Greens Urge Defeat of GOP Medicare Bill, Call Single-Payer the Only Solution to the Health Care Crisis.
Friday, November 21, 2003
Citing public support and a media blackout on single-payer national health insurance, Greens call for a voters' revolt against Democrats and Republicans who reject single-payer.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Green Party leaders urged Democrats to do all they can to block the Republican Medicare prescription drug bill that emerged from a House-Senate conference last weekend, calling it a swindle of all Americans who need medicine and medical treatment. But Greens also sharply criticized Democrats and Republican moderates for continuing to favor managed care plans and rejecting single-payer national health insurance despite the needs and demands of the American people.
"Democrats and Republicans, whether they support the radical Medicare prescription drug bill advanced by Republican ideologues or the more moderate bipartisan plan championed by Sen. Kennedy (D.-Mass.), have caved in to the HMO, insurance, and pharmaceutical lobbies," said John Battista M.D., member of the Green Party of Connecticut and President of the Connecticut Coalition For Universal Health Care. "They represent different degrees of dedication to these interests -- either complete capitulation, or a scheme that maintains corporate profits with a limited degree of social coverage."
"The experience of the past generation is that market-based plans consistently fail, leaving over 40 million Americans uninsured and tens of millions more inadequately covered," Battista added. "HMOs and insurance firms don't want to cover high-risk, old, sick, or poor people. They don't want choice of physician or hospital for their clients. We're in a health care crisis, and the first priority of most Republicans and Democrats is to preserve the profits of shareholders."
"The proposed bill is part of the longtime Republican plan to replace Medicare with private insurance," said Mark Dunlea, chair of the Green Party of New York State. "Any solution to the crisis must begin by eliminating all the money wasted on the paperwork, bureaucracy, and excessive profits of the private health insurance industry, which takes up as much as 30¢ of every health dollar."
The Green Party continues to demand single-payer national health insurance, which guarantees quality coverage for all, regardless of income, job status, residence, age, or prior medical condition, as well as choice of health care provider, under a tax plan in which the overwhelming majority of Americans would pay less than they do now for private coverage.
An ABC News - Washington Post Poll released on October 20, 2003 found that the public, by a 2:1 margin (62% to 32%), favors national health insurance to "the current health insurance system, in which most people get their health insurance from private employers, but some people have no insurance." On August 13, 8,000 physicians announced their support for single payer national health insurance in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
"What will it take to win true universal care and break the power of the corporate lobbies? It'll take a voters' revolt -- the same kind of anger that fuels protests against the FTAA and Bush's invasion of Iraq," said Ron Forthofer, retired professor from the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston and president of the board of Health Care for All Colorado. "It'll take a loud rebuke to media and to Democratic and Republican candidates who ignore public support for single-payer national health insurance. It'll take a pledge from voters to vote for no candidate who does not support single-payer. It'll take Greens elected to public office."
Front running Democratic presidential candidates have all declined to back single-payer and instead offer variations on managed care. (Only long-shots Dennis Kucinich, Carol Moseley-Braun, and Al Sharpton favor single-payer.)
"Unless the Green Party runs a national candidate in 2004, universal health care will be missing from the debate," noted Tom Fusco, Maine Green and licensed clinical professional counselor.