Welcome By Congressman Jim Mcdermott

Date and Time:
Saturday, October 31, 9:00AM-9:10AM (Boulevard room, Hilton Chicago)

Presenter: Congressman Jim McDermot (D-WA)

Notes from Conference Participants:

AMA put on a huge campaign against him – people of Saskatchewan ignored it – implemented America’s first SP system in 1962 – I was in med school at the time – organized med was terrified – idea of SP terrifies the med industrial complex – things like this (organizing) terrify them. Waged a vicious camp against it - socialized med – have not changed their mantra. People were firm in their determination – eventually docs relented – was a success – other provinces saw this – why can’t we have it here? 3 years only – and then nationwide system was created. Only 3 y3ars.

U of Illinois – many visits from pres of AMA, now “boys” – mostly white men – “boys, there ain’t gonna be medicine – awful socialized med” – I could see it across the boarder – 1963 – I could see that it was working.

First speech on issue in 1972 – when running for governor. Business for long distance runners – marathon that goes on and on. I’d seen it happen – goals to be Tommy D. of state of Washington – I talked about SP. I tried to put together a plan – 1980 / 1981 – ran into all of the problems at the state level – managed to get together a plan to give HC to working poor – above Medicaid – managed with subsidies to have program work – couldn’t get beyond that because of ERISA – challenge to work around federal plans. Running against Ronald Reagan – close to being governor – RR blew all progressives out of their jobs – all these people lost as this was happening out her – was in leg for 17 years – then back to medicine – seat open – come on back and we can work on national health – he convinced me to come – back in 1988 – wanted to do national health – then Mrs. Clinton – organizing of votes in Congress for SP – I had 95 votes – HC wanted my 95 votes. You’re here which proves that we are laying the ground work and it’s going to happen. Gotta get everybody in, gotta control costs. 8700 dollars a person on HC – average elsewhere 3200 bucks. Fragmented system. Outcomes elsewhere are better.

The ACA – sort of like the beach in Normandy – have to start somewhere – started with this bill – this issue is now timely – conference in good time – now had a chance to see ACA work – doesn’t cover everyone. Premiums are going up – Medicine is going up 7.5 percent – if you meet a Canadian, ask them to share their ins card – everyone has the same card – if I asked you to hold up your card – hard time finding anyone with the same – 471 billion in paperwork – huge waste.


3 cardiologists in Indiana – 5 mill dollars in fees from Medicare patients – worthless procedures – that’s what is going on in this system – turned med from a profession to a business. We are spending a lot of money on a lot of stuff that is useless – fewer docs go into lower paying specialties. When I went to school it was 800 dollars a year – now they come out 175 thousand in debt – how do I make money to pay off that debt – bill – medical school should be free (applause), then owe the state 5 years of service – nothing wrong with that idea, except medicine is resisting it. Third thing and most disturbing – cost of prescription drugs – gona have to deal with that. Numbers keep going up – Tuerig pharma – increased price 5000 percent because they could – congress tied hands of Soc and Health services so she can’t negotiate lower prices – veterans can – but anybody in Medicare paying more – happened with Medicare part D – A SP system could figure that out – In Canada charge the average and save billions. I wanted to have a discussion about drug prices – Kevin Brady – there is no interest in talking about it – don’t wait for Paul Ryan (if you are looking for a cure to come from congress) – absolute greed – they have control and you’ll pay or you’ll die – they talk about innovation – nothing innovative about raising prices.

Not why we need SP – but how do we get there – none of this is news – I’ve introduced a bill every year for SP bill – which would allow states to develop a HR3241 – state based system – states could ask for a waiver from fed law that currently makes it impossible for states to make their own system ERISA – this bill says out of the way – state that’s granted one – pool federal money to develop own system to deliver HC – Gov. Brian Schwitzer in Montana – if you’d give me the fed money, I could do what they did in Saskatchewan – Brian you should have called me a little earlier – last year of governorship – people who are dealing with this know SP – taking on Med ind. Complex—that’s what’s in the way – the sides are out there – you are the folks who need to go out and water them – not gonna happen quickly – but why it will happen – COST – Everybody else have figured out how to cover everybody. More and more docs not only in PNHP, but also out of it, saying wouldn’t it be nice to have a system in place? – I have cataracts – how much cost – doc, I don’t know? Come back for follow up visit – billing dep – how much cost – I don’t know – Depends on Ins. – no idea what your gonna pay – now how can people shop in that way (applause) – it’s nonsense – if you go to Macys they can tell you the prices – in med it is an absolute mystery – so you’ll never be able to figure it out. SP has real advantage in states where they haven’t raised the Medicaid – this bill says put your money where your mouth is – you can have the fed money and then provide HC for the people in your state – money sitting on the shelf because they won’t use the money from the federal govt! Patch up the mess after – those governors can be put on the stop – okay, let’s do our own plan – put the money where your mouth is. I don’t think I want to get sick in Texas

Path forward is from the ground up. I’ve given this speech more than once – they gave me 10 minutes, I’m sure I’ve gone over that – America’s Bitter Pill. Favorite quote from Bobby K. – Ask why not? You have to keep that dream of why not alive and keep organizing on the ground to make it happen in your states. (Standing O)

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