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Doctors calls for national health insurance { August 12 2003 }

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   (202) 347-0020 * *

Date: Tue, 12 Aug 2003 15:11:05 -0400
From: Institute for Public Accuracy
Subject: Doctors Call for National Health Insurance

Institute for Public Accuracy
915 National Press Building, Washington, D.C. 20045
(202) 347-0020 * *

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Interviews Available:
Doctors Call for National Health Insurance

Today an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association
(embargoed for 3 p.m. ET), backed by more than 7,000 physicians, proposes
national health insurance. A news conference on the proposal, including two
former Surgeon Generals, was set to take place today at the National Press
Club in Washington, D.C., at 10 a.m.

A lead author of the proposal being presented today, Woolhandler is a
primary care doctor practicing in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and an
associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. She said today:
"We are already spending enough to provide every American with superb
medical care -- $5,775 per person this year…. But we don't get what we pay
for. More than 41 million Americans are uninsured. Millions more are
under-insured -- they have coverage but still can't afford vital care and
medications, or they can't get their HMO to pay for the care they need.
Meanwhile we waste a fortune on useless medical paperwork and corporate
profiteering. Single payer national health insurance would save at least
$200 billion annually on paperwork and administration, enough to cover all
of the uninsured and to upgrade coverage for Medicare enrollees and others
who are under-insured."

National coordinator for Physicians for a National Health Program, Young
has chaired the Department of Medicine at Chicago's Cook County Hospital.
He convened the group of prominent physicians that drafted the proposal.
Young said today: "The doctors' article also critiques the health reform
plans that have been offered by President Bush and the major Democratic
presidential contenders. Proposals that would retain the role of private
insurers -- such as calls for tax-credits, Medicaid/CHIP expansions, and
pushing more seniors into private HMOs -- are prescriptions for failure. By
perpetuating administrative waste, such proposals make universal coverage

A physician in Louisville, Kentucky, Peeno worked as a medical reviewer for
Humana. She became critical of medical companies denying people care and
ultimately provided evidence for patients suing HMOs and testifying before
Congress. Her story was dramatized in "Damaged Care," a Showtime television
movie. She warned today: "Managed care is taking on new and insidious
forms. At every point along the way, costs are trimmed -- resulting in
worse care for the patients. You want to make sure that a single payer
system is not being run by HMOs, like HMOs have gotten into Medicare."

Author of the book As Sick As It Gets: The Shocking Reality of America's
Healthcare, A Diagnosis and Treatment Plan, Mueller said: "Not only do
thousands and thousands of Americans die as a result of lack of healthcare,
but inadequate insurance also costs more, since people don't treat simple
problems that become much more costly when they finally do see a doctor."

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

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