In a brash move, the White House is again demonstrating the exclusion of those who advocate for real health reform. At the end of August, in response to the heated Town Halls and the opposition to health reform, Physicians for a National Health Program and the Leadership Conference for Guaranteed Health Care sent letters to President Obama requesting a meeting. As the legislation that Congress was putting together was falling apart, we asked, again, to work with the president for real health reform. It would be a win for the people in America and a win for the president. Yet, he refused to meet with us.
In early September, a group of physicians representing the Oregon Chapter of PNHP, known as the Mad As Hell Doctors, also wrote to the president. On September 8 they left Oregon in a Care-a-van, stopping in towns along the way to speak out for single payer and hear what people had to say. They asked for a meeting with the president upon their arrival in Washington. Again, the president refused. Thousands of people sent letters to the White House asking the president to meet with the Mad As Hell Docs, and yet, again, he refused. The only response they received was a request to stop sending so many emails.
On September 30, the Mad As Hell Docs arrived in Washington, D.C. and held a rally in Lafayette Park in front of the White House. Doctors from across the country attended. They told the crowd why they believed, based on their years of practicing medicine and the stories they heard during their tour about the unimaginable suffering and deaths, that single payer is the solution. Their voices were not heard in the White House — or were they?