Dr. Oliver Fein Interview
Single payer is often misunderstood.
Some people believe, for example, that you need to be single to get insurance under a single payer system.
That’s according to Dr. Oliver Fein, President of Physicians for a National Health Program and Professor of Clinical Medicine and Public Health at Cornell University.
“I’ve had people come up to me and say — you mean I have to be single to get into your plan? No no no no. We’re talking about Medicare for all. So there is a lot of educational work that needs to be done with the public,” Fein told Single Payer Action earlier this month.
That’s one reason why single payer is not gaining traction in this pivotal year.
“Also, there’s an enormous influence on Congress, on our political leaders through the private health insurance industry and the pharmaceutical industry — both of which wield disproportionate influence because of the amount of money that they’re able to pour into the system,” Fein said.
Dr. Marcia Angell says that because of the political forces arrayed against single payer, it’s not going to happen in this country.
Do you agree?
“In the short term that may be true,” Dr. Fein says. “But I really think that there is building sentiment that we need to really do some fundamental change. I’m not sure the public identifies quite yet with the term single payer. But I think that they do recognize that there needs to be fundamental change.”
Fein says that when he travels to speak about single payer, he asks the question:
— Do you want to keep the health insurance you currently have?
“And you know 5 to 10 percent of the audience say yes that’s what they want to do and the rest want some real change, they don’t want the present private health insurance industry.”
That sort of differs from what we are hearing from the anti-single payer camp — that surveys show that the majority of Americans want to keep their health insurance, no?
“I think those studies are really suspect at this point,” Fein says. “You have to dig much deeper about how were the question is asked. Were they really inquiring about a Medicare for all type of system? Or were they in fact given words that might turn people off like government run and that kind of thing?”
Source: Single Payer Action Read in full