Monday, June 15, 2009
Dana Milbank's description of the recent congressional hearing on single-payer health care ["It's Healthy to Vent," June 11] was polemical.
First, many attendees were congressional staff members, not single-payer advocates.
Second, to describe the testimony of witnesses, which included Rep. John Conyers Jr., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, as mere "venting" and "an exercise in blowing off steam" was offensive to the millions of Americans whose views they represent.
Third, Rep. Dennis Kucinich's grilling of the Manhattan Institute's David Gratzer was justified by Mr. Gratzer's selective use of statistics to portray a falsely grim picture of the Canadian single-payer system. Certainly, a national system of health insurance that guarantees comprehensive access to needed care and eliminates profit is anathema to someone who cheerleads the intellectually and morally bankrupt "consumer-driven health care" movement.
Finally, to decry a national system of health-care financing that retains the private delivery of health care as socialism simply plays into the propaganda and fear-mongering of the right and the private insurance lobby, which opposes any challenge to its obscene profits.
Make no mistake: Single-payer advocates have much to be upset about, given our near-complete exclusion from the congressional debate on health reform.
But we are the only health-care reform movement with strong and growing grass-roots support, and we will be heard.
The writer, a physician and a health researcher for Public Citizen, which supports single-payer national health insurance, attended the hearing in question.