Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Reject drug industry perks, doctors urged - JSOnline

Reject drug industry perks, doctors urged - JSOnline
"With the integrity of the medical field at stake, the influential Institute of Medicine said financial deals between the drug industry and doctors, medical schools and the medical profession need to be restricted.

The institute's sweeping recommendations call on medical professionals — from university professors to family doctors — to shun financial arrangements with companies that flourished over the past three decades."
Also, note the side bar list of past articles about the conflict of interest issues.
Now, in addition to stopping this drug trade business with docs, I sure hope Congress will outlaw those drug ads on TV.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Health group launches $1M ad buy - Carrie Budoff Brown -

Health group launches $1M ad buy - Carrie Budoff Brown - "A conservative group is launching a $1 million ad buy Tuesday designed to tap into fears about the U.S. moving toward a nationalized system of health care.

Conservatives for Patient Rights
will run a month of 60-second ads on CNN and Fox News that feature doctors from Britain and Canada describing the pitfalls of their nations’ health care."

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Michele Swenson: Insurance Does Not Equal Health Care: Specious Arguments by 'Free-Market' Opponents of Colorado Single Payer Bill

Michele Swenson: Insurance Does Not Equal Health Care: Specious Arguments by 'Free-Market' Opponents of Colorado Single Payer Bill
"Paralysis around health care reform is exacerbated by specious rhetoric surrounding Single-Payer health care. Lazy media fail to look behind corrupted rhetoric, while corporate interests spin the debate to serve their bottom lines."

Interview with Robert Kuttner on single-payer health care
Thanks to Tim at GMHCC for this link.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Testimony of David U. Himmelstein

"Testimony of David U. Himmelstein, M.D.
Before the HELP Subcommittee
April 23, 2009
Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee. My name is David Himmelstein. I am a
primary care doctor in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Associate Professor of Medicine at
Harvard. I also serve as National Spokesperson for Physicians for a National Health
Program. Our 15,000 physician members support non-profit, single payer national health
insurance because of overwhelming evidence that lesser reforms will fail."
Full five minute testimony - click here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Disruptive Innovation

I ran across Behzad Mohit articles in the Huffington Post. His first one is on how Universal Health Care Can Save our Econonmy. The next one was on Quality Control.
He has all this summarized in a short book available for free on line at
The direct link to the pdf file for the book is

Some of his ideas may be off base but some are right on. He is trying to present a simple solution and some of his ways of explaining things could be useful.
Tying the possibility for major change to the concept of Disruptive Innovation is intriguing. Focusing on one payment system that is non-profit as a way to get past the anti-government arguments has possibilities.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Single-payer health care could save $400 billion per year, advocates say

People's Weekly World - Single-payer health care could save $400 billion per year, advocates say
“The single payer option, or Medicare for All, should be part of the discussion in Congress, said Frank Borgers, of the National Nurses Organizing Committee. “Unbridled corporate power has brought the banking and auto industries to its knees and we fear it will happen in the health care industry as well.”

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Move to single-payer system is crucial - Bangor Daily News

Move to single-payer system is crucial - Bangor Daily NewsA doctor's words:
Move to single-payer system is crucial
By Richard C. Dillihunt, M.D.

As America prepares to reform our health care system, I wish to add some convictions reached while practicing surgery for nearly a half-century. Until about 15 years ago, doctors were powerful leaders in the health care system, taking their responsibilities seriously, and the system worked well. Then, dark clouds began to assemble and physicians began to lose their grip.

As the system faltered, physicians were not part of any changes except as pawns and bystanders. In short supply, we had crushing demands due to patient loads and were required to run practices of increasing complexity.

New arrivals appeared, calling themselves “health care professionals.” Seemingly overnight, they were “stakeholders,” and a metamorphosis occurred as medicine became big business. A new gold rush was on, lured by the attraction of the health care dollar.

The language of medicine changed with the arrival of HMOs, PPOs, surgicenters, for-profit hospitals and other schemes popping up like dandelions, fertilized by health care dollars totaling more than 15 percent of our GDP. Special interests arrived in the form of the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries, distributing lobby dollars in all directions and receiving free range in return. Multimillion-dollar salaries and billions in stock options were awarded while the steely-gray clenched faces of bankruptcy adorned middle America.

