by Dennis Kucinich
Wednesday, 15 July 2009
In mid-May, in an effort to reach consensus, President Obama secured a deal with the health insurance companies to trim 1.5% of their costs each year for ten years saving a total of $2 trillion dollars, which would be reprogrammed into healthcare. Just two days after the announcement at the White House the insurance companies reneged on the deal which was designed to protect and increase their revenue at least 35% The insurance companies reneged on the deal because they refuse any restraint on increasing premiums, copays and deductibles – core to their profits. No wonder a recent USA Today poll found that only four percent of Americans trust insurance companies. This is within the margin of error, which means it is possible that NO ONE TRUSTS insurance companies.
Then why does Congress trust the insurance companies? Yesterday HR 3200 “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act,” a 1000 page bill was delivered to members. The title of the bill raises a question: “Affordable” for whom?.
Of $2.4 trillion spent annually for health care in America, fully $800 billion goes for the activities of the for-profit insurer-based system. This means one of every three health care dollars is siphoned off for corporate profits, stock options, executive salaries, advertising, marketing and the cost of paper work, (which can be anywhere between 15 – 35% in the private sector as compared to Medicare, the single payer plan which has only 3% administrative costs).
50 million Americans are uninsured and another 50 million are under insured while for-profit insurance companies divert precious health care dollars to non-health care purposes. Eliminate the for-profit health care system and its extraordinary overhead, put the money into healthcare and everyone will be covered, everyone will be able to afford health care.
Today three committees will begin marking up and amending HR3200. In this, one of the most momentous public policy debates in the past 70 years, single payer, the only viable “public option,” the one that makes sound business sense, controls costs and covers everyone was taken off the table.
In contrast to HR3200 … HR676 calls for a universal single-payer health care system in the United States, Medicare for All. It has over 85 co-sponsors in Congress with the support of millions of Americans and countless physicians and nurses. How does HR-676 control costs and cover everyone? It cuts out the for-profit middle men and delivers care directly to consumers and Medicare acts as the single payer of bills. It also recognizes that under the current system for-profit insurance companies make money NOT providing health care.
This week is the time to break the hold which the insurance companies have on our political process. Tell Congress to stand up to the insurance companies. Ask members to sign on to the only real public option, HR 676, a single-payer healthcare system.
Hundreds of local labor unions, thousands of physicians and millions of Americans are standing behind us. With a draft of HR3200 now circulating, It is up to each and every one of us to organize and rally for the cause of single-payer healthcare. Change the debate. Now is the time.
The time to act is now!
PS – Over the next several months, I will be engaging all of you with frequent updates and will ask you to continue a movement to fight for what needs to be done now; ending this war in Iraq and stopping the escalation in Afghanistan, attaining true single-payer healthcare for all Americans, standing up for my brothers and sisters of organized labor.
After you have contacted your member of Congress, please tell us your thoughts and ideas on how you are organizing your friends and neighbors towards a single-payer movement and all of the other issues that are important to us.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Urgent: Support Kucinich State Single-Payer Amendment
via kucinich.us – URGENT!
Friday, 17 July 2009
It is 6.30 am on Friday and we have just finished a 20 hour marathon committee markup of the health care bill, HR3200, during which I offered the amendment to enable states to pursue single payer health care plans. A recorded vote on my amendment will occur in the Labor and Education committee sometime between 9:15 am and 10:00 am EST. Your help is needed urgently. Please call committee members now and ask for their vote for the Kucinich Amendment.
Here are the phone numbers. More info at AfterDowningStreet.org
George Miller (CA-7) 202-225-2095
Dale Kildee (MI-5) 202-225-3611
Donald Payne (NJ-10) 202-225-3436
Robert Andrews (NJ-1) 202-225-6501
Bobby Scott (VA-3) 202-225-8351
Lynn Woolsey (CA-6) 202-225-5161
Ruben Hinojosa (TX-15) 202-225-2531
Carolyn McCarthy (NY-4) 202-225-5516
John Tierney (MA-6) 202-225-8020
David Wu (OR-1) 202-225-0855
Rush Holt (NJ-12) 202-225-5801
Susan Davis (CA-53) 202-225-2040
Raul Grijalva (AZ-7) 202-225-2435
Tim Bishop (NY-1) 202-225-3826
Joe Sestak (PA-7) 202-225-2011
David Loebsack (IA-2) 202-225-6576
Mazie Hirono (HI-2) 202-225-4906
Jason Altmire (PA-4) 202-225-2565
Phil Hare (IL-17) 202-225-5905
Yvette Clarke (NY-11) 202-225-6231
Joe Courtney (CT-2) 202-225-2076
Carol Shea-Porter (NH-1) 202-225-5456
Marcia Fudge (OH-11) 202-225-7032
Jared Polis (CO-2) 202-225-2161
Paul Tonko (NY-21) 202-225-5076
Dina Titus (NV-3) 202-225-3252
US health care legislation to leave millions uninsured, ration care
By Kate Randall
17 July 2009
US Congress continued to debate reform of the health care system this week. In a 13-10 vote on Wednesday, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee approved a $615 billion Democratic-sponsored bill, with no Republicans supporting the measure.
The Senate health committee was the first of five committees in Congress considering health care to pass a version of the legislation. Votes were planned Thursday in two House committees—Education and Labor, and Ways and Means—on $1.5 trillion draft legislation presented by House Democrats earlier this week.