17 June 2009

Obama's Single-Payer Flip-Flop.

Illustration 1: Ben Heine, "Barack Obama's Toughest Opponent: Himself". Ben on Articon
Illustrations 2, 3 & 4: Michael Thompson. 2: "Single Payer Insurance is the way". 3: "Single Payer Solution", 4: "NO more PAY-or-DIE Healthcare $ystem!." Michael on Flickr.

In 2003, Barack Obama said he was for single payer.

Q: What would it take to get single payer enacted?
A: "First, we have to take back the White House, the Senate and the House," Obama said at the time.


The Democrats have taken the White House...The Senate, AND the House.

Q: So, what's Obama's position now that Dems have taken the White House, the Senate and the House?
A: In a speech this week in Chicago before the American Medical Association, Obama made clear he was now opposed to Single Payer health care. And, his lieutenants suggested that Obama would support legislation to make sure that single payer does not become a reality in America.

There's only one explanation for Obama's flip-flop on Single Payer: The health insurance and drug corporations have a hammerlock on Washington. And, Obama is going along to get along.


Sixty Americans are dying every day due to lack of health insurance (Institute of Medicine report).

Instead of getting behind single payer, Obama and the Democrats are engaged in the what Dr. Marcia Angell, former editor-in-chief at the highly regarded New England Journal of Medicine calls "the futility of piecemeal tinkering."

Earlier this week, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that the most liberal of the Democrats' tinkering plans would cost $1 trillion over ten years and still leave 37 million Americans uninsured.

On the other hand, single payer would cost less than we are overpaying now -- and cover everyone.


As Dr. Angell puts it -- single payer is not only the best option. It's the only option that will both control costs and cover everyone.

- Replace 1,300 insurance industry payers with one payer.
- Save $400 billion a year in bloated corporate administrative and executive compensation costs.
- Free choice of doctor and hospital. Use that money to insure everyone.
- No bills, no co-pays, no deductibles.
- No exclusions for pre-existing conditions -- because under single payer, you are insured from the day you are born.
- No bankruptcies due to medical bills.
- No deaths due to lack of health insurance.
- Cheaper. Simpler. More affordable.
- Everybody in. Nobody out.

According to recent polls, the majority of Americans, the majority of doctors, the majority of nurses, even the majority of health economists want Single Payer. That's why almost every health care town hall event I hear about is dominated by citizens speaking out for a Single Payer system.

Last month, we asked that you help fund a new non-profit organization - Single Payer Action - to focus this citizen energy, break through the corporate logjam in Washington and make single payer a reality. And, you came through with flying colors -- blowing past our initial fund-raising goals.

The foundation was set for action. Out of the blocks, Single Payer Action led a stand up protest before Senator Max Baucus' Senate Finance Committee. Thirteen doctors, nurses, lawyers and other single payer advocates were summarily arrested and charged with "disruption of Congress" (Baucus later told single payer advocates that he regretted not inviting them to testify before his committee). The arrests of the Baucus 13, their upcoming trial, and other similar single payer actions around the country have galvanized a nationwide movement.

Single Payer Action now wants to supercharge the grassroots movement for single payer by confronting members of Congress back home around the country - laying the groundwork for a national citizen's organization that will refuse to compromise with corporate power -- inside the beltway and out.

Many progressives are now confused because they took Obama at his word. They thought once Obama was elected President, he would do the right thing.

Clearly, he's NOT.

My colleague, Theresa Amato, isn't confused. She saw clearly through the Democratic Party's duplicity and shenanigans -- and has written a new book, titled Grand Illusion: The Myth of Voter Choice in a Two Party Tyranny (New Press, June 2009). The book documents how the corporate two-party system thwarts citizen activism and blocks challenging candidates in the electoral system and beyond. Phil Donahue said this about Grand Illusion: "Theresa Amato takes the biggest swing -- not a jab, but a roundhouse punch -- at America's corrupt electoral system."

Single Payer Action needs to raise $50,000 over the next month to fund its actions around the country this summer. So, if you can, please, donate -- $10, $25, $50, $100, $500 -- or whatever you can afford. If you donate $100 or more now, Single Payer Action will send you a copy, hot off the press, of Amato's hard cover, 379-page masterpiece -- Grand Illusion (okay, since it also includes chapters about my campaign against the corporate Republicans and Democrats -- and since I wrote the foreword -- I'll autograph it).

So, don't delay. Let's break through the corporate barriers and make single payer a reality. Together, we can make the difference. Onward to a life-saving, cost-saving single payer.

