Newsroom

PNHP Minnesota Newsroom brings you all of the information that you need to know about what they have been accomplishing and what Minnesota’s local health policy expert has been saying about current health policies.

Find more information here about what PNHP is accomplishing across the nation.

Minnesota News

PNHP-MN Input to Health Care Financing Task Force

Updated Monday, February 1, 2016
In 2015, the Minnesota state legislature requested that Governor Dayton convene a task force on health care financing to advise the Governor and legislature on strategies that will increase access and improve the quality of health care for Minnesotans.  PNHP-MN offered a list of principles, recommendations, and concerns to help guide the task force.  The following documents were sent to task force members:

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Heath Care At the Stroke of a Pen: 50 Years Later, Medicare is a Model

Posted on Thursday, July 30, 2015
By Augie Lindmark, MS2 | MinnPost
On July 30th, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson carried a considerable number of pens with him when he visited the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library in Independence, Missouri.  The occasion for his visit was monumental: He was about to sign into law H.R. 6675 – known to many as the Medicare Bill.

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Happy 50th to Medicare, Which Has Saved an Untold Number of Lives

Posted on Monday, July 27, 2015
By Inge De Becker, M.D. | MinnPost
You’ve saved an untold number of lives.  And you cut elder poverty in half within 10 years of being implemented.

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America Should Celebrate 50 Years of Medicare

Posted on Thursday, July 23, 2015
By Dimitri Drenkonja, M.D. | St. Cloud Times
Medicare contends with the same skyrocketing health care costs as private insurers, but has to do so without annual premium increases.  As such, Medicare by necessity has become an amazingly efficient payer.  Whereas private insurers run overhead costs of 15-30%, Medicare spends just 2% on overhead, making it the most efficient way of paying for care – regardless of who is delivering the care.

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What is Single Payer and Why Should Emergency Physicians Care?

Posted on Monday, December 22, 2014
By Dave Dvorak, M.D., M.P.H. | Minnesota / ACEP Newsletter
As emergency physicians, we have chosen to work in a setting that treats all patients, regardless of their ability to pay. We deliver more uncompensated care than any other specialty. Whether you see this as honorable or unfair, it is emblematic of a long broken system.

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Posted on Friday, November 21, 2014
By Dimitri Drekonja, M.D. | Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
Studying what someone (like Prof. Jonathan Gruber) said three years ago about how a piece of legislation passed is not terribly high on my priority list; studying how to achieve a cost-effective way to provide health care to all Minnesotans is.

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Posted on Thursday, October 23, 2014
By Dave Dvorak, M.D. | Duluth News Tribune
“Not sustainable.” That was the way PreferredOne CEO Marcus Merz described the circumstances leading to his insurance company’s decision to withdraw from the MNsure exchange.
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Posted on Monday, June 2, 2014
By Inge De Becker, M.D. | Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
True, the VA has waiting lists, real and fake. We spend fortunes to send youngsters to war, yet underfund their care when they come home. They suffer for no good reason.

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Single-payer needed if we are to have security

Posted on Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Dr. Dave Dvorak | Star Tribune
The closing of the Riverwood Centers represents yet another failure of a health care system based upon a dysfunctional patchwork of insurance coverage (“Center’s closing could strand mentally ill,” March 18). The combination of stalled public funding and diminishing payments from private insurance companies has brought about the demise of a crucial resource for thousands of Minnesotans who struggle with severe mental illness.

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Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014

 By Dave Dvorak, MD | Minnesota Medicine

We will adopt the streamlined efficiencies of a single-payer system to finally bring costs under control, achieve fair and comprehensive risk pooling, and most importantly, guarantee quality coverage for all citizens.

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Posted on Thursday, January 2, 2014

By Dave Dvorak, M.D. Duluth (Minn.) News Tribune
It’s long past time to stop feeding this beast and adopt an efficient, fair, single-payer system that would slash administrative waste, get control of our health spending, and, most importantly, guarantee quality coverage for all citizens.

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Posted on Wednesday, November 6, 2013

By Dave Mindeman | MinnPost
When it comes to health care, single payer advocates (like myself) are considered to be on the fringe — the “far” left. Too often, the second you say single payer, the word “socialist” enters the conversation or the obligatory eye roll shuts down rational talk.

