Obama administration, are in effect costing the American taxpayer tens of thousands of more lost jobs, health insurance, housing, Social Security, etc. Structural Adjustment programs that have been used to impoverish developing countries throughout the world, are now being implemented here in the US, and the health care “reform” is a glaring example.

    The single-payer solution is the one solution that reduces costs and increases savings, covers every American, provides patient choice, and allows doctors and patients to make the best medical decisions. It would also provide a huge stimulus to the economy by creating millions of jobs. Obama's May 11 announcement that insurance companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, the American Hospital Association, the AMA, and other groups intend to reduce the growth of health care costs by 1.5 percent over ten years, is simply a ploy to block meaningful health care reform, in particular the possibility of a Single Payer- Medicare for All. See: The Health Care Industry's PR Scam: Will Obama Fall for It? — By James Ridgeway. Single Payer would reduce health care spending in the US by as much as one third, cutting costs dramatically for working Americans. Single-Payer would also replace employer-based health care benefits, removing a severe financial burden on businesses suffering from the crippling economic collapse. The 'options' plans favored by many Democrats are designed to sustain for-profit insurance companies through massive taxpayer-funded subsidies or mandates. Single-Payer removes the private insurance-HMO industry from the system altogether, making health care a right for all Americans.The current health care crisis is a direct result of the Clinton era so-called reform which fundamentally solidified the for profit health insurance monopoly. The idea of managed care that Clinton promoted has been an utter failure. Be aware, that the same forces are at work now in pursuit of a public option which continues to keep the status quo, just like the managed care has done. Without removing the insurance/HMOs from the equation there will be no cost containment, or genuine health care reform. We need to get rid of the parasitic health insurance monopoly, and not make this another bailout for the corporations. Single Payer is the only real solution.
    It was mentioned on Bill Moyers (May 22- PBS) that Arnold vetoed Single Payer twice. However, it is crucial to point out that the bill would have saved the state an estimated $14 billion per year, enough to erase the state debt within two years AND cover everyone far more reliably and comprehensively than they are now. Instead Arnold substituted a sham plan of his own that would have fed the BEAST THAT IS THE PROBLEM and cost (not saved) an additional $12-14 Billion.
    The failing California economy rests firmly on the shoulders of Arnold’s refusal to sign Single Payer into law. That is a fact. We need Single Payer, nothing less.

    I'm very angry at the Obama Administration for excluding the single payer option from the discussions. I firmly believe it is the only real reform.I intend to keep sending e-mails and writing letters expressing my opinion.

    The bottom line in my opinion is..."doing the right thing" we seem to be more upset, judged by the media cover, over torture that happened 5-6 years ago than the torture sick and uninsured people endure everday. How much money would the country and government save if people could stay healthy from seeing doctors in a timely manner instead of when they are so ill they have no choice and many of their health problems could have been taken care of earlier and cheaper. We as the people are the only ones that can make this happen.

    Oh my.

    I have had 2 posts censored (AKA deleted)in this forum.

    It is time to meet my Hero in person and ask him why?

    Anything but Single Payer is Phony Reform that won't work.

    Supporting compromised reform from the start is actually the diversion to steer us away from the real reform. And in real world negotiations, you NEVER go in asking for less than you want. You ask for MORE. But more important is how can any real and fair solution come out of negotiations that don’t allow all sides to be heard? It is quite frankly, un-American to deny the Single Payer advocates an equal opportunity to make their case.

    Why don’t those who claim to support a public plan not use their resources to help explain Single Payer? Why are you helping to push a compromised plan that keeps the insurance industry middlemen at the table to continue to suck out over 1/3 of our health care dollars? When explained clearly, Single Payer is clearly the best choice. Without a true Single Payer system, the public option will fail and the insurance companies know it just as well as Obama does. Their phony grumbling and offer to save 1.5% in costs per year is disgusting, but it is even more disheartening to see good people and good organizations pretend to favor health care reform by saying they support a “public” option. A Single Payer plan is already in the form of a bill in Congress and has 93 co-sponsors. So, why are we not discussing HR676 and what it will do to cover everyone and save money?

    Opponents of reform are proving they will attack ANY change as “socialized” medicine, even “change” that keeps private insurance in business and growing. So why don’t we work to set the record straight? The insurance industry has controlled our healthcare system far too long and led us to where we are today. Why is Obama (who I voted for) allowing them to control the debate on healthcare reform? Is it because he was the largest recipient of campaign contributions from the insurance industry and pharmaceutical industry (as Senator and Presidential Candidate)?

    Why, when Obama does have the support of the public now to do the right thing, is he cowering behind Max Baucus? The fact that not ONE person knowledgeable about Single Payer has been included in the discussions and advocates for Single Payer, including doctors, were arrested for attempting to be included at a table where all the insurance industry representatives were seated is unconscionable. When citizens are silenced in favor of corporate interest, this is not, “Yes, we can” or “change from the bottom up” much less a democracy.

    I am encouraged to see how many people have commented to this blog since last evening.

    If nothing else, we must express ourselves clearly so that the President does not assume we are supporting so called "health care reform" which is of little value..Or, worse, it would be a "change" to try and deceive people into believing something good has just been accomplished. We must not be fooled.

    The June 6th Obama "kickoff" for the People to show their support for his plan (whatever it is) is the opportunity to PROTEST, not to cheer for yet another political magic act.

    "Because of the need to be re-elected, politicians are always likely to have a short-term bias. What looks good now is more important to politicians than long-term consequences even when those consequences can be easily foreseen..."
    from the John Steele Gordon quotation above

    At this point in our country's history, it seems to me that our economic system has been shown to be fatally flawed by a bias toward short-term profit. Furthermore, as far as I can tell, the economic "long-term" has typically been understood to be only about a generation. Considering the vast future that is at stake, I am certain we can expect the hole to get much deeper if we leave matters to traditional thinkers in politics or economics.

    Unfortunately, the real solutions have serious costs in the transition period. Such costs are the proverbial "devil we don't know," so it seems very difficult for widespread support to gain momentum. In the case of single-payer, what will happen to all those employed by the private insurance industry and in hospitals who will no longer be needed? And what impact would the relatively sudden loss of these insurance companies have on the struggling financial sector? I hope someone much smarter and more informed than I am has answers to these questions so that our leaders can find a way to support a real solution. Like Katherine Benziger (who posted earlier), I'd like to know what I can do from here.

    I was disappointed that Bill Moyer did not get other views on the single-payer episode.

    Why does Moyer keep his shows so one sided? That's no better than the politicians and media that he complains about. Why not invite someone like Dr. Ron Paul? Read Paul's recommendation for health care reform @ http://www.house.gov/apps/list/speech/tx14_paul/HCRA.shtml

    Many others besides Paul could also provide dissenting views. PLEASE GIVE US BOTH SIDES OF THE ISSUES.

    Obama has shocked me, frankly. He pulled a good one on us - he has no intention of saving America from the concentration of money "at the top" and is willing to let more people die, daily in fact, than listen to "we the people."
    Single payer is the only way to provide care for our citizens.
    I've witnessed what AARP, and other "health" insurance programs have done to the seniors in AZ - removing them from original Medicare so they cannot see the few qualified MDs in the state (there are no internal medicine blokes there to speak of - they all march into Texas for it's abominal Tort Reform). AARP, and the insurance companies, along with the POTUS, and all elected in DC should be hung at dawn.

    I think we have had just about enough. Agree: we will have to take to the streets en masse to be heard because the FCC has sewn up all communications. We must inform one another.

    On Sidney Wolf, and on PFSP, and Bill Moyers for helping to keep America's voice heard.

    "...only the profit motive and competition keep enterprises lean, efficient, innovative and customer-oriented.”

    Just a hunch, but I'm thinking John Steele Gordon hasn't seen a doctor since he and his mom were in the maternity ward of their local hospital.

    Sue J May23 9:33AM so you are now HOPING for CHANGE-wasn't that promised in the campaign? Good points on health ins.

    Mac may 23 5:33am few words, BIG points

    Shelia B may23 2:45am good pts. & personal experience.

    Tom W. may23 1:36am without action by voters all that is left is jaw flapping.

    rd may23 12:24am Interesting--Why not?

    Vote out the Congressional Zombies Nov 2010!

    A CAN-DO Party needs to be formed in each state to vote out the Can-Not- partiesssss!

    Goals need to be set--
    Details need to be debated-
    Money IN & OUT needs to be planned & a flat-ish tax might be debated.

    How much could Taxpayers save without IRS, CPAs Lawyers, and Congressional committies that GIVE our money away without knowung where it goes!!!

    Vote out the Zombirs!!!

    Billy Bob, Florida where the Zombies made a law allowing a party to deny my vote AND did away with usuray laws!

    The poll should have also asked "Do you favor single payer? since Pres. Obama's plan is not quite the same thing. Thanks for airing this important message. I too am disappointed in the lack of clarity in motivations of some of the congressional representatives. Follow the money.

    I'm disappointed after vigorously supporting Obama and my new Congressman. They campaigned on change and brought us more of the same, elected officials advocating for the corporate interests instead of the public need. Congressman Conyers (HR 676) and Senator Bernie Sanders (S703) together with Bill Moyers, Dr. Wolf and Dr. Himmelstein are courageous heroes. Maybe this show can stop the "healthcare debate" from being "de bait and switch". Chairman Max Baucus has prevented the single-payer option from being discussed while allowing the profiteers to dominate and his future campaign fund is probably growing as a result.

    Single-payer healthcare should be part of a robust debate on healthcare, anything else is undemocratic. A full discussion of the future of health care in America can't take place if all credible potential solutions aren't examined and the financial burden for the taxpayers is known. When the ranks of the uninsured are growing; when veterans and their families lack healthcare, when major industries like automakers are folding in part due to the burden of providing healthcare for employees and retirees, when Americans are poised for change and the party that promised it is in power - then when?

    Cost is only part of the problem because coverage is denied for the uninsurable with chronic conditions who are shut out of the for profit system. It's also about access to care. Expand Medicare to cover all. Get the insurance company profiteers out of our pockets. Our inhumane system is an international disgrace and I'm ashamed of it. It would be satisfying to know that my tax dollars are providing a genuine public benefit. I’ll believe government can’t solve this when the members of the senate and congress give up their government healthcare system! How stupid do they think we are?

    The taxpayers are always burdened with the costs of decisions by our elected officials but the beneficiaries of our tax revenue are; military industrial complex, financial industrial complex and medical industrial complex who receive the corporate welfare and give some back in campaign financing funds. They tell us that it isn't politically feasible right now but we were told that electing a black president was not politically feasible and we elected him anyway based on "hope" and "change". Please let the taxpayers have something besides war and corruption! I hope your program can help us avoid an apartheid system with inferior care for the poor, elderly and chronically ill. Thank you again.

    In all this discussion there's still no mention of the monopoly held by "traditional" medicine. If you truly want to bring down costs and provide better health care there should be the option to choose "alternative" care. My primary care giver is an Ayurvedic physician. Less costly than an M.D. and much healthier given the fact that M.D.'s dispense drugs like candy.

    At this point I feel I want to read all of the blog entries before I say much. But when Bill Moyers finished talking with Dr. David Kimmelstein and his colleague and Donna Smith I found myself saddened and shocked. I am self employed for 30 years and cannot afford health care. At 61 almost 62 this is more and more of a problem. I was an early and passionate Obama supporter, but have been very confused by his walking away from health care. I thought I was not hearing it correctly when I heard what was happening and heard what Olympia Snow had said. But this program and sharing with these professionals means I did get it right. Obama is walking away from truly solving the problem. I have been saddened to realize that he is not helping me at all and that I am not alone. I want very much to find a way to act with others so bring this to the attention of the Congress who themselves are not being asked to deliver. I know when we were organizing with MoveOn.org many years ago and in the past few years with all the environmental groups we do massive calling and writing organized so that the numbers are understood. So it seems me to a national calling and writing campaign could begin immediately. I will call. But it needs a massive calling which is being tallied and monitored by the press so that it is reported. I would like to be part of that. Maybe MoveOn will help also. It is very sad to realize that we have to do this. But I don’t want to sit back and then be hit with the sad news that our health care system has not been healed! Yes Winston Churchill did say that America in the end did the right thing. So let’s get more people on the job. What more can I do to help from here?

    National healthcare should be considered, is feasible by being paid for with taxes from companies who send their businesses to other countries and FICA and by regulating costs. And we could still have choices such as two National Programs depending on how much you want to pay in FICA and by still having secondary private insurance if you want to pay for it. Sounds perfect to me. It would cover all the people in "tent cities", the homeless, students, everybody. That's how I'd do it. And they can call it Socialism or anything else they want. Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.

    PS. I just fired off emails to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Sen. Barbara Boxer, Nancy Pelosi, and one to the whitehouse.gov site to the president.

    Figured that's the least I can do.

    I have to admit just saw the final 5 minutes of the show, but the rest is on tape and I'm going to get to it. But I have been thinking about just this issue.

    I saw my dr. yesterday (something I do as rarely as possible), and she is very dedicated and respected in her field.

    She and I are both upset that single payer health care is off the table.

    If Taiwan has single payer, why can't we have it? Anything else not only is a bad idea, it won't work. We have to get the profit out of medicine. Let the doctors make a fair living without devoting their lives to filling out paperwork and 15 minute (or less) visits. Let patients have medical care.

    Sorry, I don't care how much Big Pharma and AARP and the insurance companies give to those on Capitol Hill, but they have to be cut out of this.

    This is a question of giving people basic medical care. Universal health, single-payer, is the only way to go.

    I know more than one MD (including two of my cousins), who have left practicing medicine because it is basically such a pain in the butt these days. Actually, one cousin practices, still, but as a university in Student Health. Maybe things are a bit less regimented there.

    Thank you, that's my 2 cents on the subject.

    Finally, I'm in the WLA area. Is there any group where liberal minded Bill Moyers fans (and generally well informed people ;-) meet up for evening discussions? I'd sure enjoy that. I'll give my email if anyone has info:
    capkelly@gmail.com.

    Thanks!

    Something not mentioned:
    Why should the rich (Wall Street) get richer at the expense of the poor?
    Those who can't afford insurance get seen in Emergency Rooms (by law) and who picks up that tab? ERs just close up.
    Start up 'Single Payer' then let individuals and companies choose where to insure people. This should eventually drive Insurance companies out of business

    Thanks again,Bill, for amazingly comprehensive coverage/"investigative reporting" of an extremely important issue ignored by journalism in general. Your guests were passionate, intelligent, and very well-informed--as they educate us as to the only wise, truly practical and humane (now-neglected) option of single-payer universal national health care insurance with citizens having continuing freedom to choose their private doctors and hospitals! Another truly great,important issue of the Moyer's Journal.
    I'd like to see the written results of a canvas of all 100 Senators and 435 Representatives asking the following: "Congressman (or woman), If you knew a majority of the American people were strongly FOR a single-payer national insurance plan covering all Americans, along with a majority of the doctors and nurses in the nation, which would also free American businesses to compete globally on a more level playing field with foreign firms and industries, while honoring citizens’ continuing freedom to choose their private doctors and hospitals, would you vote for it?
    (Canvas all and each 100 Senators and 435 members of the House of Representatives and report their exact answers.)]
    Does anyone know how to go about "pulling that off?" A variation would be, "What PER CENTAGE of the American people would have to be for "single-payer" for you to vote for such a bill?
    Thanks to all program participants and also to all of you viewers who share such passionately-held, informed opinions and insights with us!

    America presently has a model for single payer which hasn't been mentioned. All public sector employees have great health care paid for by me: the taxpayer. It's the private sector worker who pays twice. We pay the public sectors full coverage, low deductibles, low premium plan, and still have to pay for our inadequate, high deductible, high premium plan. I want and deserve what every city, state, federal worker, or member of congress has: a comprehensive healthcare plan for me and my and family.

    America presently has a model for single payer which hasn't been mentioned. All public sector employees have great health care paid for by me: the taxpayer. It's the private sector worker who pays twice. We pay the public sectors full coverage, low deductibles, low premium plan, and still have to pay for our inadequate, high deductible, high premium plan. I want and deserve what every city, state, federal worker, or member of congress has: a comprehensive healthcare plan for me and my and family.

    I didn't really need any more evidence that Barack Obama was a "captured" political figure (See "Bailouts of Wall Street") but I received it tonight anyway.

    Listening to Senator "O" proclaim his support for a single-payer system in some idyllic Democrat controlled future reminded me of the 2006 election promises of Pelosi & Reid in which the Iraqi quagmire would be ameliorated with Dem control....
    It's all Kabuki. Our political "system" resembles team sports more than anything else

    I'm afraid now to find at age 50, that the cynics were right. Right or Left, our politicians ARE all alike.

    America IS and has become a fascist oligarchy with our political actors captured by Industry.

    Our remedy seems to belong to a far off age of muskets, enlightenment and courage. But to us, real change will not come i'm afraid until the country is in pieces.

    Bill Moyers,

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
    When Congress ignores us, the media ignores us, Bill Moyers listens!

    The American people want Single Payer Healthcare!

    I so admire those nurses and doctors who are following their convictions and speaking out on our behalf.

    I recently joined a group of 30 or so people in my community who decided to advocate for Single Payer. It is a group of regular folks: nurses, teachers, retirees. All of us in one way or another have seen the people we care about struggle when it comes to paying for healthcare or getting the care they need.

    We were getting discouraged when we saw how out of touch Congress is with what we need and how they seemed not to care at all, to only be interested in the agendas of the rich and powerful. That is not what I thought our country was about, or what the Democratic party was about.

    Single payer makes sense for both the conservative and the progressive. Single payer is the most fiscally sound, will be less costly overall, and will free private businesses, especially small businesses to be more profitable, because they won't have to worry about the health insurance of their employees. For progressives, it makes sense because everyone will get the care they need and deserve.

    • Should the U.S. pursue single-payer universal health coverage? Why or why not?

