Wednesday, August 30, 2017

What's in Your Blood? Nobody Knows.

So, these guys discover that 99% of the things floating around in our blood are things we didn’t know were there.

Stop! We don’t know a single thing about them.

Wow. Now, that’s scary! Don’t you agree?

I thought these scientist people knew pretty much all about our blood and what was in it.

They don’t.

Here’s the story:

More than 99 percent of the microbes inside us are unknown to science, Stanford University, Science News, 23 Aug 2017.

"A new survey of DNA fragments circulating in human blood suggests our bodies contain vastly more diverse microbes than anyone previously understood. What's more, the overwhelming majority of those microbes have never been seen before, let alone classified and named, Stanford researchers report August 22 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences."

"We found the gamut," said Stephen Quake, a professor of bioengineering and applied physics, a member of Stanford Bio-X and the paper's senior author. "We found things that are related to things people have seen before, we found things that are divergent, and we found things that are completely novel."

Who Are You? - The Who - 1978

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

One Giant Leap for Silicon

Scientists dubbed them, "Sprites". But, they are nothing close to the lemon-line soft drink.

No, a Sprite is a tiny spacecraft on a microchip... 3.5 centimeters square and weighing four grams... and packing all the necessary tools to survive a very long distance space flight: "a solar panel, radio, thermometer, magnetometer for compass capabilities and gyroscope for sensing rotation".

To see how Sprites perform, a few days ago the Breakthrough Starshot people sent a few Sprites into space. Ultimately, Breakthrough Starshot intends on sending their little space crafts to other solar systems.

So, when a Sprite enters the Alpha Centauri system, I guess, our ancestors won't be hearing,"That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

It will be, "One small step for a micro spacecraft. One giant leap for silicon."

Still, I'll bet that Sprite won't be totin' its World Scout Badge like Eagle Scout Neil Armstrong took with him to the Moon.

Here's the story:

These chip-sized spacecraft are the smallest space probes yet, Maria Temming, Science News, 22 Aug 2017.

"Spacecraft have gone bite-sized. On June 23, Breakthrough Starshot, an initiative to send spacecraft to another star system, launched half a dozen probes called Sprites to test how their electronics fare in outer space. Each Sprite, built on a single circuit board, is a prototype of the tiny spacecraft that Starshot scientists intend to send to Alpha Centauri, the trio of stars closest to the sun. Those far-flung probes would be the smallest working spacecraft yet.

"'We’re talking about launching things that are a thousand times lighter than any previous spacecraft,' says Avi Loeb, an astrophysicist at Harvard University who is part of the committee advising the initiative. A Sprite is only 3.5 centimeters square and weighs four grams, but packs a solar panel, radio, thermometer, magnetometer for compass capabilities and gyroscope for sensing rotation."

"These spacecraft are designed to fly solo, but for this test, they hitched a ride into low Earth orbit on satellites named Max Valier and Venta-1. Each satellite has one Sprite permanently riding sidecar, and the Max Valier craft has another four it could fling out into space. Unfortunately, as of August 10, ground controllers haven’t yet been able to reach the Max Valier satellite to send a “'Release the Sprites!'” command. One of the permanently attached Sprites — probably the one on Venta-1 — is in radio contact."

"Before sending next-gen Sprites off to Alpha Centauri, scientists plan to equip them with cameras, actuators for steering and other tools. 'This was really just the first step in a long journey for Starshot,' Loeb says."

Neil Armstrong One Small Step First Walk on Moon

Neil Armstrong - Interview

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Thinking about Charlottesville …

By Gary R. Baker

Site, monument, marker, place: Ask questions. Make connections. Find out.

This summer we have been debating about monuments in public spaces – most recently in Charlottesville, Virginia. In doing so, we are thinking about the landscape of our public lives. We are also thinking about how we should live our public lives. Essential to our thinking and reflection is asking questions. Then we will have a growing sense of understanding and a deepening insight.

Gen. Robert E. Lee, Emancipation Park, Charlottesville, Va,

Along with large monuments and sculptures, we can also ask questions about and reflect on markers, plaques, and open spaces such as cemeteries and campuses. In thinking about these markers and places, we make connections between them and then establish or discover a general context. Over time, we may also wonder why a particular monument or marker or site is not present. (For example, you might consider why there is only one monument of Southern Civil War hero, Lt. General William Mahone, trusted by Robert E. Lee, and leader of the Post-Civil War Readjuster Movement.  "Mahone organized and led the most successful interracial political alliance in the post-emancipation South.")

First the individual should visit the site, walk in its territory, touch it, and read it or study it. Ask questions. What is the story of this site? What does the site mean? Reflect. Be open for insight and the beginning of understanding. Search out other sites nearby. Look for connections between sites as you ask questions and reflect. More and more people are using the expression “establish context” (or “discover context”) as they discuss a monument. To establish context, the observer or visitor must ask questions.  What happened here? What is the story of this site? What is the historical neighborhood – in both physical space and time? The observer needs to do some detective work.

In the next section I list questions that can help in this detective work. Visitors to Charlottesville, a city of 47,000, may want to test these questions at various sites and look for connections between sites. Following the questions, I suggest a few places (of many) in and near Charlottesville that will produce insights when reflected on and compared.

Questions to consider when visiting a site:
  • Where is the monument?
  • Why is it in this location?
  • When was it placed here?
  • What is the story behind the monument? Has the story changed since the monument was erected? 
  • What was the purpose of the monument? What is the purpose today?
  • Who designed it?
  • Who paid for it?
  • Has it been moved?
  • Has it been changed?
  • Has it been forgotten or ignored?
  • What is its physical condition? (Should it be repaired or cleaned?)
  • Do most people know it is here?
  • Does it continue to be part of public life?
  • What did it mean when it was first set up?
  • What does it mean now?
  • Should it be moved? Where?
  • Should it be redesignated or rededicated?
  • What have I discovered by visiting this site?
  • How significant is the monument to me personally? Why? (Personal reflection.)

Several Sample Sites: Charlottesville, Virginia, Summer 2017

Erected in 1924, an equestrian statue of Robert E. Lee stands in Lee Park (now called Emancipation Park) in Charlottesville, Virginia. Immediately after the Civil War, Lee was asked about the building of a monument to Stonewall Jackson. Lee opposed it because of the expense. Only markers and stones on individual graves would be appropriate, Lee believed.

Furthermore, constructing Confederate monuments would slow down the reunification of the country. Lee was convinced that it was time to rebuild and reunify the county – not build monuments. He even declined to meet with other Confederate and Union officers at Gettysburg to discuss a memorial there.  Lee became President of Washington College (now Washington and Lee) shortly after the war in October, 1865, and died in 1870. He is buried in the college chapel.

Slave Auction Block, Court Square, Charlottesville, VA.

Not far from the Lee monument, visitors to Court Square can see the Slave Auction Block plaque pointing out the location of the slave market – the place on the streets of Charlottesville where slaves were bought and sold.  Nearby is the campus of the University of Virginia with the Rotunda – the great library – the heart of the university with a statue of Thomas Jefferson, the founder and designer of “Virginia’s first truly public university” (“Timeline” see below.), standing in front, holding a copy of the Declaration of Independence.

Fingerprints...see NBC Dateline video below.

A few miles away on “The Little Mountain” – Monticello – where Thomas Jefferson owned over 600 slaves during his lifetime, some changes are being made to reveal the full story of all of the people who lived on the 5,000 acre plantation. Place your own fingers in the fingerprints that slaves left in the bricks when they built the outside wall of the house. Visit the Sally Hemings display, and remember the only slaves that Jefferson freed were the children of Sally Hemings (and himself?). (Monticello is a World Heritage Site.)

In your own hometown – or in the town or city where you live or work today – what are the monuments, markers, places, and sites of memory, meaning, or consequence? What are the connections between them? What are the questions that come to mind when you visit them? What are the stories? What are the contradictions? What are the puzzles? What markers should be added? What insights come to you? In your detective work, what do you find out? What does it all mean?


Actually, Robert E. Lee Was Against Erecting Confederate Memorials - CNN - 17 Aug 2017
 CNN Confederate Monuments

Boyette, Chris. “Actually, Robert E. Lee Was Against Erecting Confederate Memorials.” CNN. August 17, 2017.

The Shifting History of Confederate Monuments -PBS Newshour- 14 Aug 2017

Brangham, William. “The Shifting History of Confederate Monuments.” Interview with University of Richmond historian, Dr. Edward Ayers in Charlottesville. PBS Newshour. August 14, 2017. 

Daley, Jason. “Sally Hemings Gets Her Own Room at Monticello.” July 5, 2017.
Desjardins, Lisa. “Robert E. Lee Opposed Confederate Monuments.” PBS Newshour. August 15, 2017.
Schonfeld, Zach. “Robert E. Lee’s Direct Descendant Denounces Charlottesville White Nationalists: ‘There’s No Place for That Hate.’” Newsweek. August 15, 2017.

Descendants of Thomas Jefferson’s Slaves Spend the Night at Monticello - NBC Dateline -
18 Sept 2016

 NBC Dateline Descendants of Thomas Jefferson

Smith, Harry. “Descendants of Thomas Jefferson’s Slaves Spend the Night at Monticello.” NBC. September 18, 2016. Web Video.

“Timeline of the Founding of the University of Virginia”. An article courtesy of the Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

What will “the morrow bring?”

They label themselves with innocent sounding names, like: “Alt-Right”, “Vanguard America”, “Identity Evropa”, the “Traditionalist Workers Party” and “True Cascadia”. They are proud to wear Nazi regalia and imitate the 1930s newsreel Nazis.

They are the extreme right-wing fringe of America.

No one cares.

They were like the neighbor’s kid, who delighted in pulling wings off bugs and breaking the necks of cats and squirrels. When we encountered him, we looked away and walk quickly… anywhere… far, far… away… from his evilness.

Until Charlottesville.

Charlottesville propelled the American neo-Nazi / white supremacists into their, "Andy Warhol, 15-minutes-of-fame spotlight".

Now, we must confront their evilness. There is no place to hide.

Or, maybe not, if you’re a Trumpist.

Perhaps you will say, “The black man deserved to be beaten. Next time, the white militant will use his gun and there will be no rescuers to save him from his just reward.”

We have no choice now but to wait. What will “the morrow bring?”

The following are excerpts from Greg Palast’s excellent report and Zach D. Roberts Pulitzer Prize-worthy photos, posted yesterday, on Palast's website and newsletter:

Charlottesville: A Gun In His Face, Greg Palast,,14 Aug 2017.

Don’t look away.  Four white neo-Nazis are beating a Black man, crawling on the ground, with their metal poles and a yellow hunk of lumber. The beating continues – there’s blood on the pavement.

The young victim is De’Andre Harris, a special education teacher in Charlottesville.

In the photos, you can see one white guy picking up the yellow barrier arm and raising the three-foot hunk of lumber high over his head before he brings it down on Deandre—who is being kicked by another white man’s boots while two others bring down metal rods on the prone man.

And no, that’s not a cop on the left in the photo—that’s a neo-Nazi in full riot gear.  Where were the cops?  Good question:  this parking garage is next to the Charlottesville Police Station.

De’Andre was saved when some gutsy young Black men—with no weapons—ran into the underground garage– and the white posse scattered.

Except for one.  The gunman.

Our photographer, Zach D. Roberts, continues to shoot – even as a white militant raises a 9mm pistol to his face.

Zach got a shot of the gun and gunman, too. Luckily, the gunman didn’t shoot back.

Welcome to Charlottesville, USA.  Trump’s America, month eight.

Photojournalist Zach D. Roberts is Associate Producer and stake-out videographer for Greg Palast’s film, “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.”

Monday, August 14, 2017

An Organized Cesspool of Hatred

Caption: White supremacists encircle and chant at counter-protesters after marching through the University of Virginia campus with torches in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Aug. 11. (Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

No one was prepared for the organized cesspool of hatred displayed this past weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, least of all the city officials, the local police department nor the State of Virginia.

The ProPublica article below captures the true nature of the organization we are now facing. They believe they are the "blessed" people under Mr. Trump's protective wings.

The neo-Nazi / white supremacist movement we have witnessed in Charlottesville, Virginia, is really a collection of ancient Dark Ages thinking covered with a veneer of out-of-date technology and manifested using 1960s insurgent tactics. It will dissolve into a pool of putrid jelly when confronted with a current anti-terrorist military unit under competent leadership.

Here's the whole story:

The white supremacist forces arrayed in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend — the largest gathering of its sort in at least a generation — represented a new incarnation of the white supremacy movement. Old-guard groups like the Ku Klux Klan, the Aryan Nations and the Nazi skinheads, which had long stood at the center of racist politics in America, were largely absent.

Instead, the ranks of the young men who drove to Charlottesville with clubs, shields, pepper spray and guns included many college-educated people who have left the political mainstream in favor of extremist ideologies over the past few years. A large number have adopted a very clean cut, frat-boyish look designed to appeal to the average white guy in a way that KKK robes or skinhead regalia never could. Interviews show that at least some of these leaders have spent time in the U.S. armed forces.

