150 protest against private health insurers

–via The Louisville Courier-Journal

Demonstrators urge universal care in U.S.

By Linsen Li
The Courier-Journal

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.

Link to Full Original Article

Health reform plan is endorsed

–via The Louisville Courier-Journal

Rep. Conyers urges single-payer system

By Laura Ungar
The Courier-Journal

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

Talk by Ewell G. Scott, MD

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 info@kyhealthcare.org.

Ewell G. Scott, MD Speaks – Wednesday, April 29, 2009

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
7:00 p.m.
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

–via The Louisville Courier-Journal

Learn all you can about health care alternatives

By David Ross Stevens
The Courier-Journal

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)…

Link to Full Original Article

Kentucky House passes resolution urging Congress to enact HR 676

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.

Single Payer supporters with Joni Jenkins after passage of HR81.

Photo taken on the balcony above the chamber of the Kentucky House of Representatives on Feb. 7 immediately after the House passed a resolution (HR 81) urging the US Congress to pass HR 676, Congressman Conyers’ national single payer health care.
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:


Be it resolved by the House of Representatives of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky:

     Section 1. The House of Representatives of the Kentucky General Assembly respectfully urges the United States Congress to enact H.R. 676, the United States National Health Insurance Act, sponsored by Representative John Conyers in the United States House Of Representatives for the 110th Congress.

     Section 2. The Clerk of the House of Representatives is directed to transmit a copy of this Resolution to the President of the United States and the members of the Kentucky Congressional Delegation.

The full text of the resolution is available in a Word document at

Kentuckian Kay Tillow Receives Dr. Quentin Young Health Activist Award

Kay Tillow
Kay Tillow

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.

Louisville Metro Council Endorses HR 676, Single Payer National Health Care

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.

Councilwoman Madonna Flood told of the death at age 42 of a constituent who didn’t go to the hospital with his chest pain because of his lack of insurance. She called that tragedy “a crime” and stated that if we could “put a man on the moon in 1969, then we can do better at protecting people–we can’t afford to let another citizen die.”

Councilwoman Vicki Welch responded to Councilman Heiner’s assertion that the Metro Council had done something on health care when it ran ads to try to get children enrolled in the Kentucky Children’s Health Insurance Plan. Welch, a registered nurse, said: “KCHIP is not enough–when parents in low income families are not covered, the family is devastated by illness.”

Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh stated that this resolution should “fire a signal to Congress” that it must do something on health care.

Councilman Tom Owen told of the common practice of families buying the insurance for their adult children in their 20’s and 30’s because their jobs do not provide the coverage. He said: “We are here tonight with a message to say there is a crisis. The grassroots movement has been urging us for months to recognize it.”

Owen was referring to the dozens of addresses to council that told of the suffering and deaths from lack of insurance or insurance too costly and too skimpy to provide security. Joan Dubay and the Metro Council Committee of Kentuckians for Single Payer Healthcare organized those addresses and a massive grassroots campaign that involved hundreds.

Councilman Bob Henderson said that this resolution will “start the conversation to keep public health and safety” in the forefront. Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton said the issue is “protecting all the people–not just the big people.” Councilpersons Jim King, Dan Johnson, Barbara Shanklin, and Leonard Watkins asked to be added as sponsors of the resolution.

Councilwoman Julie Raque Adams quoted the Fraser Institute and the Pacific Research Institute attributing long waits, appalling conditions, and massive taxes to the Canadian single payer health system.

Adams was quoting from biased sources according to the Physicians for a National Health Program of Chicago (www.PNHP.org). In their Summer 2005 Newsletter PNHP says of the Fraser Institute: “Their research is so bad that not even pro-privatization Canadians bother to cite their work.” PNHP asserts that both the Fraser Institute and Pacific Research Institute are funded by the wealthy far-right Bradley Foundation and that both publish unreviewed “crackpot studies.”

Councilman Kelly Downard, with a second by Councilwoman Ellen Call, sought to send the resolution back to committee. That failed on a vote of 14 to 11.

Shortly before the debate drew to a close, Councilwoman Woolridge announced that 13 Councilmembers had signed on as cosponsors. The debate ended with a roll call vote. Watkins, Shanklin, Woolridge, Tandy, Bryant Hamilton, Unseld, Owen, Ward-Pugh, King, Blackwell, Welch, Henderson, Johnson, and Flood voted “yes.” Fleming, Kramer, Downard, Adams, Heiner, Benson, Engel, Hawkins, and Call voted “no.” Stuckel abstained, and Peden voted “present.”

Louisville joins Baltimore (MD), Erie (PA), Morehead (KY), Oberlin (OH), Lorain (OH), University City (MO), Warren County (TN), and Lorain County (OH) as local governments that have called on Congress to pass HR 676 to resolve the national health care crisis.

The text of Metro Council Resolution R 146-9-06

RESOLUTION NO. R 146-9-06, SERIES 2006


SPONSORED BY: Councilwoman Mary Woolridge

Whereas, every person in Metro Louisville and in the United States deserves access to affordable, quality healthcare; and

Whereas, over 45.8 million Americans, including 85,000 residents of Metro Louisville, live daily without healthcare coverage; and

Whereas, those insured now often experience burdensome medical debt and sometimes life-threatening delays in obtaining healthcare; and

Whereas, one-half of all personal bankruptcies are due to illnesses or medical bills; and

Whereas, administrative costs for our current healthcare system consume approximately thirty percent (30%) of United States healthcare spending, with rising costs contributing to decreased international business competitiveness
and massive layoffs; and

Whereas, United States Representative John Conyers has introduced
House Resolution 676, (hereinafter referred to as HR 676), The United States National Health Insurance Act, which would provide healthcare to all; and

Whereas, the goal of HR 676 is to ensure that all Americans have access, guaranteed by law, to the highest quality and most cost-effective healthcare services regardless of their employment, income, or healthcare status; and

Whereas, HR 676 will cover all medically necessary services, including primary care, inpatient care, outpatient care, emergency care, prescription drugs, durable medical equipment, long term care, mental health services, dentistry, eye care, chiropractic, and substance abuse treatment; and

Whereas, HR 676 will give patients their choice of physicians, providers, hospitals, and clinics with no co-pays or deductibles in a publicly financed, privately delivered system;


SECTION I: The Metro Council of Louisville, Kentucky hereby supports and endorses HR 676, “United States Health Insurance Act;” and respectfully requests our elected federal officials to endorse and adopt HR 676; and the Council Clerk is authorized and directed to forward copies of this Resolution to our federal legislators and to our area state legislators to enlist their support of this vital piece of legislation.

SECTION II: This Resolution shall take effect upon its passage and approval.

Kathleen J. Herron Kevin J. Kramer
Metro Council Clerk President of the Council

Jerry E. Abramson Approval Date

Irv Maze
Jefferson County Attorney