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Greens Call Physicians' Endorsement of National Health Insurance a Major Step Towards Universal Health Care.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Nancy Allen, Media Coordinator, 207-326-4576,
Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-518-5624,

Articles in the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association put single-payer coverage back on the table, say Greens.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Greens called the recent publication of two articles in major medical journals on the need for single-payer national health insurance an enormous advance in the movement for universal health care. The articles appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) and the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in August.

"Since the mid 90s, 40 to 45 million Americans have lacked health coverage, and millions more have suffered inadequate coverage," said John Battista, M.D., of the Green Party of Connecticut, president of the Connecticut Coalition For Universal Health Care. "The U.S. ranks only 37th in the world in quality of health care. Republicans and most Democrats have offered minimal reform schemes that leave HMOs, insurance firms, the pharmaceutical industry, and other corporate lobbies in control of our medical treatment, prescriptions, referrals, etc. HMOs and insurance firms impose extra expenses in the form of administrative overhead to guarantee their profits. They make money by excluding high-risk people from coverage and by limiting the care received by those with coverage."

"National health insurance -- also called single-payer, Medicare for All, and Just Health Care -- eliminates this inefficient and wasteful middle entity, and transfers ownership of health coverage to the public," Dr. Battista added. "That's why Greens support it, while Democrats and Republicans have been compromised by their allegiance to HMO and insurance lobbies. National health insurance would save most Americans, especially middle and low income people, a lot of money, and would save the U.S. up to $200 billion. It would ensure care for all, regardless of ability to pay, age, or prior medical condition, and would cover long term care and prescriptions."

Greens in numerous states, from Maine to California, have worked to pass statewide plans based on a single-payer model similar to the Canada's national health care system. The platform of the Green Party of the United States endorses single-payer coverage. Many Greens are urging passage of a House bill for single-payer introduced by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) on February 4, titled "The United States National Health Insurance Act" (HR 676).

"The articles in NEJM and JAMA add professional muscle to the popular movement for genuine universal health care," said Jason Crane, Green candidate for the City Council of Rochester, New York. "After the  endorsement of national health insurance by 8,000 physicians, including two former surgeon generals, the corporate lobbies and apologists can no longer argue that doctors don't support it. What we need now are people in Congress and in state legislatures who are willing to stand up to the lobbyists -- Greens and others who refuse corporate contributions, and perhaps get into public office with the help of 'clean elections' funding that's available in some states."


The Green Party of the United States 
202-319-7191, 866-41-GREEN

Physicians for a National Health Program 

"The Cost to the Nation, the States and the District of Columbia, with 
State-Specific Estimates of Potential Savings"
By David U. Himmelstein, M.D., Steffie Woolhandler, M.D., M.P.H. and Sidney 
M. Wolfe, M.D.
New England Journal of Medicine, Volume 349:768-775, August 21, 2003, Number 

"Proposal of the Physicians' Working Group for Single-Payer National Health 
Insurance" (Abstract)
The Physicians' Working Group for Single-Payer National Health Insurance, 
JAMA 2003 290: 798-805

The United States National Health Insurance Act (HR 676) ("Expanded & 
Improved Medicare For All Bill") (Executive Summary)
Introduced by Cong. John Conyers, 108th Congress, February 4, 2003 

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