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Future Doctor Rising Up for 'Medicare for All'

Future Doctor Rising Up for 'Medicare for All'

Vanessa Van Doren

For most of us in medicine, helping people live healthy, happy lives is at the heart of why we chose this career. We expound upon this in application essays, talk about it during interviews, and start medical school with this “calling” fresh in our minds.

Very early in our medical careers – on the wards and in the classroom – we learn that inequality, preventable illness, and death are an inherent part of our current private, for-profit-oriented health insurance system.

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I’ll pay you well to look after me an mine. I’ll understand your dedication to your training for your mission. I’ll share that respect will all you hire to assist you. I’ll hope that you will treat my skills with the same respect. Let’s hope that the insurance reps and the pharm reps find something productive to do.

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Thank you for this, (soon-to-be) Doctor Van Doren.

Interestingly, every doctor I’ve talked to since the ACA came online (and having a chronically ill parent, there have been many) has been against the ACA.

Sadly, every one I’ve talked to about Single Payer has been against that, too, parroting the insurance parasites’ lies about impossible waits in Canada, and so on. One actually added, “Besides, I would be paid so much less under that system that I’d go do something else, like research.”

Here’s hoping that your new generation of MDs can continue to bypass the smokescreens of greed, and can help us become more like all of the sane, civilized nations which already enjoy nonprofit, universal care.


On other postings I’ve told a little of my health issue’s, which are many…I recently had 3 MRI’s done, my co-pay will be somewhere near $1,000.00…a pain specialist prescribed a topical gel to help control the pain, it was denied by my insurance company AARP…I have been disabled for 22 years, I cannot afford the co-pays, the drugs and can only see my doc every 3 months unless it is an emergency…single-payer would not only assist me with my medical issues but my mind-set as well…as noted in another piece here today the Pope wrote of the smell of the dung of the devil, I smell it every waking moment…these future Doc’s are a gift to us all, please support them in any way you can, your life or the lives of your loved one’s depend on it, trust me on this one.


You are most welcome Tom.

Thank you! This article brought a bright spot to my day!
My former employer could not provide insurance coverage, then I lost my job, he died, then my health and physical ability failed and I tried applying for disability. I could not afford marketplace insurance but am attempting to reapply when it opens again November 1 in the wait for my appeal. Considering my family and I have paid so much out-of pocket at mediocre clinics (I was told by someone I would actually pay more, initially, if I had coverage, due to monthly premiums and deductibles), single-payer would be a lifesaver!
I know there are others who need it as much or more than I do, such as cancer patients. A friend had a stroke recently. He is uninsured. He made a living doing construction. Now he can hardly stand, with the aid of a walker. He applied for SSI/Disability. Turned down! What gives?
If they can manage single payer unlike the rest of American red-tape, corrupt bureaucracy, it will most definitely SAVE LIVES! Get some competent persons running the thing whose hearts and minds are in the right place.

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There a reason they fight so hard against Single payer down in the USA. The Corporations know that once the people get a taste of single payer than it becomes very hard to get rid of it.

Here in Canada Harper would like nothing better than to go to a for profit model yet he still has to approach the issue with kid gloves. This is why they look for back doors so as to try and dismantle the system. The TPP is one of those back doors wherein the door opened for the for profit advocates to sue due to “lost profits”. Another back door is the commitment to austerity claiming it can not be afforded as they cut funding. They cut funding then there waiting lines. They than come out and claim the model does not work and private for profit is needed.

This is one thing the bankers go after in Europe in countries like Greece. They insist on cuts to health care spending. Banks would prefer you borrow 50000 for an operation rather than have it funded through Public health care and Insurance companies like nothing better then collecting premiums on the healthy for years on end then seeking ways not to pay a claim when something goes wrong.

Added to this in the for profit model you get pieces of dung like ex hedge fund managers who buy drug patents so as to hike the cost of life saving drugs by 5000 percent then asking aloud when questioned on it “isn’t your life worth a few extra dollars”?


Getting the for-profit bloodsuckers [literally] out of disease care [cause it isn’t “health care”]is not going to be EZ. They willl cling as for life itself. This article gives me hope. May these young doctors be strong, be persistent, be bold!

OMG-the battles ahead-may other folk step up as have these future doctors-to wrest the profits from the MIC and the NRA-other bloodsucking leeches on the body politic.

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Yes, there is a lot of misinformation about the cost & wait times of single payer. Med schools seem to be stepping up in terms of educating their students about health systems (Case Western, where I go to school, does a great job of this), and so I hope that this will help lead to a generally more informed group of future physicians. I think the rise in single payer activism within medical schools coincides with this push for more public health/health systems education. Many med students are now learning early on that all their education won’t help them care for patients who aren’t able to make it into an exam room, and we want to fix it.

Thanks so much for reading the article and posting!

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That’s a great point - achieving single payer is the first thing on the horizon, but even after we get there, it’ll be a lifelong fight to keep it. Insurance companies are extremely powerful, but I think that we can mobilize people around how generally hated insurance companies are here. We all know that it’s fundamentally wrong to profit off denying medical care to another person, and many of us have had personal experience with this.

