US Physicians for a National Health Program

Dear PNHP physicians, medical students and far-flung friends,

A new bill for single payer will be introduced in Congress on Tuesday, February 4 (press release to follow).

We thank all the members of the Physicians Working Group for Single Payer for all their hard work on this project, as well as Rep. John Conyers, a lifelong advocate in the Congress for health and human rights, and his staffer, Joel Segal.

There are three things you can do to help in the coming weeks.

1) Contact your member of Congress and encourage them to be a co-sponsor of this legislation. If they sign on today, they can still be an “original” co-sponsor and their name will be permanently attached to the bill. The Congressional switchboard is (202) 224-3121.

2) Encourage physicians and medical students to individually endorse the “Physicians and Medical Students Proposal for NHI” If you have access to any e-mail lists at your hospital, medical school, etc. please circulate the summary and endorsement form.

3) Encourage any civic, consumer, church, or other grassroots or allied professional groups you belong to to endorse the new single-payer bill. A new web site, Coalition for a National Health Program is being constructed to keep an ongoing list of endorsements. Please bookmark it.

Thank you for your continued support. Although the war and the shuttle disaster are making headlines, we hope to offer the press some good news to cover as well.

Ida Hellander, MD
Executive Director
Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP)
29 E Madison, Suite 602
Chicago, IL 60602
fax 312.782.6007
pnhp e-mail

February 3, 2003
11:00 a.m

Physicians Propose Solution to Rising Health Care Costs and Uninsured
Introduce National Health Insurance Bill in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A group of the nation’s most prominent physicians and progressive leaders of Congress will hold a press conference briefing Tuesday, February 4, 11am, 2226 Rayburn House Office Building, to unveil a new bill, The United States National Health Insurance Act, a single-payer national health program. The legislation proposes an effective mechanism for controlling skyrocketing health costs while covering all 42 million uninsured Americans. The bill also restores free choice of physician to patients and provides comprehensive prescription drug coverage to seniors, as well as
younger people.

“Good news,” says Dr. Quentin Young, convener of the physician panel. “There is now a way to exit the nightmare of a collapsing health system. We no longer have to put up with the outrageous costs that keep millions of Americans from receiving medical care and needed medications. Nor will tens of thousands of families have to declare bankruptcy over medical bills.

Universal national health insurance (single payer) takes the resources we have in place and deals with them in an intelligent manner, excluding the tragic hemorrhage of resources into non-health entities”.

Dr. Marcia Angell, former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine*, is the spokesperson for the Physicians Working Group on Single-Payer National Health Insurance, an ad-hoc collaboration of the nation’s top physicians. Dr. Angell will present the proposal at the briefing.

Other members of the group include Dr. Gerald Thomson and Dr. Christine Cassel, former Presidents of the American College of Physicians, the second largest medical association in the country; Dr. Rodney Hood and Dr. Gary Dennis, former Presidents of the National Medical Association; Dr. Elinor Christiansen, immediate Past-President of the American Medical Women’s Association; and Dr. Ron Anderson, CEO of Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas.

(*Affiliations for identification only. A full list of Working Group members is at the end of this release).

Representative John Conyers, Dean of the Congressional Black Caucus and ranking minority Member of the House Judiciary Committee will introduce The United States National Health Insurance Act on February 4. A long time advocate of national health insurance, Rep. Conyers closely collaborated with the Physicians Working Group on the bill.

Additionally, nearly 4,000 individual physicians have endorsed the physicians’ proposal including two former Surgeons General (Dr. David Satcher and Dr. Julius Richmond); a Nobel Laureate (Dr. Bernard Lown); the highly respected authors of major textbooks of surgery and family practice (Dr. William Silen and Dr. Robert Rakel, respectively); and a leading organizer of emergency services in NYC on 9/11(Dr. Lewis Goldfrank, Chairman of Emergency Medicine at New York University).

Also joining the physicians and Congressmen to endorse the National Health Insurance Act will be Dr. Maya Rockeymoore, Urban League Director of Health Policy; Dean Baker, Co-Director, Center for Economic and Policy Research; and Hillary Shelton, a spokesperson for Julian Bond, Chairman of the NAACP.

Original Congressional co-sponsors of the NHI bill at press time are:

Luis Guitierrez (IL), Jim McDermott (WA); Bobby Scott (VA); Donna Christensen (Virgin Islands); Barbara Lee (CA); Danny Davis (IL); Major Owens (NY); Jesse Jackson Jr.(IL); Maurice Hinchey (NY); Donald Payne (NJ); Elijah Cummings (MD); Carolyn Kilpatrick (MI); Alcee Hastings (FL); Chaka Fattah (PA); Ed Towns (NY); John Lewis (GA); BennieThompson (MS); Eleanor Holmes-Norton (delegate for DC), and Lou Grijalva (AZ) (listing in formation).

National Health Insurance Act Press Conference
February 4, 2003 11am
2226 Rayburn House Office Building, Judiciary Committee Room

*Physician Working Group Members

Marcia Angell, MD
Past Editor
New England Journal of Medicine

Quentin Young, MD
National Coordinator PNHP
Former President American Public Health Association

Joel Alpert, MD
Former President
American Academy of Pediatrics

Ron Anderson, MD
President and CEO
Parkland Health &Hospital System

Peter Beilenson, MD, MPH
Department of Health, Baltimore

Christine Cassell, MD
Former President
American College of Physicians
Dean, Oregon University School of Medicine

Elinor Christiansen, MD
Past President
American Medical Women’s

Olveen Carrasquillo, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Columbia School of Medicine
Advisory Committee Member
National Hispanic Medical Assn.
Gary Dennis, MD
Former President
National Medical Association

David Himmelstein, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School
Co-Founder, Physicians for a National Health Program

Rodney Hood, MD
Past President of the National Medical Association which represents
African-American physicians

Edith Rasell, MD, PhD
Minister for Labor Relations in Community and Economic Development for
the United Church of Christ

Helen Rodriguez-Trias, MD
Past President
American Public Health Association
(recently deceased)

Sindhu Srinivas, MD
Past President
American Medical Student Assn.

Gerald Thomson, MD
Former President
American College of Physicians

Walter Tsou, MD, MPH
Former Commissioner of Health,

Steffie Woolhandler, MD, MPH
Associate Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School

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