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“National health spending amounts to income for medical care providers, insurers, pharmaceutical companies, medical device manufacturers, and host of other health care-related industries that profit from the status quo.  Efforts to control health care spending consequently threaten the medical care industry’s income and trigger fierce resistance."
—Oberlander, J. White, J. Public attitudes toward health care spending aren’t the problem; prices are.  Health Affairs 28 (5): 1289-91, 2009

An American physician, now practicing in Canada, addressing the graduating students at the UC Irvine School of Medicine in 2010, “It was interesting to me, as an American Physician practicing in Canada, to see the recent negative depictions of the Canadian system in TV ads and lay media, depictions that bore absolutely no resemblance to the actual environment in which I practice daily.  My reality is very different.   I can see any patient and any patient can see me—total freedom of practice.  My patients’ parents have peace of mind regarding their childrens’ health.  If they change jobs of lose their job altogether in a bad economy, their children will still get the same care and see the same physician.  Micromanagement of daily practice has become a thing of the past for me.  There are no contracts, authorizations, denials, appeals, reviews, forms to complete, IPA’s, HMOs, or PPOs.  Our division’s overhead is 1%.  My relationship with the hospital administration is defined by professional, not financial, standards.  I have no allegiance to any corporate or government entity, nor does one ever get in between me and the patient.  This environment, which some denigrate as the ever so scary system of “socialized medicine,” allows for more patient autonomy and choice than was available to most of my patients in California.”
-Emil, S. An American in Canada.  Commencement Address, University of California-Irvine School of Medicine, Irvine, CA, June 5, 2010.

“The assumption that a single, comprehensive system is politically out of the question puts America on a path that would combine nominal universal coverage with deterioration in what is actually covered, plus acceleration of cost-shifting to individuals.”
-Kuttner, R, as quoted in Bybee, R.  Skewed Debate: Strange bedfellows oppose single payer healthcare reform.  In These Times 33 (6):19, June 2009.

“Democracy failed us throughout this latest health care reform attempt, arguably the most important domestic issue affecting us all”

-Geyman, J.  Highjacked: The Road to Single Payer in the Aftermath of Stolen Health Care Reform.   Common Courage Press, Monroe, ME, 2010

“Treason is a strong word, but not too strong, rather too weak, to characterize the situation in which the Senate is the eager, resourceful, indefatigable agent of interests as hostile to the American people as any invading army could be, and vastly more dangerous; interests that manipulate the prosperity produced by all, so that it heaps up riches for the few; interests whose growth and power can only mean the degradation of the people, of the educated into sycophants, of the masses toward serfdom.”
-Phillips, David Graham. The Treason of the Senate.
Cosmopolitan Magazine, March 1906.

“No person can anticipate what their health care needs will be or which insurance will be best.  Health care needs change the day a patient has a serious accident or is diagnosed with a serious illness.  We all need the same health insurance: one the covers all medically necessary care when and where we need it.”
-Flowers, M.  After the Reform: Aiming high for health justice.  Tikkun, May/June 2010, p 15.

“In order to disarm the corporate interests, the health industries that had opposed previous reforms were included on the inside.  In order to disarm the Right, bipartisanship was at the forefront.  In order to disarm the supporters of a single payer plan, who are the majority, a campaign was developed around a promised ‘compromise’, the public option, and given tens of millions of dollars for organizing and advertising.  The public option succeeded in splitting the single payer movement and confusing and distracting it with endless discussion about what type of public option would be effective.”
-Flowers, M. ibid, p 14

“This is not health, this is not care, this is certainly not reform … The ‘men’ of the current moment have lost to the ‘mice’ of history.  They must now not make the defeat worse by passing a hollow shell of a bill just for the sake of a big-stage signing ceremony.  This bill, slowly bled to death by the political equivalent of the leeches that were once thought state-of-the-art medicine, is now little more than a series of microscopically minor tweaks of a system which is the real-life, here-and-now version, or the malarkey of the Town Hallers.  The American Insurance Cartel is the Death Panel, and this Senate bill does nothing to destroy it.  Nor even to satiate it … Health care reform that benefits the industry at the cost of the people is intolerable and there are no moral constructs in which it can be supported.”
-Olbermann, K.  Special Comment: Not health, not care, not reform.  MSNBC. December 16, 2009, as well as on Daily KOS blog on that date.

“By damning ‘government bureaucrats,’ Obama played right into the hands of the anti-government crowd and made any durable expansion of health care coverage all the more difficult.  He also cast aspersions on every single federal employee in the Medicare and Medicaid and VA and Indian health programs.  Single payer advocates like you and me were props for him all along.”

-Rothschild, M. The Molly Ivins Story.  The Progressive 74 (4): 4. April 2010

“Our health care system has not been cured or even stabilized.  For now, we will continue to practice under a financing system that obstructs good patient care and squanders vast resources on profit and bureaucracy.  Passage of the health reform law was a major political event.  But for most doctors and patients it’s no big deal.”

–Dr. David Himmelstein, MD & Dr. Steffi Woolhandler, MD, co-founders of Physicians for a National Health Program, taken from Himmelstein, DU, Woolhandler, S.  Obama’s reform: No cure for what ails us.  British Medical Journal, March 30, 2010

“The reform bill wrongly retains the central role of the private insurance companies and requires million of people to buy their products at whatever price they charge.  True, some of the industry’s discriminatory practices will be outlawed, but if that adds to their costs, they can simply raise premiums.  The pharmaceutical industry can also continue to charge whatever it likes.  If the bill is fully implemented, it may restrain the growth of government health spending, which is all the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) cares about.  Obama knows that a single payer system is the only way to provide universal health care while controlling costs, but he is unwilling to throw his weight behind it.  All he seems to want now is the political victory of getting a health bill passed—any bill, no matter how untenable.”
–Dr. Marcia Angell, MD  Angell, M.  Obama at one.  A national forum. The Nation 290(4): 17-8, 2010

“Politics is the conduct of public affairs for private advantage … Reform is a thing that mostly satisfies reformers opposed to reformation.”
–Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914?),
American editorialist, journalist and author of The Devil’s Dictionary

“Markets reduce everything, including human beings (labor) and nature (land), to commodities.  We have a market economy, but we cannot have a market society.”

–George Soros, billionaire investor and author of The Capitalist Threat 

“Don’t believe anyone who says that Obama’s health care legislation marks a swing of the pendulum back toward the Great Society and the New Deal.   Obama’s health bill is a very conservative piece of legislation, building on a Republican rather than a New Deal foundation.”

—Robert Reich

Reich, R. As cited in Rothschild, M.  Victory for a mediocre health care bill.  The Progressive, March 22, 2010.

“Answers to the fundamental questions about the future of U. S. health care, such as roles of the market vs. the government and health care as a right vs. a privilege, cannot be found in the middle of the road.  They are closer to polar opposites.”

–Dr. John Geyman, MD

Geyman, J. Highjacked, p181
“The confusion, for once, is not with the media, but with the incoherence of a centrist politics.  Obama wishes to relieve the suffering of Americans, but he does not wish to challenge the profit-over-everything old “Bottom Line” of the competitive marketplace.  Unfortunately for him and for most Americans, he can’t have it both ways.  FDR recognized that—and so was willing to stand up to the vested interests of the class from which he emerged, not only rhetorically, as Obama is willing to do at some rare moments like his Health Care speech, but in the actual policies he promoted.”

—Michael Lerner  Lerner, M. Building on the hopeful aspects of Obama’s health care speech and helping him get past his contradictions. Tikkun Daily. http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaiuly/.

“The attempt to create a health-care plan that also conciliates the corporations that profit from the misery and illnesses of tens of millions of Americans is naïve, at best, and probably disingenuous.  This conciliation insists that we can coax these corporations, which are listed on the stock exchange and exist to maximize profit, to transform themselves into social service agencies that will provide adequate health care for all Americans.”
–Chris Hedges Hedges, C. Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle. New York. Nation Books, 2009

“We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.  The old enemies of peace—business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering … [these interests] had begun to consider the government as a mere appendage to their own affairs … They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred.  I should have it said of my first Administration that in it the forces of selfishness and of lust for power met their match.  I should have it said of my second Administration that in it these forces met their master.”
–Franklin Delano Roosevelt  Roosevelt, FD Jr., as cited in Coniff, R. A deficit of leadership.  The Progressive 74 (3): 13, 2010.
“Medicine is at heart a moral enterprise and those who practice it are de facto members of a moral community.  We can accept or repudiate that fact, but we cannot ignore it or absolve ourselves of the moral consequences of our choice.  If the care of the sick is increasingly treated as a commodity, an investment opportunity, a bureaucrat’s power trip, or a political trading chip, the profession bears part of the responsibility.”
–Edmund Pellegrino, physician, ethicist, and moral philosopher
Pellegrino, ED. The medical profession as a moral community.
Bulletin of the N Y Academy of Medicine 66 (3):222, 1990.

“So now we find that our elected representatives in Congress, beholden as they are to corporate interests, [have given] us a “reform” bill that will launch a new cycle of escalating profits for stakeholders, all on the backs of ordinary Americans.”
–John Geyman, MD Geyman, J. Highjacked, ibid, p 189

“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and most inhuman.”
–Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Second national Convention for the Medical Committee for Human Rights, Chicago, IL, March 25, 1966, as cited in the Volunteer Manual, available at: http://www.crmvet.org/docs/mchr.htm 
“In the aftermath of the 2010 “reform” legislation, the gold rush is on!  All parts of the medical-industrial complex will reap a bonanza in our market-based system, accelerated by lack of price controls, perverse incentives throughout the system to do more rather than less, the persistence of high levels of inappropriate and unnecessary care, relatively lax regulation over adoption of new technologies, and the subsidizing of private insurance which will encourage insurers to further raise prices knowing Uncle Sam is helping out.”
-- John Geyman, MD
Geyman, J. Highjacked, ibid, p200

“Health care is an issue that many Americans feel strongly about, but it also [has become] a touchstone, a proxy for larger disagreements and deeper divisions in an increasingly fractured society.”
–David Herszenhorn, reporter for the New York Times
Herszenhorn, DM. As overhaul passes, the vitriol lives on. New York Times, April 12, 2010: A13

“If democracy were to be given any meaning, if it were to go beyond the limits of capitalism and nationalism, this would not come, if history were any guide, from the top.  It would come through citizens’ movements, educating, organizing, striking, boycotting, demonstrating, threatening those in power with disruption of the stability they needed.”

–Howard Zinn, author of A People’s History of the United States
Zinn, H. as cited in Moyers, B. Howard Zinn interview. Truthout, December 14, 2009.

“The long history of social policy, in the U. S. and elsewhere, shows that universality is a better way to get popular support for a program than means-testing for programs targeted to specific vulnerable groups … The problem of noncoverage by health insurance will not be resolved without resolving the problem of undercoverage, because both result from the same failing: the absence of government power to ensure universal rights.  There is no health care system in the world (including the fashionable Swiss model) that provides universal health benefits coverage without the government intervening, using its muscle to control prices and practices.  The various proposals being put forward by the Obama administration are simply tinkering with, not resolving, the problem.”
–Dr. Vicente Navarro, Professor of Health Policy, Johns Hopkins
University & Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Health Services
Navarro, V.  Obama’s mistakes in health care reform. Counterpunch, September 7, 2009.
“The insurance industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the medical supply industry and the AMA are very worried about the threat that health care reform presents to their future income.  It would look unseemly for millionaires to get out in front of the public and say that we don’t want health care reform because it will jeopardize our income.  So instead they go into a nonsense rant about rationing.”
–Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research & author of Plunder and Blunder: The Rise and Fall of the Bubble Economy  Baker, D.  It’s not rationing, stupid!  The Progressive Populist, August 15, 2009; 12-3.
“The United States will one day have to take cost effectiveness into account.  There is no doubt about it at all.  You cannot keep on increasing your health care costs at the rate you are for so poor a return.  You are 29th in the world in life expectancy.  You pay twice as much for health care as anyone else on God’s earth.”
-Sir Michael Rawlins, chairman of NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, in the U.K.)  Rawlins, M.  As quoted by Silberman, J.  Britain weighs the social cost of high-priced drugs.  NPR, July 3, 2008.

“Access to health care is more than giving someone an insurance card.  It requires that patients also be able to find a primary care physician who can provide first contact, comprehensive, continuous, preventive, and coordinated care for most of their health care needs.”
-V. Pellegrino. Letter from the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Osteopathic Association to the leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives. Organizations urge Congress to strengthen primary care provisions in health care reform bills.  AAFP News Now: December 14, 2009.


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