Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Good News for Single-Payer Health Care: Votes expected in both House and Senate this fall!

Much work has gone into lobbying Congress to take up single-payer health care legislation and leave behind the compromise plans that will result in too many Americans still being uninsured or underinsured. The work has paid off, and we hear that votes are coming in both the House and Senate on single-payer amendments!

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has agreed to allow debate and a vote on two amendments to health care legislation brought to the floor. Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY) will offer an amendment to replace proposed legislation with language from HR 676, and Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) will offer an amendment to allow states to implement state-run single payer plans, should they so choose. HR 676, as many of you know, is the Medicare For All single payer bill from Congressman John Conyers.

In the Senate, Senator Sanders has agreed to offer his state-based single-payer bill, S. 703, as an amendment to replace compromise legislation. S. 703 is similar to the language that Congressman Kucinich will offer in the House.

It is unlikely any of these amendments will pass, but it is a big step to have votes on the record regarding single-payer health care. Many Members of Congress that we meet with say something similar to what we hear from President Obama – Single-payer is of course the best, most cost-effective choice to provide affordable, high-quality coverage to all Americans, but it’s not politically feasible at this time. The time to ante up has come for those members, and we will see who really stands for single-payer when the votes are called.

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