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. The fraudulent withholding of nationally recognized medical treatment following development of a medical condition for which treatment is costly and chronic is a little-publicized scandal and one that must be addressed in any healthcare changes. An ongoing example of this, as it is affecting a senior citizen with HMO Kaiser Permanente, suddenly diagnosed with Stage III kidney cancer–and who himself is caregiver for another senior wiith Stage IV esophagus cancer, can be found at http://www.defraudingamerica.com/kaiser_permanente.html.

  2. Scott Buck

    H. Ron Hartman – Really? You should break the pills in half before you take them.. I mean come on man.. You have some sensible ideas certainly, but you are basically saying that only the rich should survive.
    Everyone in my family has worked hard all their lives – 2, 3, 4 jobs at a time sometimes, to make ends meet. It’s mostly about starting points in life..you are either born rich or you are not. It’s not a choice or a “responsibility” as you call it.
    And as for the insurance companies, are you kidding me? They are some of the worst crooks in history. They take your premiums all your life and then make it a practice to turn down your claims 5 times in a row, trying to just make you quit trying, before the finallya come through.

    As for social security, you also have no clue here.. Social Security is a pay it forward system. You and I are paying for the previous generations benefits (its not an entitlement..entitlement implies you did not earn it) anyone who gets social security checks has already paid for the previous generations benefits and deserves to have theirs paid for by the next generation. Its just how it works..
    If you suddenly say that your soc security contribution goes to only YOUR benefits you are screwing the previous generation out of benefits that they earned already. Who pays for their benefits?
    If you want to change the system you have to do it gradually, not with an ax.

    and please, take a chill pill..you are gonna bust a vein and then we all have to pay for your hospital bill..

    Scott

  3. https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petitions#!/petition/replace-affordable-care-act-hr-676/GzrHpdWW

    Please support H.R. 676. Sign this petiton..then share, share, share, share…

  4. H Ron Hartman

    I sent MANY SUGGESTIONS to many politicians – at various times – including Doggett (D-TX) on tax reforms. Here are some of my ideas regarding reforms to get Medicare for all – that let the insurance companies skim off the cream while the government does the heavy lifting on health care reform (you cannot just cut out these pigs at a trough all at once and completely, without campaign finance reform and a host of other measures simultaneously enacted):

    HEALTHCARE IN THE CORPORATE CONFEDERACY OF AMERICA . . . . . INSTEAD OF “OBAMACARE” . . . . .
    “TEXICAN” . . . . . A “MAN-UP” HEALTH SYSTEM – OF, BY AND FOR RESPONSIBLE HARD-WORKING CITIZENS ONLY !!!
    1. WE ARE A “FOR PROFIT” NATION – IF YOU DO NOT LIKE IT, MOVE SOMEWHERE ELSE! AND DO IT NOW!

    2. NOBODY WILL REQUIRE YOU TO TAKE OUT OR MAINTAIN ANY INSURANCE ON YOURSELF OR YOUR FAMILY – IF YOU CANNOT POST BOND AT HOSPITAL ADMISSION GUARANTEEING YOU ARE GOOD FOR $100,000 – DIE! AND YOUR FAMILY WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO SUE ANYONE IN ANY COURT FOR MALPRACTICE OR NEGLIGENCE.

    3. IF YOU DIE – WE DON’T GIVE A DAMN AND IF SOMEONE IN YOUR FAMILY DIES FROM MEDICAL NEGLECT YOU WILL TAKEN OUT AND SHOT – YOU HAVE THE ULTIMATE FREEDOM OF CHOICE – BE RESPONSIBLE OR DIE.

    4. IN ORDER TO PROVIDE THE MAXIMUM PROFIT TO INSURANCE COMPANIES WITH THEIR MINIMUM EXPOSURE TO INITIAL PAPERWORK AND POTENTIAL LOSSES, THEY WILL BE PERMITTED TO OFFER ONLY INSURANCE CONTRACTS THAT PAY MEDICAL COSTS IN EXCESS OF $250,000 PER YEAR, BUT THEY WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO EXCLUDE ANYONE FOR ANY PREEXISTING CONDITIONS NOR TO RATE ANYONE UP BEYOND THEIR “STANDARD” RATES, WHICH MUST BE PREAPPROVED BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT – CALLED MEDICARE UNDER 65!

    5. THE FEDS OFFER YOU THE OPPORTUNITY TO INSURE YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY WITH THE GOVERNMENT THROUGH YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM, FOR THE FIRST $250,000 OF MEDICAL COSTS PER YEAR AT A STANDARD RATE FROM AGE 19 THROUGH 64 OF $3,000 PER YEAR, WHICH PREMIUMS WILL BE DEDUCTED FROM YOUR INTEREST-BEARING PERSONAL SOCIAL SECURITY ACCOUNT, IF YOU DO NOT PAY THEM THROUGH AN EMPLOYER OR DIRECTLY OUT OF YOUR CHECKING ACCOUNT. IF YOU LAPSE COVERAGE – REFER TO #2 & #3!

    6. TO ENCOURAGE YOU TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF, YOU WILL NOT BE PENALIZED FOR ANY GENETIC WEAKNESS INHERITED, NOR FOR BEING AN IGNORANT SLOB. INSTEAD YOU WILL BE REWARDED FOR TAKING AN ANNUAL PHYSICAL EXAM IF IT PROVES YOU DO NOT SMOKE, DRINK, OR HAVE ANY SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES AND ARE NOT MORBIDLY OBESE. THE DISCOUNTS FOR POSITIVE FINDINGS FROM YOUR $3,000/YEAR STANDARD PREMIUM WILL RANGE FROM 10% TO 60% DEPENDING ON THE CUMULATIVE POSITIVE FINDINGS.

    7. YOUR CHILDREN WILL BE CARED FOR BY THE GOVERNMENT SYSTEM AT NO COST TO YOU, PROVIDED THEY ARE ENROLLED IN THE NATIONAL YOUNG AMERICANS CLUBS AND THEY ATTEND SUMMER CAMPS AND ENROLL IN SUBJECTS AND MAINTAIN AT LEAST A 3.50 GRADE POINT AVERAGE ON RECOMMENDED CURRICULUM IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM. FOR THOSE NOT CHOOSING TO ENROLL, THE ANNUAL FEE PER CHILD WILL BE $1200. UPON GRADUATING FROM HIGH SCHOOL, THOSE WHO ENROLLED AND QUALIFY WILL BE MADE LIEUTENANTS IN THE NATIONAL MERIT CLUB, AND RECEIVE A 50% DISCOUNT ON ALL FURTHER ACADEMIC PURSUITS.

    8. THE SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM AFTER 2020 WILL CONSIST OF 20% OF YOUR GROSS WAGES GOING INTO YOUR PERSONAL ACCOUNT TO PAY FOR YOUR HEALTH AND LIFWE AND DISABILITY BENEFITS AND YOUR RETIREMENT AND FINAL EXPENSES. YOUR EMPLOYER WILL PAY NOTHING INTO YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY FUND – INSTEAD BOTH YOU AND YOUR EMPLOYER AND EVERYONE YOU TRANSACT ANY BUSINESS WITH, WILL PAY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT A “GROSS RECEIPTS TAX” DEDUCTED FROM EVERY DEPOSIT THEY MADE TO EVERY FINANCIAL ACCOUNT – EQUAL TO ½ 0F 1%. AS THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS NOW SO BROKE FROM ALL THE WARS AND BANK AND CORPORATE BAIL-OUTS FROM 2008 THROUGH 2015, 50% OF THESE “GROSS RECEIPTS” TAX MONIES WILL GO FIRST TO RETIRING THE DEBTS WE NOW OWE TO CHINA AND OPEC, BECAUSE WE BORROWED FROM THEM TO KEEP OUR GAS-GUZZLERS GOING, AND TO WAGE MANY STUPID WARS IN THE PRETEXT TO GIVE “THEO”-DEMOCRACY TO MUSLIMS WHO INSTEAD WANT A STATE-SANCTIONED RELIGION, WHILE WE DESPERATELY TRY IN VAIN TO MAINTAIN CONTROL OF THE WORLD’S DIMINISHING OIL RESERVES BEFORE CHINA DOES.

  5. AUGIE AUGENSTEIN

    I am so happy that someone in the medical field is as mad as I am about how Healthcare is rationed in this country. It is a privilege enhanced by the amount of money you have. I believe it should be a “Right” not a “Privilege’ enhanced by how much money you have. We need to join the rest of the industrial world and have a National Healthcare plan. Single Payer for All. The Insurance Cartel does nothing for Healthcare. They exist only to make a profit. Each dollar of profit is a dollar of denied healthcare. My healthcare should be a right and not tied to a job. Lets get a Single Payer or Improved Medicare for All. Another thing is during the Healthcare debated of a few years ago the CBO was scoring all these different plans. They never released a score for Single Payer, but I heard that it would score better than even the law that was passedl. I asked my Congress geek Paul Ryan to ask for the CBO to score Single Payer. You know where that request went. I wish I could ask for the CBO to score Single Payer. Medicare needs to be allowed to negotiate prices with drug companies, not just pay full price. Lets save real money.

  6. Russell Cohn

    Somehow money has to be removed from health care. It just doesn’t work philosophically, ethically or realistically. It’s as if someone put the defense contractors in charge of the Department of Defense or the oil companies in charge of the Department of Energy. Now that would be crazy!

  7. Clydeine

    Here is where I see the problems. Greed has overtaken this country. I dont think doctors are overpaid, I dont think nurses are overpaid, I DO think hospitals charge to much, I DO think pharmacutical companies charge to much, I DO think lab and Xray business charge to much, I DO think insurance companies charge way to much. My health insurance month $550 equates to slightly more than 1/3 of my monthly mortgage. My monthy cost of health insurance is about 2/3 of my annual car insurance and about the same as my annual home owner’s insurance. I use a total of about $2400 a year in prescriptions and medical care total. I pay $6600 in insurance that covers about half those expense. Why do I carry it, so if I was to get majorly ill I dont lose my house. I lived in Oregon when they put the Oregon Health Plan in. I think it’s a good start. I know a good number of Canadians and I have not heard one complain about their Health Care system. All like it. I dont have the answers, but I do know like most on here this system is totally broke. I want to take the insurance companies out of the mix. I want to see the containment of hospital, pharmacutical and medical equipment costs to a reasonable profit.
    Something has to change or by the time I am eligible for Medicare my health insurance that I dont use will be costing me over $1000 a month and that is not healthy!

  8. Helen Williams

    Rock on!

    As we age it becomes more and more scary. One illness or injury can put you into bankruptcy! Yikes. We need to be more responsible for our own health. We need preventative information from our doctors, and, we need to know that when we need care we can afford it.

    I hope we can work toward a single payer system, but have the uncomfortable feeling that we can’t “peicemeal” the needed changes.
    It takes too long and voters are fickle. Our system is so broken that I wonder if we can fix it…………or should we kill it and start over. Instituting changes that will not take place for years is risky. What we want now may not happen at all if we give our legislators too much time to pick away at it!

  9. Jerome Helman, M.D.

    The MAHD tour is a success and much appreciated by those it engaged. Planning the event in Venice was a labor of love and commitment to a charge larger than myself. I had the same inspiration as when I graduated medical school, the need to serve for the public good. The next step is sending the message to our fellow physicians, medical students, residents and other health care workers. Until we can get their attention and come on board the single-payer express, we are only singing in the wind. The most energized group at the Venice event were pre-meds from Cal State Long Beach. Their enthusiasm is still with me. We carry on the message. Yes, Paul and the other MAHD, it was worth it.

  10. Robin Wallace

    Greetings and a huge thank-you to Paul, Mike, Mark, Katy, Barb and Phil who came to Grass Valley/Nevada City and inspired this community on Monday evening at the packed full Nevada Theatre. There’s a buzz around town, a newly found comprehension of why a single payer health care system makes sense.
    People came to support the cause, or because they were curious Or because they were skeptical. I believe most of them came away better educated and many were fired up to join our chapter of HCA-CA. Onward!

  11. Esther Wanning

    Thanks very much, Paul, for the discussion on physician reimbursement. I have sometimes wondered if LESS pay for physicians might bring us better doctors. Perhaps it’s because of the oppressive workload, but I’ve met many doctors who simply don’t seem to be very curious or interested in what the problem is. I think this is less true now, but at least years ago the bright boys, often good at math and science, all wanted to be docs as it was prestigious and remunerative. But they really didn’t make very good docs as they weren’t too interested in people. Now, we have lots of women doctors, and the bright boys go into computers. Still, what do you think? If docs were paid less, do you think we’d get more who had as much heart as — nurses?

  12. M. L Young

    Chris, Thanks for your thoughtful questions. I enjoyed reading your questions. I always turn to the thoughtful scholars’ assessment of these kinds of issues at CATO.org. Check out “Talking Health Care Reform” by Michael Tanner from the CATO Institute. Wish you had been at the Stockton meeting.

  13. M. L Young

    We can all agree on the problems. I feel the solutions presented are somewhat myopic. Top 10 Reason # 10 ” Public Oversite” particulary concerns me. While you are concerned with Insurance company corruption, I am concerned by “public” i.e. government appointees, elected officials etc as administrators. I could site numerous examples of problems of graft and waste amongst “public representatives” and medicare fraud is well known but all one has to do is tune innto the nightly news.

    Chris Hansen wrote a thoughtful response above and I echo those concerns and points. I have provided services to the poor in the past but it was my choice when I did not charge.

    I have also been willing to say no thanks to my doctors quick decision to order laboratory tests or prescribe medications and I really prefer taking personal responsibility for my own health care and not being required to take responsibility for all.

  14. Sara

    I saw you in Arcata, CA and enjoyed the short animated film you included, especially the comparison of Firefighters to medical insurance. Unfortunately, the unthinkable has come to pass, as reported on Democracy Now today. Someone’s house burned to the ground while firefighters watched–because the owner hadn’t paid a $75 fee. So much for assumptions of taxes going toward the common good. Text below:
    Tenn. Fire Department Allows Home to Burn Down over Unpaid $75 Fee

    In Tennessee, a local fire department refused to put out a house fire last week because the homeowner had forgotten to pay $75 for fire protection from a nearby town. The firefighters showed up to the scene of the fire and then watched as the home of Gene Cranick burned to the ground. Cranick’s neighbors had paid the $75 fee, so when the fire spread across the property line firefighters took action, but only to save the neighbor’s property. The local mayor defended the actions of the firefighters. South Fulton Mayor David Crocker said, “Anybody that’s not in the city of South Fulton, it’s a service we offer. Either they accept it or they don’t.” On Monday, Gene Cranick appeared on Countdown with Keith Olbermann.
    Gene Cranick: “Everything that we possessed was lost in the fire. Even three dogs and a cat that belonged to my grandchildren was lost in it. And they could have been saved if they had been—they had put water on it. But they didn’t do it, so that’s just a loss.”
    Keith Olbermann: “When you all called 911, as I understand it, you told the operator you’d pay whatever was necessary to have the firefighters come put out and prevent the fire from spreading to your house. What was their response?”
    Cranick: “That we wasn’t on their list.”

  15. The choir needs to sing more loudly, so hopefully educating the choir will make them all better singers!

  16. admin

    Until we have something that resembles Single Payer, we won’t have the resources to clone ourselves. Seriously, we only have so much time. Thanks for your interest.
    Paul Hochfeld

  17. I live in Bay Point. I like to advertise my little town as “Exactly One Hour Away from Everything”. Including, it seems, EVERY STOP ON YOUR TOUR! Why is Contra Costa County being left out of the fun????

  18. Health Care for All-San Fernando Valley is very excited to welcome the MAHDrs to Burbank on 10/1! This is going to be one heck of a (Free!) event! http://bit.ly/HCAMAHD for more info or click through this site for the flyer, etc.!

  19. Jane Garland

    As an Air Force brat, I grew up with this government run healthcare. I went to the local clinic for basic services and if I needed something more complicated, I went to a base hospital either 40 or 90 miles away. I may have had to wait a few weeks to be seen but I was seen.
    To further inform yourselves…watch Frontline, “Sick Around the World” which “examines first-hand the health-care systems of other advanced capitalist democracies”
    Also, a side note of where the $ is …my husband works conventions & the only conventions that still spend without regard to budget or expense , even in this recession…Drug companies

  20. Barbara Saunders

    Despite my usual liberal leanings, I actually tend to think that a system where people paid out-of-pocket and providers competed would be a good one. (There could always be vouchers for poor people.)

    I do think there needs to be a universal, continuous true INSURANCE system. It makes absolutely no sense that a 50-year-old person who’s paid for insurance for 30 years can’t get coverage for, say, getting hit by a bus, because he’s lost his job and has, say, asthma or high blood pressure.

  21. Sorry, Lauren, that Marcia may have never seen your question and that no one else has taken the time and effort to provide you with an answer. Go here …
    http://www.mforall.org/pages/Answers#hr4789
    If you need more than the short answer, please select the link there that provides more information.
    – Bob

    P.S. If you want to make a significant contribution to achieving Improved Medicare for All, I suggest that you go to http://www.mforall.org

  22. Bradclif,

    There is some meat buried in your run-on sentences. I agree with you that self-serving physician behavior is a much bigger part of the problem than most people are willing to discuss, let alone, admit. Ditto patient irresponsibility. The perverse incentives to which you allude are real. Until some entity is charged with the responsibility to give the taxpayer (all of us) the most health we can appreciate for the limited funds available, we won’t be able to deal with the issues that you raise. That entity is whoever administers the single risk pool. That would be the single payer, which is ALL OF US.

    For an objective presentation of the perverse incentives, I refer you to “Health, Money and Fear” at http://www.ourailinghealthcare.com.

  23. admin

    Barbara,

    We do not have a “presence” on the East Coast per se. That said, Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) has a multitude of chapters on the east coast and you can find speakers for events by contacting your local group or PNHP- National at pnhp.org

    paul h.

  24. bradclif dicks md

    doctors whoring themselves to big pharma? one cannot have a decent conversation unless you present facts, not the usual rhetoric, and snide comments. health care reform involves complex issues, not just single-issue supporters like yourself. dangerous drugs: like Prozac, the AIDS medications, Viagra, penicillin(!), insulin, nitroglycerin, and on and on. oh..to have quality people with decent ideas would be excellent. but, no….we get the usual ‘intellectual’ hangers-on, who parrot all they read in the newspapers, and whine about the same damn things Pharma and Insurance. no talk about patient responsibility, life-style changes, preventive medicine[the backbone of medicine when i went to medical school; dragged down by self-absorbed patients["get a physical? all those doctors just want your money], 40% and more of whom do not take their medications, do not fill their prescriptions, even when covered by insurance, yada yada]

  25. Barbara

    Hi — a poster at Democratic Underground has brought your group
    to our attention. Is your group active at all in New Jersey?

    Quite the opposite coast!!

    Thank you —

    And, just as a PS … in reading some of the posts quite a few have
    yet to learn that today’s health care costs are unaffordable in the
    short and long term for any individual. Health Care Industry is
    setting profits even over 26% and more! Pharmaceutical companies
    have EVERY ONE OF THEM defrauded Medicare and paid fines for
    it, but none have been barred from any future business with
    the Medicare program! Our drug costs are many times above what
    other nations are paying. Thank you for your efforts!

  26. Betty in Vermont

    I am visiting Portland, Oregon, from Sept. 10 – 14 and am interested in networking with single payer folks to talk about what has worked in Vermont, how we got a kick-start when we were stalled, and how others could help those of us at the forefront by advocating for “state’s rights to innovate.” Help from across the country putting pressure on the feds to let us move forward with real reform would be invaluable.

  27. Jo in Arizona

    We need universal health care for everyone and we need it as soon as possible. Japan, Canada, France and just about every other civilized nation have it. Good for you going for single payer…. it gets closer.

  28. Chris Hansen

    I am happy with the de facto health care system. Just had my 1st colonoscopy – paid for it out of pocket ~$1100. Routine physicals plus blood tests run ~$450. The costs are contained: I want a service, I pay for it out of savings. I have the following concerns about SB 810:
    1. What are the market elasticities for health care supply and demand? If one makes health care free, how much more will be consumed? If Ca cannot afford to fully reimburse doctors for their services, how many will leave the profession to pursue something else? How much will services degrade?
    2. If a doctor can still be sued for malpractice, what disincentive exists to not perform excessive testing on a patient? For example, I had a 12yr old sebaceous cyst removed. The doctor insisted it go to a path lab for a report ~$350, despite my protest. I believe this was simply CYA medicine. How much does this remain a particular problem for American medicine relative to the rest of the world? How will it further affect the cost under single payer?
    3. Because single payer is expected to cost at least as much overall, there is an effort to shift the cost to those who can afford to pay more. For example, a 10% income tax on income below $200k. If I buy groceries, no one expects me to pay a percentage of my income. Why should it be different for health care? I don’t mind helping those truly in need, but I resent shifting the burden to a population with limited political vote to defend themselves from higher taxes. As costs rise, the political left in Ca will be tempted to take advantage of the “golden goose”. Wouldn’t imposing a fixed cost above a minimum income level better keep the political/economic feedback loop in place? If costs skyrocket, a majority of voters will demand change.
    4. Under gov’t run single payer, what prevents doctors from billing exaggerated services? The temptation is too great. Medicare already suffers from this.

    Thanks for your attention.

  29. Guy Fawkes

    Do you want real health care reform? Here’s a thought. Let me grow my own medicine (cannabis) and end this stupid Drug War. The Obama bill was nothing more than a bailout for the corporatists in the insurance industry and Big Pharma? If doctors were free to suggest alternative medications instead of whoring themselves to Big Pharma and letting them control the marketplace, maybe we would not be in this mess.

    I’ve been a medical MJ patient for a few years and the quality of my life is a 100X better than dealing with the dangerous and addictive drugs peddled by the Big Pharma dealers.

  30. To learn more about our “system” and how health care is provided in a number of other countries, all of whom pay much less for care than we do, I highly recommend two PBS documentaries available on Netflix. The first is “Frontline: Sick Around the World”. A veteran journalist with a chronic shoulder ailment traveled to several other countries to see how his problem would be treated. He interviewed patients, doctors, hospital administrators, insurance company execs and government policy makers to find out how their systems work, and how care is paid for.

    The next film is “Frontline: Sick Around America” shows the dire straights of our “system”, and how it results in premature debility and death, financial ruin and anguish for millions, and what a terrible price our country is paying on all fronts. A real eye opener.

    Anyone who claims that in the US we have the best health care system in the world is either deluded, or works for an organization that is part of the vested interests in the status quo. We can do better. As someone who has had two different st 4 cancer diagnoses, and went over a year without health insurance while enduring the 29 month wait for Medicare eligibility after qualifying for Social Security Disability, the current landscape is cruel to millions of our citizens.

  31. Oh, and Peggy, in response to your comment, ” Healthcare doesn’t behave like other markets” That is because value for health services in healthcare is artificially set by Medicare rather than true market forces… hence spiraling costs. Read Clay Christensen’s Innovator’s Prescription for Healthcare for the full story… Our platform enables consumers to validate pricing, and enables 80% cost reductions for our model.

    Natalie Hodge MD FAAP
    http://www.personalmedicine.com

  32. Just heard about you from my friend in Dallas Chris from Doconomics. Very nice. There is disruptive innovation happening in healthcare along the fringes now. Hope you will join us at American Academy of Pediatrics NCE in October In San Francisco. Disruptive cost curves for physicians are attainable now with Utilization of technologies as PHR, Ecommerce, Wireless and the Mobile. Would love to have your feedback on our User Interface for Patients at http://www.personalmedicine.com Keep up the good work! Natalie Hodge MD FAAP

  33. I appreciate that this might sound nasty, but I honestly don’t agree with the title Mad As Hell Doctors . I believe it is a awful disgrace to human kind. I believe you should definitely be more tolerant next time. Nonetheless I have to admit, that your writing style is excellent. Yours Sincerely, Raul Gerrity

  34. Mary Margaret Flynn,

    And I am a member of PNHP

  35. admin

    Peggy,

    Thank you for your challenging comment. In response, I can only say that health care is not like other markets. The laws of supply and demand are upside down and, unless we are willing to let people die on the doorsteps of our emergency rooms, we are all paying for everybody anyway. No other “market” behaves in such a way.

    As a physician who observes, feels and responds to the perverse incentives built into our non-system, I assure you, it is more broken, inefficient and corrupt than you can possibly imagine.

    “Competition” in medical insurance means insurance companies manipulating the marketplace (and the rules) so that they only have to get paid (well, often with hidden taxpayer subsiies) to cover the healthy inexpensive people while the taxpayer pays for 100% of the rest.

    That said, I will challenge your language. Calling those who are advocating a single payer system “degenerates” is over the top. Indeed we love our country. We love our communities. Without substantive health care reform that emphasizes health and efficiency, our people will suffer more and our government will be MORE likely to gather the debt that you fear.

    be well. being otherwise is very expensive.

    paul hochfeld

  36. Peggy Emery

    Please do not contact me. I believe in the free market and our great nation. We cannot afford the health care plan as designed by Acorn, SEIU and the rest of the degenerates out there that want to destroy this country. Unless we put in tort reform, and allow competition in medical insurance companies we will passing the horrendous debts of this program onto our children.

  37. Dr, Van & Lois Hamilton

    As a Primary Care Physician in Santa Barbara, CA, with the largest medical foundation clinic in the area, I have not realized an increase in my income for the past 15 years, while the cost of insurance premiums per person for our medical staff at the Santa Barbara Sansum Medical Clinic has more than doubled in the past 2 years, making layoffs and shorter work weeks necessary to support the rising cost. What is wrong with this picture? As a strong Single Payer advocate, I would be happy to participate in the MAHD program in Santa Barbara if you need a doc with 40 years of experience in the medical field, who has watched the advent of “for profit” health insurance nearly bankrupt our facility and keep patients priced out of affordable health care insurance. My wife, Lois, is the SB Chapter Leader for the Progressive Democrats of America, who are working tirelessly to bring Universal Single Payer Health Care to all Californians, since the national SP plan failed to even make it to the Health Care national debate!
    Sign Me, One Helluva Mad As Hell Doc!

  38. Ronald Talney

    I just heard your panel discussion on local public tv regarding the benefits of single payer health coverage, etc. In the course of your discussion you mentioned the fight waged by Tommy Douglas in Canada for their single payor medicare system. I was born in Canada but have lived in the States for most of my life. I am intimately aware of the Canadian system for several reasons, however. My brother, who was a professor at UBC in Vancouver, contracted MS. His dream had always been to return to the United States for his retirement. Even though he was a veteran of the U.S. army, he determined he could not get the quality of care here that he received in Canada and he remained there for the balance of his life. The other reason I am familiar with the difficulties of enacting health care legislation in Canada was that Tommy Douglas was my uncle and I knew him very well. I recall vividly the Drs strikes, the death threats and other challenges he faced. Would that we had that kind of political courage here.

    Right On!

  39. 7/18 – A poll was just released today, based on a several year study, gauging the level of happiness felt by residents of countries around the world. The top countries were European – Denmark, Norway, Finland – and the highest scoring countries in the Americas were Costa Rica and Canada. America was not mentioned among the happiest countries. Does anyone see any similarity between those happy countries? Could it be a health care system that is committed to serving people rather than private sector profit?

  40. Gail Sredanovic

    I was pretty shocked that someone thinks you can’t live on 100K. I manage on a LOT less in a very expensive area. Although my housing expenses happen to be low, I spend a huge chunk of my income(about 25 %) on medical care, prescriptions and long-term care insurance. One reason a French doctor can live on less is that he/she does not spend so much on medical expenses. Then too, university expenses cannot possible be a high as here. Plus Europeans don’t usually feel the need to live in a giant dwelling with huge utility bills.

  41. Nevertheless, all the other industrialized countries in the world provide universal healthcare while spending roughly half as much, per capita, as we spend now on healthcare (even though millions of our capitae aren’t getting ANY of that healthcare).

    How do they accomplish this, you might wonder.

    Mostly, they take PROFIT out of the picture, and they limit the actual medical costs. They pay for medical school for the doctors, so the doctors don’t have to bill YOU so as to pay back their student loans. There’s a bit more detail in T. R. Reid’s THE HEALING OF AMERICA (8/09)…. The central fact is that this is a wheel which has already been invented. If we really want universal, affordable healthcare, all we have to do is ask any of a number of other countries how they accomplish this already.

  42. It’s easy to agree that all people should have access to quality health care. The question is whether it is sustainable to offer and promise a high level health care to all people no matter what the circumstances in the future would be. Once given to people – hard to take it away later!

  43. That was a really interesting post, I enjoyed reading it. You are dead right!

  44. Its a good comparision between healthcare systems.

  45. Betsey Coffman

    Dear Mad As Hell Doctors, I would very much appreciate your updating your comments about federal government health legislation to include the passage of the Health Care bill in March. It still includes private insurance, and a few words about why such a system cannot achieve health care for all would be helpful.

  46. Lauren

    “actually DON’T sign Grayson’s bill if you haven’t.”…

    Why not sign it?….

  47. I’m wondering if the 11,022 have mad as hell ribbons and wear them every day?

  48. Gerard Freisinger

    Something never discussed on the comparison of US vs Other Country health care is the level of provider income. Believe it was 60 Minutes or such who portrayed a French physician, living comfortably in Paris with a young family on $50 K/yr. Even if doubled, try doing that in most equivalent metro areas in this country.
    A common retort among Republicans when one brings up the 3% Medicare overhead vs 30% HMO overhead is that Medicare does not have enough staff to sniff out fraudulent providers. They have a point. Overtesting, over proceduring, creative coding and outright fraud is certainly an issue and we are not saints. In 40 years of practice, I have seen countless examples (almost as long as the existence of Medicare) of the above.
    The answer is obvious. Salaried providers. And no bonuses for productive billing rewards on the number of tests, procedures, etc.

  49. Gerard Freisinger

    Not surte how many on here are both working providers as well as seniors. As a member of both classes, I do not concur with the idea that Medicare For All is a Canadian knock off. Yes, Medicare (government) fixes the reimbursement fee fro the provider and then only goes on to pay (Part B) 80% of it. So the co-pay is either done thru an “Advantage” plan – wherein the taxpayer subsidizes the Private Insurer thru government provided benefits or thru traditional medicare which involves a middleman AARP using United Heal Care for the other 20%. In other words, to get full coverage over the age of 65, private health insurance has its hand in at every level.

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