FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, November 1, 2019
Contact: Clare Fauke, PNHP communication specialist, 312-802-2302 (mobile), firstname.lastname@example.org
PHILADELPHIA — Wearing their scrubs and white coats, more than 100 doctors, medical students and other health care advocates gathered in downtown Philadelphia to demand a single-payer, Medicare for All national health system. Specifically, they called on Congressman Dwight Evans (D-Penn.) to sign onto H.R. 1384, the Medicare for All Act of 2019. The bill currently has 118 co-sponsors, including a majority of House Democrats.
Dr. Adam Gaffney, president of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), said Rep. Evans co-sponsored H.R. 676, the previous House Medicare for All bill, but has refused to endorse single-payer legislation in the current session of Congress.
“At the same time that he lost interest in supporting single payer, Rep. Evans accepted campaign contributions from private health insurers such as Cigna, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, UnitedHealth Group, and Molina,” said Dr. Gaffney. “These companies are fighting tooth-and-nail against Medicare for All because this kind of reform renders them obsolete.” Dr. Gaffney added that Rep. Evans also accepted contributions from the Federation of American Hospitals and other groups representing for-profit providers, which also oppose Medicare for All.
Melinda St. Louis of Public Citizen’s Medicare for All campaign said the City of Philadelphia passed a resolution in support of single-payer Medicare for All, demonstrating clearly that Rep. Evans’ constituents favor this type of reform.
Dr. Walter Tsou, a Philadelphia physician and board adviser with PNHP, pointed to the recent closing of Hahnemann Hospital as an example of how the current health system values corporate profits over community needs. “To its investors, Hahnemann was more valuable for its downtown location than as a safety-net hospital,” said Dr. Tsou. “Only single-payer Medicare for All — not incremental measures like a public option — will treat hospitals as public goods, not piggy banks for private equity firms.” Dr. Tsou added that H.R. 1384 would fund hospitals through global budgets, providing a lifeline to community hospitals in rural and other underserved areas.
Many of the doctors are in Philadelphia this weekend for the annual meeting of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), nonprofit research and educational organization of more than 23,000 doctors and health professionals who support Medicare for All. The theme of this year’s conference is “Single Payer is for Every Body.”