Mad As Hell Doctors are physicians and other advocates who in August 2009 decided that we were indeed mad as hell about the cruel and inefficient system of health care that we have in the US.  Last September, as the healthcare debate raged in Congress, we embarked on three week road trip through the heartland of America, speaking at single payer rallies and town halls in churches and union halls,  universities, public parks and arts centers in 30 towns and cities in 15 states.  We attracted 6,000 participants and interviewed hundreds of Americans on camera.  We carried the message of their suffering under our current health care system to our Congress members in Washington, D.C.

Since returning from our caravan we have continued to press for single payer health care reform and other changes in our health care system that are needed to restore health for Americans individually and as a society. 


  • All Americans deserve essential health care,
  • Servicing the for-profit private health insurance industry adds substantially to cost, has pressed our country to the brink of bankruptcy, and does not contribute anything to the well being of our citizens, and 
  • Single payer systems around the developed world provide universal health care, at less cost, with better outcomes;

We recommend that 

  • The Federal government provide essential health education and care to every American by designing and implementing a publicly accountable, single payer health care system, funded by taxpayers with the expressed goal of accomplishing the greatest health and least suffering at the least cost.


16 Responses

  1. Gillian

    Excellent point! I hadn’t even considered that angle before. Thanks!

  2. Mary Tsolak

    The continous recordkeeping mentioned by the nurse from Corvallis is a very important piece your medical records should be owned and accessable by each person not the healthcare providers or insurance companies. I currently live in a “developing” country and pay a little to be in their national health care system. It works just fine. Mary Tsolak

  3. Ken Watson

    I went to Canada at age 35 and stayed for 17 years.Goverment Health Care gave me the freedom to pursue different career options without worry for my medical needs. I found a passion for something I had never thought of and became quite successful. I have met many people in my travels across America that are stuck in jobs they dislike because of health care. This leads to a less productive work force and takes away so many dreams.

  4. Kevin Dolan M.D.

    Why get the federal government involved. To me the simplest solution is to prohibit for profit entities from engaging in the health insurance business. When I began practicing in 1980, the major players were the Blues. Physicians took care of their patients without significant interference. Maybe it’s time to reinvent the wheel

  5. Jill Herendeen

    I just got home from holding up a “Single Payer Now!” sign outside a “town meeting” for/w/ Rep. Annmarie Buerkle (R-NY), where one woman, in her car, leaving the event, told me, “It’s a great idea but we’ll never be able to afford it!” I told her that the CIVILIZED world has universal healthcare, better results, and HALF the cost per capita of what we’re already spending here, and she clearly did not believe me. (I wouldn’t be surprised if Rep. Buerkle had just misinformed her, herself.) What can I say…IGNORANCE abounds!!!!! The news just has not gotten around enough!

  6. patti dey

    Please read Wendell Potter’s book “Deadly Spin” all about the medical insurance industry’s plans and motives, how the terms “death panels” and “government takeover” are used to scare citizens and who is behind it, being paid millions for insurance lobbying.

  7. Peggy Mills

    I never realized how important that healthcare was until my husband was let go from his job several years ago and a medical debt of $30,000 was compounded over several years. It took a drastic turn of events to turn our finances around, but it has been done. We still think single payer is the way to go.

  8. I am an RN of 28yrs. Pediatrics to end of life hospice clinical experience. I am currently working with a company that has a solution that will save lives and decrease healthcare costs. We are beating our heads against the wall getting people to understand how the use of “smartcards” will save healthcare dollars, are patient/clinician centric, and will faciliate a solution to the fragmentation in patient records NOW. We are in discussions with a Congressman back east that is arranging a Congressional Briefing for us to speak on the value of smartcards. This Congressman’s lifetime career goal is to have a single-payer system passed. We see our piece of the solution as being important NOW, and ultimately can work hand in hand with a universal health system.
    I ran through the lobby of the Davenport Hotel in Spokane WA with T.R. Reid speaking with him about what we are doing. He was an invited speaker at a NW Medical Informatics meeting in September. His speech started by holding up his French Sesam Vitale National Health “smartcard”. Our government is infusing hundreds of millions of Healthcare IT dollars for implementation of Electronic Medical Records. Patient medical data is fragmented beyond belief. Paper silos now combined with pieces of electronic medical record. All of this is affecting the healthcare expenditure bottom line… Duplication of tests, rising malpractice fees, on and on. Needless to say the patients well-being is at risk!!! This country can continue to fight this single-payer concept all they want– but when one becomes ill and experiences the dysfunction, the extraordinary bills that follow, people will finally come out of the fog. All of us in healthcare want to be free to do what we do best– take care of patients. Clinical decisions should never have to be based on whether or not a patient can afford the treatment. Healthcare in this country should be a basic right. Patients and clinicians should have access to patient data that is longitudinal– across the continuum of care from birth to death so that best practices and multi-disciplinary care can truly be realized– along with cost effectiveness. Thank you for your tireless work. We are all trying in our own way. Sharon Wentz RN, Corvallis OR

