Posted on November 9, 2009

CNA/NNOC Statement On The Withdrawal Of The House Single Payer Amendment


Medical News Today
Nov. 9, 2009

On the eve of what would have been the first national vote on single-payer legislation Rep. Anthony Weiner’s single-payer/Medicare for all amendment was withdrawn Friday, November 6.

The vote for Congressman Weiner’s single-payer amendment would have allowed advocates to have their representatives on record as single-payer supporters. The announcement of the withdrawal of the amendment also followed an 11th hour decision by the House leadership to drop an amendment sponsored by Rep. Dennis Kucinich that had been in the bill since July to remove legal barriers for states that choose to enact single payer/Medicare for all state bills.

The California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee commends the thousands of nurses and other grassroots activists who have participated in rallies, marches, sit-ins, and flooded Congressional offices with calls over the past few weeks and months in support of single payer and the amendments.

The outcome on the Weiner and Kucinich amendments is the latest in year-long maneuvers by the Obama administration to take single payer off the table, to exclude single payer advocates from participation in the Congressional debate and White House healthcare forums, and to twist arms behind the scenes to block both the Kucinich and Weiner amendments.

Regrettably, the administration and Congressional leadership efforts to silence the voices of advocates of the most comprehensive, most cost effective, most humane reform reinforced the extensive corporate lobbying of the insurance industry and its corporate allies. The private insurance industry alone has sent 3,000 lobbyists to Capitol Hill this year, spending $1.4 million dollars a day to shape reform that protects their profits and reinforces the broken, insurance-based healthcare system.

Only the remarkable, and persistent effort of our members and allies has kept the flame of the single payer/Medicare for all movement moving forward in Congress. And, we’re not done.

Our focus now turns to two remaining efforts for single-payer in this Congress. Sen. Bernie Sanders will introduce S 703 in coming weeks. In addition, Rep. Kucinich’s amendment to allow states to more easily implement a single-payer system may be reinserted into the bill during the conference committee between the House and Senate. All of these efforts are crucial to building the movement for the best solution to our healthcare crisis - single-payer national healthcare.

While the current bills will provide limited assistance for some, the inconvenient truth is they fall far short in effective controls on skyrocketing insurance, pharmaceutical and hospital costs, do little to stop insurance companies from denying needed medical care recommended by doctors, and provide little relief for Americans with employer-sponsored insurance worried about health security for themselves and their families.

People are suffering - they die needlessly. The Democrats, who control the White House and Congress, bear the responsibility for changing that. Republicans cheerlead to deny care and humanity. The Democrats act as though they care and block the best solution. The heroes in this debate are the Medicare for all proponents who have stood by the American families.

We will continue to press for guaranteed healthcare in Congress. Further, the outstanding state based campaigns for single payer bills in California, Pennsylvania, Maine, Illinois, and other states will continue.

We concur with Healthcare-NOW, “Let us not forget how far we have come. Either now or later, a single-payer national healthcare system must come to the table. We will keep building the movement to make that happen.”