Doctors, med students, and unionists demonstrate against big PHARMA

On Friday, Nov. 18, 2016, about 200 people picketed and rallied outside the headquarters of PHARMA in Washington, DC, to protest astronomically high prices for drugs and to demand improved Medicare for All.  The demonstration was called by Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), the national organization of over 20,000 doctors who support single payer health care.


Dr. Robert Zarr, a Washington, DC, pediatrician and President of PNHP chaired the rally.


Lane Adams (red scarf) and Dr. Garrett Adams (blue coat) of Louisville, Kentucky, were among the protesters.  Behind them is Richard Master, the producer of “Fix It–Health Care at the Tipping Point,” the movie that explains the economic advantages of a single payer system.


Mark Dimondstein, President of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), addressed the rally.  “The people of this country are ready for a Medicare for All, single payer system,” he said.  “Big Pharma is criminal cause people die on the altar of profit,” he stated.


Members of the APWU joined in the protest.  The APWU represents more than 200,000 USPS employees and retirees, and nearly 2,000 private-sector mail workers


Medical students who were attending the PNHP training and annual meeting kept the picket lively with songs and chants.


Video of UofL Med Student “TreatNotTrick” Event

Click here to watch the 27 minute video of Louisville medical students and physicians speaking for national single payer health care.  Students for a National Health Program organized the event which took place on the medical school campus on October 31, 2016.


UofL SNaHP president Mallika Sabharwal speaking to Courier-Journal reporter Deborah Yetter.

Dr. Syed Quadri Speaks on Single Payer at UofL

On Wednesday, November, 9, 2016, at the UofL University Club, Dr. Syed Quadri of Elizabethtown spoke at a luncheon of the Institute for Sustainable Health and Optimal Aging.  He presented a detailed explanation of the problems of our current health care system comparing the costs and outcomes to those countries that have universal health care systems.  He made a compelling case, both moral and financial, for moving to a single payer plan.

The program was organized by Dr. Edgar Lopez, Board Member of Kentuckians for Single Payer Health Care.  Both doctors are members of Physicians for a National Health Program.


Single Payer presentations are available to any Kentucky class, organization or group.  Call Kay at 502 636 1551 to make arrangements.


UofL Med Students Speak Out for Single Payer Health Care

On Monday, October 31, 2016, University of Louisville Medical Students hosted a single payer event on the Health Science Campus Quad.  Mallika Sabharwal, President of Students for a National Health Program, SNaHP, chaired and introduced the four medical students and four physicians who spoke.

The event was a part of  a national #TreatNotTrick action that took place at medical schools across the country to highlight the need to remove private insurance companies from the system to guarantee that everyone receives needed care.

The Courier-Journal covered the story.  The link is here.  Press coverage was organized by KSPH PR Director, Charlie Casper.


L to R WAVE-TV reporter interviews medical students Mallika Sabharwal and Lyn Jones.  Jones spoke of going without coverage and care.  Her untreated infection led to serious and lasting consequences for her health. She urged that everyone be covered through single payer.


Med student Rina Perlin speaks with Dr. Garrett Adams, past president of Physicians for a National Health Program.  Rina said she dressed as a ladybug because “Private insurance bugs me.”


Med student Michael Gasser addressed the crowd.


L to R Dr. Garrett Adams with medical students Justin Watkins, Mallika Sabharwal, and Rina Perlin.  Watkins spoke of the great advantage to his family when his first two children were born in Canada.  When his third was born in the US, the drug essential for his wife’s care cost $1,000 instead of the $200 they paid under Canada’s single payer system.


Medical student Sarah Van Gaasbeek spoke to the group.


Barbara Casper, MD, Internal Medicine, spoke of her concern for those who cannot afford their care.  Peter Esch, MD, is an advisor to the UofL SNaHP.


Mallika with Charles Kodner, MD, Family Medicine, who also spoke.


Edgar Lopez, MD, pictured with Tom Moffett, Louisville legendary social activist.  Dr. Lopez practices at a free clinic in Butchertown.  He told of ear drops needed by a patient who could not afford them because the cost was over $200.  He said that the same drug is available in Ecuador for $10.  He called for an end to the gouging by the pharmaceutical companies.


Christian Davis Furman, MD, Geriatric and Palliative Care, spoke of the efficiency of the VA and Medicare.  She is pictured here speaking with Peter Esch, MD.


“Let’s treat our patients, not trick them with private insurance”

Barbara Casper, MD, speaks with Epiphany Social Justice Committee

On October 25, 2016, Kentuckians for Single Payer Health Care presented a program for the Social Justice Committee at Epiphany Church.  Dr. Barbara Casper spoke of the crisis she sees daily as too many patients are unable to afford care or delay care because of the cost.

Charlie Casper, Public Relations Director of KSPH, narrated a showing of a single payer power point that shows US standing in outcomes and the advantages that would result from a single payer system of health care financing.

The group participated in animated discussion with particular concerns for the costs of premiums, drugs, and deductibles for their families and neighbors.

More than half of the group signed up to stay in touch with KSPH.

The power point presentation or the movie “Fix It” is available to any group that is interested.  Just contact KSPH at or 502 636 1551.


U of L Med Students Plan Single Payer Event, “Treat not Trick”

Medical Student Mallika Sabharwal, President of the University of Louisville Chapter of Students for a National Health Program (SNaHP), has announced that the group is planning an event for 12 noon on Monday, October 31, 2016, as a part of #TreatnotTrick actions for single payer at medical schools across the country.

Sign the petition
Please sign on to their Single Payer Petition here and join physicians, med students, and the community at the event:
Monday, Oct. 31 at 12 noon, 
U of L Health Science Campus Quad
500 South Preston, 
between Muhammad Ali Blvd and East Chestnut St, 
U of L Medical School, downtown Louisville
Speakers will begin at 12:15 pm and include:
Dr. Barbara Casper, Internal Medicine
Dr. Christian Davis Furman, Geriatric and Palliative Medicine
Dr. Charles Kodner, Family Medicine
Students (all second year medical students)
Michael Gasser
Lyn Jones
Sarah Van Gaasbeek
Justin Watkins
SNaHP states:
“Despite living in an era of great potential in the fight against disease and death, Americans continue to be haunted by health care profiteers. This Halloween, hundreds of medical and health professional students around the country will call on candidates and elected officials to abolish private health insurance, and to replace the health insurance industry with an expanded and improved Medicare-for-all.
Further info:
Barbara Casper, MD, with med students Mallika Sabharwal & Rina Perlin
Barbara Casper, MD, with med students Mallika Sabharwal & Rina Perlin

U of L Medical Students Host Single Payer Event

        On  September 7, 2016, at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, members of SNaHP (Students for a National Health Program) hosted first-year students at an Education and Advocacy lunchtime discussion on the concept of a single payer system.
        Drs. Edgar Lopez and Garrett Adams, both members of Physicians for a National Health Program, assisted with a slide presentation and Q&A.  Dr. Adams cited poll results that indicate growing physician support for a publicly funded plan to cover everyone.  The students raised questions on the social determinants of health, disparities in delivery of care, and on the recent surge in the price of medications—including the EpiPen. Seventeen students attended, including current president Mallika Sabharwal and past president Brandi Jones.
        SNaHP chapters nationwide are gearing up for a major event on October 31, 2016,  #TreatnotTrick:
“Despite living in an era of great potential in the fight against disease and death, Americans continue to be haunted by health care profiteers. This Halloween, hundreds of medical and health professional students around the country will call on candidates and elected officials to abolish private health insurance, and to replace the health insurance industry with an expanded and improved Medicare-for-all.
SNaHP Sept 7 2016
SNaHP Sept 7 2016
 L to R Mike Gasser, Harriette Seiler, Brandi Jones, Shuchi Satpathy, Garrett Adams, Mallika Sabharwal, Edgar Lopez

Single Payer Activists at KFTC Annual Meeting

On Saturday, August 27, 2016, Kentuckians for Single Payer Health Care traveled to General Butler State Park to participate in the Kentuckians for the Commonwealth Annual Meeting.

KSPH leaders Harriette Seiler (orange top), Jill Harmer (white T shirt), Charlie Casper (blue shirt) and Mark McKinley led the single payer discussion.


Single Payer discussion at lunch at the KFTC Annual Meeting.


Jill Harmer and Mark McKinley at KFTC.

Letter | Gov’t not to rely on private insurers

The Aetna Insurance Company is claiming it is losing money as a participant in the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  It is instructive how the Des Moines Register reacted to this news in a recent editorial.  An excerpt from the Iowa newspaper follows:

“Government should not rely on private insurers. Aetna announced last week that it was reducing participation in health insurance exchanges created by the ACA.  It will sell plans in only four states next year, including Iowa, down from 15 this year. This follows similar market exits from UnitedHealth Group and Humana.

This is yet another reminder of why government should not rely on private companies to deliver health insurance to Americans.  History has repeatedly shown this a costly, dangerous and unsustainable idea.  Yet politicians refuse to listen to history.

When Medicare was created in 1965, the goal was to insure seniors through a program administered by the government. In traditional Medicare, Uncle Sam directly pays providers for health services.  The program is reliable, predictable and has low administrative costs.

In a July 5 letter, Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini informed the Justice Department that if it sued to block Aetna’s deal to acquire Humana Inc., the insurer would reduce its presence in exchanges.  The Obama administration says such a merger would increase consumer costs.

‘If the deal were challenged and/or blocked we would need to take immediate actions to mitigate public exchange and ACA small group losses,’ he wrote.

Is that a warning?  A threat?  And how is the Obama administration supposed to respond?

Americans’ access to health insurance should not depend on the profit margins, business dealings or mergers of for-profit companies. Not in Medicare. Not in Medicaid. And not in exchanges created by health reform law.  Instead of funneling tax dollars to private companies, government is better equipped to administer insurance.  It is not beholden to stockholders.  It does not seek to turn a profit.  And it will not abandon the responsibility of providing health coverage to Americans.

Expansion of Medicare covering all citizens of every age would solve lots of existing problems and give us as a nation better health.”

David Ross Stevens

Borden, Ind. 47106