    Yes We Should have single-payer universal health coverage for all because:
    1. $400 billion off the top of medical costs to insurance shysters is insane.
    2. When something is not working and you keep doing it you are insane.
    3. Corpracratic elected Representatives and Senators are afraid to not uphold the demands of their campaign finance “donations”, i.e. bribery.
    4. President Obama has been doing a verbal two step way from single payer using excuses that are lame and inaccurate. He needs to hear a loud roar.
    5. It is good economic sense to do as so many of our economic competitors who have universal single-payer health care so that their business community is not driven overseas.
    6. Single payer insures American products can compete globally.
    7. It is a shame on us all that 20,000 and more each year die for lack of insurance.

    • Is single-payer universal health insurance politically feasible? Explain.
    The Medical Insurance Pharma complex has strategically paid off corpracratic Congress and the President. So obfuscation, verbal two stepping, blocking participation by taking single payer off the table, arresting those who exercised free speech are the obstacles BUT:
    We must organize our friends, relatives and communities to communicate our outrage at the affront to the process of a Representative Democracy. Corpracratic representatives have high jacked the Congress. Unless our leaders will implement the will of the people they need to be removed from the people’s house.
    Communicate to the members of the US Senate Committee on Finance: Healthcare and especially to Senator Max Baucus (D-MT). If you don’t live in Montana do you know anyone who does? Congress tries to only accept mail from their home constituency but any corporate lobbyist can enter and be heard after donating.
    We need to change the way America finances elections.
    In the mean time take to the streets and make signs that entertain and deliver the message that universal single payer is the only acceptable choice. Call the Capital switchboard: 1-800-828-0498; 1-888-712-5000; or 1-202-224-3121. Ask for who you want to leave a message with, usually a person in the office, and have a zip code in mind of their home district. Rep. Barney Frank told the people to look up a zip code and use it.

    • Are there any alternative models for health care that are being left out of the discussion or that you support?
    A big very important part of the solution is being left out of the conversation.
    Alternative healing modalities that are not allopathic but rather homeopathic, i.e. in harmony with the human body. Homeopathic, Naturopathic, Chiropractic, Acupuncture, Education in healthy eating and exercise need to be included in a Health Care Plan. Prevention is much easier and less expensive than treatment and cures.
    Providing for mental health will need an understanding of how what we eat affects our minds and moods. Nowhere have I heard mental or dental care mentioned.
    Acupuncture and Chinese herbs saved my life my healing cancer in my body and brain. Radiation as a Hanford Downwinder had given me a dose of 3,900,000 MREMS at birth so treatment with any radiation was unacceptable and contrary to good common sense.
    American Agribusiness is a primary contributor to ill health and if continued in the toxic and virulent way it is currently practiced will greatly increase disease and death in America. Unless we change the way we grow our food global warming will continue.

    So many aspects are interwoven and often doctors practicing “medicine” different body parts are divided into specialties. This contributes to increased cost by not understanding the connections between the brain and the bowel or between the spine and every organ or between each acupuncture point and the body’s meridians of energy transmission that allows the body to receive energy with which to heal itself.
    Agri-business growing crops with out good live mineral rich soil grows empty food. It lacks minerals which are needed to synthese enzymes which are critical to life. Without minerals we lose memory. Food lacking in nutrition leads to overeating and malnourished obese people and children. This leads to more disease and health care costs.
    Radiation and Cancer Survivor,

    I wish to take this opportunity to thank Bill Moyers for having Donna Smith, Co-Chair of PDA (Progressives Democrats of America) on his show tonight to explain what's going on with Healthcare in our Nation, and advocating the only viable solution to it: a Single-Payer system.

    That Single-Payer has been left out of the discussion on the Hill, rest assured that the grass-roots movement for it is very alive and very well.

    There is no need to reinvent the wheel here. Medicare is already in place and providing, at a 3% overhead cost mind-you, the funds disbersement the Insurance companies now have a monopoly on, at a 30% overhead, I might add.

    The propaganda that the Insurance companies are putting out says people won't get proper healthcare. But that is flat-out baloney. Healthcare Reform IS NOT about Healthcare Provision, it is only about FUNDS DISBERSEMENT, period.

    You still go to your doctor. Indeed, under HR-676, you will be able to go to whatever doctor you choose, as opposed to being dictated to by the private Insurance companies choice of 'Network' doctors.

    Again, thank you, Bill, for being I think THE FIRST person in media to cover SINGLE-PAYER.

    Single payer is what we need now. When I as a nurse observed so many women loosing their health care when their husbands got sick I made sure that my husband and I both covered each other even though both of us were employed and had employer paid health care. When my husband got cancer and the company he worked for was sold he would have been uninsurable but thanks to my coverage(Group Health) he has excellant coverage. I took care of my mother who worked on health care for the CA teachers and am currently taking care of another ill family member. The individuals who do the hands on care are the nurses. The well educated nurses have not been included in the current negotiations. Most people do not realize that private insurance does not mean your doctor he/she is allowed to deliver the best private care he/she can and has been educated to do, the doctor whose job it is to save the insurance company money may be disallowing the best possible treatment. When you see the ads on TV put out by the insurance companys every nurse could probably tell you ten stories about the positive outcome single payer could deliver. My father was working on what he hoped would be single payer in 1979 and unfortunately he died three weeks after returning from Washington DC

    Thanks to responsible journalists like Bill Moyers, Amy Goodman and Ed Schultz, Single Payer is finally being featured in Primetime as it should be. Don't let the naysayers feed you lies about the "awful" Canadian system and the long lines,etc. We have the same problem here.
    Not only will our system be better funded than the Canadian system but we will return the management of health care to the health providers where it belongs. No Canadian would trade their system for ours. They live longer and don't have thousands of bankruptcies, 98,000 medical errors, and 22,000 deaths due to uninsurance or denial of care. And no govt. bureaucrat will be telling doctors how to practice like the insurance bureaucrats do now. There will be total choice of doctors unlike now where you are forced to go to the one in a network that your employer chose(if you are lucky enough to work for a large company). Single Payer just pays the bills, nothing else. We are simply expanding the existing system of Medicare, with additional funds, to cover everyone. It will save money and lives. It's a no brainer.

    Bill Moyers:
    Good presentation of the situation as it is now.
    The problem is that there are many elements of our society that must changed to correct our social systems.
    It is the governments job to be responsive to it citizens. Otherwise we remain an oligarchy that is to the benefit of the influential.
    It is necessary to wean the politicians from the lobbyists.
    politicians need to be funded by individuals not corporations. The insurance companies need to be regulated by the government to assure that they provide unbiased and adequate health care for their policy holders which means no hedging, no dropping policy holders and no partial pay.
    Partial pay inflates prices with no benefit to policy holders.
    Because of the life sustaining nature of health care; it is necessary that life insurance companies be regulated to assure the best possible care for everyone.

    Brain surgery for frontal lobetomy cost our insurance company $55,000 (for the doctors, the 5 day hospitalizations, the surgurical removal of my skull and lazer knife removal of my right hypocampus). We paid a $100 co-pay. I lived because we chose a highly trained neurologist who recommended a skilled, steady-hand surgeon. I was 55 years old. We never had a problem with any part of the process of approval. The insurance worked perfectly in cooperation with the medical professionals. No delays, no refussals. What seemed to be in my best interest was granted willingly. A lot of the problem with the whole "take away the private sector insurance" stems from the fact that a lot of people buy garbage insurance. They find out that when they need it, nothing is covered even for a doctor request. A lot of people can't grasp the complexity inherent in chosing what is right for them regarding something that may possibly happen to them in the future. I had no idea that I was born epileptic; I spent my youth, young adult life driving cars, swimming, skiing, studying, dating and having petit mals daily. After my son was born, my harmones changed and I experienced my first gran mal. I took horrible dibilating drugs for 22 years. The surgery was presented and our lives began to be changed. I worked in Canada, I was a landed immigrant. I was very healthy. I didn't like doctors/hospitals. I didn't see any while there. The medical fees were removed as were all other taxes. My family that still lives there pay for private insurance in order to obtain what we consider standard coverage. Any one who has been hospitalized for any length of time wants competent medical professionals. Goverment managed care or insurance managed care relys on a gate keeper who behaves as a bureaucrat running a business. An insurance company has a group of doctors and nurses - a medical team, that reviews each requested proceedure and cost. They try to contain waste of unnessary tests, "billing" driven excess medical expenses.

    If the goal is to adopt a health care system that is best for citizens of the U.S., a single-payer system cannot be ignored.

    I suffer the same frustration as the majority of U.S. citizens when it comes to health care concerns. But, should we really be surprised that we are immersed in this argument? This may seem off the subject, but I argue, it is the subject. To me, we are trying to cut down a tree with a milk carton, while we leave the ax on the table.

    Who we elect matters. It makes no sense to vote someone into office who’s party does not support your desires. Today, the Democratic party is further to the right than the Republican party was 30 years ago. Both parties now get their funding from virtually the same sources. Like many others, I admire President Obama’s oratory skill, but that is not the same thing as making policy.

    As long as the Democratic and Republican parties keep the American voters convinced that this country can only be a land of two-parties, these debates and frustrations, over congressional devotion to money, will continue. It should be clear by now, that once in office, we have very little leverage over elected officials (with a few exceptions of merit). The leverage we have comes at the poles. But we continue to accept the notion of a wasted vote, defined as voting for someone outside the two major parties, because he or she has no chance of winning. We do this even when third party candidates support the majority of our positions.

    I supported Ralph Nader in 2000 and 2004, based on his take on the issues (which were mostly obfuscated). I grow tired of people rolling their eyebrows, at the same time they face the same old political battles, trying to get elected officials to listen to them. I ask myself daily, what would the decisions coming from Washington DC be like had a third party candidate been elected? If you don’t think Nader would have included single-payer health care in the discussion, carry on as normal, but get used to protesting and committing civil disobedience, as was suggested by Dr. Himmelstein.

    The June 30, 2003 clip Bill played of Obama advocating for single-payer did not include the part where Obama acknowledged Dr. Young, a friend sitting at his table, who counseled Obama on health care. In 2009, Obama didn’t even invite Dr. Young to the conversation room. One must ask, was Obama that misinformed in 2003 when he eloquently argued for single-payer health care, or is he that disingenuous in 2009, when he refuses to include it as an option?

    Until we gather the courage to redefine a wasted vote from voting for a candidate simply because we want to support someone we are told can win, to a wasted vote meaning supporting a candidate that won’t implement the policies we desire, we’ll continue to be stuck in this cycle. The old notion of a wasted vote becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. But this notion is not inevitable, unless we believe it is.

    We simply won’t get what we want until we have the courage to vote for candidates that will govern as the majority desire, and precious few of them are members of the Democratic or Republican parties. Learning from mistakes and changing habits is what leads to improvement. Following the same patterns and hoping it will change isn’t working very well. Dr. Wolfe put it best, “we need a whole new culture . . . we need a culture of courage, as opposed to a culture of cowardice.”

    Why was Bill Moyers Journal blacked out twice tonight during the Single Payer Health program when the rest of programming before and after were fine?

    Was this show censored?

    Lou,

    In the scenario you presented with the $150,000 bill, the insurance company usually gets their portion of the bill reduced to about 25% of the base price, less the patients deductibles, which are usually flat fees of ranging from $10 to $100. This means they only pay about $37,000 for that $150,000 bill. If you have insurance, the doctors office will often accept the payments from the insurance company, plus your deductible, as payment in full.

    I like the idea of paying the doctors a flat salary instead of using the "fee for service" model.

    Medical students frequently assume large debts for their education, which they like to cite as a reason for their high salaries. It might help if the government would repay a portion of their loans each year if they work at a government administered facility for a flat salary.

    The medical industry usually states that the cost of testing equipment is very high, such as MRI machines, etc. When they make up your bill, these tests are often the largest components. Perhaps the government should fund these machines.

    I, too, would prefer a single payer system. I wonder what it would be like if we had a single billing system, where all doctors submitted their bills into a universal computer, which all private insurance companies were required to hook up to. Then, the government could offer an insurance plan for the uninsured, which would also be hooked up to the universal computer. The computer would electronically determine the amount to reimburse the medical provider based on the parameters the insurance company set up in the computer. If the patient had a bill for unreimbursed charges because they have a private insurance company and/or were unable to pay their copay at the doctor’s office, they would be sent a bill. This would completely alleviate the doctors’ need to bill patients because they would send in the list of services rendered to the universal computer. The doctor doesn't even need to know what company the patients are insured by. The computer will do the rest.

    Under the above scenario, the universal computer could link up to the IRS to get the insurance fee for those who subscribe to the government’s insurance plan billed to the individual through the tax system and withheld from the patient’s paycheck.

    This sounds workable, except when it comes to determining what to charge individuals for the government insurance plan. I also wonder how many employers will maintain private insurance plans once the government offers a plan. And, if the employers opt not to provide insurance to their employees anymore and go with the government plan, what will they do with the money they had spent on insurance in the past – will they now expect the government to foot the bill while they keep the extra money for themselves, or will they pay for the govt plan, but pay less. Their business model was set up based on their product costs and revenues. It seems to me that if they needed more employees, they would have hired them already. Will the money they now pay into the healthcare system that they will no longer have to put into the healthcare system, be a complete loss of revenue to the health care system. Will they expand their business or keep the extra profits? Plus, there are employers who provided health care and employers who did not. How will you get those who did not provide insurance to contribute now – if the government insurance is too costly for the employee?


    Single Payer will not solve the larger systemic disfunction of healthcare in America. It will only reduce the cost somewhat by eliminating what is taken out of each healthcare dollar by insurance cost, profit and bureaucratic overhead. Single payer will not resolve the fact America is the sickest first world country in the world, actually no better than some poor countries like Cuba in terms of WHO statistics. The entire American health system is undermined by profit. As long as the provision of health service is the basis of paying a fee, the service provider is motivated not to provide wellness, but a continuation of sickness. Sickness results in profit, while wellness results in no profit for the healthcare provider in our system of fee for service.

    The prescription drug business is also subject to the same negative motivation. With a few rare exceptions western pharmaceuticals do not cure illness, but just mask symptoms and cause damage or side effects that can only be relieved with more drugs. To protect profits the drug industry pressures the FDA to not allow any alternatives if they are found to have any efficacy, like many of the traditions Chinese herbal formulas that are most effective. Natural herbal medicines are actively disclaimed by Pharma negative advertising and propaganda because natural herbal solutions cannot be patented, so high prices can be applied and protected by law.

    Sickness is increasing in America because the country's industrialized food system of artificially processed food-like substances undermines good health and poisons people. Even acknowledged poisonous industrial food-like substance like trans-fat that is known to cause serious illness is still allowed in large amounts in many foods found in super markets and restaurants.

    Great program on "merits of single-payer" government run health care. The advocates indicate it is cost effective, saves money spent for administration costs, unrelated to health care, and for profits of Insurance companies and stockholders. The government collects the taxes for health services and sends checks to physicians and hospitals for services indicted by physicians as necessary.

    There are however problems, as demonstrated by Canadian services collected by taxes. One problem is what the current government actually does with taxes collected. Any successive adminstration or parliament may cut the budget for health care to save taxes. For years, the Canadian Government short-changed the amounts of transfer money sent to provinces for health services. Unlike U.S. all Canadian Tax money goes into a general account, not a specified "earmarked" account for health services, for whatever purposes the current government chooses.

    The government can and does determine which areas of the country will get the latest equipment, will have to limit the number of diagnostic tests, and will have to consolidate services in central locations for cost effectiveness. We have experienced closing of and limitations to hospital beds available to patients. Go home to recover from surgery done one or two days ago, we need the bed. We have experienced hospitals minimizing the number of full-time vs half-time/partime nurses, for "cost effectiveness". In Manitoba, you often must have a general physician refer you to a specialist for necessary treatment. You don't just call up for an appointment or walk in whenever you feel you need to.

    As with Social Security, the V.A., education, welfare or other government subsidized services, that costs money for people, successive budgets seek to cut taxes by limiting the amounts of money being spent on these. Such services are a tax "drain" as services are increasingly used.

    To me, a proviso ought be made regarding "single-payer" plans: no government or administration can lower benefits for total care, make budget cuts, and limit a physician's decisions.

    As with the Scott hospital chain scams of false billings, there is opportunity for billing rip-offs. Effective policing of billings must be enforced, if the government can do so. By some newspaper accounts, it has a sometimes inadequate ability to do so with Medicaid/Medicare billings.

    Single payer is not perfect, but it is better for providing most services to sick people, who cannot be denied service.

    However a "cost-effectiveness-only" rationale may mean that any successive administration can make budget cuts to services provided. Despite initial intentions of a single-payer service, the result again may be the patient is left to pay out-of- pocket for needed service, anyway. Rules must be determined and clarified.

    The most intellectually honest program on our broken healthcare system. It was refreshing to see the majority of Americans have a social conscience and disheartening to realize the Oval Office is still owned by insurance lobbyists.

    Joseph A. Mungai, RN

    The problem is that we were, "for technical difficulties" unable to watch the program on single payer health care on KQED TV,Channel 9, San Francisco. One wonders why.

    Diane Driver

    Rise up and demand universal health care. March on Washington. March on your state capitals. March on your city halls. March on your town halls. Don't be dictated to by corporate greed any longer.

    Thank you for giving single payer advocates a much needed chance to talk. I want to amend a few things you said during the program.
    1. It was an underestimate when you said that the healthcare costs are rising by 6%. My healthcare provider, Kaiser Permanente in California, increased the insurance cost this year by about 15% because of which I had to drop the health insurance for the first time. This does not even include co-payments for every visit, every test and the cost of medication. Even healthcare workers are probably not getting more than 5% increase in their wages.
    2. It is true that President Obama, during his press conference after the meeting, said health care industry has agreed to cut cost by $2 trillion over ten year. However, the very next day, the industry announced, in NY Times, that they never made such promise to the President.
    3. Yes, absolutely, we should go to single payer program. We already have systems, like Medicare and VA, in place that just needs to be refined and improved. If our government becomes an obstacle, as it appears to be so far, we should put this issue for national referendum and let people vote directly instead of elected representatives.
    4. In fact, I suggest that the Healthcare needs to be treated and funded just like the “National Defense”. A portion of taxes should go to the National Health Fund and, without further charges, resources made available to everyone regardless of their personal financial situation.
    5. Please send the results of your online Polls to President Obama and every member of congress.

