A Majority of Americans Favor Government-Run Universal Health Care System
Insurance companies and politicians resist change Interview with Dr. Stephanie Woolhandler, co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program, conducted by Scott Harris
With an estimated 43 million Americans without health insurance and sharply rising costs each year, there is a new openness to undertake fundamental changes in the nation's healthcare system. In September, 10,000 doctors publicly endorsed the creation of a government-run, single-payer health care program in the pages of the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association. And in a Washington Post-ABC News poll released in October a majority of Americans, by a 2 to 1 margin, now prefer the establishment of a new universal national health insurance system over the current privatized healthcare structure.
The U.S. is the only industrialized nation in the world that doesn't provide its citizens universal healthcare coverage. But despite growing dissatisfaction with the current system and skyrocketing costs for health care and prescription drugs, politicians at the state and national level seem unwilling to challenge the current system, where big insurance companies and pharmaceutical manufacturers have considerable power to influence the debate through lobbying and campaign contributions.
Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Dr. Stephanie Woolhandler, associate professor of medicine at Harvard University and co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program, who explains why she believes there has been a shift in public opinion regarding universal health care and the political environment that hinders fundamental reform.
To contact Physicians for a National Health Program, call (312) 782-6006 or visit their website at www.pnhp.org
"Health Care Pains: Growing Health Care Concerns Fuel Cautious Support for Change," By Gary Langer, ABC News, Oct. 20, 2003
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