Demonstrators urge universal care in U.S.
By Linsen Li
Brent Humes has not had health insurance for 15 years.
"At my past jobs, signing up for health insurance means cutting my paycheck in half," said Humes, who is currently unemployed.
He was among about 150 people who gathered yesterday across from Humana's downtown Louisville headquarters to protest private insurance companies.
The demonstration, organized by Kentuckians for Single Payer Healthcare and Physicians for a National Health Program, is part of a national effort to establish a universal health-care plan.
"Our purpose is to educate the public and politicians about how the single-payer plan is the best option," said Dr. Ewell Scott, an internist in Morehead, Ky.
"A single, government-sponsored health-insurance company is more efficient and provides coverage for everyone," Scott said. "It is by far and away the best solution to the country's health-care problem."
President Barack Obama has proposed widespread health-care reforms, but hasn't advocated doing away with private insurance. He has called for a public health plan that could compete with private insurers. He also has proposed subsidies to help lower-income people buy coverage.
The differences between health-insurance companies and the protesters are smaller than they appear, said Jim Turner, a Humana spokesman.
"Our ultimate objective is to make health care affordable for everyone; in that sense Humana is in agreement with the protesters," he said.
He added, however, that private health-insurance companies like Humana are here to stay.
"There will always be a need for public-private cooperation in the health-care system," Turner said. "The government looks to the private sector for contributions such as innovation."
While Humes said he has not been greatly affected so far by not having health insurance, he hopes to be insured once health care is more affordable.
"I suspect one day I will need it," he said.
Rep. Conyers urges single-payer system
By Laura Ungar
Despite resistance from President Barack Obama and some members of Congress, Rep. John Conyers of Michigan said yesterday he'll keep fighting for a publicly financed, privately delivered "single payer" health-care system that covers all Americans.
"All who are ready to fight for what they believe is right in health care, raise your hand," he told more than 150 people at the Making Health Care Happen single-payer seminar at Indiana University Southeast in New Albany. "You're not gonna get it without a contest. And I'm looking forward to a contest."
His talk was one of several planned throughout the country. It was partially funded by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and sponsored by Hoosiers for a Commonsense Health Plan, Kentuckians for Single Payer Healthcare and Physicians for a National Health Program.
Conyers, a Democrat serving his 21st term in the House, introduced a bill nine years ago -- and every year since -- to expand Medicare so that everyone would be covered regardless of employment, income or health. He said the measure, called H.R. 676, has 77 co-sponsors and the endorsement of more than 4,000 physicians.
Link to Full Original Article
Pasadena, CA, May 2009
Rev. David Bos of Kentuckians for Single Payer Health Care speaking at the Presbyterian Seminar for Single Payer Health Care and HR 676. Rev. Bos is a leader in the Presbyterian movement to educate and advocate for a single payer national health care plan.
Rev. Bos Speaks in Pasadena
Louisville, May 2009. Members of Kentuckians for Single Payer Healthcare preparing a mailing to 3,200 members and supporters announcing the upcoming demonstration, "Patients Not Profits" and the Presbyterian-sponsored seminar for HR 676, "Making Health Care Happen."
On Wednesday, April 29, 2009 a group of 30 interested citizens met at the Downtown Library in Lexington, Kentucky to hear Dr. Ewell Scott, a Morehead internist and recent recipient of a lifetime achievement award from the Kentucky Medical Association, lead a discussion of how market-based private health insurance has failed the United States. He said the United States National Health Care Act, HR 676, a bill in the US Congress, can address our current economic woes, as well as provide quality health care to 48,000,000 uninsured and an equal number of underinsured Americans. Dr. Scott explained to the audience details of the wastefulness and inhumanity of the current profit-based system. For example, in Morehead, Kentucky, Dr. Scott’s private practice must deal with 34 separate insurance plans. (There are 17,000 separate plans in Chicago.) He pointed out the huge administrative expense market-based private insurance costs our system, $400 billion annually. Indeed health insurance costs, premiums, etc. soon will consume up to 30% of the average wage.
As a member of his local hospital Board of Directors, Dr. Scott described how he has witnessed his hospital lose $500,000 a month in unreimbursed services, a fiscal drain that could be stopped by a government –financed national health plan. Everyone would get comprehensive health care and all of it would be reimbursed.
Dr. Scott was introduced by Janet Tucker, RN, who along with Jan Ewing, RN is leading the development of a Lexington area chapter of Kentuckians for Single Payer Healthcare. The group will meet again at the Lexington Library, Monday, May 4, at 7:00 PM, Room B. Anyone who wants to improve health care quality and access for all Kentuckians is urged to come to this meeting. For more information please write firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Single Payer Solution to Our Health Care Crisis
- The US spends more per capita on health care than any other nation, yet trails the others in life expectancy, infant mortality, and other key indicators.
- 47 million have no insurance, and many millions more who have coverage go without needed care because they cannot afford it. We are all at risk.
- Single payer health care systems cover everyone with liberal benefits--but conservative spending.
- Single payer is publicly funded yet privately delivered, providing patients a free choice of physician, dentist, therapist, hospital, etc.
- How does it work, and what would single payer mean for Kentucky?