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Is there any way that patients can get involved in this or a similar campaign, by writing their testimonials on their experiences with the healthcare system?

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I’m so sorry you and people you are close to have been through so much! When people are sick, the last thing they should be doing is worrying about how to pay for care.

A big part of the appeal of single payer is eliminating the red tape and administrative redundancy by having one streamlined system (as opposed to dozens of different insurance companies, all with their own rules, billing departments, etc). If you’re interested in learning more, Physicians for a National Health Program has a great page on the single payer bill (HR676). I’m not able to paste a link in this comment, but if you Google “PNHP HR676,” it’s the first link.


We could also reduce the cost of a medical education to more “reasonable” levels (instead of the $250,000 + level we have now). This is part of the problem we have here in the US. Other countries pay the cost (or most of it) for medical students, interns, residents. So their doctors aren’t starting out their practices with a quarter of a million dollars in student loans hanging over their heads. This is something that should have been included in the Affordable Care Act and would have eventually created actual “affordable” health care. Then too, when considering single payer, the cost of private insurance “overheads” must be considered. Medicare on the other hand isn’t paying a CEO several million dollars a year, or paying dividends to stockholders, or paying for advertising and everything else. This one of the reasons why our health care is now the world’s most expensive. Unfortunately many Americans can only afford limited care if that much, and for those working down around the minimum wage, any sort of private insurance is likely too much of a burden as it is.


Healthcare-NOW! is the main organizing body for single payer in the US (PNHP is more oriented towards getting physicians to advocate for single payer), so they would probably be the best people to contact (info@healthcare-now.org) about sharing your story. I am pretty sure that they’ve collected patient stories in the past, so they’d be the best people to check in with about that. Personal stories are the most powerful way to get people to understand the human toll that our current policies have, so I think that’s a great idea.

I absolutely agree about the cost of medical education - the average student loan debt for people leaving med school is close to $200k now. HR676, the single payer bill, actually also calls for eliminating medical tuition. It’s a lot of money per-person (Case Western is ~$60k/yr now, not including room & board or any other living expenses), but between how relatively small the number of medical school attendees is and how big the healthcare budget is, medical tuition winds up being a drop in the bucket.

I’ve considered moving to another state or country (had I the health and money to do so) because I and my family have had such hardships where I currently live (a semi-rural town where expertise and technology are sorely lagging behind).
I’ve posted elsewhere on Common Dreams about my personal experiences and some of my health issues. Just that I would like to be able to take more action, if I could. Thanks for taking the time to read my posts on this thread. I will prepare a query to send to Healthcare-NOW! Thank you for the information.

As others here have written….it is the doctors who have been bamboozled by the conservative lies. I have talked to some of my physicals and I can tell you they are so very ill informed and when we do speak of these things, they say they are afraid they will lose their income.

There goes their big fancy gated homes, cars, and boats, along with their prestige. So how can we educate them that they have nothing to lose in a society where everyone is taken care of and no one wants for anything?

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These practices are inexcusable and I recommend that your friend do not give up. These things as of now can take some time. He has to keep going and not give up. Yes eventually the squeaky wheel does get attention. The present system is designed to make one want to give up.

Your friend has to write to many people as possible. He has to document his journey in detail. Document, document, document. That is critical and if you go to court….it is all at your fingertips. If you do not have the skills for creating a spreadsheet or a detailed timeline then get help from others who do.

Keep everything on a spreadsheet. I prefer to use columns and I go down by dates and then I go to the right on the spreadsheet and document the information for that date.

These are the column headings that I use and they are just suggestions and can be added to or subtracted from:

• Date of service: This is called DOS – This is a very important item and has to be accurate. This is how all insurances identify services.

• Who was the doctor?

• At what location were you seen? Put the address and telephone number.

• Briefly, what was discussed, and what treatments were done or not done.

• Have a section or column outside of the spreadsheet’s printable area and out of the view of others. It is here where YOU can comment about YOUR OWN FEELINGS ON THIS VISIT. This is where you are the captain of your own ship. You have a right to document your feelings …good or bad. This also helps you remember what happened and you have a right to your OWN opinions and feelings on this matter. In a court of law, you will be asked this. It may be hearsay but you feelings are valid….it happened to you. This is where you can record anything the doctor said to you that you did not like. Sometimes they can be assholes and intimidating. Document it!

Keep track of all appointments and future appointments.

Use a thumb drive to back up all this information in case your computer crashes. This will save you a lot of heartache.

I hope this helps.

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I am all for single payer insurance. I am worried that “Medicare for all” won’t encompass vision, dental or medications. HR676 covers everything. As an RN, I have seen patients go without needed medications because of the cost. Everyone deserves good medical care. Please everyone, spread the word! We desperately need single payer insurance.

Medicare for all is just that! It covers everything. That is its intended purpose. You walk in to the hospital or your doctor’s office and no money exchanges hands, no insurance forms. Just your Medicare card. Your government pays your bill. WE pay our taxes and we make those who think they are above paying taxes…pay their fair share. We take care of each other.

I do not need a crystal ball to see what our future will look like if our putative Congress and those states with putative Governors continue to jeopardize the lives of the people. There will be a snowballing of dead and dying in the streets on a scale that this country has never before seen.