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rollingrock Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 01:27 AM
Original message
Single-payer advocates win seats at White House health summit
Source: PNHP (Physicians for a National Health Program)

Dr. Oliver Fein releases prepared remarks

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 5, 2009

Contact:
Oliver Fein, M.D.
Don McCanne, M.D.
Steffie Woolhandler, M.D.
David Himmelstein, M.D.
Mark Almberg, PNHP, (312) 782-6006, mark@pnhp.org

Two leading advocates of single-payer health reform, sometimes characterized as an improved Medicare for All, received last-minute invitations to attend the White House health care summit being held today. The invitations were greeted as a victory by single-payer supporters.

Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), chief sponsor of the single-payer U.S. National Health Care Act, H.R. 676, was invited to attend the meeting late in the day on Tuesday, and Dr. Oliver Fein, president of Physicians for a National Health Program, was invited on Wednesday afternoon.

The White House invitations were extended to the two leaders after intense grassroots lobbying efforts by single-payer supporters, who were concerned that no single-payer voices would be present at the meeting. The efforts included an outpouring of phone calls and e-mail messages to the White House, along with a threatened demonstration outside the White House gates by doctors and other health professionals wearing their white coats. The demonstration was called off when word arrived that Rep. Conyers and Dr. Fein had been invited.

In his prepared remarks, the full text of which follows, Dr. Fein says, We are pleased to be here today and appreciate the implicit recognition of the majority support for single payer in our country. We hope this is the beginning of a serious dialogue on how to enact single-payer health reform and we look forward to working with and the Congress toward this end.

Prepared remarks by Dr. Oliver Fein

...Mr. President, Physicians for a National Health Program agrees with your statement during your presidential campaign: health care should be a basic human right...continued.

Read more: http://www.pnhp.org/news/2009/march/singlepayer_advocat...



Oh well, better late than never!
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kysrsoze Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 01:38 AM
Response to Original message
1. OMG. This is great to hear. I thought the idea would never come up again.
Maybe there is some hope.
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John Q. Citizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 11:11 AM
Response to Reply #1
31. My hope lies in the fact that polls show single payer is the most popular reform.
We must continue to ask for it, to press for it, and to speak up for what we want.
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peace frog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 12:43 PM
Response to Reply #31
41. We have to DEMAND it
As FDR said to a progressive interest group (paraphrasing), "I agree with you. Now MAKE me act on your behalf."
We must demand that the Obama administration choose single payer as the health care delivery system of choice.
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Faryn Balyncd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 12:20 PM
Response to Reply #1
40. Regarding Single Payer vs Emanuel's GAHP:
Edited on Fri Mar-06-09 12:28 PM by Faryn Balyncd
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Mithreal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 01:39 AM
Response to Original message
2. A small victory for Progressives who demanded their inclusion
and for all current and future uninsured and under-insured.
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rollingrock Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 01:48 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. But I can't believe they had to fight so hard just to get a couple seats

while Obama rolled out the red carpet for the insurance companies and pharmaceuticals from teh start, the grass roots organizers had to beg and plead for a last-minute spot at the table.

And imagine, these were the very same folks who worked their asses off to get Obama in the WH and he treats them like dirt! And the healthcare industry Obama now embraces were strong McCain supporters! WTF??
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acmavm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 05:56 AM
Response to Reply #4
12. OF COURSE the progressives in the party had to fight. This is NOT
a progressive adminsitration. By any means.
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Selatius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 09:04 AM
Response to Reply #12
18. I wish it were, though. In harsh times like these, we could count on folks like FDR and Truman.
Sadly, that kind of leadership has been lacking from the party for decades. If there hadn't been so many deaths in the 1960s, this country would be on a wildly different course. We probably never would have faced the real possibility of a second depression with people at the helm who believed in regulated markets.
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emmadoggy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 09:59 AM
Response to Reply #12
21. You're right, it's not.
To me, the issue here is that all during Obama's campaign, he did a pretty hard sell on the notion that he would be "bi-partisan" and listen to all sides. Everyone would "have a seat at the table". But it seems that the President is willing to bend over backwards to accomodate the RIGHT, but he doesn't seem willing (without a ton of grassroots pressure) to do the same for his LEFT.

His right hand is extended (and keeps getting bitten), while his left hand seems to stay at his side.