  9. several years ago my daughter-who was a substitute teacher needed medical care-she had gone to ER 2 times-was then ruptcycovered by B.C— they canceled and she was $150,000.00 in debt. At 23 she had to claim bankruptcy!!

  10. Jenny Friedman

    To Richard and Gerrie, above, and to all interested in health care reform: please read TR Reids’s book “The Healing of America.” This book compares health care systems in place both here and around the world. Surprisingly, it is a fun read as well as being supremely informative for how easily we could make this change. I hadn’t realized that much of the world has universal care that is privatized – not the ’socialized medicine’ we’re usually warned about. Worth checking out because we could DO this!

  11. Katie Moore

    The latest antics of health insurers is more proof our desperate need for a single payer system. Refusing to issue plans for children because it might put your shareholders at risk? It is beyond immoral. I have never been without health insurance, but I live in fear of exactly that. These guys are right- everyone in, nobody left out.

  12. Barbara

    Hi Gerrie

    I have employer health care and I am a health care provider (RN) and I can’t wait for a single payer health care system. It’s the only solution for correcting our current way-too-expensive and inefficient one today.

    Many who have health care think they are all set, when actually they are not. We are essentially an indentured labor force working to have health care, foregoing real wages because of escalating premiums and therefore pretty much subsidizing the for-profit health industry.

    The current health reform will make rules like doing away with pre-existing conditions, but you can be sure the insurance industry will pass the cost onto all of us with increased premiums and co-pays.

    Think again!

  13. I’m not so sure that “universal” health care is such a great idea. I don’t want a medical/medicare plan coverage as it exists now and that’s exactly what we would be getting. I’m luckily cover by privatized insurance because I work. I don’t want less coverage and I don’t to pay for someone elses abortion. Listen to Ron Paul and what he advocates he makes sense! Michael Moore makes socialized medicine like a utopia. I have spoken to other people in Canada, etc. they come here to the USA because they have to wait so long for treatment. YES, we need reform but not like this. Thanks for listening.

  14. admin

    Paul Hochfeld responds.

    A true not-for profit insurance company that is trying to take the high road in our dysfunctionally financed and delivered health care system will be like a guppy in shark infested waters. Similarly, one would think our not-for-profit hospitals would look like the good guys. Sadly, in order to stay in the black, they have to respond to the perverse incentives just like the for-profits. They invest in high tech equipment and seduce the super specialists in order to do the cost shifting that is necessary to offer high quality primary care, which in some instances is a loss leader.

    The public plan option, which is a publicly owned alternative to private insurance companies, in theory would be the not-for-profit to which you allude, nationally. In theory, on an even playing field, it would drive down the price of insurance. Unless we are REALLY careful, the insurance companies will game the system so that the sickest, most expensive patients will gravitate to the public plan. If that happens, it will fail because of adverse selection. Then, those who are profiting from the current system will say that its failure is proof that the government can’t be trusted to do health care. A poorly designed public option is a trap.

    The ultimate “public plan” is a single risk pool, publicly financed, privately delivered care, every one in, nobody out, improved Medicare for All. No guppies. No sharks. Just a bunch of trout. Then we can have a system and, as a community, do what we can to redress the perverse incentives.

  15. I was not aware that this site existed and I happy to have discovered the information. My comment and question is why not begin a “Not-For-Profit” health care insurance program, independent of Government Funding. I’m interested in sharing my ideas how this can be accomplished and how to create outreach towards this goal. Best Regards.

  16. Anne Crenesse, MD

    I am Family practicionner in Brooklyn, NY in desperate need to act towards National Health Care System. Please keep me inform on any events and ways I can help. thank you