    SK, Los Angeles

    If you want a single payer system you have to DO SOMETHING.

    The health insurance companies only have money..you have the vote to put people like Baucus out of office, however they have to KNOW they will be removed. They will not pay any attention to you unless you get IN THEIR FACE.

    Call them, email them, get all your friends to do the same. If your close to their offices GO THERE.

    This has to be an ACTIVIST campaign. Just wishing for it will not do it.


    Go online send emails to the Whitehouse, your Senator and your Congressman, as they say vote now..vote often.

    Keep the pressur on until what you want becomes a reality.

    DO IT RIGHT NOW!

    Lots of people have put forth their ideas as to what kind of health care system might work, but has anyone ASKED regular Americans what we think?

    Why not invite each county in every single state to submit a consensus-based plan of what they would like America's health care system to be. Yes this would require massive organization and time, but so what? That time will pass anyway.

    Let's create a public forum where every American citizen has a direct say. Then we can discover what "the American People" really want. Finally, and after reviewing all of the information ourselves, we American People could hold a vote. You can't get much more democratic than that.

    I'm a Canadian, self-employed and pay just under $700.00 in health care premiums per year for our government run medical care services. The Canadian medical system is not perfect, and there are waiting times for some surgeries, but it has been my personal experience that you can indeed change family doctors, if you are not satisfied with your GP. My elderly mother had excellent emergency and ongoing care due to chronic health problems, including open heart surgery.
    In fact the Canadian electorate have indicated year after year that Medicare is a sacred cow, and reject privatization of health services.

    Tonight's Bill Moyer's Journal was the clearest, most comprehensive description of and endorsement for single payer health care I have heard to date. As an under-insured, self-employed cancer survivor on the verge of bancruptcy, I fully concur with your guests.

    Regarding political feasibility, I would request a job transition or placement program for the tens of thousands of well-meaning private health insurance employees who would be laid off if their industry was replaced by single payer. This would worsen our already depressing jobless population.

    I have no sympathy, however, for health insurance executives, whose financial compensation has already sucked outrageous amounts of money away from health services.

    I hope the media gives single payer advocates extensive voice during the next few critical months, and that solid, workable plans for transition become part of legislators' conversation and consideration.

    Susan Braig
    Altadena, CA

    The single payer system makes sense because in the global economy we can not afford to spend excessive dollars on healthcare under the current system. Business is starting to see this. Single payer would make workers free to change jobs, it would free employers from the burden of health care, it would take away the medical bankruptcies so prevalent.
    Perhaps after we have seen how Big Banks, Big Auto, and Big Investments have all tanked due to poor short term thinking we will realize that Big Insurance could be next, And if they begin to fail the "authorization denied" will increase.
    We don't need to fall for the socialized medicine red herring, it is false. Nor do we need to decide if healthcare is a "right" or not. It is simply what I want my tax dollars to go for. I trust the government more than I trust business. I want government run libraries, fire dept, police dept, space program, military, highways etc. That is what I want because I don't trust business to keep it fair. Democracy keeps it fair, if you pay attention.
    Let's pay attention.

    If Dick Cheney or Max Baucus had the same health care plan that most Americans do, they might not be able to have the abaility to talk their nonsense today (and WE are paying for their healthcare). Support your reps (John Conyers, Dennis Kucinich, Maxine Waters,and Bernie Sanders just to name a few) who are for a not for profit system.

    Thank you Bill Moyers for addressing the Single-Payer Health System on national TV. Finally, this issue has achieved the national attention it deserves! Thousands of doctors and nurses support Single-Payer national health care. It is the only system devised that not only lowers costs, but is much more efficient, and covers everyone - no one is left out! We need a national movement to force the Single-Payer health plan into the forefront. Now is the time for action! Let's make it happen! Ellie Zinner,RN

    I want to remind GHA especially that the inflated overhead must include those we pay in our offices who must fight the welll paid insurance companies. The overhead he cites includes only part of this equations. I have been in private practice for about 30 years. When I started we had 2 employees: a LVN and a receptionist/ office manager who helped people with their billing. Now for the same amount of patient contact we have 5. This contributes significantly to the overhead and also the adversarial relationship to the insurance companies and their "just say no first" policy makes it very difficult, time consuming an costly to provide effective care. In my opinion the only way to fix this it by single payor.

    I support Single payer Health Care.

    30% of insurance premiums are “administrative “ costs. With mandatory insurance,or partial public-private insurance, insurer companies will still collect profit.

    Multiple insurance companies require more paperwork and extra work hours, a major reason for growing health care costs. A single payer system would cover ALL citizens and cost less: no profits, dividends, lobbyists, advertising, lawyers fighting cases against the denied, less paperwork and more money spent on actual medical delivery. Preventative care with fewer emergency costs will save almost $350 billion a year alone!

    With a program administered by a congress directed entity like libraries, police and fire protection, citizens would get private and competitive medical delivery: service up, costs down.

    The US is 31st in world health care delivery (access,infant mortality,and longevity, etc.) This standing is lower than our standing in science, math, and education!

    While we are restructuring our financial system, now is the perfect time to address medical system change too.

    HR676 supports retraining for insurance workers. Let you r Senator and Representatives know that doctors, nurses and voting citizens are watching to see who controls Washington! Enough with big dollars circumventing the citizens.

    Donna

    This was a powerful program - and truthful.

    Everyone who watched it: please call your Congressman and Senators on Tuesday as soon as they open, and tell them either they change their assumptions, or we will vote them out of office.

    You have to laugh at the WSJ comments cited above:

    “It might be a good idea to look at the government’s track record in running economic enterprises. It is terrible..."

    And of course the private sector has just done a wonderful job in running things lately! Talk about a terrible track record.

    "But unlike, say, UnitedHealthcare, it (medicare)is a bureaucracy-beclotted nightmare, riven with waste and fraud."

    And the fraud is driven by .....? The greed of some private sector providers in the health care sector!!!!!

    Actually it seems to me that the government and their contractors do a darn good job with Medicare and that is the model we need to replace private INSURANCE.

    Obama needs to deliver on his promise. We need a single payer universal access health INSURANCE program in this country. The premiums can be collected and the risk borne by the government and we need the Blues to contract the administration. All other health insurance companies should be outlawed.

    This is not about socialization of health care -- it is about the profits of INSURANCE companies.

    Providers can remain as they are - private. It is the INSURANCE that needs fixing - not most health care providers.

    I would be happy if all of us individually insured folks could somehow band together into one giant "organization" to secure lower health insurance costs! Why can't the small business owner, retired person (who may not have paid into Medicare) and unemployed individuals get a group rate? Because the health insurance companies know they have a good thing going: they can charge us outrageous premiums, huge deductibles, and still deny us coverage for many conditions. One health insurance company denied me coverage because I had just one operation to remove a single bone spur from my pinky finger. I am a non-smoker who maintains a healthy body weight and has zero health issues. I finally found an insurance company to take me on, but my rates are increased 6-15% each year, depending on my age, irregardless of my overall excellent health. I am subsidizing employed people who get a break on their health insurance costs. There is something seriously wrong with our system if people are forced into bankruptcy or literally die for lack of health coverage. Mr. President may not be in favor of a complete "reinvention" of this system, but I beg to differ. That's precisely what we need to do. I will start bugging my NV congressmen to represent ME - their constituent - in this critical issue, and put aside their own fear, greed and complicity with the new mafia: health insurance companies.

    I don't think I can add anything to what has been already said here, I agree with most of these posts that single payer is our best option.
    I can however, add some numbers. We are spending now, 17.5% of our GDP on healthcare. Most other countries are spending an average of 10% GDP. But they are insuring, (or covering) 100% of their people, not 80+% like we are. Half of all our bankruptcies are from healthcare bills. That number in single payer countries, is zero.
    I too am appalled at Baucus and his arrogance. He is a shill for the Insurance Companies is all I can think. Many in our congress are.
    I try my best to keep this issue going by writing letters to my local paper, but my hope is waning. We truly need a revolutionary effort on this one.

    American hero Donna Smith did a great job against the Establishment guard Bill Moyers. Moyers was just hating it for the whole interview. You could tell, he would have given anything to be in the Bohemian Grove worshiping Moloch, which I'm sure he'll soon be doing. Reference:
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-82095917705734983

    Yes, it's real simple. US politics is corrupt. The financial elites have the money, which they give to those who will do their bidding, those are the people who get the money to be put in front of our faces for elections, we make our "choice", and the Establishment gets their corporate cronies. Political campaign contributions are simply legalized bribery, nothing more.

    I love the people who say single-payer is communism or socialism. Apparently these people don't have a dictionary available. Rather than think, they like to parrot what the Establishment repeats too often to them through their brain-washing TVs. (You'd think people would at least stop watching Faux News.)

    Single-payer health care is what practically every industrialized nation has EXCEPT the United States. The majority of people, despite the brain-washing Establishment media's propaganda, are for single-payer. (Aren't our "representatives" in Congress supposed to do something like represent We the People?) If we had single-payer, it would save the lives of around 18,000 Americans EVERY YEAR. That's more people than we lost on (false-flag) 9/11 and the illegal and immoral invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan (thanks Bush & Cheney, making us safer in an Orwellian world).

    Well, I'm for single-payer; it's pretty retarded not to be unless you're a (knowing or unknowing) elitist crony. However, there ARE BIGGER fish to fry! Do you want to know the truth about America. Then read this article; you may even understand it if you have not taken too many shots or drunk too much fluoride water:
    http://www.chomsky.info/articles/20090521.htm

    If you are trying to wake up from the Orwellian world that's been pulled over our eyes, click on my name below. And listen to the Alex Jones show:
    http://www.infowars.com/listen.htm

    Published in the Arizona Daily Star, 4-10-09
    Good care vs. good money
    Re: the April 3 op-ed column "We need to put the 'care' back into medical care" by Ellen Goodman.
    Goodman almost said it with "put the 'care' back into medical care." She notes that "we developed a system that rewards procedures over primary care."
    The profit motive is just not the best driver for health care. We used to rely more on simple, old-fashioned altruism and now so do the other rich countries, who all have better care at lower costs.
    Stop being afraid of socialism. It is an American tradition and the bedrock of capitalism. I cite "The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else " by Hernando De Soto. We use socialism to organize, for law enforcement, roads and highways, national defense, mail, education, et cetera.
    Capitalism is a potent creative force, but altruism is superior for some applications. Plenty of good professionals are not in it for the money and big money distracts the focus from good care.
    Guy Josserand
    Tucson

    I had to let out a little black laugh during this program. Obama was “making the point” that most people are covered by an employer health plan, and they may desire to keep it.

    If this scenario were true, most people, it seems, would be afraid of losing their jobs because they might lose their health insurance.

    Being self-employed with a husband who has been unemployed for a year and a half because he was laid off and there is no real “job market” to speak of right now, we don’t have an employer health plan. And those we did have over the years went from bad to worse.

    Now our income has become so low we are covered by our state run health plan (for which we pay a much more reasonable premium - $840 per year).

    Are we the only people out there who actually fear that by OBTAINING A JOB we will LOSE the best insurance plan we have had for many o’ year?

    Something isn’t right in this equation.

    Let’s go with a national single payer plan so those of us who are forced to move from job to job can keep a decent insurance plan, without this weird new fear of making too much money.

    PS Our state run plan doesn’t include dental or vision – I guess our state just thinks 2 dental cleanings a year and a pair of glasses now and again is not a matter of health. So, well, we just pay for that when we have a little extra cash to play with :-)

    OK, calling all ye dentists and eye doctors, put some lobbying pressure on ye government big wheels!

    Let’s just do the math.

    Consider the following scenario:

    You fall ill tomorrow or are seriously injured. You are hospitalized for a week. The hospital bill alone (not to mention the doctor’s fees) would run more than $150,000 dollars. Your insurance company pays 90%. That means you owe the hospital $15,000 and, say, $2000 to your doctor because his bill is $20,000.

    Do you really have $17,000 just lying around to pay the bill? No, because you have spent it on health insurance premiums over the past few years. When did you have time to save for such a possibility?

    We need a single payer plan.

    I was undecided as to whether to support Obama’s health care “plan” or to oppose it and call my congressmen asking them to support single payer health care.

    Tonight’s interviews decided me. I will be calling my congressmen on Monday to let them know I support the single payer option. I will also call Obama and write emails to him and to my congressmen.

    Anyone can do it! It’s simple and a bit of fun to work into your weekly routine (that is, if you have something to communicate each week to your governmental servants). Just type your senator’s or congressman’s name at www.google.com, go to his or her official website, and email him or her. Jot down his or her phone number in DC or in your hometown and give ‘em a call. They will be glad to hear from you! (As they always are :-)

    You clouded the real health care issue when you presented single payer advocates tonight.

    In the U.S., the chosen whipping boys, insurance companies, actually use about 10 percent of health insurance premiums for administration of our “fee for service” payment system. Of course, most top health insurance managers are grossly over paid but please don’t allow a guest to blame that on health insurance. Nearly all executives in the U.S. are over compensated.

    Look at the facts. The insurance carriers are part of a corrupt system but they produce little of the massive waste.

    The many non-profit insurers that dominate the industry (e.g. the Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies, and many HMO’s) have no profit in their premiums and profit-making insurers have profits averaging less than 7 percent of health care premiums. So, about 14 percent of U.S. private insured health care cost is spent on administration and profit. Britain has some administrative costs – surely more than 5 percent of their health expenses. Britain’s total per capita costs are half ours and their quality of care (by the only objective measures, morbidity and mortality) is at least as good as ours. Therefore, excluding administrative cost and our average 4 percent component for profit to allow a dollar for dollar comparison, their per capita costs for health products and services is still about half ours. The conclusion is inevitable - the U.S. providers (doctors, hospital managers and investors, drug manufacturers, and facilities and equipment manufacturers), waste half the money spent on patient care. Their waste is doubly condemnable when the only objective measures of quality (morbidity and mortality) are at least as good in Britain as they are in the U.S.

    Doctors control care utilization in both countries but their motivations are different in several key ways. In Britain they are salaried and both their performance and their pay is monitored by the government, while in the U.S. insurers or patients pay “fee-for-service” regardless of efficacy and without government control thus driving the waste in our system.

    No enlightened person denies that our biggest U.S. industry - “health care” - has no effective cost or quality controls to counter the profit drive. The evidence provided by national health care systems shows that our insurance system cannot prevent provider profiteering. So, extension of coverage to all Americans without structuring quality and cost controls and without even the minimal controls that government could create would magnify the problem of abuse.

    Obama’s odd insurance combination might well be the worst choice. Financiers of care cannot deter provider profiteering because at the direction of providers, patients and not insurers or the government authorize both the fees and the services. Patients have no way, other than provider advice to choose services or evaluate fees. So, once established, with a government bureaucracy and insurers in competition on cost but without quality controls, we will have the worst of worlds – falling quality and government inefficiency as government as officials continue to 1) receive tainted political contributions and 2) block voting support from the industry to retain their power, at the expense of patients.
    .
    With all due respect to the frustrated people advocating single payer financing, government has trouble controlling its own purse strings, no less a massive government financed private fee-for service system that providers already abuse to the extent of double the British cost. Note - The providers who appeared in your show as protestors conveniently failed to also advocate replacement of fee-for-service medicine, a license to steal, with the key British system feature that removes the profit motive - salaried care mangers, the doctors.

    Clearly, the country is not ready to abandon insurance and fee for service medicine, and since we have the computer technology with which to give each American and his or her bill payers the motivation and the ability to optimize both the quality and cost of his or her health services, and so optimize the entire system of health services including disease and illness prevention. I strongly advise against any of the foregoing partial and wholly inadequate changes. Rather, we should institute that control system as soon as possible (surely in less than 7 years). We can use the $2.4 trillion savings per year to capitalize the cost of creating the “user managed” agency and technology to execute that control system, a small portion to extend care to all Americans, and the rest (surely more than $2 trillion per year) to pay off the national debt.

    In sum, the real issue is how do we best create the missing health care cost controls while promoting the best quality of care in the U.S. so patients will no longer have to guess (or depend on providers with their own profit biases) as to what provider and health service will best meet their needs. With a non-profit patient managed national health information system that analyzes health of Americans and guides their health services we can have the best possible care at reasonable cost. And capitalistic cost/quality based competition among providers (rather than a government with the wrong motivations) will enforce it.

    Find someone like me who spent most of his business life in health care management and studied health care finance on a grant, to properly explain why we have a failed system and how to properly fix it.

    I'm a Canadian who absolutely concurs with your guests comments about our system. No political party would dare suggest eliminating our current universal healthcare system! They'd be run out on a rail. That's because it works for everybody rich and poor. My wife recently had hip surgery that set us back no more than a couple hundred dollars. We did have to wait but we would have received faster care in the event of an emergency such as a fall. While I think our system could be better, nobody that I know of has ever been forced into bankrupcy to pay medical bills in my country.
    One thing most Americans don't know about our system though: you can buy something called "extended health insurance" from one of several private insurance firms that make the coverage even better. It's commonly offered by employers.
    The biggest problem with our system is twofold: 1. a large for-profit system on our southern border that puts unnessesary pressure on our costs and; 2. politicians who are philosophically opposed to all things government.

    We need the BEST health care system available, so why not expand the Federal system that covers Congress and the President? Aren't we worth it? That, or expand Medicare and make it single-payer government run for everyone. Everyone in, no one out. The Canadian system works, and it provides decent health care, the doctors of your choice and coverage you can take with you wherever you go. Isn't that the kind of health care system we worked hard to get? Why in God's name don't we have health care that works in this country? What's keeping us from getting it? The INSURANCE industry, that's what! This ONE issue will show us just how badly broken our government is, and that it no longer represents US, only the special moneyed interests. Baucus is the one who should be spending time in jail, not those courageous nurses and doctors standing up for the rest of us. God Bless them, and people, get out there and show Congress and Obama that we will not accept anything LESS than single-payer Universal Health Care. We earned it, we deserve it, we will not accept anything less.

    What a disingenuous discussion by these two doctors! I support a US national health plan, but take Canada as the model out of this discussion. I married into a Canadian family. I have traveled there for over thirty years. I own a Canadian business with employees. CANADIAN HEALTH ISN'T WORKING. You have a physician choice--once. You cannot change after that. I have relatives that do not have faith in their personal doctors and they can't change unless they move far away. There are very long waits for critical services. Try waiting months to get diagnostics for a cancer scare--a common story. An uncle died of heart disease because he was too old and couldn't be allocated heart surgery. He was 70. Close relatives and friends travel to the US to get elective care, sometimes "electing" to be free of massive pain. Even in 2008, 15% of Canadians could not access a primary care physician--they went to emergency rooms just like uninsured Americans. Advanced diagnostic equipment is scarce.

    There was an interview broadcast of 10 families in San Diego, California, who are Canadian transplants to that city. They now all have US insurance based health care. When polled whether they prefer US or Canadian health systems, half said they preferred Canada, they like that everyone had care; the other 50% said they now preferred the US style--the quality and speed was eons ahead of what Canada offers.

    So yes, Americans must push out middleman based health care. But we MUST take the discussion beyond models of our northern neighbour. If we model on the north, perhaps all will have equal access to care, but all will lose quality of care. Period.

    I need an answer. People say we have 47 million uninsured. Any new plan, will cover all those who are uninsured. We also have 20 million ILLEGALS, who within a few years will become LEGAL. They will be allowed to bring their families with them. Where will we get the doctors to handle 80-120 million new patients?

    Mr Moyers asked the Pres of the California Nurses Assoc.: but how do you expect to have single payer considered when they won't give you a hearing (or similar words)? She replied that the pressure on them will grow.

    Very tenuous! The MCs don't care how many of you spend a night in jail. What they care about is being re-elected.

    Without the threat of massive civil disorder, Congress will not listen. We must face the fact that we are not dealing with a democratic government but with a government controlled by big business. This is fascism of a milder sort than Mousolini's or Hitler's, but it is still fascism: the wedding of the state and major industries.

    It's time to call our system what it is: fascism!

    Did not Truman propose single payer health insurance 60 -- count 'em, 60 -- years ago?
    When is the criminal conspiracy known
    as the "health insurance industry" going
    to be opposed? It should be completely
    disestablished, its worldwide assets
    should be confiscated, or do you prefer the
    paucity of hope, and the politics of
    the "possible" (read corruptible)?.

    I am truly surprised by this interview showing only one side of an argument. I guess that way we all get along. Because of this, though, I did not get an answer to the problem of the long waiting lines which exist in Canada and the UK for even essential health services. U. S. citizens go abroad for cheaper health care but Canadians come here for basic health care, rather than wait months for hip replacements and even life saving operations. I am now on Medicare and have never had a problem here in this country when it looked like I needed hip surgery. I immediately got an MRI and a bone scan and an appointment for a hip replacement two weeks later. I saved the government a lot of money by deciding to use an alternative medicine doctor who gave me sugar shots in my hip joint to restore the collagen. Now I don't have worry about getting a new hip when I am 88, depending upon Medicare to allow it or live in pain. Would the single payer system allow alternative medicine because that would mean we chose our own doctor, even though we paid for it ourselves? Or chiropracty or naprapathy? Will the nanny state protect me from "wasting" my money on vitamins and minerals? Very puzzling interview. I find it hard to believe that the president does not want to force us all into one system. I know myself that Medicare pays pitifully little for my medical care and I am grateful that my doctor still takes my annual visits. Mr. Obama has put new restrictions on payments, refuses to do anything about controlling lawsuit greed, governments constantly add new requirements to insurance coverage. This all raises insurance cost for everyone . By the way, whenever I see any grown man wearing a pony tail I am always suspicious, even more when he advocates lawless activity. Luckily, I just missed being in the sixties generation. I was taught that argument should be used to make a point, not tantrums.

    Is Obama in the pockets of the medical health insurance corporations that have truely made American health policies for the past 20 years? Are we following the same failed medical system that is ripping off Americans with excessive profits? Is Obama breaking more of his promises, of bringing change to our country? I hope he remembers what he said, before he became president. That's why I voted for him. He must insist to bring single-payer insurance to the table. Obama, congress, and the senate must remember who they represent, the American citizen -- not their corporate supporters.

    Our health care system needs more of an overhaul than just how it is paid. While I am in favor of a single payer, we need to change our approach to health care. A study compairing health in Britain and the US found that not only did people at each income level (hi, med, low) in Britain have better health than in the US, but that LOW income people in Britain had better health than HIGH income people in the US. Therefore we have the most expensive health care, covering fewer people, delivering the least in health results!

    We could save billions if not trillions of dollars and probably hundreds of thousands of deaths due to medical errors by focusing on what our bodies need to heal rather than costly meds, tests, procedures, and surgeries. Dr. Dean Ornish, MD found that a program of smoking cessation, support groups, vegetarianism (low fat), and yoga (stress reduction) REVERSED coronary artery disease WITHOUT medication or surgery. In addition, the participants experienced many other benefits and the benefits increased the more they were on the program. How many millions or billions of dollars are spent on cororary artery disease meds and surgeries that aren't necessary? If coronary artery disease can be reversed without medication and surgery, what other illnesses can?

    I have a chronic health condition which caused me to be bedridden for 4.5 yrs. I used no meds, supplements, herbs, or treatments and was able to reverse symptoms that had worsened for decades. (An IgE level went from 15k to 2k. The average is less than 100. There is no treatment for this.)

    So in addition to single payer, we also need way less medical care. Our bodies react to what they are exposed to, so if we as individuals change what we expose ourselves to (ie food, environment, movement, relationships) we change our symptoms and illnesses. How many of our symptoms and illnesses are the result of the medications and treatments we receive?

    Yes, we need single payer, and yes, we need to revise the way we approach health care by providing our bodies with the simple, inexpensive, non-medical things they need to heal themselves. We need this information from our health care providers, not just meds, tests, and surgical procedures. Then we can have universal health care at low cost with better health, resulting in better quality of life for everyone.


    Here is how you get your single payer system.


    Why don't people who want single payer create a non-profit corporation.
    start with healthy people and dr. network.
    boycott insurance companies.
    slowly bring in the non-insured.
    start boycotting any company not will to use this system. We don't need the government. Start with generic drugs and
    then pressure named brand drug companies.

    There you will have you single payer.
    you don't need the government or their regulation.

    All of this would be politically feasible if we had public financing of campaigns. Not only single-payer health care, but many other welcome reforms would be much easier if the industry lobbyists did not wield so much more money and power than the American people. The root cause is greed -- not just from the insurance companies, but from those that represent you.

    I am amazed how many times the role of the insurance companies' money was discussed, but not about how this unfair advantage must be stopped.

    Fix one, and you'll get the other. And lots of other great reforms this country needs.

    Here is my plan: no insurance for routine/preventative healthcare, instead, each adult gets $2000. per year, kids $500. to spend AS THEY CHOOSE. Whatever they need most - dental, physical, weight loss, tests, etc. Doctors are paid in cash or check, NO PAPERWORK. Doctors can lower their fees, even compete with each other on prices; costs go down. Whatever a person doesn't spend in a year carries over; the money could be in an interest bearing account. For young people, whose medical needs may be low, this means they could have a nice sum available for care as they age. Insurance would exist only for major medical - cost spread across the entire pool of American citizens.
    The only way medical costs will go down is if decisions about care are returned to the patient - doctor relationship.

    I have just watched the first few minutes of tonight's show online (after missing the broadcast), and am so glad to have logged on. While only in the protesting-nurses part, already it is music to my ears! To everyone who marched on Washington, thank you so much for standing up and having the courage to demand quality health care for ALL citizens of this country. THANK YOU!

    We need to be careful at this critical time of change not to let real health care reform fall through the cracks. Profiting off of other people's injuries, ailments, and illnesses is wrong and needs to stop!

    Does our Constitution not clearly state that life is a divine and self-evident right? And if so then where, I ask, is the note that adds, "as long as you can afford it"? There is no such note; you can look and see.

    It will probably take decades for "the establishment"--insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, certain politicians and policies, self-help gurus, fad diet & exercise spokespersons, and all others who put money before the good of self and others--to accept the following idea (if ever). But I wholeheartedly believe that

    Healing should be a service, not a business.

    Health care is not an INDUSTRY. Health care has to do with our physical and mental well being. We need to take our own health back from the so called health-care "INDUSTRY". Let the insurance INDUSTRY, the pharmaceutical INDUSTRY, and all of the other "health" INDUSTRIES pour hundreds of millions of dollars into the pockets of the "representatives of the people". Let them. Stop paying your premiums. Learn about what it would take to be and stay healthy. When we as a people begin to withdraw our support of these corrupt "INDUSTRIES" whether they be health-care, financial, defense etc. change will come. CORPORATIONS ARE ABOUT PROFIT. PERIOD. END OF STORY. THEY NOW OWN THE PEOPLE'S HOUSE....THE CONGRESS AND THE SENATE. THEY SET POLICY FOR ALL DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN POLICY DECISIONS IN THE UNITED STATES AND EVEN IN THE WORLD AT LARGE. We need to grow up in this country and take our lives back. We are still living under the assumption that we have representative government. We do have a government that represents "something", but it isn't us. We need to take our lives back.

    Wow - what an incredible collection of ideologues of all stripes...Let me put that in perspective. I am a professional Nurse working in the USA; I am also one who grew up in a country (New Zealand) which by and large practices the 'single payer' hegemony so beloved by many correspondents to this blog. I therefore categorize the entire discussion in very simple and very personal terms....If you Americans think that when the government comes in and takes over that you will continue to enjoy the exorbitantly expensive care that has been thus far accepted as 'standard', think again. As spelled out by Mr Moyers in the program, because of the cost and due to other issues of futility and the like, it is more or less inevitable that YOU, Mr or Ms American healthcare consumer, will be arbitrarily subjected to rationing of services of the most cold blooded kind. If you think that is unlikely, dear reader, let me assure you from bitter personal experience that it is not. Likewise, it is one thing to trumpet the virtues of Nationalized health care until it is YOUR mother or YOUR grandma who is being arbitrarily denied access to a potentially life saving treatment solely on the basis of chronological age. As in any dilemma there are pro's and cons with each choice - be under NO illusions that if America believes that 'single payer' healthcare will magically solve the woes of an unhealthy and overweight nation that there will inevitably be a price to pay. If one takes the competition/profit motive out of the equation, then excellence essentially becomes solely a function of the individual healthcare provider's conscience and nothing else. This to me represents nothing less than a giant step backwards.

    Barack Obama makes the claim that "single Payer" is not feasible because we aren't starting from scratch, and that it would be too difficult. To paraphrase Jack Kennedy, "We do these things and the others , not because they are easy, but because they are hard" No matter the hurdles to "single payer" it is time to roll up your sleeves and make it happen. It will be hard.

    Thank you, Bill Moyers, for being willing to speak the truth about the health care crisis. As a physician's wife who worked in his office and dealt with the insurance companies, I know how much of doctor's time is squandered in this fight. But the problem boils down to one thing--will the President and the Congress have the courage to say no to the insurance companies. They have had their day and we see the sad result of doing it their way. As Dr. Wolfe pointed out, what the insurance companies propose as voluntary reform was tried twice before and it only got worse! I suspect that the short time limit on this issue is an attempt to rush something through before the general public wakes up and sees what's happening. That's why I applaud the nurses and doctors who have gone to Washington to demand that single payer be at least given a place at the table. I hope they will be successful in forcing concessions.

    I am a supporter of single payer healthcare. I very much dislike the idea that this idea was excluded from discussion by Obama and the senate.

    I for one will remember this at election time and in Missouri, elections are decided on the whims of a handfull of folks.

    I once had some of the best insurance in the land. Now, I am very much underinsured and am not happy about that. My co-pays and additional costs are over 1000& of what I was promised by the employer at the time of retirement and no end in sight.

    Pass a Hr676 type bill and do it now. Long overdue and America deserves such a plan.

    Might I also add that my hat is off to the folks whom stood up in the senate chambers and then led off in handcuffs.

    Single payer is the only thing that will work.

    Back in the 80s we had a child who needed special medicine which was considerably more than we were making a year. We had private health insurance. Soon after they got the first few bills for the medicine, they doubled their insurance. When we didn't drop it they doubled the insurance again a few months later. At that point health insurance was more expensive every month than the roof over our heads and although we tried, we couldn't keep it up and in the end lost our house as well.

    Fast forward 20 years. The kids are now on medicaid due to their disabilities. I had heard things about the difficulty of finding a doctor who would take medicaid so I recently tried to get them insured through my place of work.

    ...It seems they have extra hurdles and barriers for disabled adult children (unreasonable and illogical barriers) and it seemed like as soon as I met one requirement they discovered another one that I simply had to do. I gave up trying. They can make barriers faster and longer than I can meet them. I doubt I insure myself at the next sign up. I no longer trust them. By the way, Obama and Congress can take that "mandatory" garbage and sit on it.

    And then there's the blueprint on how they eliminate or avoid medicaid patients. Recently one of my kids got sick. When I called the doctor my child had seen last, I was told my child was no longer a patient because I hadn't had her in there recently enough. So I called another doctor and was told he would take medicaid but that I needed to come in and fill out what was more or less an application to be a patient. I'll leave you to interpret that one.

    We went to acute care, didn't see a doctor there either. And yet you have people yelling "choice, we gotta have choice". My kids have no choice. My own choice for as long as I continue to cover myself is whatever the insurance company decides to let me have. Reality is that the insurance company is the only one who has "choice".

    I'm sorry, but the system is irretrievably broken and the only thing that will meet the need is single payer.

    Health care for every sentient being on the planet! The only sustainable plan.

    Thank you John Dove - the most recent post, as I write this. You are so right - we have been brain-washed in this country to believe that we have the best medical care here and that the reason we do is because it is a fully privatized system and that it is in everyone's best interests to keep it that way! Amazing of course - nothing could be further from the truth! We stubbornly refuse to look at how other countries practice health care much better than we do. We refuse to understand how we are all cogs in a huge machine. I hope the point is made that employers need to have employees dependent on health benefits. I don't know why you never hear anyone address this. It's one of the ways they manage to keep salaries down. Wake up people!

    Cheers to Bill Moyers Journal as one of a few programs to provide single payer the coverage it deserves.

    Our current health care system is unjust, wasteful, and inefficient. We grossly outspend other countries, yet fail to cover all and lag sorely behind in public health outcomes. We desperately need real reform. Single payer is the only proposal that that will truly cover all and can do so with what we already spend, by eliminating the wasteful overhead of the system.

    Thanks again for your outstanding coverage.

    Hey Les Holcomb - When in July? We will join you.

    This, like a lot of other things, brings to mind the words of Sam Rayburn:

    "The time is coming when the people are going to find out that all you represent is the Chamber of Commerce, and when they find that out, they're going to beat your ass."

    What if we all gave all that we could give?

    The only difference between private health care and single-payer is who distributes funds. The government can do it on the cheap, with out the need for advertising or executive pay. Its just bookeeping!! 5,000 Americans died on Sept. 11, and we went to war; we spent trillions of dollars defending American lives. that same year 20,000 (according to the National institute of Medicine) died because of inadequate healthcare coverage. for far too long Americans on the left have been intimidated by the boggey men raised by the right. The government beauracrat. Private health companies are an even bigger beaurocracy!! over 1,000 companies all doing the same thing. Why not have a democratically elected government do it? What shocks me most of all is the lack of debate in Congress over Single-Payer. In the PBS "Sick Around the World" documentary, the Tiwainese health ministry sent an expert around the world to research potential healthcare systems. Our congress won't even leave the hill! If we can lock in this single-payer we can hold their feet to the fire. Just like in buisness, poor perfromers go out of buisness (except banks). Americans need to leave behind the empty rhetoric of so called liberals, and get some real hard changes. Real changes!! Stop bieng scared by the fake liberals, and right-wingers, single-payer works!

    "We the people" of the United States of America want single payer universal health insurance.
    I was so happy to tune in to Bill Moyers Journal to hear David Himmelstein and David Wolfe speak clearly and bluntly about the need for health care reform. We need to do everything necessary to make it happen as soon as possible. We keep hearing about the former President and this war. I feel some of this is a distraction turning our attention away from discussion we really want. Don't get me wrong, this war is important to us, but health care reform cannot be put on the back burner. The health care industry is not as strong as "we the people". We are ready and willing to back President Obama all the way. Your guests were right, leadership is what is needed right now.

    Thanks for the show. The more the better.

    How ironic that the only response Senator Baucus could come up with when asked why single payer is not on the table was that "it can't pass". Does he not know that he is a US senator and has the power to pass legislation simply by supporting and voting for it. A more honest response would have been that he won't talk about it because it would disrupt the cozy relationship between Congress and the Medical-Industrial Complex. Funny, when I spoke to my own congressman, Ciro Rodriguez, about supporting HR 676, he said pretty much the same thing - that it is a good idea but the industry money controls Congress and he can't do anything about that - sad that our elected officials so readily give up their responsibility to those of us who elected them, and relinquish their collective power and political will to those who have money.

    It is great to read all the comments supporting single-payer. One year of living as a landed immigrant in Canada taught me that their system is THE BEST: Single payer! To make a profit from others' illness should be considered a sin and a crime!
    Loss of jobs to employees of insurance companies would be made up by increase in jobs in single-payer gov't system. The gov't that has run the social security system cleanly and efficiently all these years can run a single-payer system, too. Thank you, Bill Moyers, for holding this forum!
    Posted May 23, 2009 12:26AM

    Thanks to Bill Moyers journal some media coverage of single payer. Faith in our democracy-plutocracy wears thin when Washington is so obviously for sale. On what basis does Senator Baucus "the senator from K street" arbitrarily decide for us that "it (single payer)has no chance of passage" "that it's just impossible"? If the issue were put to a vote the american people would show Senator baucus what's possible. The blatent subservience of Senator Baucus to the health insurance industry is disgusting. May the people of Montana vote this sychophant out of office. We can't waste more capital and time on Senator Baucus and the status quo that has failed to establish affordable, accessible and universal healthcare in this country. Senator Baucus was asked earlier in the day what approach he thought has the greatest potential to control health costs. His out of touch, out of this world reply, was that if medicine were practiced the way it is in the high plains states the system could save $700-800 billion in spending and medical outcomes. Is this man really competent to be senator in charge of finance and healthcare? Senator Baucus and the status quo must go! Healthcare YES, insurance companies No!

    Great program to open our eyes and educate our mind.
    On this forum we are all preaching to the choir. Remember there are powerful forces who are profiteering from the current system. These forces can affect your reputation, livelihood and your ability to earn a living.
    Like Campaign 2008 we have to spread the information to the other 25% of America willing to listen and sacrifice. Begin immediately and set up forums in your communities and let your congressman and senator know your views. Do it as we approach the August deadline. Let true Democracy thrive !

    Yes the US should pursue Single Payer. My name is Nancy Hansen and I will work for Single Payer.

    Why? – I have heard my Congressman quote the same study “18,000 people die each year” that was quoted on the show tonight. That works out to 50 people PER DAY dying due to the inadequacies of our for profit “system”. Health insurance is not health care.

    Is it politically feasible? Just imagine what the US would be like if the health insurance monkey were taken off of all of our backs. Employers will have more money to invest in their companies. They will be able to hire people of any age. Soldiers returning from war will be able to get immediate paperless care. Cities and towns will be able to hire more teachers, firemen, police officers. Lord knows we may even be able to repair a few roads. It would be the ultimate stimulus package!

    Speaking of politicians having courage: there is a reason John Conyers is the only politician ever endorsed by Martin Luther King Jr.

    Thank you Bill Moyers for inviting Single Payer to your table. I hope others will follow your example.

    THE SINGLE PAYER SYSTEM IS THE ONLY WAY! Our legislators need to get out of the pockets of the insurance industry! The insurance industry be damned!

    Yes, the US should institute single-payer universal health coverage because it is the right thing to do, and the alternative corporate driven medicine has bankrupted thousands of American families. That is obscene and shameful.

    Forcing everyone to buy private insurance is not going to work. Providing a public, Medicare for all, system will provide adequate medical care for the greatest number of people..and as Dennis Kucinich said, "we
    are already paying for it".

    I would like to see a feasibility discussion about creating a medical "protectorate" in which business has no place and which is devoted entirely to medical diagnosis, treatment and research. It would be publicly funded, cooperatively managed, with resource sharing. I know for a fact that any product made for use in the "healthcare" field is now marked up double and even triple the price. That should end. Medical offices, hospitals and ancillary buildings should pay no taxes (like churches they should be sacred). Personnel would understand that they are practicing a critical profession, paid adequately but if they want big money, they should find another field. There should be a blending of both allopathic and homeopathic disciplines.

    Profit should have no part in any medical activity.

    We the people! Government serves us. Let us pursue our right to happiness!

    Great show, very brave. The Obama-led Congress has failed..showing incompetence by not carrying through on true reform. Are they really small-thinking, or do they just not know how? The current system will not be replaced, period. There is no fix to it. No one has come up with any ideas to replace it. Complete and utter failure.

    Any idiot could have come up with what our Congressman intend to proceed with.

    We need to tell Congress: Before you frivolously commit resources, AT LEAST be accountable for what you say will make a difference. Demonstrate to us (transparently, please!) by examination, the difference in delivered services quality, and in cost, between single payor and what we do now / with changes proposed.

    Start with the accounting of how the system has worked. How else will one company stand apart from another? Divide and conquer - Tell them each that they can oversee operations, etc.

    Create a single template - and a system to translate their version of services. Get them all to sign it. Do not have this wishy washy, politics as usual approach. It's insulting to your constituents!
    This is not about policing the medical profession. This is about a non-working system, and replacing it with one that works.

    Physicians want simplicity in the health care system (not 1,300 insurance companies/ billers we have now.) We want health care treated as a right. We want rationing to be scientifically defensible, not rationing by ability to pay. Medicare For All is affordable when the 20 somethings, the 30 somethings, and the elderly are all in the same risk pool. Doctors want Single Payer.
    Thanks, Bill Moyers and PBS

    Single payer is the only system that makes sense...however! It should not be free for users, but a co-payment should still be payable to prevent abuse. Let's hope all Americans realise the "illness" the worry that overshadows us all and will continue to do so until proper universal health care is available. The health insurers can't help us; they've had their chance and this is what has eventuated. Let's not have more meltdowns. It's us to the citizens to write to our representatives and become active. We can rest once universal health care becomes real!

    Are you willing to downsize? Can you live simply so that everyone can live? How many people on this blog are driving SUVs? Living in oversized housing? Overeating? Overdrinking? Oversmoking? We've all got to do our part and take care of ourselves. Can we pool our retirement saving so that we are all taken care of? We need a new radical plan. Let's get creative! Let's imagine a new world where we are all concerned about each other.

    • “Every human on this planet will get sick and eventually die, it’s the fact that none can escape, but that does not mean that we should be alone and without hope in this process. In the United States there are 50+ million people living without health insurance and currently I am one of those people. Even if I did have health insurance that would not be a guarantee it would protect me from whatever illness that may befall. Every day the health insurance industry writes the rules, which does not benefit the many, but rather the few. I find this greed and self interest aberrant and should be abolished. I personally feel that no change will come from any of the current candidates for president and congress, without a massive shift in the system.” It is a sin to gain profit from the suffrage of fellow citizens. All private insurance providers should be reorganized as non-profits or single payer health care system.

    First, much appreciation to Bill Moyers for daring to provide national airtime to leading advocates of the single payer option.

    I am a family physician practicing in the fairly small town of Gettysburg, Pa.

    I have become increasingly disheartened by the difficulties of trying to provide good care to my patients and dealing with the barriers being placed by the health insurance industry. Our 6 provider practice participates with 20 different insurance companies. Our local hospital participates with 60 different plans. There are 1300 different health insurance companies in our country. They have become increasingly aggressive in denying needed care and medications. A single payer system would have rules, but they would be based on best clinical practices, and not on maintaining a "profit margin". A single payer system would markedly streamline our work and allow us to give our full attention to the care of our patients.

    A study this week suggested that on the physician side, each physician practicing spends about $68,000 a year just to deal with all of the pre-authorizations of procedures and medications and appeals, the walls that the health insurance industry has erected to avoid paying for care, and in the process to protect their CEOs' multimillion dollar salaries.

    I am a Republican and I was a naysayer to the single payer approach as recently as 14 months ago.

    As I have researched the available sources discussing healthcare reform in the last year, I am totally convinced that David Himmelstein and Sidney Wolfe are correct in their appraisal of the current debate.

    Until we do away with the $400 billion payed to the middleman, any other attempts at reform will fail.

    What David and Sidney did not mention tonight was the study that the California Nurses association released in February. A single payer system would provide a net increase of 2.5 million jobs throughout America. Talk about a stimulus program?

    We need Single Payer now!
    The health of our nation depends on it.

    One last comment. I have been very frustrated by Max Baucus's answers when asked why not allow single payer at the table. I have not yet heard him come up with a viable answer. Does he think that the American public has the IQ of 80 or lower? I am angered by his arrogance and his lack of respect for the American people.

    I'm an unemployed recent college grad and nursing student who is cognizant of the issues in health care reform. The Hippocratic oath clearly establishes the idea that the doctor-patient relationship in a democratic society is a right, not a privilege for the few who can pay the usurer or loan shark at the door. It's been obvious to me for decades that big insurance companies like AIG are running the so-called 'model American' or 'Sick care' industry. These carpetbaggers even exert control over middle class stratification in our society. There is no more insidious form of power corruption than the power of life and death that these insurance peddlers wield over the infirm and over the influential. The Single-payer option is the only one that is economic, universal, and sustainable. Single-payer is also very fair and equitable because everyone pays in and everyone pays out. Now that the ideologues and policy makers' Nafta agreements, the oil shiek deals, and financial megacorporations have failed to revitalize the 21st century US economy, the clock is ticking. By 2017 the only way to keep subsidizing the administrative costs and huge overhead of all the bad paper and fake policies put out by the insurance specialists will be to chuck most of the self-indulgent baby boomer retirees into concentration camps like Gitmo. Gitmo has a very efficient medical staff. Perhaps Obama should keep Gitmo open so all the really sick people have some place to go in 10 years? Last time I checked Canada required $400,000 up front from US citizens to emigrate to their country and its sublime system even for healthy Americans. That says it all, since no one can trust a US insurance usurer to return $4 when they get sick. Single-payer reform should have started with medicare 44 years ago. Lawmakers will soon discover that like 8 hour work days and child labor laws, it is not just something quaint that can be exiled to Saskatchewan. Perhaps when californians soon kick the businessmen out of their healthcare and all the new green industry employers subsidized by Obama refuse to pay the loan shark rates to cover their new employees we can finally stop publicly subsidizing this parasitic sector of the economy.

    Don't talk about a single payer plan. Talk about the goal of the US having the best health markers in the world. i.e. No. 1 in maternal mortality (now 20+), no. 1 in infant mortality (now 20+), no. 1 in under 5 mortality (now 40+), no 1 in life expectancy (now last among industrialized countries). To get to number one in these criteria the easiest and best way would be to put all pregnant women, children under five, and adults over 55 into Medicare immediately. This would allow time for Medicare to adjust and be modified to raise the lower end and lower the upper end by 5 yrs every 2 years. In 12 years everyone would be covered in a single-payer plan. Insurance companies could still function as a private plan for the wealthy. Sort of like private and public universities do now.

    Take it from a Canadian. Our system works. It may not be perfect, but it works. I have a medicare card. It enables me to go to any doctor, hospital or clinic, anywhere in the country, whenever I want, and never worry for a second about the cost. Everything you hear about long lines and unsafe drugs and bad quality care and no choice is fear mongering and not a word of it is true. It is bovine feces of the most redolent and disgusting kind.

    The profiteering criminals who call themselves the health insurance industry are the problem. Put them out of business. We did it in Canada with a stroke of the legislative pen many years ago and we're a much happier and healhier nation for it.

    Come on, America, follow your little brother's lead. Take your medicine. Heal yourselves once and for all -- before all the endless talk and debate, most of which is just a smoke screen thrown up by the insurance industry to fein support for reform, kills you.

    Whenever people complain about the rising cost of health care, they are usually talking about the rising cost of the insurance premiums that are deducted from the paychecks of employees who have health care benefits. It seems that some people are having a difficult time paying the $30 - 50 dollar increase in their monthly premium. This is a problem the uninsured would like to have.

    It seems that no one knows about the payment formula that the insurance companies force on the medical industry, or how it is applied to the uninsured.

    Most of the major insurance companies have a contract with the medical providers (doctors, labs, and hospitals) to give them a reduced price for their services, which is typically about 65% of the ‘base’ price that is charged only to uninsured patients. Their contracts further stipulate that the insurance companies have to pay only 50% of the base price for the first charge on a given day, and 25% of the base price for the remaining charges for the same day, less the patient’s copay. This means that the insurance companies pay only 16 – 33 % of the base price less the patient’s copay. Thus, you can generally say they pay about 25% of the base price for any medical bill they get. This also means that whenever the doctors and hospitals want to raise their price to the insurance companies by $1, they have to raise the base price to the uninsured by $4.

    To illustrate:

    If a medical procedure "costs" $1200, the insurance company pays $300, while the uninsured patient is told to pay $1200.

    If a medical procedure "costs" $12,000, the insurance company pays $3,000, while the uninsured patient is told to pay $12,000.

    If a medical procedure "costs" $120,000, the insurance company pays $30,000, while the uninsured patient is told to pay $120,000.

    If a medical procedure "costs" $400,000, the insurance company pays $100,000, while the uninsured patient is told to pay $400,000.
    The difference between what the insurance company is billed and what the uninsured patient is billed in this example is $300,000. This happens every day. I've seen these bills myself.

    It is my understanding that the actual cost of a medical procedure is closer to what the insurance companies pay, or 25% of the billed fee. The 75% penalty is what the uninsured get charged because they don't have insurance.

    The most upsetting thing about rising health care costs is not that the insured patient’s deductible is rising, but that their insurance companies have forced the medical providers to charge the uninsured four times (400%) of what they, the multibillion dollar insurance companies, pay, on average. To make this possible, they have put forth the view that people who don’t have insurance are lazy, unskilled, stupid, or unwilling to contribute to an insurance plan. While they are busy convincing the public that the attitude of the uninsured is the problem, they have neglected to show the truth about what they are charging to private individuals for insurance. Their private insurance plans cost about $700 to $2,000 per month, while the typical uninsured worker earns only $1,200 to $2,400 per month before taxes. It’s very difficult, if not nearly impossible, to pay for food, housing, transportation, etc. with these wages, before health care costs are added.

    The majority of people who have health care provided by their employer would not be able to purchase health care if their employer stopped providing it. They are not "better" people than the uninsured. Where I live, jobs that pay $20,000 to $30,000 (with a growing number who have no medical insurance) per year are the norm, but the media gives you the impression that there are a lot of people who make much higher salaries, $50,000 - $100,000. Only those employed in the medical industry get the higher wages. There are very few people who can afford to purchase health care insurance without a subsidy from their employer; there are very few people who can afford to pay the grotesquely inflated medical expenses that are 400% higher than what the insurance companies pay. There is a war being waged by the medical industry against the uninsured. Any contact with a hospital will ruin their lives and destroy their families – bankruptcy, foreclosure, homelessness – it is virtually inevitable. The health care providers don’t seem to care at all.

    Thank you, Bill Moyers, for this excellent program. I agree that single-payer is the most practical and moral choice. It is also not disruptive, but would easily enroll everyone within one year, as did Medicare. Then we need to fix Medicare--get the insurance company subsidy Part D out of Medicare! It has messed up my 93-year old father's health care and we are still trying to clear up the problems. Plus the Part D insurance company stiffed the doctor and still refuses to pay him! Yet my father would have died if the doctor had not given emergency care. I tell people about single payer all I can, and most people who hear about it want it. If people are allowed to hear about it, it will become politically doable.

    We do need leadership! In fact, if leaders just allowed single-payer advocates to talk,instead of shutting us up, the grassroots groundswell would be very loud. Actually, I think that our Congressmen hear us, but they refuse us. We have been disenfranchised. We need to elect leaders who will allow us to be heard and who will advocate for us. We elect our representatives to represent us, but the rich and powerful have bought our representatives. We are taxed and not represented again!

    Have you noticed that the insurance industry invests heavily in Wall Street? The financial investment industry does not care about the business it uses to raise funds for investment. It runs them down. Health care has been used as a cash cow for financial investment by the insurance industry.

    Thank you for bringing this story out!

    Yes we should have a single payer national health care system . The medical insurers have failed to create a system that works for everyone . They created a cash cow at the expense of our lifes . It saves billions and covers everyone, no more people dying in a hospital waiting room after being ignored for 24 hours . No more ads on sunday morning (Mothers Day) stating that 2 out of 3 Americans suffer from depression, ask your doctor for Abili.... Thank You Bill for airing the single payer doctors , whose views were not allowed at the reform talks .We need more air time to let the American people hear the truth . This inhumane system is not used in any other country in the world, because they have respect for their citizens and they pay far less than we do .Not politically feaseable means your senators are on the take .The lobbyist can buy congress but they can not get us to vote for them .Write and call all of your elected officials and tell them you want a single payer health care system , city , county, state and federal , they will listen when they here it over and over . The time is now 400 Billion a year in savings , HELLO act now .

    Good show. Single payer will happen, we'll just have to go broke nationally, and suffer a great deal from increasingly broken health care first.

    I who have dedicated my life to making health programs succeed financially that are set up by public policy to fail, have started going to demonstrations for the first time and will send out my first book of poems on The Public Option next week. I guess that's my job in this "uniquely American Approach" process that Max Baucus is shepherding while Grassley chuckles about Democratic and Presidential Naivete.

    After watching Bill Moyers tonight. I will do the next group of poems on either Single Payer or how to manage health care insurance programs on 10% overhead, and possibly a "long poem", an epic about one US community that collaborated effectively to reduce health care costs and did so.

    In early July I will go to Washington, probably alone, since there is nothing else scheduled for me to participate in, to demand public-funded and public-operated health claims management of Medicare for ALL or Medicaid for ALL that is the closest we can have at this time to "budget neutral" and "deficit neutral" options.

    I have a "Mitt Romney Health Plan" in MA and it has resulted in my delaying most of my care until I get on Medicare very soon. Tight networks, high deductibles and co-pays don't really work for me.

    I am most grateful for tonight's PBS show. It helps me not feel like the Lone Ranger.

    Max Baucus's responses to the question: "Why not have single payer at the table?" were a hoot!

    Health care for the planet! It's not just about caring for ourselves. Everything is connected. I ride my bike to work, I work out every day, vegetarian. We need to get real. Cars, health insurance, processed foods, greed, not caring about our neighbor....not sustainable. This is not a dress rehersal. Let's go all in. Let's pool our resources. Let's make each other as important as ourselves. We can. I'm a single parent putting three kids in college...if I can do this...anybody can. Let's put our minds and hearts and resources together. Together we can do this.

    Sorry, I am new on this "BLOG" route and didn't know what a URL is. Looked it up and it should be MSN/sympatico. Sorry.

    Yes the US should pursue Single Payer. My name is Nancy Hansen. I live in Easton, CT and I will work for Single Payer.

    I have heard my Congressman quote some of the same numbers stated on your program tonight. That 18,000 per year number works out to 50 people PER DAY dying due to the inadequacies of our current for profit"system".

