Healthcare Reform


While the Obama administration claims 'all options are on the table' for healthcare reform, it’s already rejected the solution favored by most Americans, including doctors: single-payer universal healthcare.

October 20, 2009: In His Mother’s Footsteps: California Man Jailed For Five Days After Sit-In At Blue Cross Office in Los Angeles
On Thursday Sam Pullen was arrested at the Los Angeles offices of the insurance giant Blue Cross. He refused to give his information to police, and vowed to remain in prison until Blue Cross agreed to hear demands that it stop denying doctor-recommended medical treatment to seriously ill patients. Despite his resistance, Pullen was finally ordered released from jail on Monday, against his will. In protesting Blue Shield, Sam Pullen was following in the footsteps of his late mother, who was diagnosed with cancer when he was a teenager. Leanna Bellstaged a one-person sit-in in front of Blue Cross after the company denied her coverage for a bone marrow transplant. Blue Cross gave in, and the transplant helped extend her life for several years.

October 20, 2009: Congress Considers Revoking Health Insurance Industry’s Exemption From Antitrust Laws
Democrats say the McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945 has granted the insurance industry a captive market with no curbs on price-fixing and other anti-competitive practices. Last week the Justice Department"s top antitrust regulator, Christine Varney, voiced support for a repeal. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are also backing a repeal, and New York Senator Charles Schumer has called for including it as part of the health care reform bill. The House Judiciary Committee plans to vote on the issue on Wednesday.

October 14, 2009: With Senate Finance Vote, Fate of Public Option Uncertain as Healthcare Reform Talks Move Behind Closed Doors
The Senate Finance Committee has become the fifth and final congressional panel to approve legislation to reform the nation’s healthcare system, voting 14-to-9 to approve an $829 billion measure. Maine Senator Olympia Snowe was the only Republican to support the package, which omits a public option. Talks now move behind closed doors, where Senate leaders will craft final legislation. We get analysis from Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake.

October 01, 2009: Mother Speaks Out on Insurance Giant CIGNA’s Denial of Health Care to Cancer-Stricken Twin Daughters
Stacie Ritter’s twin daughters were diagnosed with cancer at the age of four. Their insurance provider, CIGNA, denied them coverage even though they had been covered by the family’s former insurer. The incident marked just the latest chapter in the family’s ongoing troubles with the health insurance industry. A few years ago the Ritters filed for bankruptcy due to their high medical expenses–even though they had health insurance at the time. Stacie Ritters joins us to tell her story.

September 30, 2009: Insurance Industry Whistleblower Wendell Potter Blasts Senate Panel Rejection of Public Insurance Option
Efforts to create a government-run health insurance plan were dealt a setback Tuesday after the Senate Finance Committee rejected a pair of amendments to create a public option.

September 10, 2009: Obama Urges Lawmakers to Pass Healthcare Bill, But What Will Reform Really Look like?
President Obama intensified his push for healthcare reform Wednesday with a nationally televised address before a joint session of Congress. We speak with Dr. Quentin Young, a longtime friend of Obama and the national coordinator for Physicians for a National Health Program, as well as the Reverend Jesse Jackson, founder of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition.

September 10, 2009: 'A Robust Public Option Is Essential'–Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Grijalva Draws a Line in the Sand on Healthcare Reform
In a nationally televised address, President Obama called on Congress last night to take quick action and pass an overhaul of the nation’s healthcare system. Obama defended proposals for a government-run public health insurance plan as part of healthcare reform but suggested that he would accept a bill that did not include a public option. We speak with Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

September 09, 2009: 'We Need a Better Change in This Country'–Mother of 17-Year Old Girl Who Died After Private Insurance Denied Claim for Liver Transplant
We speak with Hilda Sarkisyan, the mother of Nataline Sarkisyan who died two years ago at the age of 17 after the insurance giant Cigna denied her claim for a liver transplant.

September 09, 2009: ’California’s Real Death Panels’–Data Reveals California’s Private Insurers Deny 21% of Claims
We take a look at California’s “real death panels,” that’s what the nation’s largest nurses group is calling private insurers as new data reveals they denied one of every five claims over the past seven years. We speak with Charles Idelson of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee.

August 20, 2009: Progressive Dems Refuse to Back Health Care Reform Without Public Option
We speak to Rep. Raul Grijalva, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, on the latest in the debate over health care reform. Grijalva has threatened to vote against any healthcare legislation that does not include a public health insurance option.

August 18, 2009: Actor Kiefer Sutherland’s Grandfather Tommy Douglas Remembered For Bringing Universal Healthcare System To Canada
Medicare passed in Saskatchewan in 1962, guaranteeing hospital care for all residents. The rest of Canada soon followed, province by province. After his death Douglas earned the title of “The Greatest Canadian” in a poll by the CBC. We speak with Canadian doctor Michael Rachlis.

August 18, 2009: British Politician Tony Benn Condemns Escalation of War in Afghanistan & Defends Britain’s Socialized Healthcare System
Tony Been is a former cabinet minister and the longest serving MP in the history of the British Labour party.

August 4, 2009": Rep. Henry Waxman on Healthcare Reform, the Waxman-Markey Climate Change Bill and the Expanding Role of Private Contractors in the Battlefield
Since President Obama’s inauguration, two of the Democrats’ key legislative priorities have made significant advances in Congress. In June, the House passed a landmark climate bill that would impose the nation"s first ever Congressionally-mandated emissions cuts. And following weeks of intensive negotiations, the House on Friday cleared the way for a September vote on legislation to alter the nation"s health care system.

July 23, 2009: Promoting Healthcare Reform, Obama Admits US Can’t Insure All Americans Without Single Payer
Obama devoted most of his White House news conference to defend his push for healthcare reform. He acknowledged the US won’t be able to provide healthcare insurance to every American without adopting single payer, which his administration has opposed.

July 23, 2009: Watchdog Group Sues for Disclosure of White House Meetings with Healthcare Execs
A Washington-based watchdog group filed a lawsuit seeking records of visits by top healthcare executives to the White House. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington says the public has a right to learn the extent that these executives are influencing the Obama administration’s healthcare policy.

July 22, 2009: President Obama’s Longtime Physician Opposes White House Health Plan, Advocates Single-Payer
Dr. David Scheiner was President Obama’s doctor from 1987 until he entered the White House. Today Dr. Scheiner is publicly opposing Obama’s health plan and is calling for a single-payer system.

July 22, 2009: Uninsured Travel From Across U.S. for Free Health Care from Relief Group Remote Area Medical
As debate continues in Washington over healthcare reform, thousands of Americans in neighboring Virginia are preparing to line up this weekend to receive free healthcare provided by a relief organization called Remote Area Medical. We speak to the group’s founder, Stan Brock.

July 21, 2009: As Obama Continues Push For Healthcare Reform, House Committee Approves Kucinich-Sponsored Measure to Keep Single-Payer Option Alive
On Capitol Hill, Democratic leaders say they’re open to paring down a health care reform bill in order to sway "conservative" Democrats who’ve threatened to oppose the measure that would create a government-run public insurance option. We speak with progressive Democrat, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D–Ohio). A House committee recently approved his amendment that would allow individual states to adopt a single payer system.

July 17, 2009: Howard Dean on His Prescription for Real Healthcare Reform
we spend the hour with Howard Dean, physician, six-term Vermont governor, Democratic Presidential candidate in 2004, and former chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Dean’s solution embraces President Obama’s healthcare plan but argues that the reform bill is “not worth passing unless the American people have the choice of signing up for a public option—a real public option.”

July 16, 2009: 'They Dump the Sick to Satisfy Investors”: Insurance Exec Turned Whistleblower Wendell Potter Speaks Out Against Healthcare Industry'
As the debate over healthcare reform intensifies on Capitol Hill, we spend the hour with a former top insurance executive who’s now exposing the industry’s dirty secrets. Wendell Potter once served as the head of corporate communications at CIGNA, one of the nation’s largest health insurance companies. We speak to Potter about his own transformation from industry mouthpiece to whistleblower, the healthcare industry’s extensive PR and lobbying machine, the campaign to discredit Michael Moore’s film Sicko, and the insurance industry’s most pressing task: the fight against a public option, let alone a single-payer system.

June 16, 2009: Report: Senator Max Baucus Received More Campaign Money From Health-and-Insurance Industry Interests Than Any Other Member of Congress.
Montana Senator Max Baucus, the chair of the Senate Finance Committee, is the Senate’s point man on health care reform. A new article in the Montana Standard finds that Senator Baucus has received more campaign money from health-and-insurance industry interests than any other member of Congress.

June 16, 2009: Dr. Chris McCoy: 'Dear AMA: I Quit!'
On Monday, the president spoke at the annual conference of the American Medical Association in Chicago. Obama’s speech before the AMA on Monday came just days after the group signaled opposition to his proposal for a public health plan to compete with private insurers. We speak with Dr. Quentin Young, National Coordinator for Physicians for a National Health Program, and Dr. Chris McCoy, an Instructor of Medicine at the Mayo Clinic and the chair of the policy committee for the National Physicians Alliance. He recently withdrew his membership from the American Medical Association in protest over their position regarding a public health care option

June 12, 2009: Report: Health Insurers Hold Billions in Tobacco Stocks
A new report in the New England Journal of Medicine reveals U.S., Canadian and British health and life insurance firms hold at least $4.4 billion of investments in companies whose subsidiaries manufacture cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco and related products.

June 12, 2009": AMA Opposition to Obama Public Health Plan Echoes Group’s Decades-Long Resistance to Health Care Reform
On Monday, President Obama is scheduled to address the American Medical Association, the nation’s largest doctors’ group with 250,000 members. They have expressed strong opposition to a government-run plan. We take a look at how the AMA has fought almost every major effort at health care reform over the past 70 years.

June 09, 2009: Sen. Bernie Sanders and Nurses Union Leader Rose Ann DeMoro Urge Obama To Embrace Single-Payer Health Care System
President Obama is expected to host a group of Democratic Congressmembers at the White House later today. The meeting comes one week after Obama said he would consider supporting a mandate-based approach to health care and the creation of a public insurance option.

May 13, 2009: Baucus’s Raucous Caucus: Doctors, Nurses and Activists Arrested Again for Protesting Exclusion of Single-Payer Advocates at Senate Hearing on Healthcare
Advocates of single-payer universal healthcare—the system favored by most Americans—continue to protest their exclusion from discussions on healthcare reform. On Tuesday, five doctors, nurses and single-payer advocates were arrested at a Senate Finance Committee hearing, bringing the total number of arrests in less than a week to thirteen.

April 01, 2009: Rep. McDermott: 'The Medical-Industrial Complex in this Country is Bigger than the Military-Industrial Complex'
We speak with Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA), a leading advocate for a single-payer healthcare system, about healthcare reform on Capitol Hill. McDermott also speaks about his recent trip to Afghanistan and his thoughts on President Obama’s escalation of the war.

March 30, 2009: Inequality is Unhealthy: Dr. Stephen Bezruchka on How Economic Inequality is Dangerous to our Health
As lawmakers continue to debate healthcare proposals, we take a look at how the economic crisis can impact the health of people in this country. We speak with Dr. Stephen Bezruchka who teaches at the University of Washington’s School of Public Health.

March 11, 2009: Newly Formed 150,000-Strong Nurses’ Union Pushes for Single-Payer Healthcare
Three of the country’s top organizations of direct care registered nurses have come together to form a new national nurses’ union that is advocating for a single-payer national health insurance program.

March 11, 2009: Burn Your Health Insurance Bill Day: New Group Advocates Direct Action to Demand Single-Payer System
Russell Mokhiber, editor of Corporate Crime Reporter, has just formed a new group called “Single Payer Action” that is advocating direct action to demand a single-payer health insurance system in the United States.

March 11, 2009: Dr. Quentin Young, Longtime Obama Confidante and Physician to MLK, Criticizes Admin’s Rejection of Single-Payer Healthcare
While the Obama administration claims 'all options are on the table' for healthcare reform, it’s already rejected the solution favored by most Americans, including doctors: single-payer universal healthcare.

March 06, 2009: As Obama Hosts Summit on Healthcare, Marginalized Advocates Ask Why Single Payer Is Ignored
President Obama hosted a White House summit Thursday on reforming healthcare. While President Obama said every idea must be considered, the idea of creating a single-payer national health insurance program appears to have already been rejected.

February 27, 2009: Can US Achieve Meaningful Healthcare Reform Within For-Profit System?
The Obama administration says its repeal of Bush-era tax cuts for wealthier Americans will help pay for a $634 billion reserve fund for what it calls its top fiscal priority: healthcare reform.

February 04, 2009: What is the Future of Healthcare Reform Following Daschle Withdrawing Health Sec. Nomination?
In what is being described as the first major setback of Barack Obama’s presidency, Tom Daschle has withdrawn his nomination as Secretary of Health and Human Services. We speak to Richard Kirsch of Healthcare for America Now.

May 28, 2008: Dr. Paul Farmer Challenges Profit-Driven Medical System While Bringing Healthcare to Poor Communities Worldwide
Paul Farmer is not your ordinary doctor. In going to the poorest places on earth, he is not only treating patients, but challenging whole healthcare systems.

April 21, 2008: An Evangelical from a Conservative Background, Dr. Rocky White is Not Your Typical Advocate for Single-Payer Healthcare
While there are differences between the healthcare plans offered by Democratic presidential opponents Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, neither of them is proposing a single-payer system of national healthcare.