I am happy that the pressure worked and he relented with an invitation, but it's very disheartening that it took such a fight to be included given his rhetoric on the campaign trail.
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avaistheone1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 11:53 AM
Response to Reply #12
36. I was one of those folks yelling and hollering at the folks at Capitol
Hill to include single payer advocates in yesterday's summit. I actually received callbacks from committee members. I think they have got the message we take this issue VERY seriously. We still need to keep the pressure on full force. We are battling against battalions of highly paid lobbyists who want our tax dollars to pay for the fat cats at private insurance companies.
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debbierlus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 11:02 AM
Response to Reply #4
29. It is disgusting and telling of where this health care policy will go.
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TankLV Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 11:10 AM
Response to Reply #2
30. We shouldn't have to BEG to be included - it should be a "given"...
and that is truly the saddest part...

We've GOT to change the way the powers that be think so that it's not even acceptable to even THINK of not including liberals/progressives to the party...
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Hekate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 01:45 AM
Response to Original message
3. Excellent. According to yesterday's hysterical thread, we'd been thrown under the bus...
If I never have to read that phrase again I'll be quite happy.

Regardless, I'm very pleased at this good news. Hurray for the grassroots and hurray for John Conyers.

Heate


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rollingrock Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 01:50 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. We WERE thrown under the bus
and we had to beg and plead Obama to get us out from under the bus while he was rolling out the red carpet for Big Pharma and the insurance companies.
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Hekate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 02:01 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. Like I said, I'm really proud of the grassroots & John Conyers. Apparently we still have work to do.
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kas125 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 02:08 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. We have LOTS of work to do. That was the reason many of us
voted for Obama - at least he might listen to us where McCain surely wouldn't. We got him elected, but we still have lots of work ahead of us.
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FrenchieCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 03:00 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. Obama didn't run advocating Single Payer health.....
so that couldn't be why you voted for him.

I'm kind of tired of the revisionist bullshit, from both the right and the left.
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rollingrock Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 03:57 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. Obama's healthcare platform
how many times during the campaign did Obama pronounce that he wanted every American to have the same healthcare plan enjoyed by members of the US Senate? Oh that's right, too many times to count.

And what is the US Senate healthcare plan, but single-payer healthcare, or healthcare that is FUNDED by the US taxpayer instead of the insurance companies? Have you forgotten Obama's own words so soon, the words he repeated at least a thousand times on the campaign trail?

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BumRushDaShow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 09:34 AM
Response to Reply #9
19. The FEHB is NOT "single payer"
I surely wish it were. Medicare, on the other hand, IS.... And for those eligible for it, Medicare is the primary payer and then any other health insurance that the person has, would pay the remainder... And for federal retirees, they can still keep their FEHB plan, contining to pay private insurer premiums, and this would supplement what Medicare might not pay once the retiree is eligible to receive Medicare benefits.
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Ms. Toad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 09:35 AM
Response to Reply #9
20. Unfortunately, Obama's campaign position on health care
was virtually indistinguishable from Hillary Clinton's - which followed the Massachusetts plan. Require everyone to buy health insurance and make it "affordable." His flavor was that insurance would only be mandatory for children. That is not a progressive plan. I do hope that the current economic crisis will encourage him to sing a different tune - but I was never under any illusion that his position on health care reform was a reason to vote for him.

No health care is funded by the insurance companies - the funding comes from individuals or employers and is merely passed through by the insurance companies (after adding on enormous administration costs and taking a cut for profit) to the providers. We are the employers of the U.S. senate, and yes - as taxpayers we foot the bill. Senators that lose their job, they lose their health care. That makes it employment based health care. As an employed senator they are entitled to excellent coverage - that is the comparison Obama was drawing - not that it was a single-payer health care.
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kmac3 Donating Member (251 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 10:19 AM
Response to Reply #9
25. Campaign Promises must be fulfilled . . . .
Yes, yes, yes ... Great sale during the campaign and one that definitely needs to be activated and accomplished. If it's possible and successful for members of Congress it should be implemented for all.
:eyes:
For all in Congress who fight against such a program I recommend they cancel their government paid insurance and let them understand the tragedy of the lesser fortunate.
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Mithreal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 04:09 AM
Response to Reply #8
10. Did the post say the President advocated Single Payer
and that is why he or she voted for him? That is not what I read but maybe I am missing something.

Instead I understood that the President would listen to us, and I will add, even when he disagreed. That is a reason to have voted for him among the many other reasons because I believed him when he said it.

If the offense was instead the "throwing under bus", that is no longer the case since single payer advocates received invites in time. Thrown under the bus was appropriate though before those invites were sent. I can explain that comment but won't unless asked.

President Obama was very clear about his health care approach during the campaign. However, the powerful story of his mother gave people higher hopes even if they were not fact based. Senator Kennedy said at the time of his endorsement if Obama were elected, we would have universal healthcare. All of us should also know that politicians will say things to get elected including our beloved President. And they may have to even hide their true intentions to get elected. I don't fault people for hoping for the President to be the one who brings this country greed-free universal safety net single payer health care. Maybe the President will even get us there incrementally during his first or second term.

I didn't see any indication that anyone was being revisionist here in this thread yet.
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Mithreal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 01:26 AM
Response to Reply #10
47. Crickets for a response to everyone who challenged the statement.
I remain unsurprised.
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Greyhound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 04:58 AM
Response to Reply #8
11. Most of us voted for him because he was the alternative to McSame.
We will have to pound on him and his administration every day, on every issue, if we are to get this FUBAR nation turned around.

He has made it clear that, left to his own devices, corporations will run his administration too.


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TBF Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 10:11 AM
Response to Reply #8
24. I'm tired of people trying to shut down conversations by telling people
they can't talk about issues.

So what if he didn't run on single-payer? Who the fuck cares? Health care is obviously a concern of Americans and we have every right to demand he listen to us.

48 million people uninsured. You bet we'll speak up whether Obama wants to listen or not.
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John Q. Citizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 11:19 AM
Response to Reply #8
33. Obama ran on diminishing ideology as a requirement for a seat at the table. Yet
a popular and long term successful system had to beg and threaten to get into the Obama sponsored market place of ideas specifically because of ideology.

What gives?
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rollingrock Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 05:57 PM
Response to Reply #33
45. Yes he did
and that gives me some hope because Obama seems he is capable of listening to the ideas of progressive healthcare advocates who played a large part in getting him into office. I wasn't thrilled at him nominating the likes of Daschle and Gupta, but I'm willing to give him a another chance. Obama was after all, at one point highly supportive of single-payer or at least claimed to be.

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John Q. Citizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 12:51 PM
Response to Reply #45
48. I don't see it as "giving him another chance" or not. I see it as a continuing process
Power, whether it's Obama, DU, me or you, never concedes power.

Rather, we are tempered by our relationships to each other.


What that means is that we need to make sure President Obama uses his power to propel single payer, even if we don't get everything we want. We need to place that demand on power.

See, this isn't about Obama, liking or disliking, success or no sucess. This is about my health care, my families health care, and about how well my country does it's duty to it's citizens.

I don't have an on or off switch, I have a rheostat.
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avaistheone1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 11:49 AM
Response to Reply #8
35. Frenchie, Obama was not voted into office for his health care plan.
Americans, both Republicans and Democrats prefer a single-payer plan, not an employer sponsored plan. You should know that by now.

If Obama wants to be a hero, he should step out and lead the movement for single-payer. The train has left the station, the question is does Obama want to take a seat at the front of this train.
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Mithreal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 04:20 PM
Response to Reply #35
44. Ouch, good response. Maybe the President will work his way
toward the front and wouldn't want to be driving the train at the moment anyway.

I want our President to be his best and go beyond what he promised if it is in a progressive direction. Why defend a President's actions or hold him to more conservative promises when there are better solutions out there that we the people overwhelmingly want and desperately need? People are dying while we argue with asshat Republicans.
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TBF Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 10:08 AM
Response to Reply #6
23. Tons of work to do - Conyers and Fein were invited at the last minute
They were not on Obama's initial list. That speaks volumes and cannot be overstated. We need to keep the pressure on.
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whistler162 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 08:19 AM
Response to Reply #5
14. Of course the bus was stopped with the emergency
brake on, the wheels on blocks, and the engine removed!

Every other day some article is published that has the flutter squad up in arms about what President Obama isn't going to do. Then when he does exactly what he said he was going to do and it is the exact opposite of what the "author" said President Obama was going to do the flutter squad thinks they changed his mind!

Stop believing the gossip/republican shills!
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bread_and_roses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 08:45 AM
Response to Reply #14
15. It was R "gossip"that there were no single-payer invitees till the eleventh hour?
I don't think so. And, in fact, by not inviting them till "the flutter squad," as you term activists, went into high gear, Obama was doing exactly what he said during the campaign that he would NOT do - excluding voices from the table.

