Single Payer conference this Saturday

By Jay Thiemeyer, Contributing writer

“It is time to recognize that our advocacy for peace, jobs, education, health, housing, human rights and environmental and economic justice is insufficient. We face the same fundamental obstacle: corporate control of our country. Together we have the strength and the resources to shift power away from the rich corporations to the people and we can demand social justice. We have the solutions, but they are not being heard. We must cause enough disruption that our voices and our solutions cannot be ignored. And we must organize actions of nonviolent civil resistance. Otherwise growing public discontent in this nation may turn to violent means.”

Those are the remarks of Dr. Margaret Flowers at the protest/vigil in December outside the White House fence as the President held a press conference on our “progress” in Afghanistan. That day was a year after she and other physicians protested on behalf of single-payer health care in the atrium of the Senate Hart Building. The chair of the Senate Finance Committee, which was due to hold hearings on healthcare reform, so-called, Sen Max (you can call him the corporate health care shil) Baucus of Montana, had refused to even consider single payer in their deliberations.

The Obama administration was totally compliant with this corporate demand. Single payer, after all, eliminates the corporate middle man in healthcare delivery. One third of every dollar spent in this country on private health insurance is administrative, that is, the people who administer delivery of healthcare to the insured but really whose job it is to guarantee profits for their employers by denying coverage. Even to the point, as revealed during the legislative process, of  “rescission,” simply refusing to provide what the insured supposed they had paid for.

Corporations can do that: deny the reality of contractual agreements and services paid for by patients they’ve subscribed. They live in a very simple world of unhampered predation. While arguing their personhood and all the legal perks that attend that entitlement, they can’t afford to waste time on human considerations. It’s energy they can spend on devising profit-making schemes to gratify their shareholders and plump big sums in the laps of their CEO’s. And it appears increasingly apparent this administration is yielding more and more to that reality.

Dr. Flowers, a pediatrician, will be one of the speakers at the upcoming Single Payer Conference (, a daylong event of speakers, workshops and spontaneous confabs, due to take place at First Unitarian Church the last Saturday of this month.

Other speakers will be Katie Robbins and Mark Dudcic who also protested at Baucus’ corporate-sponsored hearing and were duly charged and prosecuted for their insistence on health care as a human right. The keynote will be delivered by Rep. John Conyerrs, former chair of the House Justiciary, and chief sponsor of HR676, the single payer legislation. His remarks at midday will be followed by the Mad As Hell Doctors who will talk about their travels to town halls across the country last year, as well as plans for something similar in Oregon as the new legislature considers a single payer bill to be presented by Michael Dembrow and Chip Shield.

Recommendation: attend this conference then attend “Stories: From the Streets” at the Sellwood Auditorium, 7126 SE Milwaukie, beginning 8:30. Makes you tingle all over.

Solidarity in defense of our common wellbeing. Peace and justice can be loads of fun!

When: 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Sat., Jan. 29.

Where: First Unitarian Church, 1211 SW Main St.

Register at

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