PNHP: even though Obama house parties a "sham," participate!
The scripted discussions for Sen. Daschle's community meetings exclude any consideration of a single payer national health program. The closest they come is to discuss a "public plan like Medicare" that can be purchased as another option to a private plan through an insurance exchange. Yet a legislative staff member for a Democratic Senator recently stated that the "public option" proposal looked at present to be completely blocked by the Republicans - they will only discuss changes based upon the existing private insurance industry. One of the reform negotiators, Republican Senator Mike Enzi, last week wrote, "... we must focus on promoting new options and choices for patients. This means expanding competitive, free market plans – not moving toward a single payer health care system."
Even though the process is a sham, that doesn't mean that we shouldn't speak up. We should do so, though in a civil but firm manner. The very first question asking what is the biggest problem in the health system can be answered by stating that our fragmented financing system based on private plans and public programs is wasting a huge amount of funds that should be used for health care for the uninsured and underinsured, and we can actually do that by replacing our dysfunctional financing system with a single payer national health program. We need to be certain that Sen. Daschle is shocked yet pleasantly surprised to see overwhelming support for single payer about which he has written is "brilliantly simple, ensures equity by providing all people with the same benefits, and saves billions of dollars by creating economies of scale and streamlining administration."
Be sure to stay at the meetings long enough to be certain that the single payer message is included in the submission to the Transition Health Policy Team. We need to send that message. It remains to be seen whether or not the bureaucrats are going to try to bury it again. If they do, then maybe it's time for a march on Washington.
If you go, read the whole thing, as it includes the Obama/Daschle talking points that will be guiding their operatives.