Physicians for a National Health Program - Western Washington PNHP

Coming Events:

*PNHPWW April Monthly Meeting, April 15th, 7PM
Swed/Prov/Cherry Hill Conf Center Auditorium Directions - April Calendar
Last Update: 4/07/09







It’s Time to Add Your Voice

Since 1987, Physicians for a National Health Program has advocated for reform in the U.S. health care system. A large part of our work involves educating health professionals about the benefits of a single-payer system--including fewer administrative costs and affording health insurance for the 46 million Americans who have none. More


Latest News

PNHPWW 2009 Annual Public Meeting

The 4th Annual PNHPWW Annual Public Meeting was held on Friday, April 3rd, at Kane Hall. Oliver Fein, MD, National President of PNHP gave the keynote address. Robby Stern, Chair of the Healthy Washington Coalition, also addressed the meeting. Representative Jim McDermott appeared by video from Washington, DC. Bob Wickline and family provided topical musical entertainment.


Oli Fein makes point on administrative savings from single payer compared to private insurance and public option. It's important for us to continue to be SP activists - SP is the "elephant under the table" that needs to remain the gold standard to push us in the right direction
Robby Stern emphasizes we must not underestimate the power of pushback from the vested interests, and that we must "get out on the streets" if we are to achieve health care reform in 2009. We have a great opportunity on May 30th
Jim McDermott believes the fight in DC will be around the public option. It must be available to everyone across the US, have broad benefits, low cost, and believes this is a step toward single payer. "It must not be a dumping ground - A weak public option is not worth going for"
Bob Wickline and family sing songs of social justice and health reform
Barbara and Bob Fithian receive 2009 Annual John Geyman Health Justice Advocate Award from Sherry Weinberg for a lifetime of service

While visiting Seattle, we kept Oli busy! He give a Grand Rounds "National Health Insurance for the United States: Has Its Time Come?" for the UW Department of Internal Medicine, met with medical students and residents for a luncheon, and met with single payer activists for a strategy session. Mixed in there somewhere was an interview on the Dave Ross KIRO Radio Show.

PNHPWW April 15th Monthly Meeting

Next Meeting set for Wednesday, April 15th, 7PM, in the Swed/Prov/Cherry Hill Campus Conference Center Auditorium – Craig Salins, Exec Director of Washington Public Campaigns, will discuss the importance of campaign finance reform in general, and specifically for comprehensive health care reform.

Swed/Prov/Cherry Hill Conference Center Auditorium - Directions

For the last few months, Health Care for All - Washington (HCFA-WA) and Physicians for a National Health Plan - Western Washington have been collaborating on Action Team Meetings in the Puget Sound area.

These meetings are organized into 5 regional groupings of Legislative Districts. The meetings begin with an update on state and national efforts to win "publically-funded, privately delivered" health care coverage for all residents that is comprehensive, continuous (regardless of employment or 'pre-existing' conditions), affordable (for families), and sustainable (for taxpayers). Then, participants from each legislative district strategize and plan activities so as to best coordinate local efforts to enlist friends and neighbors in our cause for health justice - and how best to influence our LD's representatives.The next round of Action Team Meetings will be held in:

South King County - Sun, 4/12
Shoreline/Edmonds - LD's - 1, 21, 32 - 4/26
North Seattle - 5/3
South Seattle - 5/3
Eastside - LD's - 5, 41, 45, 48 - 5/16
Click location for Flyer

Health Care Reform Action Teams

Seattle City Council passes Resolution endorsing HR 676 and HR 1200

By unanimous vote, on February 17th, the Seattle City Council passed a Resolution to ask the Washington State Congressional delegation to support two single-payer bills that would create a national health program. Congressman Jim McDermott has introduced HR 1200, the American Health Security Act, and Congressman John Conyers HR 676, the United States National Health Care Act.

Both bills would provide comprehensive health insurance for all Americans, the care provided though the existing private delivery system. They would replace private insurance with guaranteed coverage, funded through the tax system.

Sponsor Councilmember Nick Licata indicated that in this time of severe economic stress, a national solution to our health care crisis is especially important and would fulfill the Council’s duty to protect all Seattle residents from health and financial disaster. For Nick's statement on the Council Resolution and a link to it click here.

Seattle becomes the 49th City and Municipal government to pass such a resolution.

Thanks to all of you who participated in the lobbying effort by contacting Councilmembers urging their support.

Mathematica Final Report Released

Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., released its final report  - "Analytic Support for Washington Citizens’ Work Group on Health Care: Evaluation of Health Care Reform Proposals" on March 27th (Download PDF). The analysis was authorized by the state legislature by SB 6333 to compare 4 state health reform proposals, including a single-payer plan.

Unfortunately, rather than using the “Washington State Security Trust” (WHST) bill introduced last year, Mathematica was asked to use a single-payer model “like Canada’s,” but the study's model does not appear to be a true single-payer model as it did not roll in federal beneficiaries. It also made several questionable assumptions.

The study showed that the “Single-Payer Plan” and the “Health Partnership” proposal similar to the “Healthy Wisconsin” bill were clearly superior in access to the other two plans - the “Reduced Regulation of Health Insurance” and “The Health Insurance Connector,” with many components of the 2006 Massachusetts plan. SP was the most equitable of the four.

The study indicates that the SP plan increased total health care spending by about 4%, with an administrative expense of 7.5%. As no other funding source was identified, the funding was assumed to come from the state’s General Fund. The Washington Health Security Coalition requested health committee chairs Senator Karen Keiser and Representative Eileen Cody to ask Mathematica to modify the assumptions for the single-payer plan to be consistent with a single-payer program - see changes requested for the final report.

Washington Health Security Trust bills re-introduced

Representatives Sherry Appleton(D, 23LD) and Brendan Williams (D, 22LD) re-intoduced a slightly modified WHST bill in House (HB 1892) and Senator Ken Jacobsen (D. 46thLD) in the Senate (SB 6093). Click here to read or download bill. It was refered to the House Committee on Health and Wellness and the Senate's Health and Long-Term Care Committee but did not receive a hearing, as was also the case for other major reform bills this session. Legislative leaders decided that there was no money for new health care programs because of the state's budget crisis. Along with the Healthy Washington Coalition, we are asking our representatives to not cut any safety net funds, to use all federal stimulus funds earmarked for health care on health care without transfering previously designated state HC funds to other prorities, and to declare that it is their intention to cover all Washingtons by the year 2012.

PNHPWW February Meeting and Monthly Report

Leadership Council on Guaranteed Health Care -

James Floyd, PNHPWW Board member, is in Washington DC as a fellow with Public citizen, working on health care reform. James is coordinating PNHPWW input into our Congressional delegation and also working with the Leadership Council.

"The LCGHC is a clearinghouse and umbrella coordinating organization for groups promoting comprehensive reform legislation to guarantee health care for all Americans. The Leadership Conference helps member organizations utilize their respective resources, capacity and constituencies to educate, advocate and agitate to pass H.R. 676, the National Health Insurance Act/Expanded and Improved Medicare for All. To pass H.R. 676, the Leadership Conference is committed to developing coordinated legislative, media and grassroots strategies to support health care for all Americans through a privately-provided, publicly-financed system modeled on Medicare.

The Leadership Conference is a dynamic network with participation from medical professionals and patients, senior citizens, concerned businesses, labor unions, the faith community, economic and social justice organizations and others allied with federal, state and local legislators around the country. Currently, the group is led by the California Nurses Association (CNA)/National Nurses Organizing Committee (NNOC), Healthcare-NOW!, the Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) and Physicians for a National Health Care Program (PNHP). Our goal is to promote greater coordination with all groups endorsing H.R. 676 nationwide. The inspiration for the group was the Leadership Conference for Civil Rights, which worked to pass civil rights legislation in the 1960's."

