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US Green Party candidates call for single-payer national health insurance


Green candidates call single-payer national health insurance as the
lone solution to 45 million Americans without coverage

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Green candidates across the U.S. have made
health care for all a top campaign issue, demanding single-payer
national health insurance, and accusing Democrats and Republicans
alike of sweeping the health care crisis under the rug while
accepting major insurance company contributions.

“Greens are calling health care a national emergency, while many
Democratic and Republican candidates are talking about it as little
as possible,” said Bob Levis, Wisconsin Green candidate for the U.S.
House (5th District) <http://www.boblevis.org>.

Mr. Levis is running against incumbent F. James Sensenbrenner, who
owns over three million in pharmaceutical stock and has voted
against reforms such as the patients’ bill of rights. “More than 45
million Americans, including 9 million children, have no health
coverage. Millions of other Americans have inadequate coverage. The
U.S. leads in medical technology, but the worst access to health
care among industrial nations.”

“The only solution to the crisis is single-payer national health
insurance, which will cover every American, regardless of age,
income, residence, or prior medical condition, with quality
coverage,” added Mr. Levis. “Single-payer national health insurance
will cost working Americans far less than they now pay for private
coverage. Single-payer also takes the burden off businesses to
provide health coverage for employees, and creates a lot less
paperwork and aggravation for hospitals, physicians, and other
health professionals.”

“Many people believe that ‘government inefficiency’ would make
national health insurance more expensive than private insurance,
when the facts indicate the opposite,” said Art Myatt, Michigan
Green candidate for the U.S. House (12th District). “Medicare
delivers 98 cents to health care providers out of every dollar of
Medicare income. The private insurance industry does well to deliver
70 cents. National health insurance would actually lower the total
amount that society spends on health care.”

Greens note that the Democratic Party removed national health
insurance from its national platform during the Clinton-Gore
Administration. President Clinton introduced a complex ‘managed
care’ plan, which would have placed coverage under the control of a
few giant insurance firms. Even though the Clinton plan failed, most
Democrats continue to favor reforms that leave powerful HMO and
insurance corporations in control of health care. None of these
plans will solve the health care crisis, say Greens, because HMO and
insurance corporations are the root of the problem — they don’t
want to cover Americans who are old or poor or have prior medical
conditions that may interfere with profits.

“While Greens accept no corporate contributions, Democratic and
Republican politicians receive millions from corporate health
lobbies that don’t want single-payer national health insurance,”
said Carol Brouillet, Green congressional candidate in California’s
14th District <http://www.carolforcongress.org>.

“Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) is the top 2006 recipient in Congress
of contributions from the insurance industry, according to the
Center for Responsive Politics <http://www.opensecrets.org>. Both
Democrats and Republicans are listed among the top recipients of
money from the insurance and pharmaceutical industry.” (Green
candidate Howie Hawkins is challenging Sen. Clinton for her Senate
seat <http://www.hawkinsforsenate.org>.)

One exception among Democrats is Rep. John Conyers (Mich.), who each
year introduces legislation for single-payer national health
insurance in the U.S. House. The Green Party has consistently
supported the Conyers bills.

Corporate pharmaceutical lobbies also made sure that Congress passed
its prescription drug ‘reform’ bill in 2003 — which benefited drug
companies but did little to help older Americans who need their
prescription medicines. Under single-payer, all seniors will have
full access to their prescription medicines at zero or minimal cost.

Some states, such as California, have been considering state-wide
single-payer plans. Greens in these states have supported such
proposals. The chief obstacles have been Democratic and Republican
politicians who, under the influence of corporate lobbies, work to
obstruct single-payer, and advertising by HMOs and insurance
companies that misleads the public.

In Tennessee, Green gubernatorial candidate Howard Switzer
<http://www.h4gov.com> is challenging incumbent Phil Bredesen (D),
who has been dismantling one of the nation’s few state provided
health care systems, dropping 330,000 (many of them in need of care)
from TennCare’s rolls during the past year. Mr. Switzer’s campaign
slogan is “Healthcare for All.”

“Americans will win universal coverage and quality health care under
a single-payer plan when voters elect candidates who are on the side
of Americans who need health care, not on the side of corporate
lobbies,” said Jeff Kravitz, Green candidate for the U.S. House in
California’s 5th District <http://www.kravitzforcongress.org>. “The
health care crisis and the demand for single-payer national health
insurance are at the top of the list of reasons why America needs
the Green Party.”

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