Find yourself perplexed about what Congress is plotting for health care or whether the "public option" will really provide the health care millions of Americans need? You're not alone. As a physician at a public hospital, I find that patients and colleagues alike are past being fed-up with the state of the healthcare system and find the myriad proposals on the table bewildering. Well, here are the answers in a nutshell. The factsheet that follows, created by Seattle Radical Women activist Claudine Fisher, delineates the essential features of the Obama plan and HR 3200, as well as the single-payer system desired by the majority of U.S. healthcare consumers and doctors, yet being cold-shouldered in the current negotiations. She highlights what each variant would mean to the health of the 120 million uninsured or underinsured people of this country—and what each would mean to the pocketbooks of the insurance companies and pharmaceutical industry!

        Even more critically than de-mystifying the options currently being debated by the powers-that-be, Claudine gives the bottom line on what's really needed: not only universal health care, but a system that takes profiteering off sickness completely off the board. Who needs a nationalized healthcare industry? Mothers caring for their children on a low-income budget. Workers getting bigger and bigger chunks taken out of their paychecks for "employee contributions" and co-payments. Seniors on fixed incomes with skyrocketing medication costs. And of course, those with no decent coverage at all. In short, just about everyone but the Rockefeller crowd.

        Want to talk nitty gritty healthcare policy with your co-workers or shoot off an irate letter to the editor on insurance reform? Here's your ammo.

Susan Williams, MD
Senior Gastroenterologist, Metropolitan Hospital, East Harlem
Service Employees International Union Local 10MD