"When we see huge amounts of money taken out of the health care system and wasted on excessive salaries, on unnecessary care and particularly on the administrative and overhead costs of medicine, it actually means that we're not going to be able to meet our number one moral priority which is to provide health care for everyone."
--Stephanie Woolhandler, M.D.
"We're in a new age of robber barons and the robber barons of this era include people who are making ridiculous amounts of money for medical care."
--David Himmelstein, M.D.
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Even with its dazzling technical advances and sophisticated medicines, health care increasingly frustrates Americans. Patients must contend with a system that won't pay for some treatments, long waiting lists, rushed visits with doctors, copious paperwork and -- of course -- the ever-soaring cost of medical coverage and medications. Many doctors and nurses feel trapped in a structure they say sometimes prevents them from providing adequate care to their patients. One couple, both researchers at Harvard Medical School and both internists practicing at Cambridge Hospital in Massachusetts, are leaders in the movement among medical professionals to reform health care in America.
Dr. Steffi Woolhandler and Dr. David Himmelstein lead a campaign by doctors to reform health care which they see as needlessly expensive and corrupt. Together they founded Physicians for a National Health Program in 1987 which aims for a system where everyone is covered. They decry the soaring costs of health care -- and how that hurts poor people who are uninsured -- and many in the middle class who are under-insured. The doctors pull no punches in describing what they see as enormous waste in health care expenditures.
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