In what has become a hallmark of the healthcare negotiations in Congress, yesterday’s developments were old news by this morning. The closer the U.S. House of Representatives gets to voting on its healthcare bill, the more pressure mounts from all sides, but none more powerful than the insurance industry.
Last night, the insurance companies got their way. Nothing terrifies them more than single-payer healthcare, because they know it works in every single country that has adopted it.
Although Rep. Anthony Weiner pushed hard and secured a commitment from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to allow a vote on his single-payer amendment, this morning he withdrew the measure.
“I have decided not to offer a single-payer alternative to the health reform bill at this time,” Weiner said. “Given how fluid the negotiations are on the final push to get comprehensive healthcare reform that covers millions of Americans and contains costs through a public option, I became concerned that my amendment might undermine that important goal.
“I’ve discussed the issue with Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Waxman, and agree with them that the health reform bill is so close it deserves every chance to gain a majority,” he added.
At this time, CSEA is asking all members to hold off on any further phone calls to Congress in support of the Weiner amendment.
“I want to thank every CSEA member who has called and e-mailed Congress and participated in CSEA’s healthcare actions,” said Association President Allan Clark. “We have made history with our campaign, achieving many new milestones. Our healthcare campaign will continue and we will work even harder now to secure true healthcare reform.”
Clark said the insurance companies have so tightly controlled the environment surrounding healthcare reform in Congress that “getting single-payer legislation as far as we did is a huge success!” The fact that Pelosi was prepared to allow a vote on single-payer the day before the vote on the main bill is a testament to the incredible amount of effort CSEA members and other activists have put into this campaign.
“Speaker Pelosi has been a friend to workers and a friend to CSEA for many years. It was difficult to have to challenge her and the other leaders this week, but we have to stand up for our principles, especially in the face of the onslaught from the insurance companies,” Clark said. “Our actions are not personal — they are based on our principles and our positions on the issues. We will question Democrats, Republicans and anyone else when necessary. We can be very proud that we stayed faithful to our core values, and we will continue to do so.”
Congressmen Dennis Kucinich and John Conyers, principle authors of HR 676, CSEA’s endorsed national single-payer bill, also sent their appreciation to supporters this morning: “We thank you for your continued devotion to the cause of healthcare for all Americans. Your work, in communities across America, has been instrumental in helping at least 10 states create single-payer movements, with many more states to come. While state single-payer movements are already strong, the national single-payer movement is still growing. (The) time will come, and when it does, there will not be any doubt of the outcome. This system of healthcare injustice will not be able to endure forever. We are pledged to make sure of that.”
The situation in Congress is very fluid right now as the House edges closer to voting on HR 3962, the main healthcare bill. Stay tuned as we try to stay on top of the latest developments — and thanks again for your commitment to healthcare for all.
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