Open Letter from Green Party to Michael Moore on Sicko, health reform
Green Party of the United States
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Green Party to Michael Moore, as 'Sicko' opens nationwide:
WASHINGTON, DC -- The Green Party of the United States sent an open letter to Michael Moore, whose movie 'Sicko' opened in theaters last week, urging him to join the efforts of the Green Party and its candidates and officeholders to enact a single-payer national health plan (also called Medicare For All).
The Green Party agrees with Michael Moore's premise that the US's private insurance system must be dismantled, and that the country must convert to a single-payer plan similar to the Canadian system.
Greens warned Mr. Moore that the Democratic Party (like the Republican Party) is too awash in corporate money to end the stranglehold of the private HMO-insurance industry and enact genuine coverage for all Americans. Congress will only seriously consider a single-payer plan when Greens begin to win seats in the US House and Senate.
The Green Party letter encourages Mr. Moore to help Greens get elected to Congress, as well as state legislatures and city councils, and predicts that the Green Party's 2008 nominee and national slate will be the only candidates on most ballots who support single-payer.
The text of the letter follows below.
Congratulations on the opening of 'Sicko' and all the glowing reviews!
We in the Green Party hope that millions of Americans will see 'Sicko' and understand that America has a choice: we can either have quality health care guaranteed for everyone, or we can maintain a system based on corporate insurance and HMO coverage. We can't have both. And we hope that the American people will realize that it's time to demand a single-payer national health plan and stop privileging corporate profits over the health -- the very lives -- of the American people.
Here's the problem: we're not going to get a national health plan as long as the political landscape remains limited to two parties addicted to corporate contributions. Republican and Democratic politicians alike refuse to consider any plan that doesn't leave private HMOs and insurance corporations in charge.
There are some exceptions among Dems, like Reps. John Conyers (Mich.) and Dennis Kucinich (Oh.), but Rep. Conyers' single-payer bill has as little chance of passage as Rep. Kucinich has of getting nominated. Once upon a time, the Democratic Party supported national health coverage and even endorsed it in the Democratic national platform in 1948. But they deleted it from the platform in the 1990s to make room for President Clinton's 'managed-care' phony reform scheme, which would have enlarged the power of major insurance firms. In the 2000 and 2004 elections, Democratic presidential candidates Al Gore and John Kerry both rejected national health insurance. (Mr. Gore saw the light and endorsed it a couple of years later.)
There's only one prominent national party that supports single-payer/Medicare For All -- the Green Party. The Green Party and its candidates have demanded single-payer ever since we were founded, and we don't accept corporate contributions from HMOs, insurance firms, pharmaceutical manufacturers, or any other corporate lobby.
Let's be honest, Mike. The USA will never have a national health insurance program until we break the two-party stranglehold and see the emergence of a new party that's free of corporate influence.
If we can get a few Greens into Congress, as well as into state legislatures and city halls all across America, and if our presidential candidates can draw significant percentages on Election Day, it'll change the political landscape. When Democratic politicians have to compete with Greens as well as Republicans, more of them will embrace single-payer. (And some maverick Republicans will support it, too!)
When the 2004 election season began, you and Bill Maher got down on your knees in front of 2000 Green presidential candidate Ralph Nader and begged him not to run again in 2004. You and Bill insisted that 2004 wasn't the time for a third-party challenge, and that the priority of every rational American should be the removal of George W. Bush from the White House.
Millions of Americans who support a national health plan -- as well as an end to the Iraq War -- agreed with you and Bill and voted for John Kerry, a candidate awash in corporate money. Mr. Kerry dismissed national health care and declared himself solidly in support of the Iraq War.
What was the outcome? John Kerry and his fellow Dems (again, with a couple of exceptions like Rep. Conyers) sat on their thumbs when reports of Election Day irregularities surfaced in Ohio and other states. Thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of African American and student votes were obstructed or not counted. Mr. Bush's election in 2004 was as illegitimate as his 2000 victory!
Mike, I'm sure you remember that it was two third-party presidential candidates -- the Green Party's David Cobb and Libertarian Michael Badnarik -- who demanded an investigation and led the Ohio recount. It was Greens who raised the money for legal expenses in the Ohio and New Mexico recounts. While John Kerry and his buddies kept mum (maybe they feared that the Democrats' own election shenanigans would be exposed), Greens fought for fair and accurate elections and the right to vote.
