By Margaret Flowers

The video of Jessi Bohon questioning Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) about the individual mandate in Obamacare at a Town Hall has gone viral. Of interest is that in this conservative Republican community, when Jessi said “why don’t we expand Medicaid and have everybody have insurance?” most of the people in the room applauded.

This week, Jessi Bohon, a french teacher from Cookeville, TN, had an opinion piece published in the Washington Post, “As a Christian I defended Obamacare. But I really support single payer.” She writes:

“But the truth is that I do not actually believe that the ACA is the best way to insure people. In fact, I am ashamed and afraid that this video might have done more harm than good. In my view, Christians shouldn’t be satisfied with health-care policy that leaves anyone out, especially those who need care most but can afford it least. Christians should support a universal, single-payer system.”

She goes on to describe her challenging upbringing in poverty. Her family worked hard but would not have been able to get by without government assistance. She doesn’t want to see that taken away.

She concludes with:

“In my view, it is immoral for health care to be a for-profit enterprise. Insurance companies are making enormous sums of money off the sick while people are struggling to pay their medical bills. Patients even die sooner when nonprofit hospitals switch to making money.

Switching to single-payer wouldn’t necessarily be easy: Perhaps the hardest part of the reorganization of our health-care system to single-payer would be asking physicians to make much less money than they do now. But the directive in Luke 12:48 states that “everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.” America is one of the richest countries in the world. We have been given more than enough, and we need to share it with our most vulnerable. With what is left of the minute of fame that I have been given, I feel compelled to ask for forgiveness for not using my belief system to advocate more clearly for what I think is the best thing to do.”

That National Improved Medicare for All (single payer) is the solution to our healthcare crisis is becoming increasingly obvious to people across the political spectrum. It is clear that private health insurers are profit-makers not financers of health care and that a health care system should have health, not profit, as its bottom line.

We can win National Improved Medicare for All if we speak out and tell this truth and if we educate ourselves, organize and mobilize to pressure lawmakers to support it.

In response to Jessi Bohon, Dr. Carol Paris, the current president of Physicians for a National Health Program, wrote:

Regarding Jessi Bohon’s Feb. 15 op-ed, “As a Christian, I defended Obamacare. But I really support single-payer”:

In his speech “Citizenship in a Republic,” Theodore Roosevelt reminds us that “it is not the critic who counts,” but the person who is “actually in the arena” who “strives valiantly” for a worthy cause, even though he or she may sometimes stumble.

Bohon’s willingness to self-critique her Tennessee town-hall comments, and to clarify and elaborate on her true position, inspires admiration.

I agree that “Christians should support a universal, single-payer system.”  So should Jews, Muslims, and those of other faiths or no established religion.

The single-payer plan Bohon calls for is essentially an improved version of Medicare for all. There’s a bill in Congress, H.R. 676, introduced by Rep. John Conyers Jr., that spells out how it would work. The bill has 59 cosponsors to date, including Tennessee’s Rep. Steve Cohen.

As a physician and president of Physicians for a National Health Program, I want Ms. Bohon to know that there are many physicians who put their patients’needs first.  The majority of physicians support a national health program and, in fact, would not suffer a reduction in income with such a plan.  What would be reduced is the burdensome hassle of dealing with multiple insurance companies.  This reduction in overhead expense actually translates into increased income, not to mention fewer headaches.

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