Dear viewer. The Mad As Hell Doctors are not on the road these days but we are still part of Physicians for a National Health Program fighting for health care for all. Currently we are using this website only as an avenue for donations to support a 2013 nationwide radio Medicare for All campaign streamed through Chicago’s WCPT Progressive Radio http://chicagosprogressivetalk.com/

Medicare For All National Radio Campaign

MAHD “Improved Medicare For All” radio ads began June 21.  The purpose of the ads is to reinforce the national outrage about cuts to Medicare and declare that an improved Medicare is the solution rather than the problem.  

LET THEM HEAR US!!!

To keep these ads on the air across the nation please use the Donate button on your right.  Paypal will bring up a window with a box labeled “Purpose”.  Please enter “ads” in the box so we will know the intent of your donation. We feel these ads will be an effective way to reach millions of people and stimulate them to advocate for true health care reform, Improved MediCare for All.

All listeners can go to Physicians for a National Health Program, and HealthCareNow! to learn more and join others in fighting for Improved Medicare for All.

Listeners can connect with local Single Payer Advocates by clicking the group name below:

New York City go to PNHP Metro Chapter

Detroit go to PNHP Michigan Chapter

Minneapolis-St. Paul go to PNHP Minnesota Chapter and Minnesota Universal Health Care Coalition

Denver, CO,  go to PNHP Colorado Chapter and Healthcare for All Colorado

Coos Bay, and Portland OR, go to PNHP Oregon Chapter

Seattle, go to PNHP Western Washington

Health Care for All Washington State

San Francisco, go to singlepayeraction.org;

California PNHP

Health Care For All-California

We hope to share with you our passion that America must achieve sustainable high quality health care for all as soon as possible.

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A long road travelled and a long road ahead.

PNHP is a group of physicians, nurses, ancillary health providers, and other concerned citizens advocating for an improved and expanded Medicare program to provide financially sustainable universal health coverage for all Americans. In September 2009, PNHP doctors traveled 6,000 miles through America’s heartland from Portland, OR, to Washington, D.C., stopping at over 40 venues in 17 states. After appearances on the Ed Schultz Show (MSNBC), Keith Olberman (MSNBC), Democracy Now! and interviews on dozens of other media outlets, the group is continuing its unique approach and activist flair to advocate for Single Risk Pool, Improved Medicare-for-All.

PNHP contends that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P-PACA) does too little to protect the health and livelihood of patients and their families. P-PACA serves to further entrench the current medical-industrial complex with an unsustainable cost spiral within our health care system. PNHP further contends that while the Oregon Health Policy Board, a result of House Bill 2009, has proposed critical improvements in Oregon’s health care system, these improvements will be affordable only under a Single Risk Pool, Improved Medicare-for-All plan.

The work involves studying the relevant literature, listening to others tell of their experiences with our health care system, and then passing this information on to friends, family, civic groups, journalists, and legislators, urging them to action.

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Educate yourself and your neighbors.

What is a single payer health care system? For  a video answer go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAvy9jew9dM. Please use our Literature References tab under which you will find links to peer-reviewed literature that can help you evaluate the US health care system and compare it to the systems of other countries such as Canada. The references are invaluable for supporting your conversations and presentations about health care reform.

Check our “in-house” analysis on our Posts page, share with your friends and family, and comment to keep the discussion going.

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Collaborate, educate, and organize.

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Thank you for your interest.

YOU ARE INVITED TO JOIN THE BLOG CONVERSATION BELOW. NOTE THAT THE NEWEST COMMENTS ARE ON TOP!

108 Responses

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  1. I have written a letter which I wish all the doctors of MAH Doctors would read. In it I discuss setting up a national non-profit health care with the objective of removing all profit from health care, which I believe to be a necessary first step to real reform. The letter is on Google Docs at:

    http://docs.google.com/View?id=dcgz45p6_32cpg6w9c8

  2. admin

    4shizzle,

    I don’t know who you think we are or what you think we represent…

    To the extent that we were opposed to this Health Care Bill, it was because it didn’t go far enough. The insurance companies maintain their central role in our dysfunctional delivery system. Though it does a few good things that turn our non-system in the direction of prevention, primary care, community clinics, and sanity, the Good Ship Health Care is still tethered to the Private Insurance Industry Armada of Tugboats that is literally dragging us to the precipice. It is a reorientation more than a real step.

    Speaking only for myself, had I been in Rep. Kucinich’s predicament, I too would have condemned the bill, held my nose and voted for it. Undeniably, there were huge POLITICAL considerations. To those that accuse the Democrats of passing a bad bill for political reasons, I would say, you can’t blame only the Democrats. The Republicans are equally to blame for creating the Political environment that resulted in the passage of a bill that probably isn’t going to solve the problem without a LOT more legislation. Both parties were bought off with campaign contributions from corporate interests

    Please look at our website with greater care and gain an understanding of what we advocate before “yelling” at us with profane language that even I reserve for more private venues with my buddies.

    best regard,
    Paul Hochfeld

  3. 4shizzle

    You Mad Doctor’s can jump in a lake. I’m glad you cant screw us around anymore,,Leave if you dont like the results.You and the Insurance Company’s were getting away with murder for too long.Crybaby’s…drum roll please,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,GO OBAMA

    (Administrators note: The above comment was edited to remove a word that might be offensive to some readers and violated our policy of only allowing emails that show a modicum of respect for people that come to different conclusions about the solution to our health care conundrum. He didn’t really tell us “to jump in a lake”. Use your imagination.)

