Archive for September, 2009|Monthly archive page

iSinglePayer iPhone App Censored by Apple

In Uncategorized on September 26, 2009 at 9:15 pm

Update II: App approved (see below or the new post). Click here to download the app for free

Update: Spread the word on Apple’s censorship!

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PALO ALTO, CA –Apple, Inc. has censored  an iPhone application promoting health insurance reform in the United States.

iSinglePayer, an iPhone application that advocates for single-payer health care reform was rejected from the App Store by Apple because it is “politically charged.”  The application displays charts and bullet points about single-payer health care systems, and it allows users to call members of congress.  iSinglePayer even calculates your local congressperson using GPS, and displays the amount of money donated to each congressperson from the health sector.

Rejection From the App Store

The application was submitted on August 21 and rejected on September 26, more than five weeks after it was submitted.  Most applications take 10-14 days to approve.  The rejection was made over the phone by a representative from Apple.  The representative explained that the application was “politically charged” and was rejected for this reason.

Apple rejected the iSinglePayer application because it is "politically charged"

Apple rejected the iSinglePayer application because it is "politically charged"

Apple informed Floatopian (which is pretty much just me) that iSinglePayer was rejected in part because it was the product of a lone developer.  There are applications developed for particular political candidates, like the official Obama application, but since those have the official support of a politician they are acceptable.   When a single developer wants to voice his opinions, Apple censors it.  Unless, of course, you can pawn your propaganda app off as news…

Apple allows certain propaganda on the App Store.auspices

Apple allows certain propaganda on the App Store.

Single-Payer Health Care

The United States currently spends more than twice what other industrialized countries spend on health care per capita. In 2007, the United States spent $7290 per person on health care while the United Kingdom spent $2992 (41% of the U.S. expenditure) according to the OECD.  Despite the high cost, the U.S. health system performs poorly in comparison and does not insure everybody.

Many other developed nations insure every citizen with single-payer health insurance, while the United States has over 45 million uninsured and tens of millions underinsured.

62% of all 1.5 million bankruptcies in 2009 will be medical bankruptcies, and 75% of those will occur despite medical insurance[1]. Some of those with insurance were too sick to continue to work, and thus lost insurance. High co-pays and deductibles bankrupted other patients. None of these problems affect single-payer systems where insurance is provided by taxes even in the case of job loss.

Despite widespread support among physicians, nurses, economists, public health officials, and public opinion polls, single-payer health insurance reform has not been a major part of the health care debate. Senator Max Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, excluded single-payer advocates from a round-table discussion among dozens of health experts, including many industry representatives.

The rejection of iSinglePayer from the App Store is but the latest blow to supporters of single-payer health reform.


Contact Red from Floatopian at floatopian@floatopia.org.

I don’t know who to contact at Apple.  We got a call from a nice guy named Richard who seems to work in developer relations–try (408) – 862 – 9516.  A more general apple number is (408) – 996 – 1010.  You can also try the media help line at (408) 974-2042

Update: Help Get Us a Sponsor

If you are part of a large health reform advocacy group, we would love to partner with you to see if that will get the app published.  Even better would be a member of congress, which would really put Apple on the hot seat.  We just want to publish this thing before it is irrelevant!

Also, we forgot to mention that the app was free to download and has no ads.

Update II: iSinglePayer available in the App Store

Thanks everyone for raising this issue publicly.  Over the weekend Apple approved iSinglePayer and it is now available for download in the Healthcare and Fitness section of the App Store.  I am glad that the app got through, and I hope that Apple will not be rejecting any more applications because they are politically charged.  Thanks again, all!

Click here to download the app for free

In the five weeks since we first submitted we improved the app to not use the network at all.  A new, faster version will be coming out soon.

Update III: Apple strikes criticism from the app description

Apple called me again this and told me to alter the description text in the app store.  They said to remove anything that mentions the approval process.  Thus, you will no longer see the following in the app description:

*** Apple lets iSinglePayer on the App Store after a wave of bad press! ***

Apple originally rejected iSinglePayer because it was “politically charged.”  Five days of bad press later, iSinglePayer has hit the App Store.  Thanks to singlepayercentral.com for helping get the app approved, and Wired, Engadget, DailyKos, and many others for reporting the story.  Now this little iPhone app can make it into your back pocket.

Not a big deal, but yes, we live in a corporate democracy now.