We can be very happy that in the end our President DID listen to "the flutter squad" - after so many years of screaming at sound-proof doors under Commander Codpiece that alone is a vast, vast improvement. However, we should not have had to do it with an issue that has already been introduced into Congress and enjoys wide popular support and a significant body of research as well as a track record. In other words - not exactly a radical new idea. All of which made the exclusion glaring. Thank the goddess for "the flutter squad."
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harun Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 08:12 AM
Response to Original message
13. This will be a long fight for H.R. 676 but it is important for us to make sure all
the for-profit insurers KNOW we are never going to give up and the number of people for Universal is growing. Without them knowing this they will be able to kill what Obama is trying to do. With them knowing this they will work with Obama as to avoid their complete destruction (which is what they deserve, just isn't going to happen yet).
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natrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 08:50 AM
Response to Original message
16. definition of the word token,,,at least something though
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varelse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 08:56 AM
Response to Original message
17. good news
I wonder what changed his mind?
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Politicub Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 10:00 AM
Response to Original message
22. I would like to see Obama use most of his political capital for universal health care
Because once we have it, it will be difficult for the GOP to take it away.

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natrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 10:34 AM
Response to Reply #22
26. important, but i get the feeling the economy is on death watch and needs the most attention
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antimatter98 Donating Member (537 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 10:59 AM
Response to Original message
27. Great news. But I'm very cynical about this health care 'meeting.'
DO you remember that famous Larry Summers memo where he said that because Africa was
'underpolluted,' it justified sending more toxic waste materials to African nations from
the west?

link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/max-blumenthal/lawrence-s...


Well, I can just imagine a similar health care logic, that goes something like this:
The US has falling standards of living, lower incomes, fewer jobs, and this should not
mean that US citizens be entitled to more health care than their brethern in similar
economies in Latin America, Africa or parts of Europe. US citizens who do not produce value
for the economy to be able to afford commercial health care should not expect to receive it for free,
which rewards lack of usefulness to the American economy. etc. I can see this coming out
of a Summers or lobbying team from Big Health Care.

More simply stated, I see in news reports that Obama is not going for single payer, and why? Because of
the balance of corporate power and money to what power we as citizens have. Corporations
still own the White House and Congress. I will be totally shocked into a stone statue if this
health care meeting comes out for single payer. But as all meetings will do, when the
objective is the 'hear us' when the decision has already been made, this meeting will be reported
to have been an inclusive success. Except single payer is off the table.

I really hate how this country has commodified its citizens to be 'income generators' for corporate power,
and not human beings. We've been absorbed into a mean spirited cruel system.

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debbierlus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 11:01 AM
Response to Original message
28. Bipartisanship my ass - we have to FORCE Obama to include progressives in his healthcare meeting


That is so pathetic and disgusting, not to mention INSULTING.

The progressives are the ones that have been RIGHT about just about EVERYTHING. Frankly, I am sick to death of the bipartisan bullshit which equates to heavy representation of the 'center' (translation: Republican) while progressives are barely tolerated.
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TBF Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 11:57 AM
Response to Reply #28
38. Exactly. Democrats need to learn how to negotiate. Tell me who on the Republican
side starts in the center. None of them do - they start negotiating from the far right. If we then start in the center there is no where to go but further right.
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Auggie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 11:14 AM
Response to Original message
32. Won't a single-payer system put a lot of health care executives out of work?
Edited on Fri Mar-06-09 11:16 AM by Auggie
Not to mention many health insurers? They are scared shitless of this.

I love the idea of single-payer. But it'll take an epic fight against health care special interests and the elected officials they own. Witness this summit.
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TBF Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 11:59 AM
Response to Reply #32
39. It takes out the middle-man, and yes that is the fear on their side.
Presumably the government would hire some of these people for auditing etc... but the focus would switch to getting people preventative care to stop problems as soon as they crop up, rather than simply deny every claim for the sake of profit.
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jwirr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 11:40 AM
Response to Original message
34. Now as FDR said - we have to try to make them do it. Lobby, lobby,
lobby.
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Auggie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 02:33 PM
Response to Reply #34
43. Yes! Write, call, and generally harass our representatives!
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jwirr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 11:57 AM
Response to Original message
37. Why isn't Kucinich included?
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fed_up_mother Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 12:58 PM
Response to Original message
42. From Dr. Fein's mouth to God's ears. :)
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GeorgeGist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-06-09 11:07 PM
Response to Original message
46. Patronizing much ...
Mr. President?
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liberalsince1968 Donating Member (245 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 01:39 PM
Response to Original message
49. They should have been the first ones to be invited. Not impressed with Obama's behavior here at all.
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