  4. tony 2 doggs

    LOL,,,Yes thank you Obama…….HEALTHCARE :)

  5. Carla T

    Despair is not an option. Always move forward for what is right.

  6. Marcia Everett

    Please participate in the WHITE RIBBON MARCH
    http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/event.php?eid=349518434484&ref=mf

    and sign Alan Grayson’s petition
    http://salsa.mydccc.org/o/30019/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=17

    and sign Dennis Kucinich’s petition
    http://healthcare.kucinich.us/petition/

  7. Gerard Freisinger

    How do I get the MLK essay broadcast more widely. Say on Facebook.

  8. Steve

    “Were you somewhat more informed, you’d know that US license to practice medicine is invalid anywhere else (disasters are exempt).”

    Maybe you should be the one to be more informed. The time I spent in third world type conditions was practicing as a physician on medical missions. That’s where physicians volunteer their time and pay their way to provide medical care for people not as fortunate as us.

    You obviously have strong opinions (which is fine), but maybe you should leave out the personal attacks on people you don’t know.

  9. admin

    From Paul Hochfeld…

    I know that we all have more than enough to read than we can possibly read in one day. That said, Russel Mokhiber, one of the Baucus Eight, has written a scathing essay, “A Corporate Hijacking of the MLK Memorial?”. Here’s the link:

    http://www.singlepayeraction.org/blog/?p=2111

    Remember, what we are mad about isn’t just the sham of what some people are calling health care reform. We are mad about the corporations hijacking public policy for profits instead of public good. Russel makes a case that they have even hijacked MLK’s message and memory. Where will it end?

  10. EI Corn

    As an advocate of Medicare for All, everybody in-nobody out, it’s great to have such an impressive group of actual doctors getting mad as hell. But one artery in the blood flow of today’s current system must be staunched. We’ll get nowhere unless we literally cut out the heart of private insurers. I suggest bringing them all up on RICO charges. They’ve been running a racket using fear, fraud, blackmail and even a form of terrorism at the expense of those they rule. They are more in charge of our lives than doctors. It’s time to call all private medical insurers a monopoly as dangerous to our health as nicotine.

  11. JHAdams

    Thank you to all of you responsible for creating this website, I know it took a lot of time as well as money. It is a great way to help get your word out. It is so hard to be heard, educate the lay (and professional), and give people hope. Private health insurances used to serve a vital role and were a great ally back in the 40s and 50s when they were conceived and developed. But that has changed as they merged with Wallstreet – taking on a fiduciary responsibility to serve shareholders rather than healthcare – and recently becoming ravenous and heartless. The scales have tipped to them being more enemy than ally. They have begun a war, and people don’t realize it – the weapons being pens and propoganda, and money. Again, thank you for your recent battle – driving to D.C. If you ever need a Missouri cousin to saddle up and do battle with you – let me know.

  12. admin

    Dr. Adams,

    I appreciate your candid comments that come from years of experiencing the health care system from inside the heart of the dragon. Your video “healthcare reform 101 – bloodmoney, part 2 final” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlRQhaL9Zl4) is a valuable contribution to the debate and I recommend it to anyone who wants to spend 10 minutes working on understanding some of the subtleties in the chaos that we call a system.

    carry on!

  13. admin

    The Daily Show brings us a light-hearted look at the Repubican’s reluctance to engage in a public, televised, unscripted discussion about our health care crisis and an ironic view of the Hawaii’s forty year successful experiment in universal health care:

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-february-11-2010/the-apparent-trap

    You may have to sit through a 30 second commercial. Small sacrifice.
    It is also available by going to “Fun Videos”.

  14. JHAdams

    No true healthcare reform can take place until there has been an initial pivotal change to our insurance system. Implementing a single payer system and purging the 1000+ private health insurances from the forefront of our system is the main first step. Wellpoint, Cigna, United, Aetna, and Humana report a combined total of $12.2 billion in profit for 2009 – which does not include the tens of millions paid to just their CEOs in either salary or stock options – or the millions spent lobbying / compromising our congress – or the untold money spent on wasted buisiness between the fragmentation of a thousand(+) different payers – or the unnecessary money paid lawyers trying to cover their unethical practices (such as insurance rescissions) & fending off lawsuits from angry harmed customers, etc – or unnecessary millions spent on underwriting / fighting with health professionals over precertifications / marketing / paying off multimillion dollar settlements over illegal practices / etc, etc, etc. And this is just the top 5 companies – there are over a thousand of them out there. Can you imagine all the healthcare that could be funded from this money alone?! Plus there is a massive savings to be had if health payments were increased to reasonable levels (see my youtube video “healthcare reform 101 – bloodmoney, part 2 final”. Then once true reform starts taking shape – and hopefully there will be a virtual reform movement . . . the quality of care and eventual savings will build and build. The benefit to our citizens will be massive. The benefit to our economy will be massive.

  15. As a nation of individual citizens is it not conceivable that we can take our money out of the Insurance game and form a Health Co-operative. I believe that our government is failing us. OK, here is how I figure it. In the last 20 yrs approx $400,000 has been paid for 2 avg adults. We have been reimbursed approx. $8,000 in 20 years and most of that was for dental.
    We pay and pay but regular visits come out of deductible so rarely go to Dr for check-ups. I don’t pretend to have all the answers but the system is broken and it is not for lack of money in my opinion. ~`jUDY~`

  16. David

    Thanks for pursuing this issue in this fashion.

    Having lived abroad for many years, and experiencing other countries’ health care systems, I lend my testimony that they are superior to what’s available in the USA.

    I don’t know what the previous poster’s (Justin) experience is with the service in other countries, but my experience is that the customer experience is superior in those countries in which I have lived.

    What’s troublesome to me is that, as an American, I wish better for my country. If I had no patriotic pride, I wouldn’t care. But I do; and therefore, I wish you all the best in your efforts.

  17. Thank you all for speaking up and finally beginning what should already exist as we were promised; “Real Government Transparency.” You are proving that real people’s voices matter, for all of us. We sincerely thank you for opening this door for those whome our own (WA) state Government from the top official to bottom hourly workers. You could be saving lives every day this site, your voices, and other efforts continue to shed light on the corrupt. There are more than 10,000 citizens of WA State who’ve suffered at the hands of too many Chiefs in WA = government knowingly, unethically,
    and criminally taking “TOO MUCH MONEY” from providers, employers, injured workers, disabled workers, and beneficiary(s) of deceased families of WA workers.” The10,000 of WA Citizens found violated by this crime ring were only within one decade of WA Government, there are many, many more thousands from 1973 to present. U Tube-injured workers of WA dying @ hands of State Government theft. http://www.citizensrepresentingcitizens.org

  18. linda

    Right, Steve. I have spinal stenosis and other spinal problems. My upper spine blocked in Ellensburg, WA in December. The snow was high, freezing over, and it was a dark night. The local hospital informed me that if i wanted anybody to help me , I am to drive 40 miles one way (by myself) on dark and curvy road to hospital in Yakima. The fact that I could not move my head, was in throbbing pain and could not concentrate meant nothing. They left me to deal with it on my own.
    By comparison all the EU countries that I had similar problem in (it’s a long term problem) sent an ambulance and treated me within 30 minutes- including the drive.

    This October Kaiser’s “breast surgeon” told me that breast cancer does not hurt- which is a lies, Kaiser refused to provide me with ultrasound to clarify what are the “changes: in my breast tissues are because” ulrasound does not help to determine what kind of mass it is”. Lie. All studies confirm that is precisely what ultrasound does.

    Ultrasound’s cost , as determined in EU, is 22,50 Euros, yet private insurances in US charge Medicare $80-90 per one crying that they are underpaid. That is what makes Medicare expensive- private business greed.

  19. linda

    Were you somewhat more informed, you’d know that US license to practice medicine is invalid anywhere else (disasters are exempt).

    The system in all developed countries (37) is better, more efficient, faster and provides higher quality care, not only because it is non-profit but also because the control aims at results- healthy patients leaving the facilities insted of saving money while killing people as the USA does.

  20. robert mason

    I heard a spokesman on the radio yesterday. Single pay makes perfect sense. Thanks for fighting for all of us..

  21. Kenneth Shull

    Today 9 Feb 2010, I heard one of your representatives talking on Portland, OR radio station KPOJ.
    You were talking about how our politicians are self serving and are so much involved in the overly expensive process of getting re-elected that they spend much of their time and attention on special interest contributors agenda/priorities rather than their constituent’s needs.

    My suggestion:

    The house and senate candidates need BIG amounts of money to get elected/re-elected.
    They can hardly resist the temptation to take the BIG amounts of money offered by special interest groups.
    In payback, they legislate PORK projects and vote for appropriations ( money) to fund projects and programs, or pass laws, that favor the special interest groups. “You scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours”.

    The people WE vote into office to serve “OUR” needs and preferences are NOT serving us, – - but instead are serving the interests of the special interest groups.

    I would suggest a possible solution:
    The FCC (Federal Communication Committee) licenses all TV and Radio transmissions ( including mine – I’m a Ham Radio Operator ).

    Every FCC License is granted with the caveat that each licensee will do “Public Service” and provide emergency and community services.

    Since our prospective politician candidates need Big amounts of money for their campaigns ( mostly TV, and radio ads ), I suggest a new law to prohibit them from taking any money from anyone.

    Their campaign ads should be broadcast by the TV and radio networks for FREE.

    It’s the networks’ public duty; in fact an obligation, in payment for their free access to the taxpayer’s airways ( radio and TV broadcast bands ).

    Question: does it seem fair to CHARGE millions of dollars for our political candidate’s campaign ads, when the TV and radio networks actually PAY millions of dollars for the rights to NBA, NFL, NHL sport events.
    Something is kind-of backwards there – don’t you think ?

    We need to clean the corruption from our political processes; for the sake of our country, our grandchildren and our way of life.

    As a last resort, an alternative might be to return to the good old days of “Tar and Feathers”, that might work !!

    Or, as my good friend always says: ” Just put all the congressmen inside a corral and then pick out one of the most obvious scoundrels; – - and then string him/her up from the closest tree.
    He concludes by saying: ” You wouldn’t have to do that very many times, before you regained their attention !!!!”

  22. Thanks for your dedication.

    I am behind you all the way. I think we need to have a single payer or medicare for everyone.

    Keep up the good work.
    Sandra

  23. admin

    Paul Hochfeld replies.

    Your comments about “language” and “talking down” are spot on. Language is important. Ditto you comments about backing our numbers with references. Thanks for the reminder.

    As for the suggestion that we believe that those who don’t agree with us are “evil”, you need to find a different target. As you can see, those who present their arguments respectfully are welcome to contribute. Those who respond disrespectfully will not find their comments on our website WHETHER OR NOT they agree with our perspective.

    Intelligent adults sometimes just agree to disagree. At the heart of the disagreement are usually different life experiences that result in different core values. What is really interesting is to go deeper and explore the core values. In the case of health care reform, some people just don’t seem to trust the government to do anything right. Those of us who advocate for publicly funded, privately delivered health care, don’t think we have any choice but to make the government do the right thing… just like the other developed countries of the world. We are the outlier.

  24. S Dunn

    There are so many well-stated and fact-filled comments above. What needs to happen next is some non-violent protest – the kind that the media can’t ignore, and that means big numbers of people. How can the Tea Party people get it together, but we cannot? I know why – they are corporately funded.

    I can’t get to D.C., but I can protest at home in Portland, OR. We need to organize – as a full time teacher it is hard to find the kind of time that is needed, but I would show up to a protest if I could.

  25. Charlene Richards

    Hi Paul,

    I am wondering if there is a coalition effort right now among all the various single payer groups to get “Medicare for All” on the agenda for the Democratic/Republican Party Healthcare Summit coming up Thursday, February 25th, 2010 in D.C. I believe it is to be held at The Blair House?

    Obama has made it clear that he is welcoming “ALL IDEAS” to be put on the table.

    That magic “someone” should be doing what ever he/she/they can do to create a simple package showing how a “Medicare for All” system would function in this country, particularly a blueprint for “how it would be paid for” etc.

    I realize one could say, “Well, everyone already knows about Conyers H.R. 676 and the Sanders bill in the Senate”. That may all be well and good. I still think it would behoove all the single payer groups, including PNHP, to create a package for the event attendees/White House and to accompany that package with press releases/packages to all major media outlets and to also organize a contingency of doctors and nurses and others who support “Medicare for All” to have a physical presence at the Summit meeting. (Brrrrr…..)

    Now is the time to organize all this! The event is only about two weeks away!

    Charlene Richards, R.N.
    Member, PNHP

  26. Josh G.

    Steve J,

    A key insight that you may appreciate into the primitive, emotion controlled mind of “bubba” is that he doesn’t really like being talked down to by conceited elitists. The idea of a single payer system has definite merit but you guys aren’t going to get anywhere unless you start acknowledging that people can disagree with you for reasons other than their being evil incarnate and/or braindead. I’m not going to enter into the debate here since I am neither a doctor nor of above average knowledge on the subject but I just thought that it would be helpful for you to know how you sound to the average person looking for some information. You would also be a lot more effective if you posted direct links when you site statistics, I know this makes a simple post a lot more work, but it really would add a lot of legitimacy to your rebuttals.

  27. Jeff

    BRAVO!!!!
    Thank you for the break down of taxpayer dollars into the Health Care system. I heard you this morning on the Randi Rhodes show which prompted me to your website. Your tax payer dollar breakdown of the current system is powerful information. I will do what I can to inform the public.

  28. connie brockway

    I’m listening to your conversation with Nicole Sanders on Radio 1150 in Orange County Calif. I’m glad to know you are other doctors are out there. Also the pediatrician and her group who were arrested in Wash. D.C. when they went to give input. I did hear you say that perhaps a Constitution Convention could be required. I hope not, as the framers of our Constitution were not corporate persons they were people who had the best at heart and as Benjamin Franklin told a woman waiting outside the convention when she asked — what have you given us and he said A Constitution ma’am and it is now up to you to keep it. Words to that effect.

  29. Nicole Eustice

    One thing that may convince people is the sheer complexity of figuring out insurance benefits. My husband, 36, has End Stage Renal Failure. He received a transplant two years ago. Medicare will cover a good deal of these expenses, but he is also covered under my employer’s Blue Cross plan. Since this has all happened, we have received uncountable bills, explanations, questionnaires, phone calls, and even collection calls because no one can figure out what is happening with his coverage. First medicare was primary, and then after exhausting phone calls Blue Cross was primary, now medicare is again, and then there is Health Spring, and add into the mix the actual financial arm of the hospital. We even go directly to this group at the hospital to try to make sense of all the contradictory mail and THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT’S HAPPENING EITHER. They tell us not to mind the collection calls, because what they are trying to collect “should be covered.” YES, IT SHOULD BE.

    It deteriorates our quality of life. This is one of the main problems with our current healthcare system. Because profit is involved, it is intensely frustrating to figure out exactly what is happening between insurance companies, hospitals, and government. You’d thing the medication and surgery would be most traumatic, but far from it, it’s the unending mystery of who will cover what when.

  30. Steve J

    Hochfeld convinced me, but then I was already convinced, and have been for 20 years or so! These arguments are preaching to the choir. What is needed is how to reach bubba, and bubba does not use reason – he uses emotion, which the right so effectively uses, from Reagan on down. Check out Rush Limbaugh (but not too soon after eating). He and the other right wing multi-millionaire buffoons are very effective at making the stump-broke lumpen like what they get. We need to attack their strength with scorn and ridicule and not worry about finesse.

    Incidentally, if we merely reduced our costs to the OECD developed countries average (half of what we spend) we could fully fund ‘Medicare for All’ with no new taxes, and probably add dental care to boot!

  31. admin

    from Paul Hochfeld…
    Steve,

    In the end, we might agree to disagree, but we’ll have some respectful fun along the way. Let me take you on a little trip.

    Already, 60% of all our health care dollars come directly or indirectly (because employers insurance premiums are tax deductible) from the taxpayer. The care of our oldest neighbors are financed by Medicare, i.e. the taxpayers. The care of our disabled neighbors is financed by Medicaid. Ditto the care of our poorest neighbors who, because health follows wealth, are also at greater risk of high expense. Fourteen hundred insurance companies, at significant expense, stratify the rest of the population by “risk”. Their top-secret formula results in them covering the employed people, small groups, and individuals who can prove that they are at low risk. What about the others? When those who can’t afford the premiums get sick, go bankrupt, and can’t pay their bills, “we” all pay for it in higher charges. Furthermore employer-paid premiums are tax deductible which means insurance company profits are subsidized by the taxpayer.

    As near as I can tell, this is a big taxpayer rip-off. Additionally our non-system is fraught with numerous perverse incentives that result in more care, but not necessarily better care. Physicians must share a significant part of the blame here, but that’s a discussion for another thread. Addressing the perversities is problematic because we don’t have a Health Care System we have For-Profit Sick Care Non-System that, to extent that it has any design at all, is designed to serve the for-profit insurance and the pharmaceutical companies. Perverse incentives work for those who profit from them. They don’t work for patients or those who pay the bills, i.e., taxpayers.

    Single payer would mean one risk pool. We gather all the money that employers and individuals are already paying for health care. It’s not more money. It’s the same money, it’s already being spent on health care, but by pooling it, we can save 20% right off the top. Furthermore think of the savings in office staff if you got paid the same for every equivalent service, without negotiating conversion factors with every payer? You only have to send your bills, electronically, to one place. And when you see a patient passing through town, you can access her medical record in Iowa. None of this is going to be accomplished until we have Public Health Authorities administering a health care SYSTEM with the goal of health, financed publicly and delivered privately.

    This isn’t pie in the sky. Check out what the other developed countries are doing. Anecdotes aren’t helpful. We have 45,000 new anecdotes every year that illuminate how real or perceived financial barriers to timely, appropriate care cause unnecessary death.

    The real question is whose “system” produces the most health, the least number of unnecessary deaths, and least unnecessary suffering for the dollars being spent. Yes, other contries have problems because of limited resources, but they are dealing with the problems maturely, they are making difficult decisions, and, by recognizing that health is a human right, they are getting a healthier population for less cost.

    Is access to essential, appropriate health care a human right? If not we can agree to disagree. If so, it is a legitimate function of our government to make sure that nobody fall through the cracks. If so, doesn’t the government have a fiduciary responsibility to make sure the taxpayer is getting value for its health care dollars? Insurance company CEO’s have a fiduciary responsibility to maximize profits even if it mean investing large sums of money in manipulating public policy. And, that’s exactly what they are doing. It’s unfathomable to me that some people distrust “The United States” more than United Health Care. That may be where we end up agreeing to disagree.

    In any case, the taxpayer is being ripped off, big time.

  32. Steve

    BTW, I don’t mean to belittle your efforts, in fact, I applaud them. Even though, I disagree with how you propose to overhaul the medical system, I still respect your opinions.

  33. Steve

    The only reason medicare is surviving is because of the higher reimbursement rate that physicians and hospitals are getting from private payers. Without the higher reimbursement rate from other payers, I know I couldn’t survive. Most doctors (primary care and surgical) limit the amount of medicare they see, because of the low rate of reimbursement. How many medicare patients do you guys see? How many unfunded patients do you see?

    Medicare spending is currently growing at an unsustainable rate. Again, how do you propose to pay for your plan (oh, that’s right from medicare savings)? Sorry you can’t have quality, accessibility, and affordability. Somethings gotta give. Like I said in my original statement, there are problems with our system, but a government run system (medicare) isn’t working now.

    Also who is the American Academy of Physicians? If you mean the American Academy of Family Physicians, your stat only represents a small segment of the total physicians. Also 17,000 physicians in your organization represents about 5% of the total number of physicians.

  34. Eugene Uphoff

    Steve: Let me begin by saying that NO medidal system provides everything to everyone with complete satisfaction. With that out of the way, let’s look at four measures of success for medical systems. These are Access, Results, Cost and Satisfaction. Sadly, our private industry coverage scores low on all four. Since others have addressed the first three issues, let me focus on the issue of consumer satisfaction. The October 2008 Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey by the U.S Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality interviewed over 450 thousand Americans from all 50 states and found that 62% of adults with commercial insurance rated their doctors at “9 or 10″ whereas 74% or Medical recipients rated their doctors at this level. Also, Medicare patients rated their healthcare at “9 or 10″ 56% of the time whereas only 47% of those with commercial insurance scored it that high. Health plan ratings were even more telling: 59% of Medicare patients thought their health plan was very good or excellent (9 or 10) but only 36% of adults with commercial insurance rated their coverage that high. Let’s face it, those of us with commercial carriers will always understand that despite the advertising and PR, these plans will put the bottom line before anything else including our health. Now that’s a fine way to run a business but it’s a terrible way to decide who should live and who should die. As an aside, our own Veteran’s Administration system consistently scores higher than HMOs and private carriers on measures such as diabetes control, hypertension managment and use of beta blockers after MI. As Americans, we all deserve better.
    Eugene Uphoff, MD
    Mad As Hell Doctor
    Portland, Oregon

  35. admin

    steve,

    you “can’t believe it”, but it’s true. You ought to look around and read the large number of peer reviewed papers published in NEJM, the JAMA, the Archives of Int Med that all show the data on why we are the step child of the developed world in health care. Your anecdotes don’t impress because more US citizens leave the U.S. to obtain health care elsewhere than come here for care by far, orders of magnitude. Fourty five thousand people died in 2008 for lack of insurance. A half million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy because of medical bills they couldn’t pay. The rest of the world is laughing at us because nowhere else does anyone lose their financial solvency and their lives because of medical care bills or inability to get good care. I’ve practiced primary care medicine for 39 years and I’ve been around the block. the American Academy of Physicians realizes we need to consider this shift in funding and that coincides with the polls showing 55% of docs support a national health insurance program to cover all and shut down the cost inflation and chaos that insurance companies foist on everyone, including us. You may have trouble believing any of this, but it’s still the truth and that’s also why there are 17,000 doctors in our organization, the Physicians for a National Health Program. What is your field of practice and who do you work for that none of your own colleagues have brought you into the fold.

  36. Steve

    As a practicing physician for 20 years, I can’t believe that other physicians want a “medicare for all”. Medicare is a bloated government program that is barely functioning. Now I’m not saying that our system is perfect- far from it. However, throwing out WHO statistics that rank us just above Cuba is misleading. Statistics only tell a certain amount of truth. For example, it is a well known fact that african-american women have a higher infant mortality rate than caucasions- irregardless of socioeconomic levels.

    As someone who has worked in other countries (albeit in 3rd world countries), I feel that our level of care in this country is extremely high. Also, I had a personal situation which made me realize how high our general medical care is. My friend (a physician) was skiing in Canada when his son had an accident and struck his head and had a loss of consciousness. They were in Kelowna (the 3rd largest city in BC) and were told that the only CT scanner in the city was broken and the closest CT scanner was in Kamloops, a 3 hr drive away. If the kid had an epidural hematoma, he likely would have suffered the same fate as Natasha Richardson (wether she would have died if she was in Vail is another topic).

    Yes there are problems with our system, but to paraphrase our President, instead of taking out a hatchet to the medical system, doesn’t it make sense to take out a scalpel? Address the issues that make our system work and address the issues that don’t work. Tort reform, insurance companies (Blue Cross with 180 million in profits and the CEO making 4 million), and the general costs of running an office all need to be addressed.

    I’m not willing to trust the government to run our medical care. Have you guys forgotten what it’s like to work at the VA or at a county hospital? Also, how do you expect to pay for this one payer program? I don’t know about you guys, but if I relied on medicare/medicaid payments, I would have to close shop.

