Remarks by Adam Gaffney, M.D., M.P.H.
Introductory Press Conference, H.R. 1384, February 27, 2019
I am so happy to be here today, speaking as a representative of Physicians for a National Health Program, an educational and advocacy organization of physicians across the country who know first-hand that a single-payer Medicare for All system is what this country needs.
I’d like to thank Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal for her leadership on this, and everyone here who’s joining together for this critical cause at this crucial moment.
As physicians, we see daily the harm that a for-profit, fragmented, privatized health care system imposes on our patients. We see the uninsured — the 29 million people without any health coverage — who go untreated, who develop unnecessary complications, who even die as a consequence.
We see the under-insured — the 44 million people who have coverage, but with holes and gaps so big it’s as if they’re not covered at all. These are people who go without needed care. People with asthma who don’t take their inhalers because they can’t afford the prescription. People with heart disease who don’t fill their prescription at all because they can’t afford it. People with multiple sclerosis, mental illness, or cancer who can’t get the care they need because the copays and the deductibles are too high.
Meanwhile, as physicians, we are encumbered with never-ending billing tasks and administrative tasks that take us from the bedside, that take us from the patient, from the practice of medicine itself. We see a corporate calculus replacing the fundamental calling of the medical profession and the profit motive superseding medical science and justice.
No longer. A Medicare for All system would guarantee health care for everyone in America, replacing the current welter of fragmented, inadequate plans that deny claims with universal coverage that is not only comprehensive, but first-dollar; not only portable, but seamless over life; that allows you to see the doctors and go to the hospitals that you want, not the ones that your insurance company tells you you have to go to.
At the same time, such a system would allow us as physicians to again focus on the care of patients, away from billing and back to the beside, which is why we became doctors to begin with.
Thank you so much, everyone, for joining together. The time for half-measures is over. Medicare for All, a single-payer universal health care system, is the name of the game and we’re going to win it!
more information on H.R. 1384: