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TPM Writer Falsely Represents Single Payer Press Conference as Anti-Sanders Event

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TPM writer Evan McMorris-Santoro characterized a press conference that was organized by single-payer advocates and held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. today at 10 am ET as an event aimed at bashing Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Russell Mokhiber, the president of Single Payer Action, said that he had "low expectations" for Sanders. He expressed his opinion that Sanders would not make any moves to stop the bill that he thinks is a "bailout for health insurance companies."

For some reason, McMorris-Santoro chose to take this comment and apply it to the other three single payer advocates. And, as a person who interviewed all four of the individuals who participated in this conference, I can assertively claim that this event was never ever about taking aim at Bernie Sanders.

Mokhiber made an off-the-cuff remark that is not representative of the entire single payer movement at all.

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If it is in fact reasonable to interpret the remark that was made as a call to single payer advocates to oppose Sanders, than it must be made clear that Dr. Margaret Flowers and Dr. Carol Paris of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) made their comments with education and research in mind and did not wish to target individuals in the House or Senate at all.

The two doctors comment on the policies on the table in Congress and since the policies miserably fail to address the biggest problems with healthcare in America, they are calling for Obama and Congress to "start from scratch."

McMorris-Santoro does a poor job of differentiating between the comments of the four individuals who spoke at the press conference. In fact, he only names two of the four. The other two, Kevin Zeese of Prosperity Agenda and Dr. Paris, are not mentioned at all.

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Zeese actually made comments supportive of Sanders saying the Mobilization for Healthcare for All would be working with Sanders to pass two of his amendments, which are on the table in the Senate.

As a result of McMorris-Santoro's article, which he cobbled together, the comments thread is a minefield of reactionary comments which are directly responding to the lunatic idea that single payer advocates would be upset with Sen. Bernie Sanders who is an independent and a self-proclaimed socialist.

I find it necessary to address this mess that McMorris-Santoro's article has created.

One commenter suggests that we will have to wait many decades if reform doesn't pass this time.

This commenter ignores the fact that single payer advocates would not quit fighting for health care reform if the bill died but would immediately begin advocating for an "everybody in, nobody out" single payer not-for-profit health care system (which is what Democrats should have proposed when the reform process began instead of compromising from the get go by taking single payer off the table for the insurance and pharmaceutical companies).

A second commenter says, "They are actually saying that if health care reform doesn't pass this year, Congress can just take it up next year and adopt single payer (because, presumably, the drug companies, Republicans, insurance industry, etc., will just go away or, in a moment of inspiration, realize that they've been wrong all these years and that single payer is the way). Just like the defeat of the Clinton plan in 1992 led to adoption of a better health care plan the next year."

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Presumably, the commenter is arguing that we the people must accept the reality that drug companies, Republicans, and the insurance industry will have a final say on health care reform.

The second commenter thinks because they are so pervasive and parasitic in our nation's healthcare system we have no choice but to make sure the reform that is passed continues to give drug and insurance companies many opportunities to suck the blood from American consumers as they have done for the past decades.

Including private insurance companies and drug companies in the reform will not solve our problems. Subsidies will go to the companies and that money will be used for more lucrative campaign donations to Congress.

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Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure." He was an editor for

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