Here’s A Simple Question To Ask Your Congress Critter:
Why don’t ALL citizens have health care at least as good as that enjoyed by you members of congress and your families on our tax money?
Really, next time you get a chance — be it a democrat or republican — ask them that question and let us know what they tell you.
Rep. Ron Kind studiously avoiding the issue of Medicare4All and HR 676 at the 2018 Third Congressional District Convention, despite the signs and bright red “Medicare 4 All” buttons dotting the convention all. He said not a syllable about the growing bipartisan call of citizens for Medicare 4 All.
Single Payer Gold Standard HR 676 Rest in Peace
By Russell Mokhiber
Single Payer Action (1/22/19)
HR 676, the gold standard single payer legislation for the past sixteen years, is no longer.
The House Democrats have decided that their single payer Medicare for All bill will not carry the HR 676 number.
They let that number go this week to a bill that reiterates “the support of the Congress of the United States for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).”
Some in the single payer movement see the abandonment of HR 676 as a betrayal of years of grassroots activism, activism that drew 124 co-sponsors to HR 676 in the House last year.
Now, with Democrats in charge of the House, the Medicare for All single payer bill is being rewritten, watered down and renumbered.
“For the past 16 years, HR 676 was our gold standard bill defining a national improved Medicare for All single payer healthcare system for the United States,” said Margaret Flowers of Health Over Profit for Everyone. “It was based on the 2003 Physicians Working Group proposal by Physicians for a National Health Program.”
“Now that the Democrats can no longer ignore that their base is demanding a single payer health system, we have lost both HR 676 by number and its status as the gold standard. From what we have heard, as we have still not seen the text of the draft as promised, the new health bill being written by Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington) has an unnecessarily long transition period and maintains the for-profit providers in the system. The delayed transition means more preventable deaths and suffering. Keeping the for-profits means higher costs and lower quality of care.”
Jayapal’s bill is being written behind closed doors.
Last month, single payer advocates called on Jayapal to share the draft text of HR 676 with the single payer movement for review and input. She has refused.
Kay Tillow of Unions for Single Payer says that “unless the movement acts quickly to assure HR 676’s ban on for-profit institutions is maintained, Jayapal’s new bill will remove this vital section of HR 676.”
“It’s a compromise that there is no need to make,” Tillow wrote recently. “We are getting hearings in this Congress. Why should we take the impact of the for-profits out of the discussion before the debate starts? We gain nothing. The ban on for-profits has been in HR 676 since the beginning. It did not stop 124 congresspersons from signing on to it. It did not stop unions, organizations, cities, counties, and many others from endorsing it. It was one of the popular provisions that all of those who have dealt with these for-profit hustlers welcomed.”
Kevin Zeese of Popular Resistance didn’t miss the irony of losing HR 676 to NATO on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. It was King who said – “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.”
“Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-California) the son of former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, took HR 676 and turned it into a bill to support NATO,” Zeese said. “NATO is no longer a defensive force against the non-existent Soviet Union but has become a military aggressor working with the US in illegal wars among them Afghanistan, Syria, and Libya. It has not only expanded to cover most of Russia’s border with bases, missiles, and troops but has spread to Colombia which borders Venezuela, another nation the US is threatening with war.”
“To top it off, on April 4, the anniversary of the murder of Dr. King, NATO will be holding a 70th-anniversary meeting in Washington, DC. This is also the anniversary of King’s Beyond Vietnam speech. In that speech, King warned that ‘A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.’”
“Congressman Panetta’s replacement of healthcare for all with military aggressiveness exemplifies that spiritual death.”
Letter To Congresswoman Jayapal – Protect Everyone’s Health
Health Over Profit
HR 676 – The Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act – has been the gold standard for the single payer movement for the past 16 years. It was based on the Physicians Working Group Proposal of 2003 and would have created a healthcare system that was universal, public and comprehensive.
HR 676 is gone.
In its place, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal is drafting new legislation under the National Improved Medicare for All banner.
The text has not been released, but from those who have seen it and who have met with Jayapal’s staff, we have learned that there are at least a few serious flaws in the new bill.
Single payer supporters are being asked to organize events to celebrate the introduction of the new bill in February, but we must push to make the new bill stronger before we can celebrate.
We are urging Congresswoman Jayapal to protect the health of everyone by:
- Prohibiting for-profit providers and buying their facilities.
- Putting everyone into the new system at once.
- Permitting the participation of all people in the United States.
Add your voice now by signing on to this letter urging her to strengthen the bill before it is finalized.
Key House Democrat Wimps Out Of Holding Promised Medicare For All Hearings
By Libby Watson
Splinter News (1/17/19)
Earlier this month, Nancy Pelosi signaled her support for House Democrats holding hearings on Medicare for All in the Rules and Budget committees. But those aren’t the major committees that would consider Medicare for All. So it was significant news when the Hill reported yesterday that Rep. Anna Eshoo, chair of the much more relevant Energy & Commerce Health Subcommittee, said she intended to hold hearings on Medicare for All, saying she thought “it would be interesting to have the authors of these bills come to testify and explain what their bill does and have the members ask them questions.”
But today, Politico Pulse reports that Eshoo walked those statements back last night (emphasis theirs):
“ANNA ESHOO walks back vow on Medicare-for-all hearing. The Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee chair told reporters Wednesday afternoon she’d hold a hearing on Democrats’ Medicare for All proposals — a seeming break with Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) that would mark a significant victory for the party’s progressive wing.
“But by Wednesday evening, the California Democrat was having second thoughts, telling POLITICO’s Adam Cancryn that her subcommittee needed to prioritize shoring up Obamacare and crafting sweeping drug price reforms.
“Only after the committee gets done with those issues, Eshoo said, will she see if there’s any “spare time” to tackle Medicare for All — an outcome that she suggested was unlikely.”
No spare time? In an entire two-year Congress, not even a few hours to talk about Medicare for All?
What seems a more likely explanation than “we literally do not have four hours to spare to discuss Medicare for All in the next two years” are things like “we do not want to talk about it,” “we are afraid of it” or “it would be embarrassing for the Democrats who do not support Medicare for All.” But the “sorry, Jimmy, your dad just doesn’t have time to play baseball today” excuse really doesn’t cut it. (We’ve reached out to Eshoo’s office for comment and will update this post if we hear back.)
Democratic leadership is going to have to learn pretty fast that this sort of thing won’t work anymore. A majority of Democratic candidates supported Medicare for All last election, and a majority of Americans (and even Republicans!) support the policy; it’s too late to pull this kind of bullshit now. People are going to notice.
- Democrats Rewriting Med4All Bill In Secret. Link to 13-Minute Video
(Commoner Call cartoon and photos by Mark L.Taylor, 2018/2019. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )