From Congressional Progressive Caucus, Representatives Conyers and McDermott:
Please join the Congressional Progressive Caucus on Wednesday, September 14 from 10:30am–11:30am in Rayburn 2237 for Part 1 in a new series of educational briefings on single-payer health care and its ability to contain health-care costs. It is well known that rising health-care costs are causing a national crisis, putting unprecedented strain on personal, institutional, and governmental budgets. Single-payer health care is one of the most promising solutions to this cost crunch. While the United States already employs a single-payer framework to cover limited segments of the population (e.g. Medicare), our fragmented multi-payer system as a whole consumes far more resources as a percentage of GDP than most other developed countries that use a single-payer approach. The briefing series will explore a variety of topics, including whether Vermont’s recently enacted single-payer law could be a viable model for future proposals.
Our guest speaker for the September 14 briefing is Stephanie Woolhandler, M.D., M.P.H. A former professor at the Harvard Medical School, Dr. Woolhandler is a national leader in health policy, as well as a practicing family physician. Dr. Woolhandler is a professor at the City University of New York School of Public Health and visiting professor at Harvard Medical School. She is co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program, an organization of 18,000 doctors who support single-payer national health insurance, an improved Medicare for All. She worked in 1990-91 as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation health policy fellow at the Institute of Medicine and the U.S. Congress. She is a principal author of many PNHP articles published in the JAMA, the New England Journal of Medicine and other professional journals, and has frequently testified before Congress. In 2009, she was co-author of an article in the American Journal of Public Health that found 45,000 deaths annually are linked to lack of health insurance, another in the American Journal of Medicine that found 62 percent of personal bankruptcies are linked to medical bills and illness. She has dedicated her career to improving health care for the underserved and advocating for national health insurance for all Americans, and is considered one of the nation’s foremost experts on single-payer universal health care and rising health-care costs.
Dr. Woolhandler will speak about the ability of a health-care system administered by a single payer to reduce the overwhelming costs of our current system—a topic she has studied extensively in her scholarly work documenting the relationship between medical costs and personal bankruptcy. Representatives of Reps. Conyers and McDermott will also be on hand to discuss the two principal single-payer health-care bills pending in the 112th Congress: the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act (H.R. 676), and the American Health Security Act of 2011 (H.R. 1200).
The CPC single-payer briefing series is designed to educate members and staff, increase awareness of the many benefits of single-payer health care, and reintroduce single-payer health care into the national dialogue in the era of the Affordable Care Act. The CPC believes that despite the significant advances in coverage and access achieved in the Affordable Care Act, the goal and ultimate destiny of U.S. health care is a publicly-financed, privately-delivered health system.