By Alan Galowitz

Dr. Andrew Coates spoke before a group of fifty Andes residents at the library on August 31. He represents PNHP, Physicians for a National Health Plan. Seventeen thousand doctors belong to this organization. PNHP advocates a single payer health plan. It is a plan that is easy to understand. In short, the advantages of Medicare would be extended to all. It would start at birth instead of at sixty five. In addition, the plan would install the Canadian system of securing lower cost prescriptions for all. The bill before congress that would install this change is HR 676. The World Health Organization ranks the U.S. 37 in quality of health care and the highest in cost.

Dr. Coates explained that the cost of health care in the U.S. now is much higher than that of all G 20 nations. The quality of health care in the United States though is now the lowest of this group of the world’s industrialized nations.

Opposition to HR 676 in Congress has been influenced by the insurance lobby. As a result, plans have been suggested by opponents that offer token reforms to health care without reducing the profits of the insurance companies. Reduction of prescription costs would be delayed for at least ten years.

Dr. Coates cites statistics that insurance companies do nothing to improve the nation’s health care. The insurance industry, he asserts, raises the costs of health care by twenty five percent.

Confusion and misleading information has been fostered by the insurance lobby. Millions have been spent by them to protect their interests in congress. Dr. Coates, in answering questions, gave information about the benefits of expanding Medicare. False rumors and scare tactics were examined.

Flyers with a full description of HR 676 and its features are available at the Andes Library. ~