A few months later, the Conyers hearings proved that the Green Party was right. Republicans in Ohio not only rigged the election, they also tried to influence the recount. In January, 2007, two Republican election operatives were convicted in Cuyahoga County for their role in fixing the recount.
Here's the kicker, Mike. When Republicans in Florida failed to hand in petitions for George W. Bush before the deadline for the 2004 election, Democrats gave them a pass and placed Mr. Bush on the ballot anyway!
Imagine the movie you could make about how Republicans and Democrats have shredded our election system!
We can only conclude that the Democratic Party would rather lose elections to the GOP than tolerate third parties and independents -- with a special hostility towards anyone whose campaign brings a noncorporate antiwar message to the American people.
That's why we can't get a national health program. The Democratic and Republican leadership doesn't even want Americans to discuss the single-payer option, although they'll have a hard time censoring the debate now that 'Sicko' is in theaters.
We know that the private insurance industry, mainstream Democratic and Republican politicians, and the corporate media are already trying to undermine the message of 'Sicko.' They're calling national health care 'liberal elitism' and 'creeping socialism' and other names. As FAIR reported on June 25, CBS's Jeff Greenfield ignored polls in a June 22 story on 'Sicko' with an erroneous claim that national health coverage has minimal popular support.
We know that Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and most of the other Democratic presidential hopefuls are offering corporate-friendly health care reform plans. We can predict that they'll claim their plans will solve the crisis depicted in 'Sicko,' just as the Clinton Administration dishonestly called its managed-care proposal 'universal health care' back in 1993.
On June 26, 2007 six Democratic US Senators spoke at an SEIU-sponsored 'universal health care' rally on Capitol Hill in which single-payer and Medicare For All were never mentioned. When Dems say 'universal health care,' they really mean "For God's sake, anything but single-payer!"
The Green Party will be the ONLY PARTY in 2008 that demands single-payer. The Green nominee will be the ONLY PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE who talks about single-payer.
We'll be the only party supporting what Michael Moore supports!
The argument that our first priority must be the defeat of the GOP no longer holds water. Regardless of whether Democrats or Republicans get into public office, the real winners are powerful corporate lobbies: insurance, HMO, pharmaceutical, oil, defense, credit card, real estate, you name it. And if the Republicans manipulate the vote again and engineer their own victory, blocking African Americans, young voters, poor voters, and voters serving overseas in the US Armed Forces, we can be sure that the Democratic leadership will again roll over, scratch their butts, and say "Let's not be divisive! It's time to move on!"
'Sicko' will not change the Democratic Party agenda. MoveOn, Progressive Democrats for America, and terrific pro-single-payer candidates like Dennis Kucinich will not influence the Democratic platform in 2008.
It's a safe bet that MoveOn & Co. will place party loyalty ahead of their own stated ideals and endorse whichever corporate candidate gets the 2008 Democratic nomination. These Pied Piper Progressives will lure voters who want single-payer, voters who want US troops out of Iraq, voters who want a White House and Congress free of insurance, oil, and defense industry influence into voting for a Democrat who flushes their agenda down the drain.
As David Cobb observed during his 2004 Green presidential campaign, the Democratic Party is the "graveyard of progressive politics." It's the graveyard of national health care.
The Green Party is growing. We've continued to face down antidemocratic challenges from the old parties. In 2006, Green candidate Rich Whitney drew 11% in the race for Governor of Illinois and achieved ballot status in his state for the Green Party, after Gov. Rod Blagojevich spent $800,000 in taxpayers' money trying to keep Greens off the ballot. Nationally, we won more votes than ever before in the 2006 election. But we have a long way to go.
Hey, Mike, do you really want to see a national health plan enacted? Do you really want the message of 'Sicko' to be part of the public debate over health care in the 2008 election and beyond?
Then let's stop wasting time. Help us run a Green candidate for president in 2008. Help us get Greens elected to Congress. Help us place Greens in statehouses and county commissions and city halls and school boards. (Yes, we know you have supported Green candidates in the past!) Help us get ballot access in every state. Help us bring the Green message to the American people. Help us make the Greens a major political US party. Help us spark the kind of revolution in US politics that will make a single-payer national health plan a reality!
Green Party of the United States
Archives from the 2004 Cobb-LaMarche presidential campaign, including information on the Ohio and New Mexico recounts
The Green Party and Single-Payer National Health Insurance:
Information on rigged US elections: