Report on White House Health Care Summit by HR 676 Supporter Oliver Fein

Oliver Fein, MD

The White House
Health Care Summit

By Oliver Fein, M.D.

Thanks to many grassroots activists and physicians who called the White House and threatened to demonstrate outside its gates, I was at the Health Care Summit at the White House on March 5 along with Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.). And it was good thing. It meant that the single-payer position was recognized as one pathway to health care reform. It also meant that one of our concerns was present: namely, that any health care reform that includes the for-profit, private health insurance companies will fail to provide universal coverage, will not be able to reduce heath care costs, and will increase the number of underinsured.

It’s important to note that there were others at the summit who are known to be sympathetic to single payer, including some past and present co-sponsors of H.R. 676 and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. (More on Sanders below.)

That said, it is true that the summit was carefully choreographed. The opening plenary featured Travis Ulerick, a 24-year-old firefighter from Dublin, Ind., who had sponsored a “health care community discussion” (house party) in his fire station in December. He read off the names of six other people who had hosted similar house parties who had been invited to participate in the summit.

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Obama Summit on Healthcare – Marginalized Advocates Ask Why Single Payer is Ignored

Why Is Single Payer Not Front and Center?

President Obama hosted a White House summit Thursday on reforming healthcare. While President Obama said every idea must be considered, the idea of creating a single-payer national health insurance program appears to have already been rejected. We speak to Harper’s senior editor Luke Mitchell, author of the article “Sick in the Head: Why America Won’t Get the Health-Care System It Needs.”