Hospitals joined in, finding a way to control pesky doctors — they hired them — spawning an undesirable side effect of antagonistic competition. Hospital bills joined inflation in the health care sector, and ear-popping predictions were heard that health care soon would become 20 percent of gross domestic product — up from 7.2 percent in 1970. The cost of all U.S. health care surged to top $8,000 per person annually while Canada’s cost for universal health care was half that, and our outcomes were no better than theirs.

Our system lacks social justice for some 45 million Americans without health insurance and more who are underinsured. Huge layoffs due to the current recession are adding to these alarming numbers daily, with workers and dependents suddenly uninsured. Another surge is expected soon, when unemployed new college graduates hit the streets. We are ready to improve this situation by passage of universal health care legislation now.

Beyond that is a way to really fix the health care system. It is called “single payer.” Call upon our federal government to implement such a program, recalling that it already runs some of the world’s best and most efficient health care programs including Medicare, the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and military medicine.

Be aware that single-payer is not socialized medicine. Single payer just means the government is acting as an administrator and best understood as being “Medicare for all.” Note that only about 5 percent of Medicare dollars are used in administering the program, while private cost for the same service consumes 30 percent of premium dollars — largely due to profit.

The new administration seems set on reducing health care costs and instituting a system of universal health care while leaving the current system in place, and adding a new federal health care insurance option. This is not adequate. The prior administration wanted an income tax deduction for health care insurance costs, plus health savings accounts — both are flawed and inadequate.

In his June 13, 2005, column in The New York Times, “One Nation Insured,” Paul Krugman convincingly extols the virtues of single payer. Krugman, a Times writer and professor at Princeton, was recently awarded the Nobel Prize in economics. Ask Paul. If still skeptical, ask Joe. Joseph Stiglitz, when recently asked “Do you support single-payer health care?” answered. “I think I’ve reluctantly come to the view that it’s the only alternative.” Stiglitz is a Columbia professor — and also a Nobel Prize-winning economist.

Single payer could lead a powerful surge to recovery — sort of an economic wonder drug. Polls of Americans strongly favor single payer, yet our government seems reluctant to address this eye-to-eye preferring lesser action and tweaking along as before. We need to send a message to Washington, reminding it who their employers are. There is enough unemployment already, so we do not want to send pink slips to D.C. Feeling bad for the fat -cat special interests is intolerable, not after what they have done to us. Anything less may result in further collapse of a frail, teetering relic. We are near a solution of a serious issue confronting our economy. Doing the right thing now is crucial.

Richard C. Dillihunt, M.D.

Why is Single Payer getting the short shrift?

Detroit National Politics Examiner: Why is Single Payer getting the short shrift?
"...why go halfway? Insurance companies already oppose this part of the proposal and are prepared to fight tooth and nail to this threat to their racket. Obama should learn the lesson of Bill Clinton, who tried to play ball with the insurance companies but found that they don't want to change the way they do business.

A Single Payer proposal is already available in the form of HR 676, The United States National Health Insurance Act, introduced by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), but it has been ignored by the Obama Administration. In fact, no Single Payer advocates were initially invited to a recent White House summit on health care. Conyers was brought in at the last minute in response to considerable pressure from HR 676 supporters.

The mainstream media has similarly paid little attention to Single Payer. As an example, a recent Time cover story told of the difficulties the brother of one of its reporters had in dealing with the health care system. But the author, who has written extensively on the issue, never mentioned Single Payer as a possible method to prevent such problems. She didn't even tell the readers that her brother would never have run into such a mess in any other industrialized country."

Monday, April 13, 2009

An estimated 50 million people in US lack coverage, but they haven't marched on Washington

An estimated 50 million people in US lack coverage, but they haven't marched on Washington: "If the uninsured were a political lobbying group, they'd have more members than AARP. The National Mall couldn't hold them if they decided to march on Washington.
But going without health insurance is still seen as a personal issue, a misfortune for many and a choice for some. People who lose coverage often struggle alone instead of turning their frustration into political action."

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Something is Rotten at PBS

sickaroundtheworld040209Re: Sick Around America

"And the film didn't present Reid's bottom line for health care reform – don't let health insurance companies profit from selling basic health insurance.

They can sell for-profit insurance for extras – breast enlargements, botox, hair transplants.

But not for the basic health needs of the American people.

Instead, the film that aired Monday pushed the view that Americans be required to purchase health insurance from for-profit companies."