President Obama’s White House made crystal clear this week: a Canadian-style, Medicare-for-all, single payer health insurance system is off the table.
Obama doesn’t even want to discuss it.
Take the case of Congressman John Conyers (D-Michigan).
Conyers is the leading advocate for single payer health insurance in Congress.
Last week, Conyers attended a Congressional Black Caucus meeting with President Obama at the White House.
During the meeting, Congressman Conyers, sponsor of the single payer bill in the House (HR 676), asked President Obama for an invite to the President’s March 5 health care summit at the White House.
Conyers said he would bring along with him two doctors – Dr. Marcia Angell and Dr. Quentin Young – to represent the majority of physicians in the United States who favor single payer.
Obama would have none of it.
This week, by e-mail, Conyers heard back from the White House – no invite.
Well, believe it or not, the Obama White House is under the thumb of the health insurance industry.
Obama has become the industry’s chief enforcer of its key demand: single payer health insurance is off the table.
Earlier this week, Obama named his health reform leadership team – Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius and Nancy-Ann DeParle.
Single payer advocates were not happy.
Since leaving Medicare, DeParle cashed in as a director at major for profit health care corporations, including Medco Health Solutions, Cerner, Boston Scientific, DaVita, and Triad Hospitals.
Now, what does the health insurance industry make of the Sebelius/DeParle team?
Here is Karen Ignagni, president of the lead health insurance lobbying group, America’s Health Insurance Plans:
“Today the President is putting in place a team that is ready on day one to provide the leadership necessary to achieve health care reform. Governor Sebelius is the right person to move the President’s health care agenda forward. She is a proven leader with extensive knowledge of health care issues and a long history of working effectively across the political aisle. As a former CMS administrator, Nancy-Ann DeParle brings considerable experience and a strong track record working on all of the health care issues facing the nation.”
Karen sounds really upset, right?
Dr. David Himmelstein is a founder and spokesperson for Physicians for a National Health Program.
Himmelstein’s take – Obama is caving to the insurance industry.
“The President once acknowledged that single payer reform was the best option, but now he’s caving in to corporate healthcare interests and completely shutting out advocates of single payer reform,” Himmelstein said. “The majority of Americans favor single payer, and it’s the most popular reform option among doctors and health economists, but no single payer supporter has been invited to participate in the administration’s health care summit. Meanwhile, he’s appointed as his health reform czar Nancy-Ann DeParle, a woman who has made her living advising health care investors and sits on the board of many for-profit firms that have made billions from Medicare. Her appointment – and the invitation list to the healthcare summit – is a clear signal that the administration plans to propose a corporate-friendly health reform that has no chance of actually solving our health care crisis.”
Obama to single payer advocates: drop dead.