Former Obama doctor calls for single-payer healthcare

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A physician who served as President Obama’s primary doctor for 22 years will appear at a Healthcare NOW! event this week in Washington as part of the group’s “D.C. Lobby Day and Rally.”

Dr. David Scheiner, who served as Obama’s primary physician from 1987 to 2009, will join public health groups on Thursday to tell the president and Congress that they should institute a single-payer healthcare system by expanding Medicare to cover every American.

Physicians for a National Health Program will deliver a letter to Obama that urges a single-payer system and contains the signatures of 3,500 doctors, including Scheiner, from across the country.

Healthcare NOW! supports two pieces of single-payer legislation: H.R. 676, sponsored by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) and S. 703, sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Though both call for a comprehensive single-payer system, they are not companion bills. 

Confirmed speakers at Thursday’s rally include:

Jos Williams – President, AFL-CIO Metropolitan Washington Council
Dr. David Scheiner – President Obama’s personal physician of 22 years
Rose Ann Demoro – Executive Director, California Nurses Association
Sidney M. Wolfe, MD – Acting President of Public Citizen
Dr. Margaret Flowers – Physicians for a National Health Program
Terry O’Neill – President, National Organization for Women
State Sen. Jim Ferlo (D-Pa.)
Sameer Dossani – Demand Dignity Campaign Director, Amnesty International
Barbara Ehrenreich – Feminist, sociologist, and political activist, and author of nearly 20 books includingNickled and Dimed
Rep. Conyers
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio)
Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.)
Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.)
Sen. Sanders
Jonathan Tasini – Candidate for U.S. Senate Seat, New York State
Medea Benjamin – Co-founder of Code Pink and Global Exchange
Tim Carpenter – Progressive Democrats of America, Executive Director
Donna Smith – Community Activist and Legislative Advocate, California Nurses Association, whose story of financial bankruptcy was featured in Michael Moore’s film, “SiCKO.”
Nadina LaSpina – Disabled in Action

Volunteers and Healthcare NOW! members will speak to lawmakers during the day Thursday urging their support on single-payer. The group will also hold a rally celebrating 44 years of Medicare during which volunteers will pack into 100 taxis and circle the Upper Senate Park with signs of support.

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