You are invited to a presentation and informal discussion of the issues with
Ewell G. Scott, MD
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Downtown Lexington Library
140 East Main St.
Admission is free and the event is open to the public.
Presentation followed by Q and A, plus discussion of how we can win broad public and political support for single payer health care in Kentucky.
Dr. Scott, born and raised in Frankfort, KY, is a Charter Member of the Kentucky Chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP-KY). He graduated Cum Laude from DePauw University and from Case Western Reserve University Medical School. Dr. Scott did his Internship in Med-Peds at the University of Virginia Hospital and his Internal Medicine Residency at the University of Virginia. He is Past President of St. Claire Regional Medical Center Medical Staff. He served as President and Medical Director of Morehead Clinic, and he is Clinical Volunteer Faculty at both the UK and U of L Schools of Medicine. Since 1972 and currently, he is in active practice in internal medicine in Morehead, Kentucky.
Dr. Scott is deeply involved in his community, in the Kentucky Medical Association, and in numerous medical, civic, and community organizations. He has lectured extensively on single payer health care.
Event sponsored by: Physicians for a National Health Program-KY and Kentuckians for Single Payer Healthcare www.kyhealthcare.org.
Learn all you can about health care alternatives
By David Ross Stevens
By now it is almost a cliche to say that America's health care system is broken. In response, many politicians who are calling for "reform" and "universal health coverage" are not, in fact, clarifying the situation because they include in their new plans the very elements that have busted the system. So the political battle in the first days of 2009 will be over "token reform" or a bold, truly universal type of health insurance.
The challenge is for citizens to get involved. the public must do its part by educating itself about the various alternatives, and letting their representatives in Washington know what they conclude.
How broken is our current system?
Some 47 million Americans are uninsured; another 50 million are underinsured (not fully covered).
About 8.7 million children are uninsured.
Most bankruptcies have a health reason as a major cause, and 68 percent of those people who have gone belly up do have health insurance policies.
The World Health Organization ranks the level of U.S. health care at 37th in the world.
Private health insurance companies, which have doubled the premiums since 2000, have a bureaucratic overhead of 28-31 percent while Medicare operates at 3 percent efficiency. Therein lies a large part of the problem. These companies have an incentive to reduce benefits to patients.
The most persistent solution on the grassroots level is a single-payer system, the single payer being the federal government. This program involves a Medicare-type approach for everyone, but it would be expanded to include dental care, vision care and preventive programs. Overall, it would cost about the same -- maybe a little more, maybe a little less -- as the present 15 percent of the Gross National Product (GNP). All other industrialized nations with full coverage for all citizens average about half the costs in total medical care.
A single-payer system is best outlined in congressional bill HR676, which would set up the National Health Insurance (NHI) program. What it is not is "socialized medicine." England and Spain have socialized medicine, wherein the doctors and hospitals are all employees of the federal government. Under HR676 the present system would stay; doctors would remain private vendors and would submit their bills to one payer, the U.S. government, not to the 1,500 private health insurance companies. Patients would still choose their doctors. (More about HR676 later)...
In Frankfort on February 7, 2007, the Kentucky House of Representatives passed HR 81, a resolution endorsing HR 676, the National Health Insurance Act. Introduced by the Honorable Joni L. Jenkins (D), District 44 (Jefferson), the resolution was adopted by voice vote. Kentucky is the first state in the union to pass such legislation.
Left to right: Rep. Joni Jenkins, Sponsor of HR 81, Peggy Kidwell, Harriette Seiler, Dr. Garrett Adams, Kay Tillow, Rev. David Bos
The resolution itemizes health care issues facing the state and the nation, and concludes with the following statement:
The full text of the resolution is available in a Word document at
A standing ovation and prolonged applause followed Dr. Quentin Young’s announcement that PNHP’s Dr. Quentin Young Health Activist Award was being given to Kay Tillow, Coordinator of Kentuckians for Single Payer Healthcare. The award reads, "In the finest tradition of activism for social change, she has brought the single payer vision to new constituencies."
Earlier in the day on November 4, 2006, 250 members heard Tillow address the annual meeting. She described her work convincing labor unions across the United States of the importance of formal endorsements of Congressman John Conyers’s United States Health Insurance Act, HR 676.
As a result of her work, hundreds of American unions with hundreds of thousands of members have signed resolutions supporting a single payer national health insurance plan for the United States.
Her grassroots vision of achieving formal HR 676 endorsement resolutions from labor, all the way from small individual union halls to state UAW’s, has been an inspiring victory in the single payer movement. It provides a powerful political tool to convince policy makers that the single payer plan is the solution to our nation’s health care dilemma.
Kay Tillow is the Executive Director of the Nurses Professional Organization and Coordinator of Kentuckians for Single Payer Healthcare.
Following Kay Tillow’s award, Drs. Rob Stone, Chris Stack, and Aaron Carroll were recognized for bringing the single payer vision to new constituencies in Indiana.
On October 12, the Louisville Metro Council passed a resolution endorsing HR 676, Congressman John Conyers' single payer U. S. National Health Insurance Act. The vote was 14 to 9. Health and Human Services Chair and District 3 Councilwoman Mary Woolridge sponsored the resolution and guided it through committee and floor debate. Woolridge spoke passionately of her concern for the 85,000 residents of Louisville Metro who suffer from having no insurance.