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Posted on Thursday, August 22, 2013

By Ryan Gustafson | KEYC Channel 12 News (Mankato, Minn.)
Dr. Adamson says, “Cancer is a difficult enough diagnosis to deal with, but when you have the issue of how is this going to get paid for, whether I’ll be bankrupt seeking care, that is really more than you should have to handle when they’re dealing with a difficult diagnosis.

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Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013

By Mark Liebow, M.D. | Rochester (Minn.) Post-Bulletin
Medicare, a program that has transformed health care and Rochester, celebrates its 48th birthday this week.

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Posted on Wednesday, August 14, 2013

By State Sen. John Marty (DFL) | Spring Grove (Minn.) Herald
Forty eight years ago this summer, President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare into law, providing healthcare for millions of older Americans. As our state begins full implementation of the Affordable Care Act, it is appropriate to reflect on the progress we have made on giving healthcare access to Americans, and commit to delivering Medicare for All.

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Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013

By Dr. Dimitri Drekonja | MinnPost.com
It would be helpful if the public, and certainly medical professionals, understood the basic ways in which we finance health care.

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Posted on Monday, April 15, 2013

By Dave Dvorak, M.D., M.P.H. | Minnesota Medicine
As Minnesota’s physicians, health care leaders and legislators grapple with the complex changes brought by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), many are concerned that even after the law is fully implemented, hundreds of thousands of people will remain uninsured while health care costs continue to spiral.

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Posted on Monday, March 18, 2013

By Bonnie Blodgett | Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
Dr. David Dvorak is an emergency room physician. He supports a single-payer system for Minnesota and wants to make one thing clear: “single payer” doesn’t mean socialized medicine.

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Posted on Wednesday, February 27, 2013

By Jacob Wheeler | The Uptake (St. Paul, Minn.)
If Minnesota ever adopts a single-payer heath care system, the work of Dr. Elizabeth Frost will be remembered as one of the key reasons for its passage.

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Posted on Thursday, January 24, 2013

By Kip Sullivan | Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
So UnitedHealth Group has figured out a way to cut Medicare’s costs “without cutting services”? That is how the Star Tribune characterized the organization’s self-serving claims in a recent story (“UnitedHealth says Medicare can save big without big cuts,” Jan. 20).

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Posted on Friday, December 28, 2012

By Andrea Parrott | Twin Cities Daily Planet
After daily witnessing situations in which patients suffered or had to make decisions detrimental to their health due to difficulties in accessing health care, Dr. Elizabeth Frost and Dr. Ann Settgast had enough. They felt they had to do something that would allow everyone to have health insurance and so, access to health care. The two decided to found the Minnesota chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP).

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Posted on Friday, November 16, 2012

By Ann Settgast, M.D., and Elizabeth Frost, M.D. | PNHP Minnesota
“Above all other issues, Minnesotans have expressed concern about affordability of care, and they believe the best solution to this problem is a single-payer system.”

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Posted on Monday, October 8, 2012

By the editors | Minnesota Physician, September 2012
The work of the Minnesota chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) will continue in earnest. While the ACA will be helpful for some patients who gain access to insurance coverage, the legislation will not fix the health care crisis facing our state and nation.

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Posted on Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Minnesota Health Care News
The U.S. has much to learn from other wealthy democracies, all of which have truly universal health care systems, most at less than half the cost of ours. There is a constant search in American medicine for the “holy grail” of cost control.

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Posted on Tuesday, August 7, 2012

By Ann Settgast, M.D. | Southside Pride (Minneapolis) The day the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was upheld by the Supreme Court was ironic for me as a physician. Two of my patients asked me to prescribe medication for uninsured family members: A mother asked me for an inhaler for her adult son with uncontrolled asthma, and another asked me if I could refill her husband’s blood pressure medications for a month or two until he is able to find another job following his lay off. He cannot see his doctor due to his uninsurance.

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Posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2012

By Dave Dvorak, M.D. | Minnesota Medicine
“How much will this cost?” he asks. It’s the question at the heart of any business transaction: Is this new car, this plane ticket, this iPad worth the asking price? But the man sitting before me is not a customer in an automobile showroom or an electronics store. He is my patient in the emergency department, and he is weighing whether to undergo the chest CT scan I have just recommended.