Many belong to new organizations like Vanguard America, Identity Evropa, the Traditionalist Workers Party and True Cascadia, which have seen their numbers expand dramatically in the past year. Most of these groups view themselves as part of a broader “alt-right” movement that represents the extreme edge of right-wing politics in the U.S.

These organizations exhibited unprecedented organization and tactical savvy. Hundreds of racist activists converged on a park on Friday night, striding through the darkness in groups of five to 20 people. A handful of leaders with headsets and handheld radios gave orders as a pickup truck full of torches pulled up nearby. Within minutes, their numbers had swelled well into the hundreds. They quickly and efficiently formed a lengthy procession and begun marching, torches alight, through the campus of the University of Virginia.

Despite intense interest from the media, police and local anti-racists, the white supremacists kept the location of their intimidating nighttime march secret until the last moment.

The next day, the far-right forces — likely numbering between 1,000 and 1,500 — marched to Emancipation Park. Once again, they arrived in small blocs under military-style command. The racist groups were at least as organized and disciplined as the police, who appeared to have no clear plan for what to do when the violence escalated. The racist groups stood their ground at the park and were not dislodged for many hours.

For many of them, this will be seen as victory. “Every rally we’re going to be more organized, we’re going to have more people, and it’s going to be harder and harder for them to shut us down,” said a spokesman for Vanguard America, a fascist group, who gave his name as “Thomas.” “White people are pretty good at getting organized.”

And though police arrested James Fields Jr., a 20-year-old Ohio man, for allegedly driving a Dodge Charger into a crowd of anti-racist protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and wounding many others, the white supremacists generally avoided arrests.

They also outmaneuvered their anti-racist opponents. On Saturday, a multifaith group met at the historic First Baptist Church for a sunrise prayer ceremony featuring academic Cornel West and pastor Traci Blackmon. The anti-racists, many of them clergy members, walked quietly to Emancipation Park, where they were vastly outnumbered by the white supremacists.

Later, a band of more aggressive counter-protesters showed up at the park, chanting “Appalachia coming at ya. Nazi punks we’re gonna smash ya!” These militant “antifa,” or antifascists, were also repelled by the white supremacists.

Given the scale of the protests, the far-right groups suffered few injuries. That was particularly notable given the fact that multiple people near the protests were armed. Throughout the weekend, right-wing and left-wing militias equipped with assault rifles, pistols and body armor patrolled the streets of Charlottesville. (Virginia is an “open carry” state, so gun owners are legally allowed to tote around firearms.)

Police Stood By As Mayhem Mounted in Charlottesville

State police and National Guardsmen watched passively for hours as self-proclaimed Nazis engaged in street battles with counter-protesters. Read the story.

Many of the armed men viewed their role as maintaining a modicum of order. A “Three Percenter” militia out of New York state posted itself near Emancipation Park with the intention of keeping anti-racists from disrupting the rally. The group says it disapproves of racism but is dedicated to defending the free speech rights of all.

Blocks away, Redneck Revolt, a leftist militia from North Carolina, watched over the perimeter of a park where anti-racists had gathered, committed to preventing violent attacks by the white supremacist groups.

The presence of heavily armed citizens may have played a role in the decision of authorities to largely stay out of the violent skirmishes between the white supremacists and their opponents.

Those who actually marched included many new to the right-wing cause. The victory of Donald Trump in last year’s presidential election has energized a whole wave of young people who were previously apathetic or apolitical, rally organizer Eli Mosley told ProPublica. The president has served as “megaphone” for far-right ideas, he said.

Mosley and his comrades are seeking to draw in as many of these newly politicized young people as possible. “We’re winning,” he said. “We’re targeting the youth and making a movement that appeals to the youth.”

Some of those who’ve gravitated to the extreme right milieu are former liberals — like Mosley’s fellow rally organizer Jason Kessler — and supporters of Bernie Sanders. Many are ex-Libertarians.

“I was a libertarian,” said Mosley, as white supremacists chanted “Whose streets? Our streets!” in the background. “I looked around and noticed that most Libertarians were white men. I decided that the left was winning with identity politics, so I wanted to play identity politics too. I’m fascinated by leftist tactics, I read Saul Alinsky, Martin Luther King … This is our ’60s movement.”

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Finding Courage to Face our Doppelganger

We, Americans, are unaware. We don’t know about us. Millions of us close our eyes from seeing and ears from hearing.

We don’t want to know that there is a doppelganger version of our beloved USA roaming unrestrained on the other side of our borders.

While millions have witnessed and endured its wrath, we sit “sheltered” from our evil twin.

At home, some of us are beginning to understand what others have known for years… we have turned our heads away from truth and allowed our doppelganger to “secretly” infiltrate, misdirect and mismanage our government, squandering our national trust, wealth and resources to do terrible things.

Our doppelganger briefly made an appearance on U.S. soil in Dallas back in November 1963… then vanished from view into the murky, evil darkness… to remain hidden until we, Americans, could find the courage to attempt to face it.

Who murdered John F. Kennedy, the President of the United States, and covered up the conspiracy?

For certain, beyond a shadow of doubt, we know the names of two of the conspirators. We know from the just released CIA documents.

“In May 1964, top CIA officials stonewalled the official investigation of the murder of President John F. Kennedy by concealing or downplaying evidence about the Cuban contacts of the accused assassin, according to newly declassified documents.”

“The documents, released online last month by the National Archives, show how two CIA spymasters concocted a series of false and misleading statements that served to steer the Warren Commission investigation away from evidence that might point to a conspiracy.”

“The long-secret records, stamped with the words “Reproduction Prohibited,” shed new light on two key issues related to the death of JFK: 1) the agency’s plots to kill Cuban leader Fidel Castro at the time JFK was killed; and 2) the CIA’s pre-assassination knowledge of Lee Harvey Oswald, the 24-year-old ex-Marine, who was arrested for killing Kennedy.”

And, here, for more background: Lies Too Big to Fail, Part II

Saturday, August 12, 2017

American Dream... Take Me Home

DSA members at the Women’s March in New York City on January 21, 2017. 
Photo credit: Democratic Socialists of America)

Here's a clear message to the R-people and the D-people:

If you want your capitalist system to continue, then throw the 99.99% of the U.S. population a bone.

Stop the unrelenting Trumpist Republican effort to dismantle the past 115 years of conservation, consumer protections and corporate controls mandated by Congress under both Republican and Democrat presidents.

Allow citizens the decent quality of life guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights and commonly considered the American Dream ... opportunity to create a better life and attain such things as:
  • decent, affordable healthcare
  • a decent, living wage
  • quality secondary, post-high school and college education
  • reasonably priced housing
  • lawful protection from fraudulent operations and criminal banking practices, as well as the exponential number of consumer abuses currently permitted under unfettered American capitalism.

If you continue to ignore progressive reform, you force us all to consider Democratic Socialism or some other reform solution.

Today, the membership of the Democratic Socialists of America has tripled. Some 37 percent of American adults now prefer socialism to capitalism.

"Rather than getting harmed for making an effort to explain how democratic socialism works in places like Denmark, (Sen. Bernie) Sanders benefited from the fact that he wasn’t just another apologist for the capitalist experiment that has produced market instability, cruel austerity, and scorching income inequality.”

Please go here for the story.

John Denver & Nitty Gritty Dirt Band - Take Me Home, Country Roads
(Live at Farm Aid 1985)

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Nanotechnology Regenerative Medicine Breakthrough

Researchers demonstrate how an electric field would be applied across the tiny device, allowing it to deliver genes to the skin cells beneath it – turning them into different types of cells. Photograph: The Ohio State University

From The Ohio State University... "A tiny device that sits on the skin and uses an electric field to reprogram cells could be a breakthrough in  the way we treat injured or ageing tissue."

Go here for the whole story:

Nanochip could heal injuries or regrow organs with one touch, say researchers,
Nicola Davis, The Guardian, 7 August 2017.

"A novel device that reprogrammes skin cells could represent a breakthrough in repairing injured or ageing tissue, researchers say.

"The new technique, called tissue nanotransfection, is based on a tiny device that sits on the surface of the skin of a living body. An intense, focused electric field is then applied across the device, allowing it to deliver genes to the skin cells beneath it – turning them into different types of cells.

"That, according to the researchers, offers an exciting development when it comes to repairing damaged tissue, offering the possibility of turning a patient’s own tissue into a “bioreactor” to produce cells to either repair nearby tissues, or for use at another site.

"'By using our novel nanochip technology, injured or compromised organs can be replaced,' said Chandan Sen, from the Ohio State University, who co-led the study. 'We have shown that skin is a fertile land where we can grow the elements of any organ that is declining.'"

