“Venting” About Single Payer Health Care

June 17, 2009 at 3:22 pm 2 comments

Dr. Walter Tsou, a former Commissioner of Health in Philadelphia and a public health physician, eloquently testified before Congress on Wednesday, June 10, 2009 about why a single payer health plan is necessary. Although the Washington Post saw fit to characterize his and other speakers’ thoughtful and reasonable opinions as “venting”, in fact Dr. Tsou made many excellent points. Among them were: 

  • The only affordable means to achieve quality health care for every American is through a “properly financed, single payer national health insurance program”;
  • Attempts to reconcile universal coverage with cost control are futile without a single payer plan;
  • Cost controls will mean that either taxpayers , physicians, hospitals or the private health insurance industry will have to ‘pay the piper’
  • The private health insurance industry, which has dominated health care for the past 50 years in a supposedly competitive marketplace, has proven unable to control costs, even while the quality of health care in the U.S. is “suboptimal” (the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s term, not Dr. Tsou’s) and nearly 50 million people are uninsured
  • A single payer plan cuts costs by cutting insurance firms’ profits, streamlining the massive administrative apparatus that adds to the costs of hospitals and doctor’s offices, using bulk purchasing, negotiating fee schedules with physicians, and putting hospitals on predictable, global budgets
  • By entrusting health care to private health insurers, we have saddled the U.S. with an inefficient and exorbitantly expensive health care system that drives jobs overseas where health benefit costs are low, and discourages entrepreneurs from striking out on their own for fear of losing their health insurance coverage
  • The $19 billion dedicated to health information technology is doomed to failure because our health care system will remain too fragmented under any system but a single payer plan.

Medicare is a single payer system. It’s time that an “Improved and Enhanced Medicare for All” be seriously considered and adopted by Congress and President Obama. It is the best solution to our current health care mess.

The complete text of Dr. Tsou’s remarks can be found here.

Entry filed under: Health Care Reform, Public vs. Private Health Coverage, Single Payer.

From the Desk of Judith Stein… What’s Wrong With This Picture?

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. jacksmith  |  June 18, 2009 at 7:07 am


    It’s official. America and the World are now in a GLOBAL PANDEMIC. A World EPIDEMIC with potential catastrophic consequences for ALL of the American people. The first PANDEMIC in 41 years. And WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES will have to face this PANDEMIC with the 37th worst quality of healthcare in the developed World.


    We spend over twice as much of our GDP on healthcare as any other country in the World. And Individual American spend about ten times as much out of pocket on healthcare as any other people in the World. All because of GREED! And the PRIVATE FOR PROFIT healthcare system in America.

    And while all this is going on, some members of congress seem mostly concern about how to protect the corporate PROFITS! of our GREED DRIVEN, PRIVATE FOR PROFIT NATIONAL DISGRACE. A PRIVATE FOR PROFIT DISGRACE that is in fact, totally valueless to the public health. And a detriment to national security, public safety, and the public health.

    Progressive democrats and others should stand firm in their demand for a robust public option for all Americans, with all of the minimum requirements progressive democrats demanded. If congress can not pass a robust public option with at least 51 votes and all robust minimum requirements, congress should immediately move to scrap healthcare reform and demand that President Obama declare a state of NATIONAL HEALTHCARE EMERGENCY! Seizing and replacing all PRIVATE FOR PROFIT health insurance plans with the immediate implementation of National Healthcare for all Americans under the provisions of HR676 (A Single-payer National Healthcare Plan For All).

    Coverage can begin immediately through our current medicare system. With immediate expansion through recruitment of displaced workers from the canceled private sector insurance industry. Funding can also begin immediately by substitution of payroll deductions for private insurance plans with payroll deductions for the national healthcare plan. This is what the vast majority of the American people want. And this is what all objective experts unanimously agree would be the best, and most cost effective for the American people and our economy.

    In Mexico on average people who received medical care for A-H1N1 (Swine Flu) with in 3 days survived. People who did not receive medical care until 7 days or more died. This has been the same results in the US. But 50 million Americans don’t even have any healthcare coverage. And at least 200 million of you with insurance could not get in to see your private insurance plans doctors in 2 or 3 days, even if your life depended on it. WHICH IT DOES!

    Contact congress and your representatives NOW! AND SPREAD THE WORD!

    God Bless You

    Jacksmith – WORKING CLASS

    • 2. Pamela Olsen  |  July 31, 2009 at 3:56 am

      THanks, Jacksmith!

      I write my senators and congressman several times a week about this, and my words are falling on dead ears.

      As someone said in a nice article posted on realclearpolitics.com,

      “Conservatives don’t allow the facts to interfere with their ideology.”

      It is extremely frustrating. It is even more frustrating that the bulk of my friends and family believe and repeat their lies. And around and around go the circles.

      I’m on Medicare now, after six years of being uninsured because I am a cancer survivor. I’m very thankful for it. But even my senior friends who depend upon it are fighting a public plan. Go figure.

      Pam Olsen


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