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Green Party LogoGreens: Democrats' town meetings on health care reform deserve debate and civil protest, not disruption and mob violence

GREEN PARTY OF THE UNITED STATES
http://www.gp.org

For Immediate Release:
Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Contacts:
Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-518-5624, cell 202-904-7614, mclarty@greens.org
Starlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, 916-995-3805, starlene@gp.org


Serving the health insurance lobby, both Republicans and Democrats have tried to shut down open discussion on single-payer, promote phony reform, and spread disinformation; whether Democrats or Republicans win the health care debate, Americans will lose, say Greens

Greens urge Americans who support real health reform to contact Congress members in support of single-payer (HR 676)

Greens mourn the deaths of two single-payer heroes: Marilyn Clement and Nick Skala



WASHINGTON, DC -- Green Party leaders spoke out today against the violent disruptions taking place throughout the US at town hall meetings on health care reform.

But Greens said that both Democratic and Republican leaders deserve blame for obstructing the public debate on health care reform. Greens pointed to various attempts to silence discussion of single-payer national health care in public forums and the media, as well as spread misinformation about single-payer and the Canadian health-care system.

The Green Party is urging supporters of real universal health care to lobby their US Representatives in advance of a promised vote on the single-payer bill (http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2009/08/05-8). Greens have called for a nationally televised debate on the merits of single-payer and for GAO and Congressional Budget Office studies on single-payer. Analyses from these offices in the 1990s showed that single-payer will reduce health care spending by billions (http://www.gp.org/press/pr-national.php?ID=226).

Candace Caveny, Michigan Green candidate for the US House, 10th district (http://www.candacecaveny.org):
"While storm troops egged on by Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and other shills for the insurance industry are disrupting town hall meetings, the Democrats running these events are also squashing open debate on health care. Democrats in Congress have blocked discussion of the single-payer plan, keeping it 'off the table,' to use Senate Finance Committee chair Max Baucus's words. Both the disruptors in the audience and the Democrats and certain union leaders on stage are defending the right of insurance companies to maintain their profits and control over health care, while hundreds of thousands of Americans are going into financial ruin because of illness and injury. The only real solution is the single-payer plan, represented by John Conyers' House bill 676 and supported in Michigan by UAW Local 599 and the Steelworkers Union, as well as the Green
Party."

Lisa Green, Green candidate for the California State Assembly, 53rd District, in the 2010 election (http://www.votelisagreen.net):
"In May, physicians, nurses, Greens, and other single-payer advocates were arrested after peacefully standing up to protest the exclusion of single-payer experts during Senate Finance Committee roundtables on health care reform. If fearmongering Republican leaders, front groups, and public personalities like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck are urging mobs of their supporters to break up town hall meetings, they should be investigated and prosecuted, just as the nonviolent single-payer protesters were arrested."
(Leaked memo on disruption from insurance industry front groups Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks: http://thinkprogress.org/2009/07/31/recess-harassment-memo/)

Alfred Molison, Green candidate for Houston City Council, District C (http://www.votealfred.com):
"Americans are receiving mountains of disinformation about health care reform from Democratic and Republican leaders alike, as well as from TV, radio, and the Internet. Democrats keep telling us that single-payer is not possible or desirable, despite polls showing majority support for guaranteed national health care. Republicans, media shills, and groups like Conservatives for Patients' Rights are equating Obamacare with the Canadian single-payer system -- an outright lie, since the Democrats' reform plan favors the health insurance industry. As in 1993, Democratic front groups like Health Care for America Now! and Citizen Action and many union leaders believe it's more important to declare victory for the Democrats than to provide real health care reform."
(Video of Mr. Molison and other Green candidates: press conference at the Green Party's 2009 National Meeting in Durham, North Carolina, July 24: http://www.livestream.com/greenpartyus/ondemand/flv_8f77dfc8-b911-4950-902c-346c35ca3b90)

Jody Grage, treasurer of the Green Party of the United States:
"Rick Scott, head of Conservatives for Patients' Rights and an inspirer of the town hall disruptions, is a welfare cheat. Mr. Scott was fired from his position as CEO of Columbia/HCA in 1997 after he was caught trying to defraud the government for hundreds of millions of taxpayers' dollars in false Medicare and Medicaid payments, the largest Medicare-Medicaid swindle in history (http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/05/22-4). The company had to pay back $1.7 billion, but Rick Scott, instead of facing prosecution, received $10 million in severance pay and $300 million worth of stock. In reality, insurance companies have no objection to health reform or government intervention if it means they'll receive huge taxpayer-funded subsidies to inflate their profit margins and CEO salaries. The enraged mobs storming town hall meetings and the liberals swallowing the Democrats' 'public option'
and 'mandate' schemes have all been manipulated in a game played by and for the health insurance industry. Whether the Democrats or the Republicans win the health care debate, the American people will lose."

SIDEBAR...
Greens mourn the recent passing of two leaders in the movement for single-payer universal health care: Marilyn Clement, 74, founder and national coordinator of Healthcare Now! (http://www.healthcare-now.org); and Nick Skala, 27, staff member of Physicians for a National Health Program (http://www.pnhp.org) and a member of the Green Party in Texas and Illinois.


MORE INFORMATION

Green Party of the United States http://www.gp.org
202-319-7191, 866-41GREEN
Fax 202-319-7193

Green candidate database and campaign information: http://www.gp.org/elections.shtml
Green Party News Center http://www.gp.org/newscenter.shtml
Green Party Speakers Bureau http://www.gp.org/speakers
Green Party ballot access page http://www.gp.org/2008-elections
Green Party Livestream Channel http://www.livestream.com/greenpartyus

"Internal RNC Memo: 'Engage In Every Activity' To Slow Down Health Care Reform"
Huffington Post, July 21, 2009
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/07/21/internal-rnc-memo-engage_n_241940.html

"Top Ten Ways To Tell Your President & His Party Aren't Fighting For Health Care For Everybody"
By Bruce A. Dixon, Black Agenda Report, July 29, 2009
http://www.blackagendareport.com/?q=content/top-ten-ways-tell-your-president-his\-party-arent-fighting-health-care-everybody

"Inside Story on Town Hall Riots: Right-Wing Shock Troops Do Corporate America's Dirty Work"
By Adele M. Stan, AlterNet, August 10, 2009.
http://www.alternet.org/story/141860

"My 1933 Nightmare"
By David Michael Green, Common Dreams, August 11, 2009
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/08/11

Single-Payer Frequently Asked Questions
http://www.pnhp.org/facts/singlepayer_faq.php

Green Pages: The official publication of record of the Green Party of the United States
Summer 2009 issue now online
http://gp.org/greenpages-blog


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