Join us in St. Pat’s Parade, Sat. March 11, 2017

One United Ireland–One United Health Care Program, Everybody In and Nobody Out!

On Saturday, March 11, Kentuckians for Single Payer Health Care will be in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade–once again promoting national single payer health care, Expanded and Improved Medicare for All.

You are invited to join us!  We will line up on Broadway near Baxter.  We are #47 and will be in that slot in the purple area on Broadway.

Map is here.

The parade begins at 3:00 pm.  We will march from Broadway to Baxter to Bardstown Road ending at Windsor Place.  In between we will distribute our green flyers with information about the single payer programs and films that we offer and inviting people to our meetings.

Contingents begin lining up at 1:30 PM on Saturday, March 11, 2017

Further info is here. 

If you have questions prior to Saturday, please call Kay at 636 1551.  If you are trying to find us on the day of the parade, please call Harriette’s cell at 899-3861.

Come early and dress warmly!

DSCN3636Photo of KSPH in the 2016 St. Patrick’s Parade.


Columnist in Advocate-Messenger in Danville writes on single payer

Does the Democratic Party really believe that health care is a right?

By Advocate-Messenger

Email the author

Published 11:51 am Tuesday, February 28, 2017


Contributing columnist

Over the past seven years, Republicans have regularly voted to repeal all or part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA/Obamacare). Those repeal votes were cheap talk as long as Republicans could count on a Democratic president’s veto. But now, to their surprise, they have their very own President Trump eager to fulfill his campaign promise to eliminate the ACA, and they can’t agree on a replacement.

They know the American public won’t tolerate going back to the status quo before Obamacare (back when we had what Mitch McConnell ignorantly described as “the finest health care system in the world”). Obamacare brought several major improvements to America’s health care system, and most people today want to keep them.

It banned insurance companies from denying coverage or charging higher premiums for pre-existing conditions, and from setting a lifetime limit on how much an insurer has to pay for covered benefits. In the good old days, many people were unaware that a single bout of cancer could leave them bankrupt after their policies maxed out.

Obamacare also required allowing adult children to stay on their parents’ policies until age 26. It put a cap on insurance company profits and limited premium differences between old and young. Through its subsidized insurance exchanges and expansion of Medicaid eligibility, it “reduced the number of uninsured Americans by an estimated 20 million people from 2010 to 2016” (NYT 1/13/17). However, it still left more than 27 million uninsured (more than the combined populations of Belgium and the Netherlands).

The problem for Republicans is that these very popular features of Obamacare require a lot of government supervision and expensive subsidies for those who cannot afford the care they need. The current GOP is an anti-government party that does not believe health care is a right that should be guaranteed by the government.

The problem for Democrats is that, although their 2016 Party platform reaffirms the traditional Democratic belief that health care is “a fundamental right for every American,” they haven’t been willing to commit to reforms that would implement this right. Instead, the platform suggested tweaking Obamacare. However, if health care is a right, then a system that leaves 27 million uninsured fails to respect that right. “Additionally, underinsurance is an increasing, often overlooked problem,” says Dr. Jessica Schorr Saxe of Physicians for a National Health Program:

“According to the Commonwealth Fund, this included 21 percent of adults below Medicare age in 2014. More than one-third of Americans did not get needed care due to financial barriers, and more than one-third have trouble paying a medical bill. Free clinics, which expected declining numbers after the ACA, are seeing an influx of insured patients who cannot afford co-pays or deductibles.”

The U.S. pays much more for health care than other high-income nations, but gets much less. In its recent survey of health care in 11 high-income countries (Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States), the Commonwealth Fund reached this conclusion:

“In comparison to adults in the other 10 countries, adults in the U.S. are sicker and more economically disadvantaged.  . . .Although the U.S. has made significant progress in expanding insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, it remains an outlier among high-income countries in ensuring access to health care. The authors point out that all of the other countries surveyed provide universal insurance coverage.”

The argument over retaining, tweaking or repealing the ACA is a distraction. If health care is a right, then we must have a national program to secure health care for everyone. There is a bill in Congress that would do just that: H.R.676 — Expanded & Improved Medicare For All Act, introduced by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) with 59 cosponsors.

Medicare as it now exists is a program for the elderly that 77 percent of Americans consider “very important” (second only to Social Security), and 75 percent of recipients say is working well. It is (mostly) a single-payer system in which a government-administered fund pays for services delivered by private hospitals and practitioners. H.R. 676—Medicare for All would create a universal and much more comprehensive single-payer system.

Like the Canadian single-payer system and our current Medicare, it would drastically reduce (by hundreds of billions of dollars) the administrative costs imposed on doctors’ offices and hospitals by the multiple forms and rules of competing private insurers. It would also (as in Canada and Europe) help patients by reducing drug prices through direct negotiation with pharmaceutical companies. These savings would enable the U.S. to cover those uninsured 27 million, and greatly expand coverage for everyone.

Even Donald Trump saw this back in 2000, when he wrote in his book “The America We Deserve” that “We must have universal health care. Just imagine the improved quality of life for our society as a whole. … The Canadian-style, single-payer system in which all payments for medical care are made to a single agency (as opposed to the large number of HMOs and insurance companies with their diverse rules, claim forms and deductibles) … helps Canadians live longer and healthier than Americans.”

According to a recent Gallup poll (5/16/16), 58 percent of Americans (73 percent of Democrats and 41 percent of Republicans) favor replacing the ACA “with a federally funded healthcare system that provides insurance for all Americans.” Yet Hillary Clinton’s majority in the Democratic National Platform Committee voted against single-payer, ignoring the overwhelming preference of Democrats.

The DNC’s vote, and Hillary’s refusal to endorse single-payer, were a vivid reminder that the Democratic Party was still the servant of the health care industry and not of the people. Can it reform before 2018?

Panel: Healthcare Coverage and the Affordable Care Act in Kentucky

buchinoCasper BarbaraYarmuth photo

Panel members left to right:

Dr. Susan Buchino, Phd, OTR/L, School of Public Health and Information Sciences;

Dr. Barbara Casper, MD, Internal Medicine, Professor of Medicine;

Representative John Yarmuth, 3rd Congressional District, Kentucky

Tuesday, February 21, 2017, 12 Noon, Kornhauser Auditorium, 500 S. Preston, Louisville

Sponsored by: U of L Chapter of Students for a National Health Program SNaHP

Article by med students Brandi Jones and Mallika Sabharwal:

Cutting State Healthcare Access is Bad Medicine

Event on Facebook to RSVP and Submit questions.

ACA repeal will kill people

I am a physician who has cared for uninsured and underinsured patients for my entire 31 years of practice. In the past I have written editorials in support of the Affordable Care Act and with the likelihood of its repeal without a viable replacement I feel that I need to provide a voice for my patients who will be adversely affected by this change.

People need to understand that not having insurance kills people. I have seen this in my own practice prior to the ACA. I cared for a patient who refused to come to the doctor in spite of an obvious cancer until it was so advanced that there was little we could offer her but comfort care. She was too young for medicare, had to quit her job to care for an ailing husband and was concerned that they might lose their house if she incurred medical bills. She may have lost her house but sadly she did lose her life.

My personal experience with the implementation of the ACA is that patients can now afford their medications and their preventive care. This has resulted in many of my patients now having their chronic illnesses such as diabetes and hypertension under control. This has significant economic benefits to our communities in that the cost of catastrophic care for the consequences of these diseases left unchecked are much more expensive, not only in dollars spent but in suffering. My experience has been verified by a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine where a comparison of health care in Kentucky, Arkansas and Texas was completed. Kentucky and Arkansas both expanded medicaid while Texas did not. The results indicate that in Kentucky and Arkansas the number of emergency room visits decreased, the visits to primary care physicians increased as did compliance with medications. This was in contrast to Texas where patients are still obtaining their health care through the emergency department. This is what the law was intended to do.

This is not a perfect law – some folks did not benefit from the expansion of Medicaid or the subsidies and now have higher deductibles and limited options for plans. The law could be improved but the Republicans have focused so much on the repeal that nothing has been accomplished. It is interesting that now that they have the votes to actually repeal the law, no viable replacement has been discussed. They have had seven years to develop their own plan. My own personal opinion is that a single-payer system – Medicare for all would be the best possible replacement.

A recent poll indicated that only 20 percent of the public is in support of the repeal of the ACA. For me, this is NOT a political issue – it is an issue of caring for my patients. I have had many discussions with patients in my office recently who are concerned about losing their insurance and I have difficulty reassuring them. I will continue to care for them – it seems to me that our elected officials do not.

Barbara R. Casper MD, is a professor of medicine at the University of Louisville.

Tom Moffett honored by the Kentucky Alliance

On Saturday, December 10, 2016, at the Unity Dinner, Tom Moffett was honored by the Kentucky Alliance against Racist and Political Repression with the 2016 Carl and Anne Braden Lifetime Achievement Award.   Tom is an ardent single payer advocate in addition to his constant struggle against racism, for peace, and for economic justice.  Congratulations, Tom. 15403608_1272276849499472_6155714479407092593_o

L to R:  Christie Swan Kelly, Tom Moffett, and Barbara Boyd, Chair of the Kentucky Alliance.

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.