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Posted on Thursday, July 5, 2012

By Elizabeth Frost, M.D. | The Pioneer Press (St. Paul, Minn.), Letters
I think it is interesting that the Supreme Court has upheld the idea that the individual mandate as a tax is constitutional. What does this mean? First of all, it means that we as a nation have decided that health care is a “greater good” — that everybody deserves health care. Second, we have decided that everyone pays in to health care. We have already decided to do this in Medicare, but now we are extending the concept to everyone.

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Posted on Friday, June 29, 2012

By Joshua Faucher | Post-Bulletin (Rochester, Minn.), Letters
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is anything but a complete solution to our health care crisis. The bill still will leave at least 26 million devoid of insurance coverage. Equally worrisome, it will force many into a relationship with private insurers for coverage that is too expensive and often incomplete. We must react by implementing the non-profit, single-payer insurance system our country needs and deserves.

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Posted on Thursday, May 10, 2012

Elizabeth Frost, MD | Southside Pride (Minneapolis)
I am a family practice physician and a supporter of single-payer health care for all. There are nearly 1000 doctors and providers in Minnesota that advocate for this kind of public financing of health care. I am not alone. As you know, single-payer has been popular in Minnesota for years. In fact, it has been endorsed by the DFL for over 20 years and is supported by Governor Mark Dayton.

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Posted on Monday, April 30, 2012

By Ann Settgast, M.D. | The Star Tribune (Minn.)
The need for our hospitals to provide uncompensated care to uninsured and underinsured Minnesotans will continue to grow if we do not fundamentally change our system. Assuming the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented, more than 250,000 Minnesotans will remain uninsured, while hundreds of thousands more will rely on skimpy insurance that does not properly protect them from serious financial strain if they fall ill.

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Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2012

By Sam Baker | The Hill
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) is continuing to argue for a single-payer health care system, saying it would not raise the same constitutional questions that have dogged President Obama’s health care law.

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Posted on Tuesday, April 3, 2012

By Amy Lange | Star Tribune (Minneapolis), April 2, 2012
Minnesota would not be alone among the states if it forged ahead to provide a universal and unified health system. Governors, legislatures and citizens groups are pushing similar reforms in Vermont, Montana, Oregon and Hawaii. And Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton favored a universal system for Minnesota in his 2010 campaign.

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Posted on Wednesday, December 14, 2011

By Josh Moniz | The Journal (New Ulm, Minn.)
Physicians for a National Health Program-Minnesota hosted an informational presentation for business owners on single-payer health care Friday at the New Ulm Country Club.

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Posted on Thursday, September 1, 2011

By Rick Kvam, M.D. | Letters, Rochester (Minn.) Post-Bulletin
Guided by evidence, not ideology, one finds that in health care, the unbridled free market returns a very poor value. We boast the most market-driven health care in the developed world, and, not coincidentally, far and away the most expensive. Our per capita costs are double those of other industrialized nations (in spite of 50 million uninsured!), but our outcomes (life expectancy, infant mortality, etc.) are nevertheless worse. Workers’ inability to switch jobs for fear of losing health care coverage (“job lock”) is a major drag on our economy.

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Posted on Thursday, August 18, 2011

By Mark Liebow, M.D. | Rochester (Minn.) Post-Bulletin
Well, Vermont beat us to it. The people of Vermont decided correctly that the advances of the Affordable Care Act weren’t enough. They looked at Massachusetts and found that with that state’s plan, which serves as the model for the Affordable Care Act, costs continue to rise and the rate of medical bankruptcies didn’t go down.

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Posted on Tuesday, August 2, 2011

By Elizabeth Frost, M.D. | Twin Cities Daily Planet
Medicare is an efficient, effective way of health care financing. It is what we all want for our parents and ourselves as we get older and heck — it probably is a good idea for the entire nation. If we had Medicare-For-All maybe it would be so popular that Michelle Bachmann would be forced to defend it, too.

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Posted on Monday, August 1, 2011

By Ann Settgast, M.D. | Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
Whether the debt ceiling is raised or not in the days ahead, Minnesotans and the nation have reason to celebrate this weekend. Saturday marked Medicare’s 46th birthday.

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Posted on Monday, July 11, 2011

By Lisa Peterson-de la Cueva | Twin Cities Daily Planet
Senator John Marty contacted the TC Daily Planet after he read our June coverage of health care, specifically a Q&A with Senator Dave Durenberger on his support for federal health care legislation. Senator Marty let us know that he respectfully disagreed with Senator Durenberger’s view of solutions for our health care system. This is to be expected, since he’s the chief author of the Minnesota Health Plan, the only proposal for universal, single-payer coverage in Minnesota.

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Posted on Friday, April 22, 2011

By Joe Kimball | MinnPost.com
The St. Paul City Council passed a resolution Wednesday supporting the Minnesota Health Plan, a proposal that’s floating around the Legislature (but not yet close to passing) for single-payer, universal health care in the state.

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Posted on Tuesday, February 8, 2011

By DR. RALPH S. BOVARD | Star Tribune
As a physician, I agree that we must get health care costs down if we’re going to achieve universal coverage, but I strongly disagree that the only way to do it is to ration. There is another viable and proven option: a single-payer or regulated multipayer health care system, such as exists in every nation in the Organization for Economic Co-operation & Development except the United States and Mexico.

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Posted on Wednesday, October 6, 2010

By EDWARD P. EHLINGER, M.D. | Minneapolis Star Tribune
Insurance is a great mechanism that people can use to offset their risk of losing some material thing of great value like their house, boat, car or jewelry. It can also be used to protect a valuable personal occupational asset like a voice for an opera singer, a hand for a surgeon or a knee for a football player. And it can be useful in providing protection from a singular catastrophic event like a malpractice suit or the premature loss of life. But for something that is predictable, ongoing, needed by everyone, or necessary for the welfare of our community, an insurance model makes absolutely no sense. That’s why we don’t use an insurance model to provide police or fire services or to provide an education to our children. For these we use the tax model. Basic essential health care should also be in this category.

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Posted on Friday, September 17, 2010

By JOHN M. BRYSON | Minneapolis Star-Tribune
The emotional debates over health care reform in the United States last fall and again this election season are puzzling to my wife and me. We are professors who were on sabbatical leave in London from August 2009 through August 2010, so we missed last year’s debates. While in the United Kingdom we were automatically covered by the National Health Service.

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Posted on Thursday, June 17, 2010

By Elizabeth Dunbar | Minnesota Public Radio
Dr. Elizabeth Frost, a family practice physician and a member of Physicians for a National Health Program, said the groups would like to see all Minnesotans covered by a plan paid for by state government.

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Posted on Monday, March 29, 2010

By Nick Coleman | Minneapolis Star Tribune
After she was diagnosed with kidney cancer, my mother was given a prescription for a daily chemotherapy pill that has been shown to extend the lives of patients with that cancer. When I went to pick up the medicine, the pharmacist asked if I had received financial counseling. No, I said, wondering why we were talking finances, not health care. Just how much is this prescription?

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Posted on Friday, March 5, 2010

By David Swanson | OpEdNews.com
California keeps passing bills for state single-payer healthcare, but Ahhhnold won’t sign em, and Jerry Brown who wants to be governor doesn’t seem to want it badly enough to make a commitment on healthcare. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania is encouraged that their current governor has said he probably will sign a single-payer healthcare bill, and the legislature just might pass one. But Minnesota has an angle neither of these other states can claim: a serious candidate for governor who is the state’s leading advocate for single-payer.

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Posted on Monday, February 1, 2010

By John Marty | MinnPost
Please, restore the hope that you raised in all of us, bring back the inspiration that made the American people so excited by your inauguration. I urge you to step back, reconsider, introduce a health care plan that is truly universal, and fight for it.

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Posted on Monday, January 25, 2010

By Mike Rose | Austin (Minn.) Daily Herald
When the current health care debate began in earnest last year, one potential topic of discussion was largely left out — “single-payer” insurance.

