Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 8 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
General News   

Single-Payer Healthcare Advocates Protesting Exclusion from Congressional Debate Arrested

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)   2 comments
Follow Me on Twitter     Message Scott Harris
From Between The Lines Radio Newsmagazine
Between the Lines Q&A
featuring progressive viewpoints
on national and international issues
under-reported in mainstream media
for release May 16, 2009

Distributed by Squeaky Wheel Productions

Single-Payer Healthcare Advocates Protesting  Exclusion from Congressional Debate Arrested

Copyrighted Image? DMCA

Copyrighted Image? DMCA

Interview with Dr. Margaret Flowers,
co-chairman of the Maryland chapter
of Physicians for a National Health Program,
conducted by Scott Harris

Copyrighted Image? DMCA

Barack Obama is conducting meetings with health insurance executives and Congress is holding hearings in order to fulfill the president's campaign pledge to pass legislation that will reform the U.S. healthcare system, where more than 47 million Americans have no health insurance coverage. But there is growing frustration among advocates of single-payer health insurance, as both the president and Congress have attempted to exclude the option of government-run health coverage from being included in the national debate.

Two recent protests on Capitol Hill by single-payer healthcare activists, including doctors and nurses, have resulted thus far in 13 arrests. On May 12, two doctors, two nurses and one patient activist were charged with "Disruption of Congress" by Capitol Police when the five vocally demanded that Congress pass a single-payer system during a Senate Finance Committee healthcare reform roundtable. Dominating the Senate proceedings were experts with ties to the for-profit, private health insurance industry.

The first protest of this type occurred on May 5, before the same Senate committee, when eight protesters rose out of their seats in the hearing room and asked why single-payer advocates were being prevented from participating in the panel. Sen. Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, has previously stated that the single-payer option is "off the table" in the current health care reformindustrialized nations

DR. MARGARET FLOWERS: It was the second in a series of three public roundtable discussions that the Senate Finance Committee is holding on health care reform and in the week leading up to that roundtable, we knew who had been invited to speak, and it was primarily those who represent the health insurance industry and big business, and the ones who support their agenda. So we had asked if they would include a single-payer advocate at the roundtable and in addition, we actually did a phone-in campaign and fax campaign that sent thousands of faxes and phone calls to the offices with the same request. But they refused to invite one single-payer advocate to speak at the roundtable. So, we felt like we really didn't have a choice if we wanted our voice to be heard.

So we went down there, eight of us. We were all single-payer advocates, we were all knowledgeable about single-payer, and one by one, we asked to have a seat at the table, and one by one, we were arrested and taken out of the committee room.

BETWEEN THE LINES: Why is it that this country doesn't seem to want to even address the possibility of putting on the table the approach most of the rest of the industrialized nations of the world take to healthcare, meaning a government, single-payer system? Why do you think that is so dangerous here in this country that you have to get arrested to say your piece?

DR. MARGARET FLOWERS: Right. There's a huge disconnect, because we know in many independent polls that the public wants a national health program like the other industrialized nations have. They want a single-payer program, and so do healthcare providers. And we really hoped with the election of President Obama that we would see a change in the way Washington politics occur. So we've been meeting with members of Congress for months now, talking to them just asking to be included. But what it comes down to is on the policy, if you compared a national health program based on single-payer financing to any of the reforms that they're considering right now, single-payer would win. It saves money, it includes everybody, it improves health outcomes, it allows doctors and patients to make medical decisions instead of insurance companies. But we know how much money ... the pharmaceutical and health insurance industries are the highest campaign donors that there are.

BETWEEN THE LINES: I've heard about some anti-national health care ads that are airing or being prepared to run around the country. It plays on people's fear of a government bureaucracy denying them treatment for this or that disease, or rationing, or waiting endlessly for essential treatment or medical care. Do you think the American people will be vulnerable to this campaign of fear, that somehow government health care insurance would equal disaster in their personal lives?

DR. MARGARET FLOWERS: You know I hope that they aren't. I hope that people will educate themselves this time. Because really you know, it's completely the opposite. If you look at the evidence, the public programs do much better, in terms of when you have a public health facility and a private, the public health facility actually does better in terms of outcomes, and provides care for a lower cost.

And we know that we have rationing in this country already; we just ration based on ability to pay. There's no real public debate about what we want to do as a country when it comes to health, it's just all about whether you can afford it or not. I hope that people will talk to each other and really learn about this issue.

Next Page  1  |  2

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

Must Read 1   Interesting 1   Valuable 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Scott Harris Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Executive Producer Between The Lines Radio Newsmagazine

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Follow Me on Twitter     Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Facing the Reality of Extinction and Doom: Techno-Utopianism and the Fate of the Earth

Is Obama About to Betray Those Who Re-Elected Him Less than 2 Months Ago?

Single-Payer Healthcare Advocates Protesting Exclusion from Congressional Debate Arrested

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend