Single Payer Not Allowed at the Senate Table

I’m having some peaceful moments, knitting a baby blanket, watching Friday night television.  I slowly read email while I do this.  There’s a conversation going on among Etsy fiber arts street team members, a very supportive group of women responding to one member’s plea for a shoulder to cry on.  I delete some advertising emails, then get to the heavy stuff. 

This evening I have a report from PNHP (Physicians for a National Health Plan) on the members who were arrested when they tried to speak out at a “public” Finance Committee meeting in Washington.  The single payer option has been refused a seat at the Senate table in the most powerful committee to investigate health care reform.  You can see more here, on

I am angry.  There is no proposal on the table that will ensure health care for every American.  There is no proposal that has been proven to decrease the cost of health care in this country.  There is not one that is guaranteed to improve the effectiveness or quality of health care.  Our legislature is not being presented with the information on the one option that can actually make these changes, because Senator Baucus will not let single payer reps be heard. 

Single payer is a system that puts private health insurance out of the loop and bills a government agency for the health care people receive.  If we have a single payer option in this country, individuals can choose to either participate in the single payer system or continue with private health insurance.  Single payer would also insure all those who couldn’t qualify for private health insurance.  We already have single payer for those over 65:  Medicare is a single payer system.  No one over 65 has to be without health care.  The Canadian and European systems, in countries that consistently rank the highest in quality of health care and every measure of citizen health, are single payer systems. 

Some folk don’t like the sound of  “national health care”, for various reasons.  Many are profiting from having a middle man in health care – the private insurance company.  They don’t want to stop pocketing those profits, even when it means that health care is more expensive than it should be, business pros are making health care decisions, and millions are excluded from having care.  Others hate the idea of more government involvement in their lives, even though they’ve accepted government in the form of security,  transportation, education, and various other “intrusions” that improve the quality of our lives. 

Thinking this through, and preparing for the coming disputes-no, battles-makes me tired.  I like things to be decided through logic and data rather than profit motive and fear.  I am tired in advance because I know that I can’t sit and watch this from afar.  I have to decide how to participate and advocate for the right thing.  Clearly, this will not be the only discussion of this that you will see here.



One Response

  1. You go, girl! The voice of an MD will carry much more weight than a lay person.

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