Green Party Celebrate Medicare's 45th Anniversary By Calling for it to be Expanded to all Americans


Howie Hawkins - Green for Governor 

Media Release -

For Release: Friday, July 30, 2010

For More Info:
Howie Hawkins, 315 425-1019
Cecile Lawrence 607-625-5844
Gloria Mattera 917 886-4538
Julia Willebrand 212 877-5088


The Green Party of New York State is joining with universal health care advocates throughout New York State and across the country to celebrate the 45th anniversary of Medicare (July 30th) and to call for its expansion to all Americans. (A list of NYS events in NYC, Albany, Syracuse, Rochester and Ithaca is at the end).


"Medicare is an American program that has worked well to improve the health care of our nation's system. We need to protect this critical program while improving the benefits provided and expanding it so that everyone is covered. The Democrats recently gave a huge taxpayer subsidy to insurance companies by mandating that everyone has to have expensive and ineffective private health insurance if they do not qualify for public health insurance programs like Medicare, Medicaid, or the Veterans Administration. What the Greens want, and Americas need, is to eliminate insurance companies by covering everyone under a single program, no exceptions," stated Howie Hawkins, the Green Party Gubernatorial candidate. Hawkins was arrested after last year's election in a protest at the Syracuse office of WellPoint, the largest health insurance conglomerate in the US that is notorious for denying treatments and cancelling polices for sick policyholders and large premium increases in the run up to health care reform last year.


Hawkins will speak at the Medicare celebration in Syracuse. Gloria Mattera, the Green Party Lt. Governor candidate, and Julia Willebrand, the State Comptroller candidate, will participate in a dance celebration for Medicare in New York City. Mattera, who works with children in a city hospital, is active in Physicians for a National Health Program. Cecile Lawrence, one of the two Green candidates for US Senate, will speak in Ithaca.


"The biggest problem with the American health care system is the enormous waste and profits of insurance companies, which make more money when they deny health care services to their customers. A single payer system like Medicare would save Americans $400 billion a year by eliminating the enormous waste and red tape involved with our present system of private health insurance. The Obama plan sustains insurance companies and HMOs with our tax dollars. It reciprocates the hundreds of thousands of dollars that these corporations contribute to Democratic candidates every election cycle. Why should we pay off insurance companies and HMOs to cover the excluded, when we can save hundreds of billions annually by covering everyone with a single-payer plan?" asked Mattera.


Willebrand pointed out that the NYS Senate resolution passed last year urging Congress to adopt a single payer system stated that Passage of H.R. 676 would save New York State citizens, businesses and governmental bodies at least ten billion dollars ($10,000,000,000) annually in health care costs. "The $10 billion savings passing single payer at the national or the state level would cover the $9 billion state budget deficit," she noted.


Hawkins, Mattera and Willebrand support New York implementing its own state single payer system. A recent state-financed study concluded that such a system was by far the most cost-effective way to provide health care to all New Yorkers, saving $28 billion annually by 2019 compared to the insurance mandate that Democrats recently pushed through Congress. A state single payer system would also be a magnet for companies seeking to lower their health care costs to be more in line with what their foreign competitors pay. The Greens noted that while the US pays almost twice as much per capita for health care costs, its health care system performs the worst of any of the industrial countries.


The Green Party also joined with other national groups in calling upon Congressional Democrats not to cut Medicare and Social Security. Congress has created a Deficit Reduction Commission that will issue a report following the November elections on ways the federal government could reduce the growing national deficit. While most of the deficit is due to tax cuts for the wealthy and the enormous military budget, now between $700 billion to one trillion dollars annually, the Commission is expected instead to push for cuts in the entitlement programs for senior citizens and low income people.


The Greens said instead of cutting the safety net for working class and middle class Americans and senior citizens, the Commission should focusing on the three main causes of the deficit: massive war and weapons spending, giant tax cuts for the wealthy, and the faltering economy,


"America deserves the health benefits offered to the people of every other country in the industrialized world, all medically necessary care and freedom from the fear of economic ruin due to illness. The bottom line is that single payer is the one proposal that guarantees quality, affordable health care to every American. This would also be a great benefit to our economy in our time of crisis, helping to control costs for taxpayers, consumers and employers," said Cecile Lawrence, one of the two Green Party candidates for US Senate, who spoke at the Medicare event in Ithaca.


The Greens noted that the recent national reform did nothing to control skyrocketing costs while leaving tens of millions without health care coverage and forcing many more to pay for inexpensive, ineffective insurance. The rising costs of health care will force Congress to revisit the issue with the next few years. Variants of the mandate model, first proposed by Richard Nixon, were passed with great fanfare in Massachusetts (1988, more recently in 2006), Oregon (1989) and Washington State (1993). All failed. As costs soared, legislators backed off from enforcing the mandates or funding new coverage for the poor.


Single payer merely means that one program pays all bills, like Medicare does for senior citizens. It eliminates the paperwork, high administrative costs and profits of the for profit private insurance system. Both President Obama and the late US Senator Ted Kennedy readily admitted that single payer was the best solution for America.




All events on Friday July 30th

Medicare Birthday Celebration in Albany

Where: O'Brien Federal Bldg at Clinton and Pearl in Albany When: Noon Rep Tonko's office is hosting. Contact: Richard Propp, MD at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Friday, July 30th 2010 – Ithaca, NY

Medicare's 45th Anniversary Rally - Speakers include Cecile Lawrence, Green Party candidate for US Senate Join Us As We Celebrate the 45th Anniversary of the Historic Passage of Medicare. When: Friday, July 30th, Noon -1:30 pm Where: DeWitt Park For more information contact Rebecca Elgie at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Sponsored by Single Payer New York, Co-sponsors Religious Taskforce for a Living Wage, UU Social Justice Committee. League of Women Voters – TC.

Celebrate Medicare's 45th Rochester

Where: Federal Building Plaza, 100 State St, Rochester, NY When: Friday, July 30, noon-1:00 pm Who: Local and state wide single payer coalition members of Rochester for HR 676 and Single Payer New York will participate in the rally. Member organizations include the Interfaith Health Care Coalition, Finger Lakes Physicians for a National Health Program, Progressive Democrats of America Genesee Valley, and Metro Justice.

New York City

What: flash mob doing choreographed dance number to celebrate Medicare's 45th birthday. Dancers include Gloria Mattera, Green Party candidate for Lt. Governor; and Julia Willebrand, Green candidate for State Comptroller.

When: Friday, July 30th, 12:30pm, meet up at W.41st St and 6th Ave in midtown Manhattan (Bryant Park area)

Organizers include Healthcare-Now, The Granny Peace Brigade, The Private Health Insurance Must Go! Coalition, The Green Party , Physicians for a National Health Program, Mobilization for Health Care for All, Single Payer New York, The Church Ladies

Syracuse, NY

When: July 30th from 12 Noon – 1 PM Where: Hanley Federal Building (100 S. Clinton St. Syracuse, 13212) Action: Request Congressman Maffei sign a Pledge to protect our safety net entitlements-Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Speakers include Howie Hawkins, Green Party Gubernatorial candidate.

Anyone willing to help out or for information, contact Karen at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Additional information