Congressman Kucinich Caps Mad As Hell Doctors Tour
WASHINGTON DC, October 3, 2009 – Oregon’s homegrown Mad As Hell Doctors were met by Rep. Dennis Kucinich in Washington DC on the final days of their cross-country media blitz.
The group of doctors drew a modest crowd in front of the White House on Wednesday (Sept 30) capping a month long quest to put single payer back in the national debate. But by far the most exciting moment came when Kucinich arrived. He took the stage like it was the Democratic National Convention.
“If there be a cause that is worthy of the rest of our lives it is to make sure that each and every American is able to participate in a universal, single payer, not for profit healthcare system where everyone is covered, where no one is turned away, where no one is afraid to be sick,” Kucinich said.
The Democrat from Ohio and national leader in the single payer movement recently won approval for an amendment in HR 3200 giving states the option of creating a single payer plan. "It's got to start in one state," Kucinich said.
Tipping their hat to the idea, the Portland City Council passed a resolution last week urging Congress to pass a single payer bill sponsored by Kucinich and Rep. John Conyers, HR 676. But the bill has yet to be introduced in any committee.
What began in Oregon by a group of doctors frustrated that Congress wouldn’t consider a single payer healthcare bill has taken the country by storm. Two dozen cities, hundreds of interviews and close to one million Google hits later, Dr. Paul Hochfeld, an emergency room physician at Good Samaritan Hospital in Corvallis, said the experience has changed him.
“We’ve heard just some horrendous stories,” Hochfeld said. “There’s a really deep understanding in this country that we have a very broken and corrupt healthcare system. They may win this round but this is just the first round in a long battle. We’re just going to keep doing it over and over again.”
The rally last week was the last of dozens the group had staged, permitted and promoted throughout their trip that began in Portland on Sept. 8. They even hired a public relations firm and developed a theme song.
Hochfeld and fellow Corvallis physician Mike Huntington were joined by Portland physicians Eugene Uphoff, Samuel Metz, Joseph Eusterman and Robert Seward. Doctors and nurses in California, Washington, New York and elsewhere also joined them for portions of the trip.