"The ability for scientists to reprogram cells into other cell types is not new: the discovery scooped John Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka the Nobel Prize in 2012 and is currently under research in myriad fields, including Parkinson’s disease."

"'You can change the fate of cells by incorporating into them some new genes,' said Dr Axel Behrens, an expert in stem cell research from the Francis Crick Institute in London, who was not involved in the Ohio research. 'Basically you can take a skin cell and put some genes into them, and they become another cell, for example a neuron, or a vascular cell, or a stem cell.'"

"But the new approach, says Sen, avoids an intermediary step where cells are turned into what are known as pluripotent stem cells, instead turning skin cells directly into functional cells of different types. 'It is a single step process in the body,' he said." - more -

Breakthrough Device Heals Organs with a Single Touch
Device instantly delivers new DNA or RNA into living skin cells to change their function.

 Click to view OSU nanotransfection video
 Click to view OSU nanotransfection video 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

End Healthcare Nightmares

While sitting in a Metro Detroit hospital surgical waiting area, I began to relive the past few weeks of Republican-created healthcare nightmares. 

They are the never-ending kind. Those that come back Zombie-like to torture us each and every night. 

For instance, the Republican-controlled Senate and the Trump administration clearly and repeatedly displayed their contempt for the American public with a plethora of “skinny” bills, all secretly crafted to confine “grandma, grandpa, babies, teens and twenty-somethings to the healthcare garbage dump. And, then, they promised to keep coming back with more.

When Trumpcare flamed out again, the Republicans began skittering away from Washington, like cockroaches into the closest sewer when the lights suddenly come on. All of them… going into hiding from their constituents and questions from the “fake press” under the cover of a crescendo of diversionary Trumpian Twitter hissy fits and shotgunned threats, tossed helter-skelter at friends and foes alike.

This historic display of Republican governance was a disgusting tour de force of the most gangrenous side of our society.

Sadly, all — save three — heroic Republican people (R-people) joined with Mr. President-of-all-of-us fighting like legendary ninjas to exclude and deny a large portion of the U.S. population even the slightest shred of decent healthcare. 

Predictably, like members of the Peoples Temple Jim Jones cult many of these millions continue to be ardent supporters of Mr. Trump and happily sip his concoction of poisonous cool aid.

Rationalism aside, it is clearly time to move toward a single-payer healthcare solution. Not just because healthcare is a serious issue and not a TV game show for bored Congressional R-people and Mr. Trump, but because it is the only solution proven to work for all people throughout the world.

Most importantly, the single-payer solution will save lives and help minimize suffering while also saving jigumbus amounts of money.

Finally, adopting a single-payer solution removes our healthcare from the R-people toy box. Denying healthcare as a drama-energizing diversionary plaything forces them muck up something else.

Here is what a single-payer healthcare system actually could be for All U.S. citizens.

Here are some answers to your questions and a plan, too, from the Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP).

Here is The Guardian's article about the PNHP:

'We need fundamental changes': US doctors call for universal healthcare

A group of more than 2,000 physicians is calling for the establishment of a universal government-run health system in the US, in a paper in the American Journal of Public Health.

According to the proposal released Thursday, the Affordable Care Act did not go far enough in removing barriers to healthcare access. The physicians’ bold plan calls for implementing a single-payer system similar to Canada’s, called the National Health Program, that would guarantee all residents healthcare.

The new single-payer system would be funded mostly by existing US government funding. The physicians point out that the US government already pays for two-thirds of all healthcare spending in the US, and a single-payer system would cut down on administrative costs, so a transition to a single-payer system would not require significant additional spending.

“Our patients can’t afford care and don’t have access to the care they need, while the system is ever more wasteful, throwing away money on bureaucratic expenses and absurd prices from the drug companies,” said David Himmelstein, a professor in the CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College and lecturer on medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Himmelstein, one of the authors of the plan, said the proposal is meant as a rallying cry for physicians and other healthcare professionals around the cause of a single-payer model. According to the paper, even with the passage of the Affordable Care Act many patients “face rising co-payments and deductibles that compromise access to care and leave them vulnerable to ruinous medical bills”. Despite the current high healthcare spending levels in the US, healthcare outcomes are worse than in comparable well-funded countries.

Please go here for the entire article.

Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP)
Webinar: Single Payer From Soup to Nuts