Single-Payer Healthcare HR 676 Gets a Vote

health-changeCongressman Anthony Weiner (D., New York) has introduced an amendment in the House Energy and Commerce Committee that would replace the convoluted please-the-public-and-the-insurance-companies-at-the-same-time healthcare bill with the single-payer plan found in HR 676 and backed by 86 members of Congress. The vote has been delayed beyond Wednesday, support for the measure is growing, people are phoning in constantly, and a whip count is being kept online.

An amendment introduced by Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D, Ohio) was passed last week by the House Education and Labor Committee that will allow states to create single-payer systems if the federal government does not. So, if Weiner’s amendment fails, we could still achieve single-payer state by state, and eventually nationally, if we are able to persuade congressional leadership not to strip Kucinich’s amendment out behind the closed doors of a conference committee.

But it is entirely possible that Weiner’s amendment will pass, and even if it does not pass the support it musters will nonetheless serve to improve the bill and maintain a useful public option. Weiner is a supporter of the existing bill and the public option, but clearly sees a value in pushing for something better both as a bargaining position and as an attempt to achieve a solution that we can be more confident would really solve our healthcare crisis. Weiner’s column in the Politico today is worth reading in its entirety. After reading that, please come back here and watch this video of Weiner addressing the concerns of Republicans in the Energy and Commerce Committee.

While Weiner doesn’t say this, I will: Everybody now knows that Republicans will oppose any healthcare bill. Worsening a bill in order to win over a few of them provides not a single person with better healthcare. Republicans are not needed and have nothing to add. But of course to pass healthcare reform you do have to win over all of the Democrats. And are you more likely to do that with a bill that wastes public dollars on an inefficient for-profit system, or with a bill like HR 676 that guarantees significant savings? While HR 676 is an approach that forces congress members to go against the wishes of health insurance and drug companies, the mixed-bad approach allows legitimate criticism of wasting money, and the insurance and drug companies still hate it.

Whichever approach you favor, we’re going to be better off with a significant show of support for single-payer. With it, a useful public option becomes a compromise. Without it, the compromise to win over the worst Democrats has to begin with the current bill and move down from there. So keep the phones ringing.

Americans consistently tell pollsters that they want single-payer. And this is true in Blue Dog districts and Republican districts too. Single-payer is not a tough sell with the public, only with certain Congress members.

Other nations that have public health coverage (government spending on private or public healthcare) provide their people with better care. The U.S. system is ranked 37th by the World Health Organization. The United States is 24th in life expectancy and 29th in reducing infant mortality. Infants who do not survive the U.S. system do not get a chance to enjoy the free market and glory in the absence of socialism.

A single-payer system would cover everyone at all times with no exceptions, allow completely free choice of doctors, invest in preventive care, allow patients and doctors to make their own decisions free of insurance company restrictions, reduce the 30 percent waste in the current system to the 3 percent overhead in Medicare, and create a net gain of 2.6 million jobs, $317 billion in business revenue, and $100 billion in wages. Single-payer is a real economic stimulus, something Washington has been looking for in all the wrong places. Imagine being able to make that argument. We can if we pass Congressman Weiner’s amendment.

David Swanson

Republished with permission from AfterDowningStreet.

For more information on this legislation go to OpenCongress.org

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Comments

  1. jacksmith says

    LEAD, FOLLOW, OR GET OUT OF THE WAY. (Thomas Paine)

    We have the 37th worst quality of healthcare in the developed world. Conservative estimates are that over 120,000 of you dies each year in America from treatable illness that people in other developed countries don’t die from. Rich, middle class, and poor a like. Insured and uninsured. Men, women, children, and babies. This is what being 37th in quality of healthcare means.

    I know that many of you are angry and frustrated that REPUBLICANS! In congress are dragging their feet and trying to block TRUE healthcare reform. What republicans want is just a taxpayer bailout of the DISGRACEFUL GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT health insurance industry, and the DISGRACEFUL GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT healthcare industry. An insurance bailout is all you really get without a robust government-run public option available on day one.

    These industries have been slaughtering you and your loved ones like cattle for decades for profit. Including members of congress and their families. These REPUBLICANS are FOOLS!

    Republicans and their traitorous allies have been trying to make it look like it’s President Obama’s fault for the delays, and foot dragging. But I think you all know better than that. President Obama inherited one of the worst government catastrophes in American history from these REPUBLICANS! And President Obama has done a brilliant job of turning things around, and working his heart out for all of us.

    But Republicans think you are just a bunch of stupid, idiot, cash cows with short memories. Just like they did under the Bush administration when they helped Bush and Cheney rape America and the rest of the World.

    But you don’t have to put up with that. And this is what you can do. The Republicans below will be up for reelection on November 2, 2010. Just a little over 13 months from now. And many of you will be able to vote early. So pick some names and tell their voters that their representatives (by name) are obstructing TRUE healthcare reform. And are sellouts to the insurance and medical lobbyist.

    Ask them to contact their representatives and tell them that they are going to work to throw them out of office on November 2, 2010, if not before by impeachment, or recall elections. Doing this will give you something more to do to make things better in America. And it will help you feel better too.

    There are many resources on the internet that can help you find people to call and contact. For example, many social networking sites can be searched by state, city, or University. Be inventive and creative. I can think of many ways to do this. But be nice. These are your neighbors. And most will want to help.

    I know there are a few democrats that have been trying to obstruct TRUE healthcare reform too. But the main problem is the Bush Republicans. Removing them is the best thing tactically to do. On the other hand. If you can easily replace a democrat obstructionist with a supportive democrat, DO IT!

    You have been AMAZING!!! my people. Don’t loose heart. You knew it wasn’t going to be easy saving the World. :-)

    God Bless You

    jacksmith — Working Class

    Republican Senators up for re-election in 2010.

    * Richard Shelby of Alabama
    * Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
    * John McCain of Arizona
    * Mel Martinez of Florida
    * Johnny Isakson of Georgia
    * Mike Crapo of Idaho
    * Chuck Grassley of Iowa
    * Sam Brownback of Kansas
    * Jim Bunning of Kentucky
    * David Vitter of Louisiana
    * Kit Bond of Missouri
    * Judd Gregg of New Hampshire
    * Richard Burr of North Carolina
    * George Voinovich of Ohio
    * Tom Coburn of Oklahoma
    * Jim DeMint of South Carolina
    * John Thune of South Dakota
    * Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas
    * Bob Bennett of Utah

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