» Drug, Devices, and Supplements

» Physician Accountability

» Consumer Product Safety

» Worker Safety

» Health Care Delivery

» Auto and Truck Safety

» Global Access to Medicines

» Infant Formula Marketing


More resources on health care politics and terminology

Letter Regarding Coverage of the Recent Congressional Hearing on Single-Payer

Health Care Polemic

June 15, 2009

View the letter in the Washington Post.

Dana Milbank's description of the recent congressional hearing on single-payer health care ["It's Healthy to Vent," June 11] was polemical.

First, many attendees were congressional staff members, not single-payer advocates.

Second, to describe the testimony of witnesses, which included Rep. John Conyers Jr., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, as mere "venting" and "an exercise in blowing off steam" was offensive to the millions of Americans whose views they represent.

Third, Rep. Dennis Kucinich's grilling of the Manhattan Institute's David Gratzer was justified by Mr. Gratzer's selective use of statistics to portray a falsely grim picture of the Canadian single-payer system. Certainly, a national system of health insurance that guarantees comprehensive access to needed care and eliminates profit is anathema to someone who cheerleads the intellectually and morally bankrupt "consumer-driven health care" movement.

Finally, to decry a national system of health-care financing that retains the private delivery of health care as socialism simply plays into the propaganda and fear-mongering of the right and the private insurance lobby, which opposes any challenge to its obscene profits.

Make no mistake: Single-payer advocates have much to be upset about, given our near-complete exclusion from the congressional debate on health reform.

But we are the only health-care reform movement with strong and growing grass-roots support, and we will be heard.

James Floyd

The writer, a physician and a health researcher for Public Citizen, which supports single-payer national health insurance, attended the hearing in question.

Copyright © 2016 Public Citizen. Some rights reserved. Non-commercial use of text and images in which Public Citizen holds the copyright is permitted, with attribution, under the terms and conditions of a Creative Commons License. This Web site is shared by Public Citizen Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation. Learn More about the distinction between these two components of Public Citizen.

Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation


Together, two separate corporate entities called Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation, Inc., form Public Citizen. Both entities are part of the same overall organization, and this Web site refers to the two organizations collectively as Public Citizen.

Although the work of the two components overlaps, some activities are done by one component and not the other. The primary distinction is with respect to lobbying activity. Public Citizen, Inc., an IRS § 501(c)(4) entity, lobbies Congress to advance Public Citizen’s mission of protecting public health and safety, advancing government transparency, and urging corporate accountability. Public Citizen Foundation, however, is an IRS § 501(c)(3) organization. Accordingly, its ability to engage in lobbying is limited by federal law, but it may receive donations that are tax-deductible by the contributor. Public Citizen Inc. does most of the lobbying activity discussed on the Public Citizen Web site. Public Citizen Foundation performs most of the litigation and education activities discussed on the Web site.

You may make a contribution to Public Citizen, Inc., Public Citizen Foundation, or both. Contributions to both organizations are used to support our public interest work. However, each Public Citizen component will use only the funds contributed directly to it to carry out the activities it conducts as part of Public Citizen’s mission. Only gifts to the Foundation are tax-deductible. Individuals who want to join Public Citizen should make a contribution to Public Citizen, Inc., which will not be tax deductible.


To become a member of Public Citizen, click here.
To become a member and make an additional tax-deductible donation to Public Citizen Foundation, click here.