New Report on Health Care Reform and the Economic Recovery for CNA/NNOC

Medicare for All (Single Payer) Reform Would Be Major Stimulus for Economy with 2.6 Million New Jobs, $317 Billion in Business Revenue, $100 Billion in Wages. The number of jobs created by a single payer system, expanding and upgrading Medicare to cover everyone, parallels almost exactly the total job loss in 2008, according to the findings of a groundbreaking study by the Clifornia Nurses Association and the National Nurses Organizing Committee. For Press release click here - To Download the full report click here

A Message from John Conyers, Jr. - Author of HR 676, the “United States National Health Insurance Act (or the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act)”
"Tell Obama: Single Payer is the Answer"

President-elect Barack Obama has set up a website to gather ideas from ordinary citizens on the most important issues facing our country.  Obama wants to hear from you about health care.  Now is our chance to show the president-elect the tremendous support nationwide for single payer health care.

Single payer universal health care is the only solution that will take profit out of health care. We need health care reform that will:
* Create a publicly-financed, privately-delivered universal health care program covering all Americans;
* Cover all medically-necessary services without charging co-pays or deductibles;
* Eliminate corporate greed from our health care delivery system.

Tell Obama that single payer health care is the answer by clicking on:

Thank you for your continued support for a better democracy.

Your Friend,
John Conyers, Jr.  

John Conyers' Health Care Platform -
HR 676 FAQ -

Click to

New David Himmelstein Slideshow on Failure of Incremental Health Reform Legislation in 7 States

This new slideshow from PNHP co-founder and researcher David Himmelstein, MD, documents the failure incremental health reform legislation in 7 states - Massachusetts, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, Minnesota, Maine, and Washington. It shows the hype and hope with which each was introduced and the historical failure to achieve a lasting decrease in the number of uninsured.

Click here to Download.

New "What is Single-Payer?" video by Med Student Graham

Click here for > John Geyman's Weekly Blog

John Geyman, MD, is Professor Emeritus of Family Medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He has spent 25 years in academic family medicine. He is Past President of Physicians for National Health Program (PNHP) and a PNHPWW Board member. John has written several books that are indespensible for understanding the roots of our health care crisis, its current condition, and what must be done to achieve a just and sustainable replacement. You can find information about his books and ordering information by following these links - Do Not Resuscitate: Why the Health Insurance Industry is Dying, and How We Must Replace It, The Corrosion of Medicine: Can the Profession Reclaim its Moral Legacy?, Shredding the Social Contract: The Privatization of Medicare and Falling Through the Safety Net: Americans Without Health Insurance

John's Web Site

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The information You Need to Remain Up-To-Date on Health Care Reform:

This Week's Perspectives in Health Care Reform

Larry Kalb, President, Health Care for All Washington, selects the best weekly information on health care reform
Listserve free subscription -

Quote of the Day

For invaluable daily current health care reform information and analysis read PNHP Senior Staff Policy Analyst Don McCanne's Quote of the Day

Listserve free subscription


Donations to PNHPWW are accepted through Democracy in Action.  Click here to donate to PNHP Western Washington Chapter (Select "Educational Projects" on the pull down menu)

PNHPWW Lending Library

We have books on health care reform and health related topics of interest as well as some DVD's. These can be borrowed for one month, first come, first served. They can be picked up at meetings or by email request (pay postage). Some of these books are new and for sale.

For a list of Books and DVD click here

If you have books you would like to donate to the library, please do so.