    Absolutelty it is feasible. Just imagine How prosperous this nation would be with the insurance monkey off of all of our backs. Employers will have more money to spend and they would be able to hire people of any age. Cities and towns could hire more teachers, firemen and police officers. Lord knows we may even be able to repair some roads. Single Payer would be the ultimate stimulus package.

    There is a reason that Rep. John Conyers is the only politician that Martin Luther King Jr. ever endorsed.

    I joined the NNOC (National Nurses Organizing Committee) because of their diligent work to provide safe nurse to patient ratios across the nation. I learned about the single payer proposal from them and was honored to be 1 of 10 to represent Ohio RNs at the rally shown in the beginning of the show.

    The guests tonight did an excellent job explaining their proposal and my only real complaint is: Why do copies of the Journal cost $30/each?

    I was born in 1965 in London under the National Health System in the UK - I was diagnosed with a minor heart problem and was kept in an incubator for a few days for my circulation and body temperature to adjust. My parents did not have to pay a penny. And that is true of my siblings of which both mys sisters were born at home under the care of maternity nurses. Since that time I can probably count on my fingers how many times I visited the hospital - although I did visit the dentist more often. The point I am trying to make is that until I came to live in the US ( I have lived also in Israel, France and Germany) the issue of health insurance was a foreign thought. What a lot of the arguments miss in this debate is that in the UK for example there IS private insurance as well as government run National Health (NHS). If you have the means and do not want to go NHS as we call it you can buy Private Health Insurance and go to a private clinic, hospital or doctor and in fact many employers use that as a perk or benefit to attract talent. As many have stated in this debate the single payer system overseen by a govt agency is the only viable long term solution to the American Health care INDUSTRY - I do not see why physicians need to be paid the exhorbitant salaries they are paid in the US.

    Yes the US should pursue Single Payer. My name is Nancy Hansen. I live in Easton, CT and I will work for Single Payer.
    nmognome@gmail.com

    I have heard my Congressman quote some of the same numbers stated on your program tonight. That 18,000 per year number works out to 50 people PER DAY dying due to the inadequacies of our current for profit"system".

    Absolutelty it is feasible. Just imagine How prosperous this nation would be with the insurance monkey off of all of our backs. Employers will have more money to spend and they would be able to hire people of any age. Cities and towns could hire more teachers, firemen and police officers. Lord knows we may even be able to repair some roads. Single Payer would be the ultimate stimulus package.

    There is a reason that Rep. John Conyers is the only politician that Martin Luther King Jr. ever endorsed.

    Just watched Bill Moyers Journal re our broken healthcare system. Although I personally have very good coverage through a combination of Medicare and GIC (Group Insurance Commission) Unicare (I was a MA State employee and pay only a modest amount of the group rate for the Unicare coverage), I am horrified that in a so-called civilized country that there can be so many people, including children, people with two and three jobs trying to make ends meet, and the elderly, who are uninsured or underinsured! This is absolutely outrageous and none of us should tolerate it! The insurance industry is completely out of control at the expense of people's lives and health. I believe that a single-payer healthcare system is the only rational way to insure that all of our citizens are properly cared for, yet our leaders continue to bury their heads in the sand on this issue. I know big money is behind this obstinacy and the health insurers are big political supporters of candidates who "toe the line," but we and our leaders MUST have the courage to move to a single-payer healthcare system in spite of the powerful healthcare industry lobbyists. It is time for the system (not just healthcare but our political infrastructure that allows coercion and "bribery") to change! I voted for Obama and have supported him, campaigned for him, contributed to his campaign, though I have a limited income. We need Obama, Pelosi, and our other leaders to say NO to the insurance industry and stand up for ALL American citizens. Excellent healthcare should be a human right, not a privilege! Our doctors are bogged down with endless red tape and paperwork and are told whether and how they can treat patients, whether they their patients can have access to life-saving treatments, medicines, certain tests, procedures, etc. This should not be the way healthcare works! As pointed out on Bill Moyers program by the Harvard physician, for the same amount of money we are spending now on healthcare, everyone could be completely covered. The red-tape would be essentially GONE and the healthcare insurance industry would dry up... and I think the only really unhappy people would be the healthcare company CEOs and their other top executives who are receiving obscenely high salaries! It is time to do the right thing!!

    profit is not sustainable

    For the richest country in the world this healthcare system is shameful for many Americans. Many of the other industrialized nations have switched with much better results. There is no reason why we cannot look at them all and implement universal healthcare system for Americans as presently exist in other developed countries. We can learn from their high and lows, the mistakes in their implementation thereby minimizing any potential problems.
    Unfortunately the problem in America just as we have in changing to alternative fuel methods is that big money runs this country. Politicians and these major corporations are all in bed together and will not change until we change the entire culture in politicians from the state level all the way up the chain to congress and the President/s.
    As Dr. David Himmelstein mentioned in Bill Moyers Journal (excellent show) will need more participation from the public and healthcare professionals in sending a message to Washington that the time has come for change. People will have to go through some inconvenience if we want changes as they did in the fifties and sixties.

    I am a very senior Canadian lady, single with no children and I would hate to think what a mess I would be in should I live in the United States. I am a breast cancer survivor of 8 years now and imagine what my medical bills would be if we did not have what too many Americans call "socialist health care". Canada is not a socialist country, and you should know better than suggest our Health Care system is. What seems to be required is more education and information given to the ordinary American. Your health costs and insurance premiums are astronomical! Yes I pay $0.06 on the dollar to provide the health requirements that I use and need, but my home is mine and I am not in any danger of losing it due to a medical plan that refuse you coverage for a pre-existing condition, or not long enough in the plan. Oh, and by the way, I pay $320.00 a year to our Provincial govwernment to cover the costs of any medications I may need, and this is paid by 30% per perscription until the $320.00 is paid, then all medications are free. Please put more programs in the public domain, hopefully using working men and women who are making less than $50,000.00 per year. They are the ones with the ideas and ways to solve their problems so they will not lose everything they worked for. Oh yes, children get free dental care until the ago of 10, I believe. EH!

    Thank you for the excellent program on health care and its future.
    I then turned to the e-mail and found the message urging me to participate on June 6th on the kickoff for the President's campaign for health care reform.
    But I was prompted to reply by sending the President this message. (I don't know what to do after this!)
    ***
    We are asked to participate in the campaign for health care reform, beginning with the June 6th kickoff. But am I mistaken? Nowhere is the President saying anything about a single payer system, which would be the only truly meaningful change. If, as I fear, the only change that comes is change that is acceptable to the insurance companies, we will have reformed nothing at all.
    I do NOT want to hear more about the benefits of an electronic reporting system. That's fine, but it is merely a dodge from the real issue, the vital one, covering all people through a single payer system. And there is the cost to the economy to think about, too!
    I am eager to work on a program to benefit the people...but not to do the job to continue to be under the control of the insurance industry.
    May I hear from you?

    Health care plan of CARING is the only way. We are all connected. Taking care of each other helps us take care of ourselves. We need to be responsible for taking care of ourselves. Exercise, healthy diet, stress management. Health care, education, caring for seniors, sustainable living, mass transit, organic farming. The time is now.

    I should add a note to my comment that I do think it would be more efficient and humane if we were able to move right to a single payer system, but I don't think there is a capability currently to mobilize enough people on the streets to make it happen, even though a majority of Americans apparently support it in the polls (though I think that can change as we develop better progressive, localized institutions, but that's another discussion). Therefore, I think in the end it is on that basis that Obama decided to opt for what he appears to be proposing (the public system to compete with the private).

    Divide & difuse & the upstarts will fade away..says some ole wise Congressman.

    Sgl. payer won't work per Ins. Cos. & Congress.

    The financial scheme is so complicated that those that flushed our 401Ks are the only ones that can replumb the scheme so say the Fin. Cos. & Congress.

    Does that make Congress a Co-Conspirator?

    Most sent to Congress begin with good intentions, but but before they can be heard the Seniority Scheme has systematically beaten them into Washington form
    and they become Congress zombies.

    A proposal must be perfect to be tried, BUT a system that does not work must be kept--again, why is that Mr. Congressman?

    Billy Bob, Florida

    I have to voice my objection to the show tonight--Moyers did not appear to offer an intellectually honest discussion.

    Don't get me wrong, I think the evidence is clear that single payer would be the most efficient. However, the approach Obama may be taking to reach that goal was just breezed over in these discussions tonight. It was mentioned that Obama seems to think a new public system should compete with the private, but it was not talked about in any real depth; I think there are many, myself included, that would opt for a new public system, thus drawing many into it (not simply those who are more expensive to care for, as Dr. Himmelstein stated).

    Obama appears to be able to do what, respectfully, Mr. Moyers did not tonight, in terms of fully dialoguing with both sides (though I do believe Moyers' intentions are good, as far as allowing exposure to a critical argument that hasn't been getting much attention).

    I would add that this show has been more of an education than I could ever have asked for, yet there is a need to be more balanced at times it seems.

    Thanks to Bill Moyer's Journal, I am finally informed about the Single Payer System: The Health Insurance Industry has done a satanically masterful job of clouding up the issue. We must adopt John Conyers HR #676 this summer if not sooner or face the medical destruction of a crumbling care system, all in the name of insurance company greed and lawlessness.

    I am a physician and one of the now "Baucus 13."

    I support a national health program based on single payer financing because it will allow health care providers to take care of patients. I left practice because this environment makes it very difficult for doctors to provide quality care. For decades health care providers have struggled to care for patients within an environment that has made it increasingly dificult. Now is the time to take a stand on behalf of our patients and to say that enough is enough.

    Health insurance companies obstruct the delivery of health care. There is no comparison between health insurers in the U.S. and health insurers in Europe. The American health insurers are designed to make profit by collecting premiums and denying care. European health insurers are a social insurance designed to pay for health care.

    A switch to single payer would be a dream come true. Then I could return to taking care of patients.

    I agree that we need a single payer option for health insurance. I think we should look at the plans for universal health care that other countries are using and gather the best and most successful parts to incorporate into our plan. People also need to realize that in order for anything to be successful, costs must be contained. Not only are administrative costs high for health care but there is some accountability that must be recognized by the health care community as well. Specialists here make a great deal of money. As an example, I know a general surgeon who spent 90,000 on KITCHEN CABINETS for his house. And that was 10 years ago. Hospitals charge 10 dollars for an aspirin when you can by a bottle for 3 dollars. Testing that is redundant, needs to be avoided as an MRI can run in the thousands of dollars. I am a nurse, therefore I have knowledge of some of the abuses that occur in the medical field. Doctors prescibe treatments that are unneccasary or bill for services not provided. Fraud is uncovered by the Federal Government every day. HCA is a prime example. And not an isolated one! I know that many people believe that doctors and hospitals are above reproach but until we include these aspects in our discussion, we will not completely address the problem. Many countries, and even some institutions within our country, use a model that includes primary physicians and health care teams who are in close contact with both patients and each other. The Mayo Clinic and Grameen Health care systems are an example of something that could work. Again, I am in support of universal health care, but I am also in support of a health care program that is efficient, cost effective and still provides top quality care. I think it is possible!

    Perhaps our representatives need a ''Bailout''.

    What if We The People, instead of the deregulated chemical, biological, military monopolies, funded their elections ?

    And perhaps we can buy back our ONCE FREE press.

    The only reason that the USA maintains the wasteful and ultimately unsustainable morass of a health care system that we have is because too many people, including our congressional leaders, are making too much money under the status quo. If we continue to deny that the current system happily collects your premiums while systematically striving to deny your benefits, there is no denying that, in the end, America's true god is the Golden Calf.

    We need to approach these congressmen and congress women's children --- By standing in the way of single payer, they are bankrupting their own children's future.

    People like Baucus and the others who are so obviously bankrolled by the Insurance industry need to feel this personally.

    If they continue to bow down to the insurance industry, they should be remembered, personally, as the ones who prevented their own kin and the future generations from having a decent, human health care system.

    Are these people public servants who were elected to advocate for OUR (the public) interest? or are they simply there to perpetuate their own livelihood by siding with the money interests who can ensure their next election?

    These people need to be called out on this on a personal level


    Does it matter HOW the blackmailing vampire drains us of our blood ?
    ... directly from us, through an insurance company ? or through a government agency ?

    It is still blackmail, still our blood feeding the insatiable appetite of a single minded beast.

    I participated in one of those meetings that the Obama transition team had called for last December. While they asked for our input about a Health Plan, the Obama/Daschle/Biden team had structured the topics so as not to bring up the topic of Single-Payer. There were 26 or so people who met and we all saw the Health Insurance Industry as the "enemy". Only a handful of us had employee covered Health Care, most everybody else didn't. Most were underinsured, or, had no insurance. We listened to the horror stories that people have gone through. A single mother who could no longer pay her premiums and when she dropped her insurance ended up with a brain tumor. It bankrupted her. She had to sell her house. This is the kind of stuff that is going on all around us.
    Obama has gotten big bucks from Health Insurers and Wall Street. He's sold us all down the river to kowtow to those industries--drug, health insurers, bankers...

    Single-Payer's time has come. His plan will not work. The insurers will only take the well patients and leave the sick for the taxpayers to pay for.

    I'm not a health care professional. I'm not a Insurance Industry person. I cannot say for sure that Health Care systems in foreign countries would not be better than our fractured, broken health Care system, but I cannot reach these questions until I resolve Baucus and his committee members refusing to consider all alternatives. It is said we live with Representative government. What does that mean in a nation that allows Baucus and his gang serves "big money" and ignore the concerns of any significant portion of our population. I really just want to hear all reasonable possibilities discussed and contrasted. From what I hear, which is very limited, our politician suggest fair comparisons will only happen in Socialist countries and not in the U.S. where money makes the law.

    JACK SMITH
    Seattle, WA 98117

    I have recently just got interested in politics and this show has taught me so much tonight. I had no idea there was such a large movement for single-payer. I knew about the idea of universal healthcare, but I didn't even know the term "single-payer" existed before tonight. The show has gotten me angry at our government and its bureaucracy and for what, to pocket dollars that shouldn't exist in the first place. The idea that health insurance is a privilege is elitist and the fact that "administrators/CEOS" are making profits from not providing health services to those in need is despicable. Obama making bogus excuses for not implementing an universal healthcare plan is unfathomable despite so many examples to build upon. I can't believe this started before I was born and it has yet to be resolved. Its been decades already, hurry up!

    Thank you for coverage of
    S-703/HR-676. Yes, Obama should remember what his mother went through. In my
    experience the health insurance industry has been getting away with fraud.

    Thank you Bill Moyer for allowing intelligent voices to be heard and to give the facts on the only truly viable option for sustainable US healthcare, Single Payer.

    We already have a single payer system in the Federal Reserve, so I am leery about any system that does not include a cap if that problem is not addressed. On that point I think again that ultimately our disparity of wealth problems are at base the result of the continous flow of easy money, and so heathcare should be consider a symptom of what is wrong with our society, rather than one its causes. It is not enough to just worry about microeconomic problems. Otherwise, I agree with everything said. But if both ppl and doctors are for it as was said, why not simply bypass govt and and corporations and begin by starting your own nonprofit healthcare system? It will be hard at first, but the more ppl and doctors join the more you can pressure hospitals and drug cos to lower prices, and of course you can accept Medicare and Medicaid. You can even challenge the govt by trying to purchase or even mfr drugs overseas.

    Our healthcare group in South Carolina has been working to educate others about the moral, financial and medical imperatives for a single payer system. Thank you Bill Moyers for allowing tonight's guests an opportunity to explain and educate. Medicare for All will be a boost for small and large businesses, county and municipal governments as well as the uninsured and underinsured. Haven't ever heard a senior complain about being covered by Medicare, but I have heard horror stories about patients trying to reach Medicare (coverage) age before their health totally disappears. I thought I had good coverage before I had to use it.

    Your program repeated all the claims advocating the UK/Canada/etc. health care model. But it failed to address a crucial econ 101 issue: The law of downward-sloping demand. When the price (to the user) decreases, or becomes disconnected from the cost of providing a service, that service is always in greater demand. Often the service is misused and wasted. Today, we see this in indigents using the emergency room for sniffles and other discomforts.

    How do you avoid this waste in a single-payer system?

    I am a very concerned physician who has practiced in Massachusetts as a Primary Care Internal Medicine Physician for the last 2.5 years. Single payer is the ONLY sensible solution to our healthcare crisis. The Massachusetts' reform effort which supposedly utilizes "competition" among private insurance has not been adequate to ensure true coverage for all. In fact, those persons who are in between jobs or who are most vulnerable find themselves without insurance still. I have practiced in multiple settings and have experience in Public Health. Our current system is endangering our national security and leaving us without adequate healthcare. Many U.S. physicians who see the suffering of our patients agree that single payer and healthcare for everyone is the only sustainable, true reform option.

    I so wish single payer was a real option. If it were, the national polls would reflect it. the people who want it would be making their preferences known. I am in DC working on health reform and i can tell you they are not here -- they are not heard -- where are all these people? where is the populace demanding true efficiency and best value health care? That is why Obama has taken the route he has -- hopefully we will get a public option to show Americans that a public system can work for them.

    There already is a de facto single payer system in this country. The Federal government funds directly or indirectly: The VA system, the Dept of Defense health care system, Medicare/Medicaid, Medicare Advantage, Indian Health, and the Community Health Clinics. It is estimated that 60% of the US population fall under one or more of these systems. Whats the big deal expanding to 100%?

    The Priorities of Living Thing is Different from corporations.

    Perhaps we, the Living, can all agree that it is to the benefit of all, that we live in a Physically and Mentally healthy population.

    Next, we may agree that it took mammal bodies millions of years to gradually adapt to the chemicals, molecules and concentrations that exist in the naturally evolving world.

    Next we may agree that when we suddenly manufacture new molecules, and new concentrations, then time is required for evolution to TEST these modified waters of Earth and adapt to the new conditions.... Read More

    Next, we may agree that Humanity requires some protection from the sudden distribution of unnatural molecules and concentrations.

    Once prevention is funded, we can get to the really expensive part... curing what remains.

    I realize that if we don't allow people to be made sick and wounded, then our medical industry will be poverty stricken, but that is the price we will have to pay if we want to be healthy.