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Posted on Friday, November 20, 2009

By Ann Settgast, M.D., and Elizabeth Frost, M.D. | Minnesota Medicine
As physicians, we are troubled by the direction of federal health care reform. Whether via a public health insurance option or an insurance mandate, the proposals on the table build on the structure of our broken system—the most costly, fragmented, and bureaucratic in the world.

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Posted on Thursday, July 30, 2009

By Ann Settgast and Elizabeth Frost | Opinion | Pioneer Press (St. Paul, Minn.)
The health care reform debate is reaching a feverish pitch. As physicians, we are troubled by the direction the debate has taken. Whether via a public option or a mandate to purchase insurance, the proposals on the table aim to cover more, but not all Americans. They build on the structure of our broken system — one that ranks as the most costly, fragmented and bureaucratic in the world.

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Posted on Thursday, June 25, 2009

By Kathlyn Stone | TC Daily Planet
The American Medical Association has come out against President Obama’s “public option” for health care reform, but the AMA doesn’t represent all physicians. Some physicians’ groups support the public option but others think it doesn’t go far enough to fix changes in a badly broken system. Dr. Oliver Fein, president of the progressive Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), found a warm welcome in the Twin Cities last week. Fein was here to present PNHP’s vision for a national single payer health program. PNHP has 16,000 members, including 300 in Minnesota.

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Posted on Wednesday, February 18, 2009

BY KIP SULLIVAN | Southside Pride, Minneapolis
SF 118, the Minnesota Health Act, which would guarantee health insurance for all Minnesotans under a program called the Minnesota Health Plan, passed out of the Senate Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee by a party-line vote of 7 to 3 on Feb. 10. The lopsided vote was a sign of the growing support for the single-payer approach. This is the first year since 1991, the year single-payer legislation was first introduced in the Minnesota Legislature, that a single-payer bill has cleared two committees in the Senate. The bill has never been heard in the House. It will get its first hearing in the House on Feb. 25.

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Posted on Monday, January 26, 2009

By Robert Wolfington III | Marshall (Minn.) Independent
Dr. Ann Settgast, co-chairwoman of the Minnesota chapter of Physicians for A National Health Program, said a single-pay insurance program would provide care for all U.S. citizens, while at the same time save money compared to the current multi-payer system.

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Posted on Tuesday, January 20, 2009

by Ann Settgast, MD | Twin Cities Daily Planet
The upcoming change in administration has brought optimism and hope to the American public. Now is the time to demand meaningful healthcare reform rather than a replay of past failures. As a physician, I know that offering a placebo in place of known effective treatment is unethical. Hence, while I applaud the good intentions of Senator Tom Daschle, the Healthcare for America Now (HCAN) coalition, and others, I advise against their proposals to extend a system that is fundamentally flawed. In these times of economic uncertainty and crisis, single payer is the only fiscally responsible option for reform…and it is the only solution that will actually work.

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Posted on Monday, December 1, 2008

By Elizabeth Frost, MD | Pioneer Press | Letter to the Editor
As a family practice doctor who works with the uninsured in St. Paul, I have recently become involved in health care reform. I believe single-payer national health insurance is the only way to provide quality affordable care for all.

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Posted on Friday, February 29, 2008

 When you hear that the AMA is opposed to single payer reform, keep in mind that it represents only a minority of American physicians, and within their organization there is a diversity of opinion.

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Posted on Wednesday, February 21, 2007

By By Joel M. Albers, Pharm.D., Ph.D., Breanna Peterson Lathrop, Kirk C. Allison, Ph.D., Charles N. Oberg, M.D., and James F. Hart, M.D. | Minnesota Medicine
Despite physicians’ vital role in health care, few studies have assessed their preferences regarding health care financing systems. We surveyed a random sample of licensed Minnesota physicians to determine their preferences regarding health care financing systems. Of 390 physicians, 64% favored a single-payer system, 25% HSAs, and 12% managed care.

Kip’s Corner

Click here to read a selection of articles and blogposts.

Kip Sullivan, JD, is Minnesota’s local health policy expert, also recognized nationally for his expertise and substantial contributions to the health policy literature. Using the evidence he offers perspectives that are refreshing and unfortunately all too rare in today’s health policy climate. Kip Sullivan is an active member of Physicians for a National Health Program.