the Democratic Party has achieved two of its primary goals for healthcare
reform (I mean in addition to renaming this charade health INSURANCE
reform). First, they've managed to get one Republican to vote
for one of their bills. To their way of thinking, it's harder
to blame Democrats for a lousy law if it's been supported by one
Republican (Senator Olympia Snow this week in the Senate Finance
Committee) and can therefore be labeled "bipartisan".
Second, although somewhat in logical conflict with the first achievement,
they've managed to communicate the myth that Republicans in the
Senate are preventing healthcare reform. To do this, they've
kept in place the filibuster rule, which allows senators representing
11 percent of us to block all legislation. They've claimed
that all Republicans intend to filibuster, although there's been
no confirmation that they do. And at least one Democratic
senator has secretly informed Majority Leader Reid that he or she
will join in a filibuster, thus making plausible the claim that
41 filibusterers exist while keeping the bulk of the blame on the
worst and best news in this drawn-out drama comes from the other
side of the hill, however. We must be put into the bad news
column is the deal the so-called progressives in the House cut with
the president at the start. They agreed to not mention single-payer
and to treat a public-option as not only a useful step but as their
ideal. Then anti-democratic astroturfing groups and labor
unions followed their lead. This shifted the debate so far
to the right that a public-option could no longer be the middle
In the good news column, we should put the hard commitment that
some House progressives have made to vote "No" on any
bill that lacks a serious, immediate, national, and truly public
public-option. And put in the same column the efforts that
Congressmen Dennis Kucinich and Anthony Weiner are still advancing
to do better by us and truly represent the demands of the majority
If a healthcare bill comes before the House of Representatives, before
or after a conference committee merges House and Senate bills, that
amounts to a bailout for health insurance companies and lacks any
token redeeming feature (a serious public option) that does more good
than harm, and if the Republicans all vote against the bill because
they would still prefer nothing at all, or because they would prefer
to see even a bill they like fail (and call it Obama's bill), then
we will only need 39 Democrats to vote No to block the bill.
Twelve have publicly committed to voting No on a the progressive website
and 57 have made the same commitment in a public letter posted on
and discussed on AfterDowningStreet.org.
These commitments are worded to avoid some ways of weaseling out of
them, but not all. If the progressives cave, you can kiss any
progressive influence on other legislation goodbye. If they
stand strong and vote down a bad bill, you can expect a better bill
in round two, as well as a chance at voting down other unpopular items,
such as war funding.
of America and other principled activist groups are promoting
two other items. A proposal from Congressman Weiner would
replace the bills now under consideration with a plan for Medicare
for All. This may not pass, and the Senate would still stand
in the way if it did, but the more votes it can garner the better
round two of the debate will be. The other proposal is Congressman
Kucinich's amendment to allow states to create single-payer systems
at the state level. That amendment already passed in a committee
vote, but the House "leadership" could unceremoniously
strip it out of the final bill, or the conference committee could
do the same. House members who make a grand show of voting
for Weiner's amendment may fail to fight for Kucinich's, especially
if it is stripped out without being put to a floor vote.
If Kucinich's amendment survives, even in a horrendous bill that
is signed into law, we may see single-payer healthcare created in
a several states quite quickly. Canada created its national
health system province by province. There’s a bi-partisan
single-payer bill working its way through the Pennsylvania legislature
right now, and PDA is already working to help pass it. Join us (if
you can) for the Healthcare4allPA Rally in the Harrisburg capital
rotunda on October 20. California, Illinois, Massachusetts
and Ohio are at work as well. California has already passed
single-payer and had it vetoed twice. A new governor will
change the outlook.
a coalition of groups at MobilizeForHealthcar.org
is pushing the discussion in the right direction by exposing the
brutal and murderous policies of health insurance companies.
Over 700 people have committed to risking arrest in nonviolent protest.
Citizens and healthcare providers are participating in sit-ins at
health insurance offices in nine cities across the country on Thursday,
October 15, 2009 to call for real reform that addresses the real
cause of the health care crisis, the insurance companies.
Thursday, October 15, 2009 – SCHEDULE OF SIT-INS
1) New York, NY, 10am EST, United HealthGroup / 1 Penn Plaza / 10119
Contact: Omar Kutty / [email protected]
2) Washington, DC, 10am EST, Wellpoint / 655 15th St NW
Contact: Kevin Zeese / [email protected]
3) Palm Beach, FL, 11:30am EST, Humana / 2056 Vista Pkwy
Contact: Rick Ford / [email protected]
4) Boston, MA, 12:00p EST, Cigna Office / 2223 Washington St / 02462
Contact Ben Day / 617-723-7001 / [email protected]
5) Cleveland, OH, 10am Central, Medical Mutual / 2060 E 9th St /
Contact: Drew Smith / [email protected]
6) Portland, OR, 10am, Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield / 100 SW Market
Contact: Chris Lowe / 503-788-2543 (preferred) 503-913-3980 / [email protected]
7) Phoenix, AZ, 4-6p, United Healthcare / 2390 E. Camelback Road
Suite 300 / 85016
Contact: Dan O'Neal / 480-650-0746 / [email protected]
8) Los Angeles, CA, 10am, Anthem Blue Cross / 801 S. Figueroa St.
Contact: Sam Pullen / [email protected]
9) Reno, NV, 11am , United Healthcare 5190 Neil Road #420 / 89502
Contact: Lisa Stiller 775-232-2823 / 775-746-1313 / [email protected]
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15 , 2009
published every Thursday
Bill Fletcher, Jr.
Est. April 5, 2002
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