Thursday, July 23, 2009

President Obama’s Longtime Physician Opposes White House Health Plan, Advocates Single Payer

AMY GOODMAN: As the healthcare debate reaches a fever pitch, President Obama is holding a primetime news conference tonight in a bid to win wider support for healthcare reform. His remarks are expected to respond to skepticism fueled by the Congressional Budget Office's scathing assessment of the expenses involved in the House legislation, concerns from conservative Blue Dog Democrats, and broad opposition from Republicans.

But will the President address concerns of single-payer advocates, who think his public plan will not go far enough?

I'm joined now from Chicago by Dr. David Scheiner. He was President Obama's doctor from 1987 until he entered the White House. He treated Obama for twenty-two years but has publicly opposed Obama's health plan, calling for single payer. Dr. Scheiner was disinvited from ABC's recent healthcare forum, where he was planning to ask about single-payer healthcare.

Dr. Scheiner, welcome to Democracy Now! It's good to have you with us.

DR. DAVID SCHEINER: Good morning. Thank you very much.

AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean you were disinvited by ABC? What happened?

DR. DAVID SCHEINER: Well, on the Friday before the Wednesday, I was notified by ABC that they thought it would be a great idea to have me come to the White House for that forum, that town hall, as a surprise visitor, that President Obama would not be informed, and I would ask a question from the audience. That Sunday, I received an email outlining the trip, and I canceled two days of the office to prepare for this. And then, Monday, another producer called me and said that they had too many people showing up and that they didn't need me, and my trip was canceled.

AMY GOODMAN: What would you have asked?

DR. DAVID SCHEINER: I would have asked about single payer, insofar as we already have one that works, and why we just couldn't have universal Medicare and eliminate the insurance companies, which are causing incredible costs and havoc on the system.

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