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Call Committee for Single-Payer Amendment Now!

By David Swanson


1. Vote on Weiner amendment expected this week, so keep calling.

2. While Kucinich amendment passed, "leadership" could strip it out, including Miller who voted against it and Waxman and Pelosi, all three from California whose legislature has already passed single-payer twice. So call these five and get their commitment to leave the state single-payer language in the bill:
Nancy Pelosi (202) 225-4965
Steny Hoyer (202) 225-4131
Henry Waxman (202) 225-3976
George Miller (202) 225-2095
Charles Rangel (202) 225-4365

3. Senator Bernie Sanders' stand-alone bill to facilitate state single-payer healthcare (S. 703) may get a vote this week in the full Senate. Senator Kennedy's aide who authored the Massachusetts health plan predicts fewer than 10 yes votes. We think many more than that is easily doable, if you phone your senators now. Current whip list of those leaning Yes: Sanders, Merkley, Harkin, Brown, Kennedy, Kerry, Feingold, Franken.

4. Now more than ever: Be in DC on July 30th.

5. The Black Agenda Report documents what the bill has been reduced to, in the absence of national or state single-payer.

6. Congressional Progressive Caucus sends new letter to president: PDF.

Congressman Anthony Weiner (D., N.Y.) 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.

Please help make a few phone calls now!

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-bag 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.

cpcletternew.pdf79.74 KB

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All the talk on the campaign trail before the election was about health care for all Americans just like members of Congress have. This was one of Obama's favorite talking points and all the democratic candidates running for office seemed to support this view and were promising with Obama to fulfill this promise after they were in office. Six months later after taking office, this democratic majority can't wait to take their August break without providing health care for all Americans. They don't even talk about providing health insurance just like they have. The democratic majority is prepared to come back after their long August break and announce that there is no money for health care this year, but send them a war supplemental and they will act on that immediately, even borrow the money and work overtime to get that done. Next year 2010 these democrats will hem and haw their way to the mid terms without approving universal health care and then promise all over again to pass health care for all Americans just like they have if only they can maintain their majority and even add to it. The leadership that the American people were looking for from a democratic majority proved to be just empty promises.

Is it the WHYner or WEEner pronunciation? (This is a serious question for telephone calling.)

I'm told by a knowledgable New Yorker that it's like "Oscar Mayer" - so it's WEEner...:)

I say WHY-ner , to avoid nervous giggling on the phone ;-D

ARREST BUSHCO & RICO PNAC/FARA AIPAC...PNAC is Bush/Cheney's "Helter Skelter" !

Ohhhh, I wish every politician was Congressman Anthony Weiner,
That is who I'd truly love them all to be-ee-eee.
'Cause if every politician was Congressman Anthony Wei-ner,
Single Payer would stop every insurance fee!

PS Tune to "Oscar Mayer Wiener Song" circa 1965

and some mustard

Is what was close to shouted at me when I called and started in on my praises for single payer. This woman had enough I guess and wasn't into listening. Was, probably falsely, heartened to think that Rep would take my opinion to account, but who knows.
Called them all and have no news to report.

So, his assistant was a bit testy, eh? Well, I'm sorry she was rude, but it could mean that there's an overwhelming surge of support for the single-payer "off the table" health care reform option.

Maybe after reading this article, More of the Same Is Not Health Care Reform, It's a Placebo, you'll be inspired to ring her up again. :)

And Obama asked us to make him do it, so you could let him know how the "public option" isn't reform, it's a placebo.

You could mention it to Michelle, too, at the same link since she's quite interested in health care reform.

I have been hearing about US taxpayers getting the same coverage as Congress for years. They are too corrupt, they no longer serve the people. They work for their corporate masters, the same people who are destroying the middle class.

Medical insurance, single payer?
Forget it.
I will never vote again, it is a total mockery.

Marilyn Gjerdrum

I have an idea how we might win this battle.

What if people who want single-payer started dropping their insurance? The trouble of course is that if just a few people do this on their own they'll be without insurance, and they won't be enough people to pressure the politicians. So what we'd have to do is use the internet to coordinate this. We'd all have to sign up on some website to take a pledge that we'll drop our insurance, but ONLY if enough people take that pledge that it would force the politicians to act, however many people that would take (1 million? 10 million?). Then, each person wouldn't be taking a risk. The Democrats would pass a bill in 1 week giving us single-payer, just like they managed to act so quickly when they bailed out the banks. I recently signed the petition for single-payer on, and almost 70,000 people had already signed it. That's surely not enough to bring the insurance companies to their knees, but probably far more people would sign that pledge than sign yet another petition that the Democrats ignore, because it would involve actually taking some action that would hit them where it hurts. Some popular website that could get enough people to sign that pledge (such as, which says it has 600,000 subscribers) should create such a list, and all other websites that support single-payer could direct people to it. I bet the politicians would act quickly if they saw the number of pledges approaching the cutoff.

