The Plank

These Are My Friends. Here's Why They're Wrong.

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Physicians for a National Health Plan is one of those groups that should get a lot more attention than it does. Founded in 1987 and some 15,000 members strong, the organization has been a consistent, passionate, and frequently persuasive advocate for single-payer health insurance--that is, having the government insure everybody directly, though a program that looks something like Medicare.

One of their longtime members, Don McCanne, sends out a daily e-mail on health care that has been the inspiration for more than one story of mine. But his audience has been largely limited to his mailing list. With any luck, that's about to change. PNHP just launched a blog, which you can find here -- and which, hopefully, will introduce more people to their arguments.

Of course, I don't always agree with those arguments. PNHP, along with some other single-payer advocates, have traditionally been critical of any universal coverage schemes that preserve a significant role for private insurance. So this week, when a coalition of liberal groups announced a new campaign for universal coverage, PNHP offered some respectful but thorough critiques--because the plan this new coalition envisions would institutionalize a role for private insurance, at least in the short term.

I think PNHP is wrong -- and explain why in this new article, from our latest print edition. 

I'm hoping I can recruit Don or somebody else from PNHP to write a response; this is a debate worth having. (In the meantime, you can read Ezra Klein's take here.)

--Jonathan Cohn 

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