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Latest Literature

Frontline “Sick Around the World” This PBS program by TR Reid looks at other HC systems in 5 countries and the different ways they guarantee coverage, finance HC and control costs. The obvious contrasts with the US are pointed out. It’s low-key, more of a “here’s the information & draw your own conclusions” rather than pushing a solution for the US. It’s well worth watching – you can stream the whole thing to your computer at:

"Fein Calls For Taking Profit Out Of Health" -
Ollie Fein, PNHP President-Elect, on necessay health care reform

"State Health Care Reform Flatlines"
- International Journal of Health Services - Woolhandler, Himmelstein and Benjamin Day on the failure of incremental state health care reform legislation

"Health Policy Placebos" - Nation Magazine, April 14th - Woolhandler and Himmelstein on the Presidential candidates' reform proposals

“Support for National Health Insurance among American Physicians: Five Years Later,” - Aaron E. Carroll and Ronald T. Ackermann, Annals of Internal Medicine, April 2008. A study published in Annals of Internal Medicine reports that a survey conducted last year of 2,193 physicians across the United States showed 59 percent of them “support government legislation to establish national health insurance,” while 32 percent oppose it and 9 percent are neutral. The findings reflect a leap of 10 percentage points in physician support for national health insurance (NHI) since 2002

Robert Kuttner on the failure of market-based health care reform - NEJM 2/07/08

Don McCanne on the Presidential Candidates and Comparison of Public/Private and Single Payer HC Reform models

The prestigious American College of Physicians (ACP), the nation's second largest medical association (124,000 members), endorsed single payer national health insurance as "one pathway" to universal coverage.  This is the first time the group has endorsed single payer and represents a huge step forward in the movement for fundamental health care reform.

The ACP position paper “Achieving a High-Performance Health Care System with Universal Access: What the United States Can Learn from Other Countries” notes that single payer systems have the advantage of being "more equitable, have lower administrative costs, have lower per capita health care expenditures, have higher levels of patient satisfaction, and have higher performance on measures of quality and access than systems using private health insurance." 

David Dale, MD is now President of the ACP and spokesman for the position paper. He is a UW physician. Dr. Dale will addressed our January monthly meeting.

Quentin Young on the significance of this endorsement and recommendations for PNHP'ers to follow up this opening

The Commonwealth Fund recently released a paper “A Roadmap to Health Insurance for All: Principles for Reform." This paper compares and contrasts the three major approaches to HC reform based on 10 criteria. It reaches conclusions very similar to the ACP paper noted above. Clearly, the conservative "Tax Incentive and Individual Insurance Market" approach does not measure up. The "Mixed Private-Public Group Insurance" model meets all the criteria, but not as well as the "Public Insurance" model EXCEPT for the criteria of “Minimize Dislocation, Ability to Keep Current Coverage.” 

Ramon Bernal, Seattle's first student at the Latin American School of Medicine

Cuba trains physicians from the Carribean, Central and South America, Africa, and the United States at the free Latin American School of Medicine in Havana (ELAM), the largest medical school in the world. Students make a commitment to return to their underserved communities after graduation. There are now 110 US student studying at ELAM.

Ramon Alejandro Bernal in now in Havana, becoming the first student from Seattle to receive the opportunity for a free medical education at ELAM. PNHPWW has committed to support this outstanding individual as he persues his MD degree.

Ramon returned to Seattle in August for his summer break. He spoke at our August 29th monthly meeting

Click for info about Ramon and his monthly reports from Havana as he progresses (now 13 reports with photos)


What You Can Do To Help:

*Join the Campaign to Pass HR 676 and HR 1200
by sending an email to We'll keep you posted with important updates and actions

*Sign the Citizens Petition for HR676 and HR 1200
Add your name to the growing list of American citizens who want real health care reform

*Lobby your members of Congress
Tell your representatives that you support HR 676 and HR 1200 and they should too. You can use this email form or - better yet - call their office

*Write an Op-Ed or Letter to the Editor
You can find tips, templates and examples by clicking here

*Speak out about the single-payer solution
Educate yourself about single-payer using the resources & materials available on materials and talk to your church, labor, community or other group about the singlepayer solution. We have downloadable slideshows you can use for a presentation and sample resolutions your group can endorse

Click here for an outline of the new PNHP National Campaign Plan.


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