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Tell Somebody

Jun 9, 2009

David Himmelstein, M.D. — Harvard Medical School, co-founder, Physicians for a National Health Plan is the guest on this edition of Tell Somebody.

The following came in a press release from Public Citizen:

Two-Thirds of Bankruptcies Are Medically Related; National Health Insurance Needed Now

Statement of Sidney Wolfe, M.D., Director, Health Research Group at Public Citizen

A nationwide study showing that 62 percent of bankruptcies in 2007 were related to medical bills or illness underscores the need for a single-payer health care system.

The study, conducted by researchers at Harvard Medical School, Harvard Law School and Ohio State University (David Himmelstein, Steffie Woolhandler, Elizabeth Warren and Deborah Thorne) found the high bankruptcy rate even though more than three-quarters (78 percent) of the people having medical bankruptcies had health insurance - mainly private insurance - at the start of their illness. It is astounding that medically related bankruptcies increased by half from 2001 to 2007 - well before the current economic crisis.

Dr. Himmelstein, one of the authors of the study, will talk about it and why a single payer plan is the only solution that makes sense.

Dr. Himmelstein practices and teaches primary care internal medicine at the Cambridge Hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts and is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard. He was a co-founder of PNHP and one of two National Coordinators for the first five years of the organization. Dr. Himmelstein co-authored PNHP’s original proposal, its long-term care proposal, and its proposal for financing a national health program.

More information at

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