by Congressman Dennis Kucinich
Washington, Nov 5, 2009
Following a statement on the Floor of the House of Representative, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), co-author of HR 676 with Congressman John Conyers (D-MI), today made the following statement about the House health care plan:
“The Book of Ecclesiastes says ‘To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven… a time to plant, a time to reap.’
“Many years ago, people in states across America planted the seeds of single payer health care. Those seeds have sprouted and borne fruit where powerful state citizens’ movements exist to create not-for-profit health care. This led to passage of an amendment to the Health Care bill which protected the rights of states to pursue single payer. Unfortunately that amendment was taken out of the bill, and we must try to get it into the conference report.
“While the state health care movement is strong, the national single payer movement is still growing. It has resulted in the Conyers Bill, HR676: Medicare for All. The bill has 87 cosponsors, a significant number, but no where near enough to bring the bill to the floor where it would face certain defeat.
“To those who want a stand-alone vote on single payer now, I want to ask this question:
“Is this a time to plant or a time to reap? What fruit will be borne from a tree that has received no light and no water in this Capitol?”
from an email from Dennis Kucinich and John Conyers:
We thank you for your continued devotion to the cause of health care for All Americans. We have worked together for many years to write, promote and campaign for HR676, a single payer, not for profit health care system. Your work, in communities across America, has been instrumental in helping at least ten states create single payer movements, with many more states to come.
Tomorrow, the House of Representatives is scheduled to consider a single payer bill. As the two principal co-authors of the Conyers single payer bill, we want to offer a strong note of caution about tomorrow’s vote.
The bill presented tomorrow will not be HR676. While we are happy to relinquish authorship of a single payer bill to any member who can do better, we do not want a weak bill brought forward in a hostile climate to unwittingly accomplish what would be interpreted as a defeat for single payer.
Here are the facts: There has been no debate in Congress over HR676. There has not been a single mark-up of the bill. Single payer was “taken off the table” for the entire year by the White House and by congressional leaders. There has been no reasonable period of time to gather support in the Congress for single payer. Many members accepted a “robust public option” as the alternative to single payer and now that has disappeared. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has scored the bill scheduled for a vote tomorrow in a manner which is at odds with many credible assumptions, meaning that it will appear to cost way too much even though we know that true single payer saves money since one of every three dollars in the health care system goes to administrative costs caused by the insurance companies. Is this really the climate in which we want a test vote?
While state single payer movements are already strong, the national single payer movement is still growing. Many progressives in Congress, ourselves included, feel that calling for a vote tomorrow for single payer would be tantamount to driving the movement over a cliff. The thrill of the vote would disappear quickly when the result would be characterized not as a new beginning for single payer but as an end. Such a result would be seen as proof that Congress need not pay attention to efforts to restore in Conference Committee the right of states to pursue single payer without fear of legal attacks by insurance companies.
We are always grateful for your support. We are now asking you to join us in suggesting to congressional leaders that this is not the right time to call the roll on a stand-alone single payer bill. That time will come. And when it does there will not be any doubt of the outcome. This system of health care injustice will not be able to endure forever. We are pledged to make sure of that.
Congressmen John Conyers and Dennis Kucinich
Thanks to Dr. Connie for sending this article to DS.
Health Care Reform 2009: No Bill is Better Than a Bad Bill
by John Geyman MD
Thursday, Nov 5, 2009
The new House bill for health care reform HR 3962, unveiled by Speaker Nancy Pelosi on October 29th, will not fundamentally reform U. S. health care. If you would believe the hype that accompanied its release, you might think that it would be as important as Medicare and Social Security. The New York Times concluded that “This bill will take a long stride toward universal coverage while remaining fiscally responsible.” Nobel laureate economist Paul Krugman added: “The political environment is as favorable for reform as it’s likely to get. The legislation on the table isn’t perfect, but it’s as good as anyone could reasonably have expected.”