Single Payer: Where do we go from here? A Panel Discussion

Senator Bernie Sanders, May 21, 2014

Panelists:

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt)
  • Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen
  • Gerald Friedman, Professor, Economics, University of Massachusetts at Amherst
  • Dr. Margaret Flowers, PopularResistance. org
  • Dr. Andrew Coates, President, Physicians for a National Health Program
  • Michael Lighty, Director of Public Policy, National Nurses United

Dr. Andrew Coates: In a modern democracy, it seems to me that it’s a responsibility of the government to guarantee all necessary care to everyone in the democracy, and also to protect the privacy of the decision making between the patient and his or her caregiver. And if you think about that a little bit further, what would it mean if we had national health insurance? What would it mean if we had access to all necessary care?  – we didn’t have to worry when our mother needed to make a transition to a nursing home.; we didn’t have to worry when our child got leukemia; we didn’t have to worry… like all of my patients – every patient I have in the hospital is worried about the money problems that are going to follow their illness. And it is an absolute national disgrace – Yes, we can indict that, but let’s think about that the other way. What kind of freedom would we have if we could travel anywhere we wanted and know that there would be an adequate health care infrastructure? – if the Adirondacks – with an underserved population in my own state – has hospitals with the support staff they needed? This would be liberating. And it would change the political culture of our nation to the idea that we can do this together. We all deserve basic human dignity, and we should all be free – and I think that health care is such a modern necessity that that can take our democracy to that place.

Video (drag time marker to 25 minutes for start of forum):http://www.sanders.senate.gov/single-payer-where-do-we-go-from-here

This video should be shared with others to assist in disseminating the message of the moral imperative of single payer.

So where do we go from here? The simple answer is forward. We need to continue with education, coalition and grassroots efforts so that the nation will understand that we, as a democracy, can bring health care to everyone while eliminating the pecuniary punishment inflicted on those unfortunate enough to have health care needs.