There's that saying that "there's strength in numbers", but when fighting the ruling oligarchy it's the reverse, because those few thousand people can much more easily coordinate their actions than the other 300 million of us Americans. But why couldn't we use the internet to coordinate our actions? This coordinating role is the way the internet could REALLY influence politics.

Roy Fischler

"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free" - Goethe

this would pressure the politicians, even if 70,000 people dropped their private health insurance. They'd just laugh at us for cutting our noses to spite our faces.

I didn't say 70,000, I said far higher, maybe a million or 10 million. 70,000 is the number who have signed that online petition so far.

I for one will urge Bob to try anything you say.

Until then, daydreaming sure is fun.

It wouldn't hurt to TRY, for some group to create such a list. (It wouldn't have to be, could be some bigger group such as that could get more people to sign, except I don't trust that they're really on our side so would ever do such a thing). Saying that you wouldn't do it unless you could get a million people to sign up is putting the cart before the horse. First you try it, and see what happens. If not enough people sign, all you've lost is whatever cost it takes to put a list on a website. As I said in my original post, this wouldn't be yet another petition that the Democrats would just ignore, it would involve taking some concrete action (if enough people pledge to), boycotting the insurance companies, so might get more participation than petitions do.

They could care less. 95% of the people with insurance are healthy, only 5% are sick. I cannot get insurance due to pre-existing conditions at any price. Insurance companies are the biggest lenders in the world, they finance major banks. They could care less about the people or their health. They are killing us by trading their coverage on the NASDAQ....bottom line profits for their shareholders and executives. 100 million people could drop their insurance, but at some point, all of them will need some kind of care, and the hospitals will stick it to them. I know a man who has to come up with $60K to be admitted to a hospital for an operation to prevent permanant, total paralysis. This money does not include the surgeon,or medical support system, this is just to be admitted. He doesn't have health insurance. He has plenty of money, but a pre-existing condition prevents his getting coverage. The insurance company would pay about $15K for the same service because they are so big and rich, they can negotiate fees with the hospital.
The congress works for the pharma and insurance companies. They all need to go. They are corrupt to the core.
No, we won't get viable health insurance, I have seen this dance before. I will never vote again, either. If Americans had any say over who their leaders would be, Dennis Kucinich would be president, not Obama. Obama is just another professional politician.
Sorry, it is very frustrating, I know.

Marilyn Gjerdrum

Insurance companies are in business to make money. They can't do that with no customers. They would care about a boycott just like any business would.

I just called the Cong's office and was told it's due to come up soon! When?!, I asked. Just a minute, I was told. "THERE IS NO COMMITTEE MEETING SCHEDULED, SIR..." the polite staffer admitted.

There is no rational response to all of this. Go see the new film IN THE LOOP and understand what we are up against. Until We start talking to our elected pups like the British PM's Media Coordinator talks to everyone he encounters, we will be screwed by the people who bring us wars, disease, crime, and poverty.

We are being served by idiots, self-dealers, fixers, and bootlickers. And we are polite to them... We get what we deserve.

202-225-3976 Call Waxman.

202-225-6616 Call Weiner.

Weiner says Waxman might hold up his amendment.

Waxman says Weiner hasn't submitted his amendment.

The base of this once-proud party is scrambling for the scraps on the floor left by industry pols, Pelosi, Blue Dogs and other unsavory types who. Maybe the most unsavory are those who run on high moral principles but when they finally have the opportunity to show their courage collectively, they silence themselves in favor of accumumlating more power. To what end, we ask?!

Face it, Waxman and Weiner (or at least one of them) are taking the Left for a merry ride.

Show time begins at 4pm, EDT on C-SPAN3. Better turn down your crap detector before tuning in to avoid any damage...

It's almost 8pm:

Four o'clock Eastern today came and went and C-SPAN3 continues to televise reruns from earlier in the day. Sorry for posting a rumor from Waxman's office that indeed the Energy and Commerce Committee would be IN SESSION to mark up (or down) the vaunted HR3200. Well, it didn't happen.

So, as the cop says at the scene of an accident, "Move on, folks. There's nothing to see here..."

PS: Sen Russ Feingold put out an audio release today, saying that HCR is not going to happen any time soon, if at all. He said he is "for a public option." CYA time, everyone.

I can't watch this stuff, so let us know if you find out who is telling a big one.

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