Ralph Nader


Thanks for all you do!
Live your values. Love your country.
And, remember:

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


Jimmy the Saint said...

Hi ... I used to Digg your stuff(on Digg) ... but now that shouts went away .. it's gotten harder .. even though it doesn't show .. can you tell my email address? If so ... please email me .. with either Digg or Twitter in the subject line .. I have something I'd like to share with you

counterspiNYC said...

Thanks for your comment. I've sent an email to you, so check your yahoo account. If you happen to know, please let me know what's happened to the Digg shouts. I fear Digg has Dugg it's own grave in one fell swoop. what a shame~!

jacksmith said...


It’s official. America and the World are now in a GLOBAL PANDEMIC. A World EPIDEMIC with potential catastrophic consequences for ALL of the American people. The first PANDEMIC in 41 years. And WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES will have to face this PANDEMIC with the 37th worst quality of healthcare in the developed World.


We spend over twice as much of our GDP on healthcare as any other country in the World. And Individual American spend about ten times as much out of pocket on healthcare as any other people in the World. All because of GREED! And the PRIVATE FOR PROFIT healthcare system in America.

And while all this is going on, some members of congress seem mostly concern about how to protect the corporate PROFITS! of our GREED DRIVEN, PRIVATE FOR PROFIT NATIONAL DISGRACE. A PRIVATE FOR PROFIT DISGRACE that is in fact, totally valueless to the public health. And a detriment to national security, public safety, and the public health.

Progressive democrats and others should stand firm in their demand for a robust public option for all Americans, with all of the minimum requirements progressive democrats demanded. If congress can not pass a robust public option with at least 51 votes and all robust minimum requirements, congress should immediately move to scrap healthcare reform and demand that President Obama declare a state of NATIONAL HEALTHCARE EMERGENCY! Seizing and replacing all PRIVATE FOR PROFIT health insurance plans with the immediate implementation of National Healthcare for all Americans under the provisions of HR676 (A Single-payer National Healthcare Plan For All).

Coverage can begin immediately through our current medicare system. With immediate expansion through recruitment of displaced workers from the canceled private sector insurance industry. Funding can also begin immediately by substitution of payroll deductions for private insurance plans with payroll deductions for the national healthcare plan. This is what the vast majority of the American people want. And this is what all objective experts unanimously agree would be the best, and most cost effective for the American people and our economy.

In Mexico on average people who received medical care for A-H1N1 (Swine Flu) with in 3 days survived. People who did not receive medical care until 7 days or more died. This has been the same results in the US. But 50 million Americans don’t even have any healthcare coverage. And at least 200 million of you with insurance could not get in to see your private insurance plans doctors in 2 or 3 days, even if your life depended on it. WHICH IT DOES!

Contact congress and your representatives NOW! AND SPREAD THE WORD!

God Bless You


counterspiNYC said...

Couldn't have stated it more succinctly, Jack! Thanks for commenting & sharing.

Ben Heine said...

Great post, Alane,
thanks for using my illustrations and for featuring my interview with Mike Palecek

counterspiNYC said...

Thank YOU for a continuous flow of creative political imagery, Ben. Your work makes featuring a no-brainer. ~A

counterspiNYC said...

ALMOST FORGOT to include this email I received today from openleft.com & Health Care for America now:

For years, candidates for Congress and elected members of Congress told you they needed to be elected and re-elected so they could lower health insurance costs and provide health care for all. Along the way, you kept working for and voting for those candidates and members of Congress until, at long last, after the 2008 elections they formed wide majorities.

Now, as that new majority drafts legislation designed to lower health care costs and provide coverage for all, wide swaths are on board for real health reform. But you deserve a commitment.

Will your Senators support a meaningful public health insurance option? One that meets President Obama's goals of lowering cost and keeping the insurance industry honest?

It is up to us to find out.

Email your Senators the following four short, specific questions on where they stand on a public option. The link below takes you to a page that allows you to do just that:


We need clear, written responses from every Senator on where they stand on the public option. As a citizen and as an activist, you are entitled to answers. If they don't respond, keep asking. If they respond, but continue to be vague, keep asking them.


You elected this Congress. They answer to you. They might be able to dodge the media, but as a constituent, they have to give you answers. Email your Senators the following four short, specific questions on where they stand on a public option. Don't stop until you receive a clear, written response from them:


Let's get to the bottom of this. We need to know Congress is standing with us on the public health insurance option.

In solidarity,
Chris Bowers at OpenLeft.com, and Levana Layendecker at Health Care for America Now