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Senate defeats single payer amendment

By Don McCanne, M.D.
United States Senate, July 27, 2017

In the Senate an amendment to the Republican repeal and replace legislation was introduced by Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) that would establish a single payer system in the United States - an expanded and improved Medicare for all - using the exact same language as in HR 676 introduced in the House by Rep. John Conyers.

The vote:
0 - Yes
57 - No
43 - Present

All Republicans, including Sen. Daines, voted against it. Democratic Senators Donnelley, Manchin, Tester, and Heitkamp, along with Independent Senator King, voted against it. All other Democrats voted Present.

Sen. Bernie Sanders had said before the vote that failure of Sen. Daines and other Republicans to vote for their amendment would demonstrate that this was a sham to be used to campaign against moderate Senators in the next election. When no Republican voted for it, most Democrats plus Independent Sen. Sanders voted Present.

It is a sad commentary that the most important health policy legislation ever introduced in Congress - legislation that would have brought health care justice to all - was used by the Republicans as a tool for political chicanery.

Do they think this was some kind of a joke? They just rejected legislation that would have prevented hundreds of thousands of people over the years from facing physical suffering due to lack of medical care, financial hardship, and even death. Death!

We could forgive them for a bad joke, but this?

Mobilize the forces. This is war! Not the guns and bombs type of war but a war against man’s inhumanity to man.

***

Man was made to mourn: A Dirge

Many and sharp the num'rous ills
Inwoven with our frame!
More pointed still we make ourselves
Regret, remorse, and shame!
And man, whose heav'n-erected face
The smiles of love adorn, –
Man's inhumanity to man
Makes countless thousands mourn!

-  Robert Burns, 1784

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