Tuesday, February 8, 2011

We're in this together

Healthcare reform has been an issue that I have studied and supported for almost two decades.

I believe health care is a basic human right, not merely a privilege. I support a universal, comprehensive single-payer national health program. I can support my position with sound ethical principles, as well as a comparative historical analysis of the proven benefits that have been achieved by other countries that have embraced universal healthcare.

What is often lost in the continuing screed against healthcare reform is that yes, folks, many physicians welcome healthcare reform. In fact, when I was working at a medical center, serving an internship in healthcare ethics, and teaching 4th year medical students, I can honestly say I never met a healthcare professional who wouldn't admit that the traditional American for-profit-healthcare model was seriously flawed. The majority of the people I spoke to in the medical system were more than willing to try a better system that had at its heart a desire to create a more equitable distribution of healthcare resources. Sure, many had reservations about how the program would roll-out and more than a few were dubious about the role government would play in a national plan but, honestly, I never heard a physician or nurse say they were satisfied with the status quo or they wouldn't welcome some major change.

The fact is that American physicians and other healthcare providers are utterly exasperated by a monstrous system that's become totally out of control. 

Tonight as I was doing some research for my project about healthcare being a basic human right I came across an organization I had forgotten about. It was smaller when I first discovered it some time ago; it has since grown but it's mission has remained the same.

Please meet the PNHP -- an organization more fully titled "Physicians for a National Health Program."

Here is how they describe themselves on their web site:

"Physicians for a National Health Program is a single issue organization advocating a universal, comprehensive single-payer national health program. PNHP has more than 18,000 members and chapters across the United States.

Since 1987, we've advocated for reform in the U.S. health care system. We educate physicians and other health professionals about the benefits of a single-payer system--including fewer administrative costs and affording health insurance for the 46 million Americans who have none.

Our members and physician activists work toward a single-payer national health program in their communities. PNHP performs ground breaking research on the health crisis and the need for fundamental reform, coordinates speakers and forums, participates in town hall meetings and debates, contributes scholarly articles to peer-reviewed medical journals, and appears regularly on national television and news programs advocating for a single-payer system.

PNHP is the only national physician organization in the United States dedicated exclusively to implementing a single-payer national health program." (Emphasis in the original)

No frills, no multiple issues -- these docs are focused on one thing and one thing only.

You can read all about PNHP at http://www.pnhp.org/about/about-pnhp

It's for you. It's for them. It's for all of us.

Like I said, we're all in this together.

BTW: PNHP is based in Chicago. That makes me proud.


  1. that would be so much better than the small health insurance regulations we have seen in our health care bill.

  2. I agree with you 100%

    I'll never figure out why people are so afraid of this. When the tea party talks about finding a "free market solution." It's important to realize what this means. It means let's leave things as they are (and get rid of medicare and medicaid).

    And for the 40+ million people with no healthcare and millions more with costly inadequate healthcare this is a no-win situation.

    And the answer of course is simple: single payer universal healthcare. Every other industrialized country in the world has figured this out.

    As an American living in Canada (BC), I can say this about my experience: the wait time to see your doctor is WAY less here, there is less red tape, the costs are WAY less, and I'm able to see whatever doctor I want and have just as many doctors to choose from as in America.

    It is quite shocking to read the tea party version of Canadian Healthcare. According to them, everyone who gets cancer here goes to America and that simply isn't true. In fact, a lot of Americans come here (especially for prescription drugs, which are significantly cheaper and equally safe).

    The recent healthcare bill was a step in the right direction (and there are some really great things about it), but it doesn't go nearly far enough in my opinion.

    Nice post.

  3. Thanks Austin! This is great input for all of us! I'm so tired of the persistent lie that comes from the far right that Canadians are unhappy w/their system of care or that it fails miserably. I know that's total bull but you lend so much credibility to the discussion b/c you're in the wonderful position of being able to honestly compare the two systems, even more so than a Canadian who may not know how ours works (or doesn't work). Who better than a Yank now living in Canada to tell it like it is, huh? Thank you for sharing (BTW: I posted your comment to my FB page today too.)

  4. my drug costed $199 in the united states a couple of years ago. my canadian price in that time went from $46 to $56 plus $10 shipping. on my income you know where i buy.

  5. Yep, Mary Lou, I hear ya' -- about 2 yrs ago I met an American who worked out an "arranged" marriage with a Canadian b/c she has several medical problems that were considered pre-existing and couldn't get insurance. Then she was dx'd with skin cancer. She's now transferred her care to Canada b/c she's "married" to this Canadian (a family friend I guess). I also saw something on TV (maybe it was Frontline) that looked into this very issue and their cameras followed people over the border into Canadian clinics. The Canadians of course try to police this but there are a lot of clinics near the border that feel sorry for these people and don't want to turn them away or report them to the authorities. Just amazing stuff. Thanks for sharing. BTW: Did you ever see Michael Moore's "Sicko" --?? If not, you should; you'd appreciate it.

  6. I have a whole slew of Canadian friends who are completely baffled by our resistance to health care reform. We've discussed this so often, and they get so angry at how their system is completely misrepresented here in the States. My one friend had to be hospitalized for an unknown ailment...after extensive testing and several days in the hospital, it was discovered that she had colitis. She asked me how much I thought she ended up having to pay for all of that. After several guesses, her answer was, "$2.00 Canadian for a co-pay on a prescription. Nothing more." I'm still amazed!

    "Sicko" was fantastic! I love Michael Moore's work.