TODAY!!!! Urgent Action to Support Single Payer on Federal Legislation

This week the health care reform bill, HR 3926, will be brought to the floor of the US House of Representatives for debate (http://docs.house.gov/rules/health/111_ahcaa.pdf). The bill does not include the amendment by Rep. Kucinich that would have eased the way for states to implement single payer programs, nor does it appear that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will keep her promise to allow a floor vote on an amendment by Rep. Weiner, which would replace the current bill with HR 676, the single payer national health insurance program proposed by Rep. Conyers. The House Leaderships is seeking to avoid taking any amendments from the floor and is instead drafting a Manager’s Amendment. To influence the drafting of this amendment, which is expected to be finalized by the end of today, several organizations and activists have issued urgent action alerts (see below).

Parallel actions will soon be taken in the US Senate: Senator B. Sanders (I-VT) has stated his intention to introduce single payer amendments once the health care bill comes to the Senate floor – for his own national single payer bill, and for a provision in the final health care bill that would allow states to implement single payer systems. See the news coverage at the bottom of this message and consider sending an email to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid: http://reid.senate.gov/contact/index.cfm

For more background on how single payer proposals meet human right to health care standards, download this factsheet: http://www.nesri.org/SPHRA-Summary1Final.pdf

From: Healthcare-NOW! www.healthcare-now.org

Urgent Action Needed to Save Single-Payer!

The promised House debate on two single-payer amendments to the House healthcare bill that were promised a vote this fall are in jeopardy!
One amendment introduced by Rep. Dennis Kucinich http://www.healthcare-now.org/single-payer-state-option-threatened-in-ho... would allow states to implement single-payer systems on the state level. The other, introduced by Rep. Anthony Weiner http://www.healthcare-now.org/single-payer-gets-a-vote-in-house/, would have a vote on national single-payer legislation.

Contact Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and other House leaders TODAY and ask them to keep her promise to allow a floor debate and vote on single payer in the House and to keep the Kucinich Amendment in the House health reform bill.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: DC (202) 225.4965 - SF (415) 556.4862 http://speaker.house.gov/contact/
Rep. George Miller: DC (202) 225.2095 - Concord (925) 602.1880 http://georgemiller.house.gov/contactus/2007/08/post_1.html
Rep. Henry Waxman: DC (202) 225.3976 - LA (323) 651.1040 http://waxman.house.gov/Contact/

From: Democrats.com http://www.democrats.com/state-single-payer

Pelosi Must Let States Create Single Payer Plans

When Speaker Pelosi announced her "floor version" of the healthcare bill on Thursday, she made a critical mistake: she removed the "State Single Payer" amendment proposed by Rep. Dennis Kucinich.

The "Kucinich Amendment" passed the House Education & Labor Committee on July 17 by a rare bi-partisan 27-19 vote.

States should be free to create the best possible healthcare plans for their residents. If Congress gives States the right to "opt-in" or "opt-out" of a national "public option," it must also give States the right to "opt-in" to a State Single Payer plan.

Tell Congress the "Kucinich Amendment" must be included in a "Managers Amendment" to H.R. 3962 immediately. Pelosi will decide on Monday.
http://democrats.com/state-single-payer

The "public options" currently before the House and Senate are both grossly inadequate. Even with the stronger House plan, CBO predicts only 2% of Americans - 6 million people - will join by 2019.

This small program will not create real competition for private insurance monopolies and therefore will not reduce costs for individuals, businesses, or the government. Instead, costs will continue to skyrocket until no one can afford healthcare.

The only way to reduce skyrocketing costs is through a Single Payer plan. Activists in California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania want to enact State Single Payer plans, but cannot do so under current law.

The Kucinich amendment would grant a waiver of the application of ERISA to a State Single Payer Plan.

Tell Congress the "Kucinich Amendment" must be included in a "Managers Amendment" to H.R. 3962 immediately. Pelosi will decide on Monday.
http://democrats.com/state-single-payer

Sanders to push for single-payer

http://www.rutlandherald.com/article/20091029/NEWS04/910290362/1004/NEWS03

By DANIEL BARLOW VERMONT PRESS BUREAU, Oct 29, 2009
MONTPELIER — U.S. Sen. Bernard Sanders will likely make history this year when — for the first time ever — he brings a bill creating a national single-payer health care system to the floor of the Senate for a vote.
As a compromise on a public-option plan that would allow states to opt out gains steam in the U.S. Senate, Sanders, a Vermont independent, continues to focus his attention on a single-payer bill, although he acknowledges that there are not enough votes to pass it.
"That bill will lose," Sanders said Wednesday morning during a telephone interview. "The question, however, will be how much support it will get."
Introduced in the early spring, Sanders' American Health Security Act of 2009 would eliminate the role of private insurance companies in health care and create a public fund that would insure all residents of the United States.
Sanders said his bill would insure the 46 million Americans without coverage and could save upwards of $400 million annually by eliminating insurance overhead and medical bureaucracy.
The system would be paid for through existing sources of government health care spending along with some tax increases, which advocates say would be less than what people pay now in co-pays or out-of-pocket expenses.
Sanders' bill has received little attention in Washington political circles as this summer's health-care debate focused more on discredited fears of government death panels and the cost of a public health insurance option, which President Obama favors.
There has never been a vote on a single-payer health care system in either the U.S. Senate or the House, according to Mark Almberg, communications director for the organization Physicians for a National Health Program, a national advocacy organization that supports a single-payer system.
"We do believe that this could be the first time a single-payer bill gets a vote in Congress," said Almberg, whose organization supports Sanders' bill.
Almberg agreed that single-payer does not have the votes to pass the U.S. Congress. He said there are about 80 co-sponsors of a similar House bill, but would not hazard a guess as to how many votes for such a plan there are in the Senate.
Knowing that his single-payer bill is likely to fail, Sanders said he also plans to try including a provision in the final health-care bill that would allow states such as Vermont to experiment with a single-payer system on a state level.
If that legislation is approved, it would be welcomed by some lawmakers in Vermont. Sen. Doug Racine, D-Chittenden, a candidate for governor in 2010, said he plans to kick off hearings at the Statehouse in January on exactly what a single-payer system in the Green Mountain State would look like.
Racine said Vermont would need certain waivers from the federal government to conduct a single-payer health care system here – exactly the type of clearance that Sanders' proposed provision would allow.
"There are lots of different questions that need to be answered," Racine said. "I think we need to move past the question of whether or not a single-payer system would be good for Vermont and begin looking at how it would work."
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