  37. Marc sapir

    Mary,

    Go to it and good luck. Here is what I know is going on concerning the approach you mention. In CA the State 1-Care coaltion (I’m not sure if that’s the right name but you can get to them via http://www.californiaonecare.org will be airing web videos with famous actors beginning, I believe in March. Elliot Gould, the actor, is coordinating the enlistment of many well known TV and screen actors. They hope to have a different video airing daily across the net and perhaps in some other media. I don’t know who is doing the fundraising and whether they have some deep pockets people to try and do something as ambitious as you propose. As far as music there are more professional and amateur musicians writing great songs on this issue than you can shake a stick at. But I haven’t heard anything as dynamic as the Mad as Hell Doctor’s Bob Wickline. Bob’s songs can be accessed through http://www.madashelldoctors.com and his material is public domain as long as you attribute him. He and the MAHDs have put together 30 and 60 second ads with his music and some voice overs that are beginning to run in media venues in Oregon. You can get to Bob through his own website, which I think you’ll find on the Mad as Hell Doctors website. All power to you and yes, we need coordination and yes we need a new national civil rights movement.

    Marc

    Marc Sapir MD, MPH
    510-848-3826
    marcsapir@gmail.com

  38. Corinne Zichelli

    I want to know if there are any doctors in Arizona who belong to your organization? Because that is who I want to receive medical care.

  39. Mary Kenney

    For months now I have been a member of a local group advocating the Single Payer, Medicare for All for health reform. I am the owner of three health and vitamin stores and have been handing out flyers and talking to people about the movement. Daily I am amazed that almost no one has heard of Single Payer. When the concept is explained to them, they are all 100% for it. The only resistance I encounter is when I tell them this is what Canada has, the response is that 90% of the Canadians do not like their system and they come to the US for care. You can recognize that the propaganda being put out by the opposition has reached them, while the truth has not. This is what bothers me the most. The lies and liars are getting their message across, while we simply are reaching practically no one.

    Several weeks ago I attended a conference of Health Care Now in St. Louis. This is just one of the movements for Single Payer in the country. Three things struck me from this conference. First, there are too many small groups. Granted we are all working for the same thing, but yet we are not heard loudly enough. Second, legislation by our government happens only when BIG voices with lots of money hold the legislators feet to the fire. Third, legislation for the good of the people often happens only after demonstration. We would not have the civil rights legislation that we have today were it not for the civil rights movement.

    Folks; we; you, me and the citizens of this country have a problem. We have people out there going bankrupt, suffering and dying because we are the only civilized nation in the world that is not taking care of a very basic human need; health care. Health care has a broad meaning. It means body, mind, teeth and eyes from the day we are born until the day we pass from this earth. Care, not contracted by the wealthy insurance companies with limits and loop holes or pharmaceutical companies looking for the largest profits they can take, but from a controlled sustainable process that puts the majority of the money back into caring for all of us.

    Finally I am to the crux of the matter. While I was at that conference, it became clear to me what we need is one HUGH, GIGANTIC( legislators and BIG, rich voices be damned) educational demonstration made to the American public to get them off their over-fed, over-indulged, over-weight bottoms.

    How do we do that? How do we reach the public in one humungous thump on the head wake up call? The answer is obvious, television. When a large group of celebrities and musicians wanted to awaken people to world hunger, they staged an hour long TV show with its own song, stage full of well known faces and education to the fact of world hunger. Money poured in, but more than that people learned there was a problem.

    What I propose is doing a Medicare for All one half to one hour show on TV featuring a catchy song written by a big name musician or two and as many celebrities as can be lined up to sing and even talk. It would include education as to what Medicare for All means to every one of us and endless information and examples of the horrors of the current system as there is time for. We must push people into action, by having them call, write and confront their congress persons and senators.
    Obviously this is a big undertaking. But if the right people who believe in this, with the right abilities could be lined up to produce the show, we could win the battle of Medicare for All in one hour.

    Is there anyone receiving this letter who has the contacts with people and finances willing to start the ball rolling? We don’t have lots of time. We need to get this process moving. The people of this country can’t wait for four years for help. They need it now!!

    Since I wrote the above letter, the earthquake in Haiti has happened. It took less than two weeks for people to come together to stage a telethon to raise money. Could we not find someone to do the same thing, not to raise money, but to educate the people of this country to put pressure on the government to institute Single Payer?

    Mary Kenney
    5628 Birch Street
    Roeland Park, Kansas 66205
    (913)362-6767

    mlkenney75@yahoo.com

  40. vipasha Bhatt

    I sincerely wish that universal child health care is the first to come to the table . Perhaps that is a sign that we are a civilized and progressive nation. Is there anyhope for President Obama to consider this even inthe current climate of Congress, with Dems losing out quickly??

  41. Ben H.

    Justin, you’re entitled to your own opinion. You’re not entitled to your own facts.

    The World Health Organization ranks us #37, two steps up from Cuba. America’s annual per person health expenditures are about twice what anyone else spends. Our 45 million uninsured citizens have radically restricted access to care, and so the spending on the median insured American is much higher. Canada, France, Great Britain, and Germany all cover their entire populations, and they do so for far less money than we spend. Indeed, Canada, whose system is the most costly of the group, spends only 52 percent per capita what we do.

  42. This is a golden opportunity for the Congressional Progressive Caucus to take charge of Health Care Reform! But will they blow it by falling for the corporate Democrats call to pass the Senate version and later we can fix it!

    Now that Coakley has lost, if Obama and Democrats still want Health Care Reform, the Blue Dogs can swallow their corporate paid pride and vote to expand Medicare to cover everyone. It only needs a 51 vote majority and a relatively simple change in the existing Medicare legislationof over 40 years!

    It can be implemented within the year before 2010 elections. Republicans will not be able to run against it, or they will loose, as most (80% of seniors, liberal and conservative support Medicare) of the population will gladly support Medicare health care coverage with all its good benefits at much less cost where you pay into it based solely on your income! Then Congress should work to improve Medicare to have coverage like that of HR676.

    Progressive Democrats can be heros of American people and will have more progressive influence on other issues in the future! Will they rise to the occassion and be more progressive than Democrat!

  43. Renee

    Dear Justin,

    How can epidemiology exist without government support and funding? We are the government. We can elect our representatives in or out of government. We have no such options if our health care monies are mismanaged by the for-profit insurance companies chosen by our employers. Medicare is managed by the government very well compared to the for-profit insurance companies.

    I am a Mad-as-Hell Mom sick of being forced to switch insurance companies every year every time my husband gets laid off by his corporate employers. I have no health care freedom in America right now. When you have little or no money in America, you have no freedom. If you are born lucky (i.e. with a high math/science aptitude or with inherited family wealth) you have more opportunities in America.

  44. Charlotte

    Paul is so correct, Justin. The current system is totally unequal and unfair. You will see this as you progress in your career. I’ve been in medical care for 37 years and only see more inequality as time progresses.

    Good luck to you, we need more “socialism” like roads, public education and libraries. Government is not the source of our problems!

  45. R J MORGAN

    Justin,
    You’re in training to be a physician and I wish you well. You seem pretty sure of yourself though for someone who has barely got his toe in the water.
    As a practicing primay care physician for the last 27 years, I would like to suggest you read T.R Reid’s recent book entitled “The Healing of America…”
    Try to keep an open mind when you read this book. One of my favorite professors in surgery years ago used to say, ” You know you can be wrong your entire life.”

  46. admin

    A reply from Paul Hochfeld…..

    Justin,

    I live in this country and deeply care about us having a health care system that gives us the most health (and least suffering) we can achieve with the absurd amount of money we are spending. We don’t have a health care system. We have a sick care non-system, fraught with perverse incentives that drive up costs (and profits) without producing more health.

    Every other developed country starts the discussion with the concept that access to appropriate, timely care is a human right AND it is a legitimate function of Government to accomplish this. As a result, they do a better job of keeping people healthy and caring for chronic conditions. They get better results at half the cost.

    We don’t have the best health care system in the world. Granted, if I have a lot of resources and I have a serious problem, this is where I want to be. On the flip side, if I am an average person of average means (which is most of us), this is NOT the place I want to be when the crap shoot of life results a bad disease or injury that few of us can afford and predictably leads to bankruptcy. Yes, I might get the care that I need, but I might lose everything in the process. OR, worse yet, I might avoid the care that I need because of cost and end up dying of what might otherwise not be fatal…. just like 45,000 other people who die in this country every years because of financial barriers to appropriate care.

    The average person in those countries wouldn’t even think about swapping what they have with what we have.

    This gets at the heart of the issue. Is the goal of our health care system to provide for the health of the community or to provide great profits in caring for those get very ill while putting little resources into keep them well in the first place?

    And what is the role of health insurance companies? They spend lots of resources stratifying the population into high and low risk groups, make profits (often with taxpayer subsidies) covering those at low risk and leave the high risk groups (the old, the poor, the disabled) to be financed by the taxpayer. If we had one giant risk pool, and one set of rules, we could save 20-30% right off the top… then we would have a “system” with which we could deal with the other drivers on cost and have some difficult discussions about the fact that we have nearly unlimited demand for limited resources.

    That’s another discussion.

    As for your concerns about socialism. We have public financing of education, police, fire, and infrastructure. It’s not socialism… and if it is, it’s a good thing we have it. The alternative is chaos and people suffering unnecessarily.

  47. Justin

    Anything wrong with the current system is due to government interference. Any doctors actually involved in this organization are definitely mad. Mad as a hatter. Stop trying to destroy America with your wrong thinking. If you love the inefficient socialized systems in other countries so much, why don’t you practice there?

    Justin
    Student Doctor, Class of 2012
    Epidemiologist
    former financial planner

  48. Judy

    Dear Mad as Hell Doctors,
    First of all – THANK YOU for all you have done and continue to do on behalf of all Americans. I would like to ask if there might be some way to join efforts w/all the other champions for health care reform. Seems that there are so many that folks get overwhelmed and are not sure which one to join/support, and the MILLIONS of us who are fighting every day for health care reform do not have a ‘base’ to go to. I think the cause would be better-served and stand more chance to be heard by the legislators if we were all in ‘one camp’ so to speak.
    Again, thank you! Please keep up the fight…we need you now more than ever!
    With hope for my grandchildren,
    Judy, Columbiana County, OH

  49. Robert Goldman

    Grassroots pressure is the way. Keep up the fight.

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