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So My Congressman Calls Me In Response to Yesterday's Article...

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Yesterday I wrote an article (Questions for My Dem Congressman after His Health Care Town Hall, where he pointed me out as a liberal he disagrees with) about my interaction with my congressman, Patrick Murphy, at a town hall he held in Bristol, Bucks Count, PA. He pointed to me and, in response to a right wing anti- Obama health reform protester, said that I was a liberal he disagreed with, because I supported single payer, saying he wouldn't support single payer because govt. shouldn't be in the health business, employing docs, hospitals, etc. and that it would cost too much.

I replied that he'd used right wing talking points-- that single payer works like medicare, with private doctors and hospitals, and that studies have shown that single payer would cost less than the Obama plan. I asked him to take the advice Howard Dean gave me at netroots nation the previous weekend, and have the congressionial budget office (CBO) do a study to compare costs. He said he would.

I wrote in my article, that as a loyal supporter, "I felt a bit used, as an example of a liberal he doesn't agree with."

It was a nice surprise to get a call from Patrick at 9:00 AM sharp, Monday morning. First, he complimented me on the article, which he'd read. Then he confirmed that he'd request the study, as he'd stated at the town hall. Then we talked a bit about our relationship, expressing concern about my feeling used, reminding me that he said it with a smile, touching my shoulder in a friendly way, which was true.
I pointed out how and why I felt used and I think he got it.


I have pretty thick skin and am not holding grudges. I did tell him again, that his response on single payer was wrong and sounded like a right wing talking point-- the same kind of response that Joe Sestak and Arlen Specter had recently given at town halls or press conferences.

I also know, from other health reform activists who Patrick has met with that they've told him about single payer and he should know better. That gets back to my theory that he's been talking to, or at least listening to and coming to conclusions more base on the input of the anti-reform lobbyists than he is based on the input he's received from single payer people.


Let me be clear, Patrick made it clear, at the town hall meeting, that he was standing for reform, but with the bluedog caveat that it be budget neutral. That can be a sticky wicket. One colleague, Walt Tsou pointed out that the CBO only looks at some of the expenses and savings, so it could end up showing single payer to cost more than a study that included savings at the state level. It's not surprising. To get a bit wonky, statistics can be abused in infinite ways. Dr. Tsou told me that it would be better to have the GAO do the study.


The fact is, legislators can cherry pick studies that support the position they choose to take. The GOP congressfolk have been citing a study funded by health insurers, for example.

The good news is that
Congressman Murphy also asked me to send him the studies I'd referred to that showed that single payer saved money. I know of several, listed below and already, since I've put the word out, I've heard of more. I'd like to crowdsource this. If you know of a study that supports the cost effectiveness of single payer or the public option, please add a comment with a link.

Bottom-line, Patrick Murphy knew the 1000+ page house health bill well. He responded to constituents on both sides with intelligent, principled answers, for the most part. He did fail though, on single payer. He needs to either do his homework more or take a clearer look at the data and the facts. He has leaders in the PA single payer movement in his county , Bucks, like Chuck Pennacchio, and he should use them to become a national expert on it so it is not necessary to chastise him for using GOP talking points.

I told Patrick he's made some good votes I'd appreciated and he's, overall a good guy in the big picture, but that it's my job, as an activist, to keep pushing. He agreed about the pushing and good naturedly ended the conversation encouraging me to get him the information we discussed.


Some resources;
2005 study by National Coalition on Health Care


1991 GAO Study: Canadian Health Insurance; lessons for the United States

I know there are more and hope readers will link to them in comments.

 

Rob Kall is editor-in-chief, publisher and site architect of OpEdNews.com, President of Futurehealth, Inc, and an inventor. He hosts the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show, aired in the Metro Philly area on AM 1360, WNJC. Over 200 podcasts are archived for downloading here, or can be accessed from iTunes. Rob is also published regularly on the Huffingtonpost.com

Rob Kall Wikipedia Page

Rob is, with Opednews.com the first media winner of the Pillar Award for supporting Whistleblowers and the first amendment.

See more Rob Kall articles here and, older ones, here. To learn more about Rob and OpEdNews.com, check out A Voice For Truth - ROB KALL | OM Times Magazine and this article. For Rob's work in non-political realms mostly before 2000, see his C.V..  and here's an article on the Storycon Summit Meeting he founded and organized for eight years. Press coverage in the Wall Street Journal: Party's Left Pushes for a Seat at the Table

Here is a one hour radio interview where Rob was a guest- on Envision This, and here is the transcript. 

To watch Rob having a lively conversation with John Conyers, then Chair of the House Judiciary committee, click hereWatch Rob speaking on Bottom up economics at the Occupy G8 Economic Summit, here.

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Again, I wouldn't feel used. Don't let your emotio... by Steve Consilvio on Monday, Aug 24, 2009 at 12:43:13 PM
We recently came to a conclusion that no bank shou... by Paul Kruger on Monday, Aug 24, 2009 at 1:13:42 PM
Here's the thing. No health care is free regardles... by Paul Kruger on Monday, Aug 24, 2009 at 12:56:10 PM
The trick with the VA is getting them to accept th... by Dave Kisor on Monday, Aug 24, 2009 at 2:38:26 PM
Many regular army personnel receive the shaft when... by Jason Paz on Tuesday, Aug 25, 2009 at 12:03:40 AM
The web site of Physicians for a National Healthca... by Louise Nelson on Monday, Aug 24, 2009 at 1:06:29 PM
click herecopy and paste the link above, lists fro... by August Adams on Monday, Aug 24, 2009 at 1:13:43 PM
That must feel very gratifying, Rob, that your wor... by daveys on Monday, Aug 24, 2009 at 1:37:24 PM
Link to studies: Single Payer System Cost? | Phys... by Louise Nelson on Monday, Aug 24, 2009 at 1:45:04 PM
Just a couple of thoughts based on my background i... by janet o'connell on Monday, Aug 24, 2009 at 1:59:08 PM
Bottom-line, Patrick Murphy knew the 1000+ page ho... by Mark Sashine on Monday, Aug 24, 2009 at 2:30:50 PM
NY Rep Anthony Weiner explains healthcare reform t... by Louise Nelson on Monday, Aug 24, 2009 at 2:44:46 PM
It does not matter how intelligent discourse this ... by KMGuru on Monday, Aug 24, 2009 at 3:48:16 PM
I am deeply unhappy, not as much with slimers - sl... by kibitzer on Monday, Aug 24, 2009 at 4:38:44 PM
I published this article and it hasn't even ben su... by William Cormier on Monday, Aug 24, 2009 at 5:38:44 PM
I think it's great that Rob can get an instant res... by Brian P. Mallon on Monday, Aug 24, 2009 at 8:40:23 PM
-Y'know, Rob, if blue dodgy Representative Murphy ... by meremark on Tuesday, Aug 25, 2009 at 12:09:46 AM
Name calling is easier than answering questions. ... by Steven G. Erickson on Tuesday, Aug 25, 2009 at 12:41:26 AM
Let's cut to the chase and take a close look atthe... by Michael McCoy on Tuesday, Aug 25, 2009 at 6:02:21 AM
based on assumptions. Rob, there has NEVER been a ... by steve scheetz on Tuesday, Aug 25, 2009 at 10:38:38 AM
try and move a letter from Los Angeles to NYC in t... by martinweiss on Tuesday, Aug 25, 2009 at 1:35:29 PM