Keep pressing for a real health care debate


B3: President Obama and his Democratic allies had the strategy all wrong on health care. They took single payer health care off the table at the beginning. They replaced it with a public policy option, which is okay in theory, but they have put no real punch or argument behind it. And they have left the insurance companies in the center of the "reform" package. So when Obama went on television last night, he laid out the health care ills eloquently but he refused to explain how they would be cured by taking single payer off the table and keeping the companies front and center that made the mess in the first place. And now, with single payer out and the public policy option fading, what does Obama have left? Keep the pressure on. Click here to read this week's Guardian article, Bitter medicine:Health care reform groups fear the cure may be worse than the disease.

I like the way that the media reform group Fairness and Accuracy in the Media (FAIR) is calling on the media and the citizenry to keep the pressure on.


Keep up the pressure for a media debate on healthcare reform that includes single-payer! We've surpassed our goal of 10,000 signatures on our petition for an open debate on healthcare reform. Help us reach 15,000 signatures--please forward this email widely, and use the "Share" button on the petition page to share it through social networking sites such as Facebook.

Demand that media open the debate on healthcare reform

Many Americans and healthcare workers see single-payer national health insurance as the most sensible tool for fixing America's broken healthcare system, yet single-payer is being kept off the table by the corporate media.

Please sign onto this open letter to the TV networks --and join us on Tues. July 28 in NYC to deliver the message (see details below):

Many experts see single-payer national health insurance as the most sensible solution to expand coverage to the uninsured and to reduce costs.

This proposal polls well with the public, who preferred it two-to-one over a privatized system in a recent survey (New York Times/CBS, 1/11-15/09). It is also preferred by 59 percent of physicians, according to a recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine (4/1/08).

Yet a study by FAIR found that of hundreds of stories about health care in major outlets earlier this year, only five stories included the views of advocates of single-payer--none of which appeared on the television networks.

The insurance lobbies and many politicians may not want to talk about single-payer. But that makes it all the more important that the media do.

Please cover single-payer healthcare proposals, and stop silencing their advocates.


Michael Moore, filmmaker
David Scheiner, longtime physician of President Barack Obama
Donna Smith, Sicko! star, and representative of the California Nurses Association
Phil Donahue, former MSNBC host
Quentin Young, co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program
Stephanie Woolhandler, Harvard medical professor
David Himmelstein, Harvard medical professor
Susan Sarandon, actor
Tim Robbins, actor
Janine Jackson, Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting
Katie Robbins, Healthcare Now!
Jim Hightower, radio commentator and writer
Jeff Cohen, director of journalism, Ithaca College
Mike Farrell, actor
Norman Solomon, media critic and author
David Swanson, activist and author
Jonathan Schwarz, blogger

Please join FAIR, Physicians for a National Health Program, Healthcare Now!, the Private Health Insurance Must Go Coalition, Code Pink and the Raging Grannies to deliver this message at ABC News' NYC studio on July 28.

"Tell Media: Include Single-Payer in Healthcare Debate" petition delivery
Tues. July 28,
noon - 1 pm
ABC News
77 West 66th St.,
(between Central Pk West and Columbus Ave.)

ABC's recent primetime forum on healthcare reform, "Prescription for America," did not include a single question from a single-payer advocate, after Obama's own longtime doctor was censored by ABC. Join us in presenting ABC with a prescription for a real debate on healthcare reform--one that includes single-payer!


August 7, 2009, 8:13 pm
Weekend Opinionator: A Sick Debate
By Tobin Harshaw

12. August 8, 2009 1:57 am
I have lived in Europe, the USA (NYC and FLA) and currently live in Canada. I am a reasonably well-informed financial executive. I make my living as a capitalist.

I wouldn’t know where to begin re: the health care debate but I will make a couple of observations:

1. The USA has the finest health care in the world — bar none — provided that you have a no-limit gilt-edged money is no object health plan. Or you are rich. In my experience the 2 go hand in hand.

Failing such insurance or such boundless wealth how any rational human being with an IQ over 75 and an income below, say, $250k (forget the social compassion argument) could defend the existing system is beyond comprehension.

2. The outright lies — yes lies — that critics of health care reform spew is disturbing. The intentional misrepresentation of the Canadian and European models is outrageous. The Canadian model is flawed. There needs to be greater access to ‘private-delivery’ alternatives (which currently exist in some fields.) Having said that, since I returned to the province of Ontario in the late 1990’s until now the improvement in standards and care is staggering and in most cases matches anything I witnessed or experienced in NYC. Yes, health care is rationed here (hence a need for ancillary private care) but it is rationed everywhere — including the US. The exception being as per point #1 above. Per capita Ontario spends approximately 65% of what the consumers/taxpayers of the US/NY spend. However Ontario delivers 90% — or more — of the US standard. That is one very big financial/efficiency/productivity gap. That money gap goes to the US insurance companies, doctors, malpractice lawyers and lobbyists. The common canard about Canada etc is that “faceless bureaucrats make life or death decisions” (as opposed to, say, faceless HMO clerks). The truth is that in Canada the ‘gatekeepers’ who allocate critical care are the physicians themselves — the specialists.

3. Aside from private-payment plastic surgeons it is true you will not see many doctors in Canada driving a Rolls Royce. But you will see an awful lot driving a Benz or a Jag. Doctors here work hard and are well compensated. What we lack here is the concept that a medical degree should be attributed Venture Capitalist returns.

4. Lastly, a general observation/question (again, I really am a capitalist). Why is it that in the USA (a country I genuinely love) millions of people who barely make a living or are working class and/or just holding on to the ‘middle class’ are the most vocal — hysterical wouldn’t be an exaggeration — in defending the privileges of the rich and the corporate? Against their own self-interest I might add. Anywhere else in the western world the existing US health care tyranny would have people in the streets demanding reform — not ‘debating’ it.

— jon c

Posted by Gman on Aug. 10, 2009 @ 2:57 am