I have a disappointing story to share with you. It is a call to action.
As you may know, the current health reform being written in Congress, particularly that being put together in the Senate Finance Committee (which is literally being written by the former Vice President of Wellpoint--a large insurer), will not be universal and will not control health costs. It will not stop medical bankruptcies and foreclosures due to medical debt. It will not end the suffering and preventable deaths. It will not produce a health care system that uses our health care dollars wisely.
We have a simple solution that will end the suffering and save lives: expanded and improved Medicare for all. But this solution is being excluded.
In a brash move, the White House is again demonstrating the exclusion of those who advocate for real health reform. I will tell you how.
At the end of August, in response to the heated Town Halls and the opposition to , and the Leadership Conference for Guaranteed sent letters to President Obama requesting a meeting with him. As the legislation that Congress was putting together was falling apart, we asked to work with the President for real health reform that is simple to understand: Medicare for All. It would be a win for the people in America and a win for the President. He refused to meet with us.
Mad as Hell Doctors image
In early September, a group of physicians known as the Mad As Hell Doctors also wrote to the President. (See also The Mad As Hell Doctors and Mad as Hell Doctors stop in Seattle.) On September 8th they left Oregon to drive across the country, stopping in towns along the way to speak out for Single Payer. Their message was simple: They were angry about the current health care situation in America and wanted to channel that energy for change. They asked for a meeting with the President upon their arrival in Washgington, DC. The President refused. Thousands of people sent letters to the White House asking the President to meet with the Mad As Hell Docs, but still he refused. The only response they received was a request to stop sending so many emails.
On September 30th, the Mad As Hell Docs arrived in Washington, D.C., and held a rally in Lafayette Park in front of the White House. Doctors from across the country attended. They told the crowd why they believed, based on their years of practicing medicine and the stories they heard during their tour about the unimaginable suffering and deaths, that single payer is the solution. Their voices were not heard in the White House, or were they?
This afternoon we received the following media alert:
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 2, 2009
DOCTORS FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY TO JOIN PRESIDENT OBAMA AT THE WHITE HOUSE
Doctors Offer Their Help and Support to the President in Push for Health Insurance Reform
WASHINGTON--On Monday, October 5, President Obama will welcome doctors from across the United States to the White House. The doctors from all over the country will join the President in pushing for health insurance reform this year and have offered their help and support. As the Senate Finance Committee wraps up their work on health reform legislation, these doctors will come to the White House to share their unique perspective on the struggles that American families face every day when it comes to health care. The President and the doctors agree that inaction is no longer an option as so many people from all across America face rising costs and growing insecurity with their health insurance.
MONDAY, OCTOBER 5th, 11:10 AM EDT
Open Press (Pre-set 10:10 AM -- Final Gather 10:40 AM -- North Doors of the Palm Room)
The sham debate is continuing. The White House is inviting doctors from all around the country (sound familiar?) to meet with the President. We can only surmise that these doctors were hand picked to be those who support the President's agenda and to make it appear as though the President has broad support for the legislation in Congress. This is very disappointing. But it is clearly a call to action.
We are asking you to join us on Monday morning at the White House. Dress professionally and wear your white coat if you have one. Wear your single payer accessories. Wear your white ribbons (the symbol of single payer). We will gather outside the White House by 10 am and request that our representatives be allowed to attend the meeting. If we are not allowed in, we will stand outside the fence. We must take a stand for real reform. We cannot be silent.