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Kucinich Fights for Health Care
Nicholas Johnson

Iowa City Press-Citizen, "Opinion"
October 31, 2003, p. 13A

Note: Given the amount of factual information in this "opinion" piece, "Sources and Sites" have been provided below for any who might wish to check, or research the subject further. Readers are especially directed to the expanded comments of spokespersons for Physicians for a National Health Program.

Presidential primaries offer far more than candidate selection. They're potentially our most important citizenship continuing-education program -- but only if the media will cover the issues as well as the horse race.

Workers bargain and strike today over health care benefits. There are 43 million Americans with no coverage; 10 million are children. Pharmaceutical companies’ monopoly patents and profits are driving many seniors’ savings to new lows – and candidates’ campaign treasuries to new highs.

As a result, most candidates’ proposals involve little more than tweaking our private profit-maximizing, corporate delivery of health care. Such proposals retain excessive corporate profits, executives’ multi-million-dollar salaries and stock options, and what is sometimes a 30% administrative overhead.

Most industrialized countries provide their citizens a “single-payer” plan. These non-profit programs cover all the people, all the time, with more health care, at less cost, and radically reduced administrative overhead. The idea is now supported by two-thirds of the American public, and by the 10,000 doctors of Physicians for a National Health Program who think "medicine should be a public service, not a business.”

Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich is not only talking about single-payer, he has actually introduced the legislation to provide it.

Moreover, while the candidates debate an additional $87 billion for Iraq, Kucinich is proposing an overall re-evaluation of our defense strategies and budget. He thinks it’s enough that we’re the most militarized nation in the world; we don’t need to spend more than all other nations combined.

He’s addressed 40 policy areas with similar political courage and creativity. So whomever you’re supporting for president, insist that he or she -- and your favorite media -- address Dennis Kucinich’s proposals at

You have a lot more riding on this election than the candidates’ polls and the media’s ratings.

Nicholas Johnson
Iowa City

Sources and Sites

Dennis Kucinich on Universal Health Care.

Congressman Dennis Kucinich legislation regarding universal health care.

Children without health coverage. Children’s Defense Fund.

Physicians for a National Health Program.

Poll reporting two-thirds of Americans support single payer. Common Dreams Progressive News Wire, “Physicians
Hail Poll Showing Majority of Americans Support National Health Insurance,” (“By a 2:1 margin (62 percent to 32 percent), an ABC News-Washington Post Poll released today found that the public favors national health insurance to the current health insurance system, in which most people get their health insurance from private employers, but some people have no insurance.”),
Oct. 20, 2003.

Candidates and media’s failure to discuss and support single-payer; need for national debate.

“"What's striking is not the high level of public support for reform; our system's been in critical condition for years," said Dr. Quentin Young, National Coordinator of Physicians for a National Health Program. "Support for reform is a 'no-brainer.' What's striking, and shameful, is the way our elected officials ignore the remedy for the crisis because of opposition by powerful groups like the insurance and drug companies. In 1996, after 50 years of support, even the Democratic Party dropped national health insurance from its platform".

Dr. Alan Jackson, an African-American cardiologist who was featured on the ABC Evening News Sunday night, said that the despite massive public popularity, the issue is virtually dismissed by major newspapers, as well as some TV networks. "There's incredible media bias on this issue, when there isn't simply a blanket media blackout," said Dr. Jackson. He noted that the New York Times ran a prominent story on 2 dissatisfied Canadian doctors over the weekend, but completely neglected to report on more than 10,000 U.S. doctors expressing dissatisfaction with the U.S. system and endorsing national health insurance. "The media is getting the story wrong. We spend two to three times more on health care than other nations, yet it's the U.S. health system that's broken. How much worse does it have to get"?

"We need to have an open, vigorous debate over national health insurance," said Dr. Don McCanne, a retired family practitioner and President of Physicians for a National Health Program. "This polling data is encouraging, but what if Americans knew that a single payer system would give them free choice of physicians, instead of the limited choices they have now? What if Americans knew that we are already spending enough money to eliminate the long, sometimes unlimited, waits for care that the uninsured experience, as well as the waits by people trapped in HMOs? We need an honest debate so that people can separate the myths from the facts."


Dennis Kucinich proposals generally.