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Sunday, December 16, 2007

KUCINICH: Clinton, Obama and Edwards health plans modeled after Nixon's, leading medical authorities say in The New York Times

For Immediate Release - Sunday, December 16, 2007

MANCHESTER, NH - Two prominent professors of medicine at Harvard have likened the health care plans of Democratic Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards to a flawed and failed model proposed by President Richard Nixon in 1971.

"How sad that the leading Democrats are still kicking around Nixon's discredited ideas for health reform," wrote David U. Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler in an op ed piece published in Saturday's New York Times. "Their plans resemble measures that were passed and then failed in several states over the past two decades," they wrote, and in those states, the number of uninsured has actually increased rather than decreased.

The "mandate model" for reform being advocated by Clinton, Obama and Edwards, they wrote, "rests on impeccable political logic: avoid challenging insurance firms' stranglehold on health care. But it is economic nonsense. The reliance on private insurers makes universal coverage unaffordable."

The two experts, co-founders of Physicians for a National Health Program, also noted, "With the exception of Dennis Kucinich, the Democratic presidential hopefuls sidestep an inconvenient truth: only a single-payer system of national health care can save what we estimate is the $350 billion wasted annually on medical bureaucracy and redirect those funds to expanded coverage."

The Ohio Congressman and Democratic Presidential candidate is co-author and co-sponsor of H.R. 676, a measure that would create a national, single-payer, not-for-profit health insurance system that would cover all Americans. He has challenged the proposals of the other candidates, pointing out that their plans preserve the role of for-profit insurance companies, and, in some cases, will further enrich those companies through federal subsidies.

"If you don't have the strength and the courage to challenge the private, for-profit insurance and drug companies, you shouldn't be using the word 'reform' because you're actually helping those companies stay in control and prosper at the expense of the un-insured, the under-insured, and the U.S. taxpayers," said Kucinich, who is campaigning in New Hampshire this weekend.

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