Ralph Nader on Health Care

2004 Reform nominee; 2000 Green Candidate for President

3.5% payroll tax to fund universal healthcare

[During the 2000 election, Nader] regularly recited a plan for funding universal healthcare-- aiding 45 million uninsured Americans--by means of a 3.5% payroll levy on employers combined with a tax on stock transactions that would generate $120 billion annually.
Source: Nader: Crusader, Spoiler, Icon, by Justin Martin, p.252 Sep 1, 2002

Enforce fair drug prices if sponsored by govt research

Since the early 1980s, the government has routinely given away the fruits of the research it sponsors, granting private companies exclusive, royalty-free rights to commercialize government-financed inventions while failing to include reasonable pricing requirements in the licenses.

In the critical area of pharmaceuticals, this research giveaway policy leads to superprofiteering by drug manufacturers, who charge unconscionably high prices for important medicines-costing consumers, and often resulting in the denial of treatment to consumers who are unable to pay high prices.

Where the government hands an annual billion-dollar revenue earner [like exclusive licenses to distribute government-researched medicines] to a private company for a pittance, is it too much to ask the relevant federal agency to enforce reasonable pricing requirements? This has resulted in a failure to avert preventable cancer deaths. Shame clearly will not work as a disciplinary force to limit corporate welfare abuses.

Source: Cutting Corporate Welfare, p. 57-58 & 62 Oct 9, 2000

Medicare prescriptions covered under universal health care

Q: Would elderly people with low incomes get all the prescription drugs they need at no cost to them under your proposals?

A: Yes, under a system of universal health care. Price restraints should be placed on all drugs especially developed with taxpayer money, and multiple licenses should be issued for those drugs in order to stimulate competition and bring prices down. The Medicare authorities should negotiate lower drug prices, as the V.A. and the Pentagon are already doing.

Source: Associated Press Sep 8, 2000

Price restraints on drugs; limit profiteering

The pharmaceutical industry is suffering from a malaise where corporate profits are more highly valued than people’s health. Price restraints should be placed on all drugs especially developed with taxpayer money, and multiple licenses should be issued for those drugs in order to stimulate competition and bring prices down. In addition, the government should react to corporate profiteering by developing needed drugs itself.
Source: Associated Press Sep 8, 2000

Opposes assisted suicide laws for terminally ill

Ralph Nader strongly condemned Oregon’s first-in-the-nation assisted suicide law. He told reporters he thinks Oregon voters made a mistake by twice endorsing a law that allows doctors to prescribe lethal doses of drugs to the terminally ill. “It’s cruel to people who would otherwise not want to die if they had adequate pain relief.” Nader said he was worried that the law targets terminally ill patients who suffer from depression or who worry about being an undue financial burden to their relatives.
Source: AP Story, NY Times Aug 25, 2000

Cradle-to-grave health care better than Clinton’s plan

Q: What did you think of Clinton’s health care proposal?

A: It’s a jury-rigged health care proposal that makes the health care industry half happy and everyone else half happy. Why can’t the richest country have cradle-to-grave health care like Europe and Asia? We need universal health care which is accessible, affordable, with quality care, and relying on preventive health. We have waited long enough -- we don’t need a plan like Bush’s or itty-bitty steps like Gore’s.

Source: National Public Radio, “The Connection” Jul 11, 2000

Use Canadian system as a model for US

And they’re telling us the Canadian system is no good.
Source: Horace Mann Middle School, San Francisco May 3, 2000

Health care is a universal human right

These people up in Canada stumbled upon something 30 years ago. It’s called a universal human right: health care, and preventive health as well. If they can do it 30 years ago we can do it now.
Source: Horace Mann Middle School, San Francisco May 3, 2000

Recast health care in a non-profit mode

I think we are in a real transitory period, which gives us a real opportunity to recast our health cares system in a nonprofit mode and implement universal health care.
Source: American Health Line, Campaign 2000 Mar 21, 2000

Keep commercialism out of maternity wards

Noting that “these days, the business of birth starts early with the cutting of the umbilical cord,” consumer advocate Ralph Nader has asked the American Hospital Association to urge member hospitals to keep commercialism out of the maternity wards. Nader writes, “In hospitals across the country, mothers giving birth are likely to receive a gift bag overflowing with brand name goodies and promotions from businesses eager to have their companies’ names follow a child from birth to their own first purchases. Often unaware of exactly what they are distributing, hospital staff have become unwitting promoters of T-shirts, baby detergents, nursing pads, soup, commercial guides to infant growth, children’s medications and, most prominently, infant formula.“
Source: Press Release Aug 27, 1999

Make medicines affordable in Third World

For years, consumer activists have asked Gore to reverse the US policy of punishing developing country governments that tried to make essential medicines more affordable for sick people. And Gore ignored the calls. Matters suddenly changed on June 16 when a AIDS activists began demonstrating. In late June, with pressure building, Gore told the Congressional Black Caucus that he supported South Africa’s right to use the controversial policies of compulsory licensing and parallel imports.
Source: In the Public Interest: “Gore: Do the Right Thing” Jul 22, 1999

Challenge the monetization of HMOs

Unless reform addresses the imbalances of power & the business-as- usual, profits-before-patients approach of HMO corporations, the public will neither be safe nor satisfied. Patients, doctors, & nurses demand that reform genuinely challenge a monetized HMO establishment intent on undermining the health of patients and the professionalism of physicians and nurses. If civil society does not reassert itself over the arrogance of giant HMOs, the quality of our health care will continue to be compromised.
Source: Letter to the House of Representatives Jul 15, 1999

HMO review procedures must be independent of HMOs

Independent review procedures only work well in conjunction with civil liability and when reviews are truly independent of the HMOs. Privatized third party review systems, such as those established by the GOP plan, permit bureaucratic maneuvers by HMOs that an ill patient has neither the time nor capability to defend against. The possibility of damages against an HMO, should that patient not get appropriate care, will compel the time-sensitive urgent treatment approval that can save a life.
Source: Letter to the House of Representatives Jul 15, 1999

HMO plan: accountability, doctor-driven, independent review

These principles are the bare-bones beginning of reforms. They are the minimum patients deserve to even the balance of power between themselves and HMO corporations that are turning doctors’ offices and hospitals into commercially dominated domains.
Source: Letter to the House of Representatives Jul 15, 1999

Criticizes “sweetheart deal” for big tobacco

There is an alternative -- take their cases to trial, or settle them on an individual basis. States doing this would get better deals, and the opportunity to build on what came before.
Source: Press Release Nov 16, 1998

Let FDA regulate nicotine as an addictive drug

Q: How long have the tobacco companies worked with enhancing the addictive quality of their product?

A: At least as far back as the early ‘60’s. At the same time these tobacco companies were saying: tobacco doesn’t cause cancer, tobacco isn’t harmful, and all these 300 or 400 medical studies are nonsense.

Q: And the role of the federal government?

A: The FDA laid off tobacco for years because it was never classified as a drug. Therefore it had no jurisdiction to go after tobacco. Now they’ve held hearings in Congress, and there’s a rule in the making that classifies nicotine as drug. Pharmacologically it’s as an addictive drug as you’ll ever get. It’ll probably be about a year before the FDA issues a rule severely restricting the tobacco industry from marketing tobacco to children. They’ll still sell to adults. But they can’t start giving out free cigarettes, having cigarette machines where kids can access, & having advertisements like Joe Camel beaming to the kids, if this rule passes.

Source: Interview by Jerry Brown on “We The People” Radio Mar 20, 1996

Tobacco is the world’s worst air pollutant

Q: You smoked a bit once, didn’t you?

A: Yes, at college and at law school. [But one day] I sat down and thought it through and I said, “Why am I smoking? This is foolish.” And I just went cold turkey. It was about 3 years before the surgeon general report.

Q: His recent report said that the smoking companies were trying to fight back, but with little effect?

A: I think so, because they’re running up against the right of people to breathe air without someone else’s smoke, and second, the social stigma. They cannot fight that kind of cultural tide. And I think they’re going to lose. That’s why they’re spending their time trying to hook millions of Chinese and Russian peoples with tobacco. That’s where their main expansion is. And fortunately, there’s a growing anti-smoking consumer movement worldwide.

Q: What about other air pollutants?

A: The worst pollutant still is tobacco. It kills over 400,000 people in the US, about two and a half million worldwide, and going up fast.

Source: David Frost interview Oct 21, 1994

Other candidates on Health Care: Ralph Nader on other issues:
George W. Bush
Dick Cheney
John Edwards
John Kerry

Third Party Candidates:
Michael Baradnik
Peter Camejo
David Cobb
Ralph Nader
Michael Peroutka

Democratic Primaries:
Carol Moseley Braun
Wesley Clark
Howard Dean
Dick Gephardt
Bob Graham
Dennis Kucinich
Joe Lieberman
Al Sharpton
Civil Rights
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Social Security
Tax Reform
Adv: Avi Green for State Rep Middlesex 26, Somerville & Cambridge Massachusetts