    -ttpanto

    I so wish single payer was a real option. If it were, the national polls would reflect it. the people who want it would be making their preferences known. I am in DC working on health reform and i can tell you they are not here -- they are not heard -- where are all these people? where is the populace demanding true efficiency and best value health care? That is why Obama has taken the route he has -- hopefully we will get a public option to show Americans that a public system can work for them.

    There already is a de facto single payer system in this country. The Federal government funds directly or indirectly: The VA system, the Dept of Defense health care system, Medicare/Medicaid, Medicare Advantage, Indian Health, and the Community Health Clinics. It is estimated that 60% of the US population fall under one or more of these systems. Whats the big deal expanding to 100%?

    Im sorry ..is it me? But I want to live in an America where OUR gov't helps its people. I have health Ins., via thru wrk...and I only make 32k yr...but I have NO problem paying an extra $200.00 a yr in tax if I knew for sure it was helping everyone have health care. The problem Bill.......America's #1 problem...GREED!!!!!!!

    Too Many people (Other than the health care professionals.) are making too much money in the dysfunctional health care "System" that we have now. THAT is why it will be hard to change. Health Insurance Wholesalers, retailers, claims processors and so many others are the leaches of the "System". Congress will represent the special interests and make sure that the health care system continues as is.

    I favor an honest discussion about options available for a health care program that can protect patients. I am not hopeful that Congress will do the "right" thing, based on what I am hearing about the influence exerted by the health insurance industry lobbyists. I also think there is a real down-side to a single-payer system. If Canada has such a great system, why do people come to America for treatment and care. I heard it can take a very long time to have, what is considered routine here, such tests as MRI's and CT scans. I'd like to hear more about the pros and cons of a single-payor system, hopefully, from someone who is not biased.

    Thank you for airing some of the arguments in favor of a single payer health care system. Not only is the current health care system sick but the American press is practically moribund if the lack of coverage of the single payer option is any indication. At least Bill Moyers' Journal is willing to put the merits of an obvious and vital health care choice before the public. Thank you again.

    While I am absolutely in favor of universal health insurance, what I oppose is a single plan.

    What I hear the doctors calling for is a system where doctors dictate what the government pays them based on what the doctors decide to bill.

    Seems like a great system to allow doctors to extract lots of money from the taxpayers without providing health to the individual because the reward is in charging for treating sickness.

    Of course, the way to solve that problem is to have all bills reviewed and approved by the government agency, like it is with Medicare, and the solution will be to simply slash payments to cut spending, just like with Medicare.

    If one looks at the national health care systems all over the world, the ones that provide the best care and the most satisfaction are the ones where the individual choses the insurer/provider and the extended benefits they want to satisfy their preferences. Good examples are Switzerland, Germany, France, Japan. Not one of them have single payer, but they offer lots of choices.

    In fact, to compete, the insurers in Germany and Switzerland include spa benefits - when the doctor finds someone is stressed out, instead of prescribing drugs, he prescribes a few days at a spa, covered by his insurance plan.

    What I am most upset about is the destruction of my HMO by predatory insurers cherry picking it patients, My care was provided by a team who were paid a salary with the mandate to care for the patients under their care. A doctor could be called in or consulted at any time without any need to bill for his time. And I worked in engineering which involves diagnosing, problem solving, planning, and implementing, and adapting, all in a team. I and no one else on the team had to bill for our time on a project - we focused all our time and effort on fixing the problems.

    The big irony is the conservatives are attacking Obama as for single payer, and you are attacking Obama for letting insurers do the cherry picking they do today, when the employer plans work very well by providing choice without the insures being able to cherry pick.

    In any case, Bill Moyers, you failed to illuminate or enlighten on this issue. I know that at least a hundred million well insured employees would be outraged by the plan your guests propose because in the end it would cut their benefits.

    Medical care choice should remain where lobbyists say it belongs - between an insurance administrator and your banker. Those who can't afford insurance should remember they would be losing their choice to remain uninsured!

    This statement pretty well shoots down any argument that we can let private care opt out:

    "2. The insurance industry will raise the rates on the chronically ill and high risk patients resulting in them being forced into the public insurance. The private insurance industry will keep the profitable consumers and get rid of those who really need health care."

    If Single Payer works in the other industrial countries, then we need it here. The richest nation in the world, and we have so many uninsured people? That's just gutterally stupid. Sick people can't work, they lose their own value of self without that job. And, no one should have to bankrupt themselves to pay for a life saving operation. It's cruel and it's unseemly in this rich nation.

    With enough smart people in this country, why can't we set up a sensible healthcare system to take care of basic needs of our people? Can we not learn from other countries - such as Switzerland, Canada and make appropriate adjustments?

    The single payer tsunami is out there, Senators. Join us or get out of the way. The health insurance cartel will not be able to save you. The first of you to break ranks will be remembered as an American hero.

    I support a non-profit, single payer, nationally funded, privately provided health care system such as HR676 and S703. It eliminates the $Billions of waste of 1500 insurance company systems involved in administering health insurance, calculated to be at least 10% of the $2 Trillion a year we, as Americans, paid last year in health care costs . It eliminates at least $9 Billion a year in profits, just counting stockholder dividends paid in 2007. It eliminates at least another $1 Billion in exorbinant CEO compensations, just counting the top 23 CEOs from the Forbes report.

    In asking if it's politically feasible we imply that our representatives do not represent us. It is easily possible if our representatives listen to their constituents and vote with their conscience. It is, in fact, inevitable. The choice is when. Congress will be replaced until we get representation. That was the lesson of 2006 and 2008 and it will continue.

    The solution to the Health Care Crisis has been before us for years now. Now is the time to enact it.

    If you can read this and comment here, you can contact your representatives just as easily. Email, phone, fax and mail your Congressional employees and the President and H&HS now.

    Support Single Payer- Medicare for All : End revolving door employment between the FDA and Big Pharma; fire current FDA employees and advisors with past financial ties to Big Pharma.
    The health care reform "debate" demonstrates why America desperately needs an independent noncorporate party. Democratic and Republican politicians are swimming in campaign donations from the insurance industry, receiving over $46 million in insurance money in 2008 (http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/indus.php?ind=F09).
    - Require full disclosures of financial conflicts of interest of FDA managers, scientists and decision panel members.
    Ban GMOs in the U.S. food supply.
    - Ban harmful food additives: MSG, aspartame and sodium nitrite.
    - Require honest labeling of irradiated foods.
    Get Big Pharma out of medical schools.
    - Guarantee the right of consumers to sue drug companies and medical device manufacturers for damages caused by unsafe products.
    Disallow ads that exaggerate claims of drug benefits or that do not accurately reflect the scientific findings of clinical trials.
    Require the EPA to investigate the environmental impact of pharmaceuticals in the water supply.
    - End the chemical fluoridation of public water supplies.
    - Require hospitals, pharmacies and nursing homes to dispose of expired pharmaceuticals in an environmentally-conscious away that avoids more drugs being flushed down the drain and passing intact through waste water treatment facilities and then into our bodies when we consume tap water. We need Single Payer NOW.


    We need a single payer national health care system that covers all Americans. We do not need another insurance plan. Insurance companies make huge profits denying care and when thy need help the taxpayers bail them out. It would be a joke if it weren't so serious. This is the only country in the developed world that does it this way, and look at the results...a disaster. It's time to get real and face the fact that the system we have is a failure.

    Private companies don't have a monopoly on efficiency. There's Lehman Brothers, Haliburton, Enron, Healthsouth,...

    I was #7 of the Baucus 8 who grew to 13 so far. These are the health care advocates who got arrested protesting the exclusion of single payer from the senate discussion.

    It is great to see Bill Moyers looking at the single payer issue.

    Why is single payer excluded - it's easy - we win every argument whether it is covering Americans, controlling costs, managing malpractice, providing maximum choice or improving health care. Single payer is the only way the United States can afford health care for all.

    No bill will be better than the insurance industry welfare bill that the Congress is writing behind closed doors.

    And, don't be fooled by the public option. It is a fraud that will end up helping the insurance industry if it is allowed to happen. There are three problems:

    1. We will still have all the cost and bureaucracy of the current system. That means 31% of health care spending will be wasted on administration we do not even need.

    2. The insurance industry will raise the rates on the chronically ill and high risk patients resulting in them being forced into the public insurance. The private insurance industry will keep the profitable consumers and get rid of those who really need health care.

    3. The private insurance lobby will ensure that the public insurance is underfunded by whining "we can't compete with government funded insurance." This will reduce in inadequate funding for the public option.

    The result -- private insurance gets richer and more profitable and will make the claim "the government can't run health insurance." They will make sure that is the result.

    If we do not confront the insurance, HMO and pharmaceutical industries tens of thousands will continue to die annually and tens of thousands of more will suffer with illnesses rather than go to a doctor.

    Kevin Zeese, ProsperityAgenda.us

    Health Care System debate?

    This is undoubtedly not ALL that you know, but it is certainly all that you NEED to know about the shameful and dishonorable health care system in the US:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37wkX2gklzo


    For additional insight, PLEASE watch Michael Moore's movie "SICKO".

    When I watched it, I was first ashamed to live in the United States, and then I GOT FURIOUS!

    This constant strangling of our national life by corporations, in particular the pharmo-medico-insurance insults to all decency, MUST BE STOPPED AND NOW!

    President Obama: show some spine and exercise some REASON and stand up to these lobbyist swine who are killing us!

    I agree that America absolutely needs a universal healthcare system. The one thing I would warn against at this point is without having the proper check and balances in place to ensure that healthcare providers do NOT overcharge the government(you and I). I can see this happening unless we have a tertiary organization which can set the proper fees and ENFORCE that those fees are reasonable.

    We cannot as a people take TOO much more in the way of taxes. So we need to be very careful.

    The sooner we have a workable system, possibly modeled after one of the more successful European countries plans, the better for every American and only Americans!

    We don't heed health insurance.
    We need comprehensive health care.

    Health care is not free.
    It just costs less when it is guaranteed and provided to all, rather than rationed and doled out by insurance industry gatekeepers.

    What kind of health care a person gets should have nothing to do with what an employer chooses to provide, or how an insurance corporation plans to increase its profits.

    Forty other modern, industrialized countries in the world now have better measured health care outcomes than does the USA. The average per-capita total health care costs paid by citizens of those countries is half of the per-capita total cost of health care in the USA. And all those other nations provide comprehensive single-payer health care to all.

    When are the American people going to get sick and tired, and angry, and stop being fleeced for the privilege of playing Russian roulette with the lives, the health, the future, and the solvency of our families??

    This is no longer "just" about getting a decent and rational health care system in America. This is about getting government that is of, by, and for the people - rather than government that is by and for the corporations and the lobbyists.

    Demand that "your" legislators sponsor and adopt HR 676 and SB 703.
    Single-payer comprehensive health care for all. Now.

    The single best TV program I have seen on health-care policy is "Sick Around the World" by Jon Palfreman and T.R. Reid, which appeared on PBS's Frontline April 15, 2008. This is a documentary tour of several nations, comparing their different health systems and the decision process that they went through. Noteworthy was Taiwan, which consciously embarked on a comparison of other country's systems and eventually synthesized what they considered the best features of each. I firmly believe the U.S. should do the same.

    This program made clear that there are different ways to solve this problem. Some countries (e.g. Switzerland) have government-regulated insurance companies. Others (e.g. England) have a government-run health system. Each has its strengths and weaknesses. But all seem to be managing and in the end serving their people well. What they have in common is a consensus among all parties that health-care should be universal and of universal high quality. None of them tie health-care to employment.

    Too many people in the U.S. have taken a position from which they will not budge. The mantra of "single payer" reverberates throughout the land. But this is not the only way, and not necessarily the best. Having said that, I must add that in my opinion U.S. insurance companies have disqualified themselves from any further participation in health care. However, the argument could be made that the government has done the same.

    I'm sure we will hear that Massachusetts has developed a model system to be emulated elsewhere. As a resident of Massachusetts I can attest that it is deeply flawed. For one thing, all it does is what its predecessor MassHealth and Medicaid were supposed to do: create a medical underclass of insured poor, whose care is not nearly as lucrative to physicians as that of the employed middle and upper classes. Insurance companies and health providers are allowed to carry on as before. It is at best a beginning.

    Finally, the funding: a progressive income tax and luxury sales-property tax are the least-unfair form of taxes. Anything else ultimately beats up on the poor and lower middle-class. We need a national consensus to this effect. This, plus enlightened regulation of medical costs and more efficient processes, may get us through this.

    Fred Sard
    Springfield, MA

    JohnDove sums up the general argument in favor of commiecare nicely: "smart" people support it, and "stupid" people are against it. You're not stupid, are you? You want to be cool, like the Fonz? Ehhhh! So go commie care, or else you're just a sheep going along with the stupid herd instead of going along with us. Oh, also, start smoking because cool people smoke. Because they don't care what stupid people think. Ehhhh!

    John Dove and the rest of you commie: We don't trust you. It's as simple as that. You'd sell us out in a heartbeat (pardon the pun) for some free goodie.

    If people like communism and socialism so much, there's no lack of choice for places to go. I hate to use the "love it or leave it" argument, but if someone says that everywhere else but the USA is so great, why are they here? Oh, wait, massive unemployment and continual strikes make Europe in a theme park where the rides only work half the time. Other than that, it's perfect.

    I need health care now!!!

    What PNHP members can do:
    1
    Tell your colleagues and friends about this Friday's Bill Moyers program, watch it yourself, and post your comments about it immediately afterward on the program's web site (look for the feedback button). Note, too, that the entire program will be available on the program's web site after a day or two.
    2
    Now is the time for each of us to speak out, to write op-eds and letters to the editor, and to muster the strongest arguments we can for the only effective remedy for our nation's health care crisis: single-payer national health insurance. Slides are available (password is fein), along with a tip sheet on how to write letters and op-eds.
    3
    Rallies and other events in support of single payer are taking place in over 40 cities nationwide on or about May 30, and in some cases physician speakers are still being sought for the programs. Find out more about how you can participate in this National Day of Action for Single Payer here.
    4
    Contact your members of Congress. We recommend these four "asks" or requests of your representative or senator: (1) that the single-payer model be represented at all health care reform hearings, (2) that the Congressional Budget Office study the cost-effectiveness of a single-payer national health system alongside other proposals; (3) that there be a full hearing to assess the merits of a single-payer system; and (4) that he or she co-sponsor H.R. 676, The United States National Health Care Act, or (in the case of senators) S. 703, the American Health Security Act of 2009. A guide to lobbying is also available.

    Thank you for your continued support and especially your priceless efforts for reform.

    Most Seniors need Doctors!

    Single Payer is the only genuine solution to the expanding health care crisis. As someone with chronic back problems, and asthma, health coverage is extremely expensive, and inadequate. And, what about people who have visual problems, cataracts, etc. who cannot afford regualr checkups? This is just the tip of the iceberg.
    We need expanded Medicare for all, not subsidies for the insurance industry.
    Single payer is the most cost-effective way to ensure health care for all Americans. Thirty percent of the cost of health care is the insurance industry. We don't even need the insurance industry.
    Our businesses cannot hire people in part because of the cost of health insurance -- a product we do not need.
    Our businesses cannot compete internationally with other businesses in countries that have a single payer health plan.
    Americans cannot change jobs without fear of losing their health care. Americans are limited in their choice of doctors, hospitals, treatments by the health insurance industry.A single-payer system will put American business owners on a level playing field with foreign competitors. There will be no need for Cobra with a Single Payer as people will have health care as a birthright, which is the case for other developed countries.
    Defensive medicine will be reduced. And, people will be able to choose which doctor, dentist, or hospital they want to use with a Single Payer Plan.
    Meds will be dramatically less expensive as the government will have tremendous power in negotiating prices with drug companies. Let the American people have genuine health care security; and demand HR 676- Single Payer- Medicare for All be implemented ASAP.

    Bless you Bill, for scheduling the single payer broadcast, It's time the public was made aware that it's the only workable solution to covering everyone and slso save money.

    Each and every one of the public officials who are against it are against the American people getting real healthcare and they should be identified as such.

    Single payer is the only way to go. I have worked over 25 years in hospitals, nursing homes, in nursing education, and for three months in claims management for an insurance company before I quit in disgust. I also have a disability that caused me to be uninsurable and marginally employable in this employment-based healthcare system.
    The "public plan" that is being promoted requires insurers to cover persons with pre-existing conditions. How could that ever be enforced?
    We currently have the Americans with Disabilities Act that prohits discrimination in employment. But the per cent of disabled that is unemployed has steadily risen since it became law in 1992.
    The practice of not hiring and of terminating employees who have a disability or pre-existing condition is so wide spread that the law could never be enforced.
    The same is true for a requirement that private insurance cover everyone who applies. An army of government workers could never force 100% compliance.
    Just as insurance companies currently deny claims they know should be paid because they also know that only those who can afford an attorney to fight them can make them pay, the same would be true of the public plan requirements for private insurers. They will continue to "cherry pick" the population forcing those requiring more care into the public plan. Younger and healthier people will be paying premiums to private insurers in the hopes that when they become old or ill, that their claims will be paid.

    I am 63 years old and have Coronary Artery Disease and "Unstable Angina". My wife of 44 years suffers from M.S. and 2 broken vertebrae. We have NO health insurance. I do not qualify for Medical Assistance, but my wife does. Due to my heart disease, I've incurred ten's of thousands of dollars in treatment costs and have NO way to pay them. We raised 4 children and have been "contributing" members of society for many years. We MUST have Universal Health Care Coverage! The added stress of filing for payment help is causing anxiety for me, which causes more Angina. Incidentally, there is NO such thing as a Health Care System in the good old USA and never has been (look up the word "system"). There are only independent so called "non profit providers" which are not affiliated and "for profit" providers (the vast majority!). Unless we start an accurate premise, we cannot debate this issue. Please refer to "the health care INDUSTRY".

    Most Sincerely and Hopefully,

    Rev. Carter A. Dary

    The question is first whether health care is a basic human right to which all persons who find themselves within our borders are entitled. Unless that question is answered in the affirmative, then there is no clear way of know whether single payer is best--unless we know best for what? I believe it is the best(most equitable and most economic) way to achieve equal health care for all. Why is no one first saying that health care is a basic human right and should be placed as an amendment to the constitution? Peace, Sue Nash

    IT JUST BAFELS ME EVERY TIME THE SUBJECT IS "IN MY FACE". HOW IS IT THAT THE MOST POWERFUL (OR IS IT... USED TO BE) NATION ON PLANET EARTH IS STILL DEBATING? IT IS SHAMEFUL THAT DEBATE IS STILL GOING ON! I GUESS YOU HAVE NOT LEARNED ANYTHING, EVEN AT THE MOMENT OF TRUTH OF THE NOW ... YOUR SYSTEM OF CAPITALISM WITHOUT ANY CONTROLS IS NOT WORKING (EVEN FOR THE BILLIONAIRES - AFRAID TO LOOS EVEN I MILLION... THE WILL LOOSE IT ALL! SHAME ON YOU AMERICA!!!

    As someone who is having issues getting health insurance because of a now-resolved health issue from 2.5 years ago, it is significant that we rely on for-profit companies for our health insurance who literally make money by not giving us care. If they know that we probably won't use the insurance, then they'll cover it; but if we have a health problem, we get denied. Even with insurance, they can try to deny you coverage you're entitled to. It's very frustrating. As a personal example, I spent 14 months fighting a blood test I didn't ask for, that they didn't want to pay because it was "experimental or investigational". Isn't every blood test, by definition, investigational? (They eventually paid it).

    I believe in the free market but not for health care - demand is inelastic and prudent individuals can be indebeted for life for events beyond their control. Spreading costs equally among everyone is affordable to all.

    As for now, all of the resources spent verifying my medical history and going through the underwriting process would be unnecessary under Single-Payer. That money would go towards providing care, as others have pointed out.

    I hope reform comes soon. Unless the people in power are too greedy to allow us to be like every other wealthy industrial nation on Earth.

    I am a Baccalaureate nurse with 32 years in critical care, home care, acute care and insurance case management. I have been advocating single payer for decades. I would like to emphasize Donna Smith’s excellent description of NHC. ***Public financing and private delivery.*** As an RN, I know very well that to teach people so that they actually learn what you want them to, the words must be really concise and hit the meaning so clearly, it is difficult to misunderstand it. This description is both. As she points out, it further raises the understanding that NHC IS a bipartisan approach, by definition. I am going to push for using it amongst those that are fighting for NHC.

    Regarding our current publically financed and socilized medicine sytems.

    - Fraud against Medicare and Medicaid has little to do with the payment source. Providers have also perpetrated fraud on Health insurance companies, it’s an equal opportunity crime. It is inevitable that some of this will take place no matter what system is used. If education of patients and providers stresses the need to report suspected fraud, it is likely to be kept at a minimal percentage. He doesn't talk about the private companies that get convicted of violating laws and are assessed fines.

    -The VNA, which is one of our socialized systems, does have a mixed reputation. The facilities and some care resemble those of countries with socialized medicine. There is no sense of being in a 5 star, high tech hotel as many hospitals have been built or remodeled to appear. (Check out Univ of Colorado’s new facility.) There is less time for many of the niceties of care and since the facilities are regional rather than local, access is a problem.

    Despite these problems, the VNA is significant percentage points above all other providers when outcome based criteria are studied. Ultimately, most of the VA problems come from poor funding. Which is an insult to our Vets. I would like the vets to have a combined option - which they do to some extent now. The VA regional facilities would be a place they could get all their care, or just go to if they need specialized expertise in an area related to their service. It could also be for short term care with as needed follow up, like my Dad getting hearing aids. There is currently an effort by IAVA to make one funding change that would help the VA and not cost anything more.
    http://www2.iava.org/o/436/t/8492/petition.jsp?petition_KEY=1948

    Gordon’s article is full of unsubstantiated talking points. What studies and statistics is he basing his assertions on? Medicare and medicaid probably have publicly available figures on fraud. We already know the insurance companies administrative costs are around 27 % higher than public financing. If we put the % for them up to 4, the salaries might just attract some brighter employees. 47 million people are about 15% of the population. If we save 27% of the cost of the health care for the % of the population that has private insurance, and promote other cost saving measures (electronic records - especially health/medical history), the overall cost would easily go down.

    The myth of provider choice. (FREEDOM !) Medicare patients can choose any Medicare certified facility or provider. Insurance company patients can only choose from the companies preferred providers - unless they want to pay more. Framing the concept with "Public financing, private delivery" helps to make this point. Over a decade ago, the insurance companies estimated that 20 million Americans were stuck in jobs they wanted to leave in order to keep their coverage with established providers. The group has a high % of employees, or dependents, who have complex medical care with a team of physicians and providers.

    I always find the ‘civil servants are lousy workers” to be a very lame argument. Again, where are the studies and statistics? I work with all levels of government in my professional and personal life. My ex was a state government employee for three years as an environmental engineer. The people in that department were largely very dedicated and excellent in their work. The problems always started (and ended) with the legislature. The capacity of lobbyists for CORPORATIONS to undermine the best legislation was inescapable. Next he went to a municipal job. Same scenario. Later he went to work for companies as an employee and a contractor for his own business. The waste he encountered was worse than anything he had seen in government job. Anecdotal but makes me want stats.

    As the person in charge of starting up state hazardous waste regulation for Alaska in 1980, he set up a system at the Alyeska Pipeline Marine Terminal in Valdez, for oil spill response. There was a specific, readily accessed area to store all gear needed for initial response. There were annual drills to practice the set up, and actions needed to control a spill. A few years after he left, the equipment had been scattered and no drills done for several. This was an earlier lesson on why businesses can’t be trusted to self regulate. The Exxon Valdez, by regulation, should have been refitted with a double hull five years before it went on Bligh Reef. The Alyeska Pipeline response can only be compared to FEMA’s response to Katrina.

    At least with elected officials and public servants, you can tell them what is wrong with the services and make an effort to vote them out of office if necessary. In order for NHC to be politically feasible, there will have to be a loud, determined voter movement to force Congress’ vote.

    And don't forget: NHC is Public financing, private delivery.

    Hmmm… Health Care for ALL Americans is Simple!

    1) Merge Medicare with Medicaide into one single "Income Based" system for elderly and poor 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!

    I wouldn't want to be a doctor in your system, Sebastain Curry. Imagine yourself with a broken jaw and no money. (I guess you save up before you get hurt?) Doctors, sworn to assist, would be doing plenty of barter and "deadbeat" jobs. You are a good illustration of what would happen, in that, you don't want to pay your fair share now!

    "The inescapable fact is that only the profit motive and competition keep enterprises lean, efficient, innovative and customer-oriented." Like Chrysler, General Motors, and my bank.

    Universal single-payer health insurance will not be utopia, but it will be way better than what we have now.

    I am a government worker with very good benefits for me and my family, but I still favor HR676. I hope that the millions of uninsured will wake up and become a political force. Politicians will support "Medicare for All" if doing so helps them get re-elected.

    If you would like to help pressure Congress to pass single payer health care please join our voting bloc at:
    http://www.votingbloc.org/Health_Bloc.php

    Exorbitant executive salaries in the health industry have not made our hospitals and clinics safer over the last decade as evidenced by an update on the 1999 IOM Report by the May 2009 Consumer Union Report, “To Err is Human -- To Delay is Deadly” (http://www.safepatientproject.org/safepatientproject.org/pdf/safepatientproject.org-ToDelayIsDeadly.pdf).

    The Consumer Union Report conservatively estimates 100,000 patients still die each year due to medical mistakes, that’s 273 per day. Add to this the 60 that die each day due to a lack of health insurance and there’s at least 334 people dying each day because of our broken healthcare system.

    “Not only do Americans pay much more for medical treatment than anyone else in the world, they also bear the brunt of the most medical errors, according to a survey covering the USA, Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Almost 7,000 patients were consulted.” (http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2005/medical_errors.html).

    The single payer plan expands on the already existing Medicare system scrutinizing quality and effectiveness of treatment more closely.

    Medicare has no advertising costs or exorbitant executive salaries and already negotiates drug prices. However, the health industry negotiates executive salaries, prices on office furniture, beds, supplies, computers and other high volume purchases but hasn’t negotiated drug prices with big-pharma resulting in the same lowered cost benefits of Medicare.

    Obviously Medicare has been reducing costs by billions upon billions of dollars and has provided more oversight than the insurance companies and drug manufacturers.

    Of course hospitals don’t want to be paid based on medical and financial outcomes because this would call for a national system of accountability through transparency. The single-payer plan as Medicare For All expands on the existing system, an American Idea, and addresses these issues.

    So every day our legislators deny seats at the table of reform to people with a social conscience, the patient care experts and advocates of Expanded Medicare for All -- they allow at least 334 more people to die--that’s each and every day. Remember this in upcoming elections.

    I am an American living and working in the UK. This year my wife and I had a child- he was born 11 weeks early and required a great deal of care. Before moving here we had 'good' insurance in the US, but this experience would have bankrupted us. There may be things that government-run healthcare isn't so good at, but in this instance the standard of care was excellent, the doctors and nurses extremely compassionate. I am so thankful that we were not in the US for this.

    When the flipside of freedom (or Freedom!) of healthcare choice is that one misfortune can send a comfortably-saving-for-retirement family into financial oblivion, I know where I stand.

    I am not a lobbyist. But According to John Dove I do fall into the category of "ignorant or stupid" because I oppose government health care. Ever work in a VA hospital? I have, so I know what the government can do with health care and I am appalled.

    The current system of third party payers is not serving the needs of everyone, but no system will. At least no though in the US you have the choice of earning health care coverage through your employer or not. The freedom to visit the doctor of your choosing or not (assuming he will take you as a patient). You have the freedom to a second opinion. ETC.... Freedom!

    When government takes control of the system your choices will be put up, or shut up. End of story. Only the elites will truly have access to quality health care in their private clinics (eg. the Senators and CEOs of the world). The rest of us will be treated like cattle.

    I know there are many of you out there who live in this fantasy world where the government can take care of all problems if we just give them more control and oversight (ie move closer to fascism). I believe it has been tried before, ask a survivor of the Soviet health care plan how that worked.

    Rather than go to the extreme of state run health care why not find some middle ground. Insurance companies are the problem and so is the government. They are in bed together. The government and insurance companies need to get out of the health care business. They, together are the problem, leaching money off the lifeblood of the providers and the patients. Take insurance and government out of the picture and let doctors practice, and patients make choices for themselves.

    That is when we will cease to be sheep. Only when patients and providers can choose the best course of action unimpeded is the system ever going to work again.
    I am a pharmacist and I see everyday how the government and insurance companies drain the lifeblood out of the health care system in the US.

    And still it is the best health care system in the world. If you are going to get sick, where do you want to be, Beijing? Bombay? I think not.

    Vote for freedom of choice, not government control. Get government and insurance companies out of health care altogether.

    I've dealt with 3 public health systems in my life - Russian, Swedish and English. All of them were extremely poor compared to American system.

    There should be no middle man, be it insurance companies or the government. People should pay for their own care directly to doctors and hospitals. For all you good socialists, that called freedom and liberty. But you wouldn't know anything about that.

    Sabastian Curry

    In a perfect democracy, yes, we would vote on and have NHC. But if the last eight years have proven anything, it is that this government does not do what the people ask.

    I don't see any possible way of getting NHC from this point. That would exclude too many of the mega corporations raking in billions off of us. At this point, I have serious doubts that we will end up with healthcare that is in any way fair or affordable. Rather, I suspect, after all the lobbyist have done their job, it will either not go through at all or be completely impotent and cost taxpayers billions.

    How many people in DC do you think are REALLY on the people's side? In these times it takes money to win an election, and the corporations have the money. We would have to outlaw lobbying and clean up congress before having any hope of a government for and about the people.

    Take profitering out of health care, let me spend Blue cross and blue shields CEO bonuses on my patients in the form of education, testing and time to do my job which I love....being a Doctor.

    If the best argument against Single Payer Healthcare for the US is the government's track record (as columnist John Steele Gordon suggests above), just consider the alternative. Any small misfortune (job loss, a premature infant, a family member with a chronic disease, ...) and Mr. Gordon might be the next victim of our broken healthcare system. As a former nurse, I saw the devastating financial effects of unaffordable health care. As a result, I designed my life around trying to keep my family insured. The multi-payer system has not worked and cannot be fixed. Not even the government could do a worse job at providing reasonable and timely health care in the US. Single-payer is the only viable solution in the opinion of many of us who have worked in the healthcare field. Don't let the lobbyists convince you otherwise.

    Any passage of a universal health care bill requires the cooperation of Congress, better known as the Broken Branch of Government. This is also where the lobby money flows in great quantities. We, The People, do not have lobby money, and we refuse to think instead of believing.

    Let me illustrate the incredible power of the health care lobby by asking ONE question: Why did PBS Frontline, in its piece removed ANY mention, or interview about the single-payer option when there was material in the report prior to the final cut?

    Res ipsa loquitur, no?

    Only a profound, widespread crisis that affect a majority of Americans will force people to threaten politicians with guaranteed expulsion from office if they refuse to pass universal health care.

    In the meantime, we shall waste colossal amounts of money to feed the bureaucratic nightmare that is the private health insurance companies, which, if I may reminds everyone here, thrive on denial of service, the exact thing YOU do not want to happen when you are sick.

    If President Obama remembers what his mother went through, he should well support HR 676 National Health Care.

    70% of our society would like to see a National for all, single-payer, not-for-profit, National Health Care system. People in the United States, if they could, would vote overwhelmingly for National Health Care. Especially businesses owners.

    Do HR 676. Do not try to piece meal National Health-Care-Reform, a little bit now and a little bit in a couple years. If you piece meal it, you know it is wrong to start with. Do it all now or it will be further compromised by Congress, because of self-serving health care insurance companies, Lobbyists and anyone with a self-serving interest to undermine this issue. Do it all at once, do it right, do it for all the people and businesses of this country, and do it now. We outspend most countries 2 to 1 in health care costs with ½ the coverage. Financial institutions have their toxic paper and Health Care has their 30% plus administrative costs.

    The Conyers / Kucinich HR 676 National Health Care Bill is the best I have seen in addressing the National Health Care Reform issue. This is legislation which would expand Medicare for All A universal, single-payer, not-for-profit health care system that leaves no American behind. Think of HR 676, not so much as socialized medicine, (And why so many physicians are supporting the HR 676 National Health Care Bill), but as spreading the cost and risk of National Health Care insurance around, the same as insurance companies pool the risk insuring cars, homes, businesses, etc. SO, a catastrophic health event does not financially devastate a person and take everything they have worked for and they could pass on what they have worked for. I would rather pay a little more out of my paycheck to FICA and Medicare, for this piece of mind, to know I, my family and everyone has National Health Care Insurance. It is the right thing to do by people. National Health Care, Preventative and Educational medicine for children would be the basis of severely reducing the cost of future health care.

    National Health Care would take a big burden off business in the United States, in helping U.S. businesses be more competitive in the global marketplace.

    HR 676 would phase out the expensive 30% plus health insurance industry administrative costs, as the middle person, by buying them out, over a 15 year period. (This should be cut down to immediate phase out or a couple years at most) If we can eliminate the textile, furniture, steel, and many other industries, because they are not competitive in the marketplace, there is NO reason to keep the health care insurance industry as the middle person. The Health Insurance Industry would not be competitive in our Capitalist Society with their 30% plus administrative costs VS. Medicare’s couple percent administrative cost. This 30% savings would go a long ways towards providing National Health Care for all, along with approximately the same long term savings for preventative health care.

    The next issue that needs addressed is how this is going to be paid for. Extending FICA and Medicare tax out with NO ceiling would be a start.

    And this would be fair, with this further explanation.

    FICA and Medicare are paid against income tax. The top 10% pay 60% of the taxes. The bottom 50% do not pay taxes. THINK ABOUT THIS. The way this really works is the bottom 50% pay the same high tax rate as the top 10%, when they buy a product or service from the top 10%. Poor people would really be paying for their National Health Care in pass along taxes. Everyone is paying the pass along top tax rate in the products and services they are buying. If you’re a middle class taxpayer, it is twice as bad, because your paying taxes on your middle class income and the top pass along tax rate. (Then add in the thousands and thousands of pages of tax code exemptions given by Congress to corporations and rich people) (Which is a good argument for a fair flat tax which would bring in a lot more money and eliminate these tax loopholes).

    When they say they are going to give the bottom 90% a tax cut and increase the taxes of the top 10% rich, the bottom 90% are paying the pass along tax rate of the top 10%. It is going to be the same way with paying for National Health Care. People pay taxes, not corporations.

    A National Health Care Bill further works because it streamlines, creates jobs and infrastructure, would eliminate the current wasteful (estimated to be 31% middle-man) for-profit, high administrative costs of Health Insurance Companies.

    Things have changed a lot on the people who since the last time the National Health Care initiative last time it was trashed in 1993, properly presented this time, with 70% of Society now supporting a comprehensive National Health Care system, with no piecemeal compromises. Passing the “improved, expanded Medicare for all” which is also the name of the HR 676 National Health Care Bill legislation: which is well-thought out, time has come. It is the right thing to do as a caring, giving, Society. This is Social and Economic Justice.

    Sincerely, Allen Nielsen.

    Ihave been under the protection of Government health care since 1948 in U.K.I have nothing but praise for the system as practiced in most of the intelligent world. There is so much money made by the private insurance companies that they would let the U.S.A go broke rather than give up thier fancy feast of the general public. I just cannot belive that so many citisens with so much education cannot see the wisdom of one payer system.
    It is so obvious that only the stupid and ignorant can be aganist it. The value of proper medical systems far our weigh the greedy demands of the wealthy Insurance companies. I have experienced health care by the government in Europe Austailia and now Canada. The American public just do not realise that they are being suckered. Wake up America and get into the 21st Century, sto being dumb like sheep.

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