Fifty medical doctors who favor a single payer health insurance system today urged the US Supreme Court to strike down the individual mandate.
In a brief filed with the Court, the fifty doctors and two non-profit groups – Single Payer Action and It’s Our Economy – said that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate is unconstitutional.
The individual mandate is the provision of the ACA that requires Americans to purchase health insurance from private insurance companies if they do not otherwise have coverage.
The doctors are challenging the government’s claim that the individual mandate is necessary to reach Congress’ goal of universal coverage.
“The court should decide the constitutionality of the individual mandate based on the best available evidence,” said attorney Oliver Hall. “That’s why it is so important that these medical doctors provide the court with the information in their brief, which demonstrates that Congress can address the United States’ healthcare crisis by adopting a single payer system.”
“It is not necessary to force Americans to buy private health insurance to achieve universal coverage,” said Russell Mokhiber of Single Payer Action. “There is a proven alternative that Congress didn’t seriously consider, and that alternative is a single payer national health insurance system.”
“Congress could have taken seriously evidence presented by these single payer medical doctors that a single payer system is the only way to both control costs and cover everyone,” Mokhiber said. “Instead, Senator Max Baucus (D-Montana), chair of the Senate Finance Committee which drafted the law that became the ACA, had two of those doctors – Dr. Margaret Flowers and Dr. Carol Paris – arrested and thrown in jail. Those doctors are now two of the 50 who have signed onto this brief challenging the Constitutionality of the ACA.”
“If the US Congress had considered an evidence-based approach to health reform instead of writing a bill that funnels more wealth to insurance companies that deny and restrict care, it would have been a no brainer to adopt a single payer health system much like our own Medicare,” said Dr. Margaret Flowers. “We are already spending enough on health care in this country to provide high quality universal comprehensive lifelong health care. All the data point to a single payer system as the only way to accomplish this and control health care costs.”"People will have the greatest control of their own healthcare if the insurance industry is removed from between doctors and patients,” said Kevin Zeese of It’s Our Economy. “And, people will no longer be threatened with increased premiums, decreased coverage and financial ruin caused by a health crisis."Both Kevin Zeese and Dr. Margaret Flowers are organizers with the National Occupation of Washington, D.C. (nowdc.org).
A copy of the brief and of this press release are attached. As one of the signers I am available to comment via e-mail.
Marc Sapir, MD, MPH