Quentin Young (born 1923) is Chicago-based physician who is recognized for his efforts in advocating for single-payer health care in the United States. An activist who opposed the Vietnam War and worked on the Civil Rights movement, Young is best known for speaking out about social justice in the realm of health policy.
Education and career
He was a founder and served as National Chairman of the Medical Committee for Human Rights, which was formed in June 1964 to provide medical care for civil rights workers, community activists, and summer volunteers working in Mississippi during Freedom Summer. Quentin Young and MCHR also volunteered and helped set up Black Panthers and Young Lords health clinics and provided emergency medical care to protesters at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. In October 1968 he was called to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee about his knowledge of the DNC protests.
Young was Chairman of Medicine at Cook County Hospital in Chicago from 1972 to 1981.
Young founded Health and Medicine Policy Research Group in 1980, and is currently Chairman of the Board of that organization.
Young was President of American Public Health Association in 1988.
In April 2008, Young retired from his private practice in Hyde Park, Chicago, which he co-ran with fellow activist David Scheiner. He is currently the national coordinator for Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP).
April 17. 2009, Appointed by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn to Chair the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board. From 1967-2008 he was senior physician of Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center.
Positions of note
- Clinical Professor of Preventive Medicine and Community Health, University of Illinois Medical Center
- Senior Attending Physician, Michael Reese Hospital
- Member, American Medical Association (since 1952))
- National Coordinator, Physicians for a National Health Program
- Chairman, American College of Physicians' Subcommittee on Human Rights and Medical Practice
- Member, Humana-Michael Reese Medical Board
- Member, American College of Physicians Health and Public Policy Committee
- Personal physician to Martin Luther King Jr. during his stay in Chicago, and also to Chicago Mayor Harold Washington, author Studs Terkel, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and personal physician to Chemist, the late Samuel Shore. President Barack Obama was the patient of Dr. Young's practice partner, Dr. David Scheiner, for twenty years before becoming president.
The public's physician
Young appears regularly at public health events and is considered the de facto authority on public health in Chicago. He is a frequent guest on Chicago Public Radio, especially the weekday news magazine program Eight Forty-Eight.
Political patronage scandal
In November, 2012 at age of 89, Young was the last-minute appointment of his long-time political associate then Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn, for the sole purpose of voting to install an aide of the governor to the directorship of the state sports authority. The governor's candidate, a former television reporter, won the position with Young's support in a contentious vote of the authority's board despite her demonstrated history of financial mismanagement including filing for personal bankruptcy due to excessive credit card expenditures to luxury retailers such as Bloomingdales. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his appointees had sought to appoint the former CFO of Sara Lee Corp, a Yale graduate and criticized the move to install an individual whose incompetence could subject Illinois' taxpayers to significant financial liability
Efforts for single-payer healthcare
According to Young, "national health insurance is no longer the best solution, it's the only solution: All other alternatives have been proven disastrous failures."
Young has worked with Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) since 1987, a Chicago-based not-for-profit organization. He is the current National Coordinator for PNHP.
Activism during the Bush administration
NSA domestic surveillance
In May 2006, Young signed on as a plaintiff in a suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) against AT&T, alleging that the telecommunications company provided its customers' phone records to the United States government without a court-issued warrant. Young joined historian and author Studs Terkel who was also a plaintiff in the case. This suit was part of the NSA warrantless surveillance controversy, during which it was reported that the National Security Agency was maintaining a database of phone calls placed domestically in the United States.
Medical savings accounts
Young is an outspoken opponent of medical savings account (MSAs), a public health policy promoted by President George W. Bush. Young calls them a "scam on American patients and taxpayers," and "based on the incorrect assumption that Americans are addicts for health care and that if there isn’t a dollar barrier, they’ll overconsume. In fact, Americans get fewer doctors’ visits than people in countries with universal health care."
- Lewis 1994
- DailyKos, December 15, 2008
-  Chicago '68: A Chronology
- USA Today 2005
- Physician's Weekly 2006
- "ACLU sues AT&T over phone records". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2006-05-22.[dead link]
- "Biography on NPR's Fresh Air". Fresh Air.
- "Are MSAs (Medical Savings Accounts) the wave of the future?". Physician's Weekly.
- "Daily Kos, Meet Dr. Quentin Young w/VIDEO". Daily Kos. Retrieved December 15, 2008.
- "UPDATE!-86 Year Old Man Pwans Max Baucus". Daily Kos. Retrieved September 29, 2009.
- Appleby, Julie; Wolf, Richard (September 1, 2005). "Few solutions on the horizon as health costs rise". USA Today. Retrieved May 22, 2010.