MAY 13 National Rally at Capitol and Call Your Congressman for Single Payer Healthcare

Groups strategize for single-payer plan


President Barack Obama and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) rarely pass up a chance to snub single-payer health care — a term that means a government-run system. So opponents on the left who want their voices heard in the debate over health care reform are planning to yell a little bit louder as Congress considers creating a public insurance plan to compete with private insurers.

Their strategy is simple: By pushing hard for single-payer health care, a robust public insurance option ends up looking like a compromise Democrats could accept.

“The best way to get half the pie is ask for the whole pie,” said Katie Robbins, assistant national coordinator of Healthcare-Now, which will not endorse the public plan but acknowledges the strategy. “It is like horse trading.”

Healthcare-Now doesn’t have a seat at the White House negotiating table with other interest groups, including its chief nemesis, the insurance industry. So single-payer advocates have resolved to make their cause hard to ignore. Advocates say that by making the government the sole administrator of health care, the U.S. could save billions of dollars annually on reduced administrative costs.

Single-payer groups earned headlines in March by accusing the White House of excluding them from the first health care forum, and they eventually won seats. Last week, two of those groups — the California Nurses Association and the National Nurses Organizing Committee — launched a Web ad campaign costing in the “low six figures,” targeting the five Democratic committee chairmen writing the health care legislation. On May 13, single-payer advocates will rally at the Capitol.

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Missouri IBEW State Conference Endorses HR 676 – Improved Medicare for All

St Louis, Missouri.  The Missouri State Conference of Electrical Workers has endorsed HR 676, single payer healthcare legislation introduced by
Congressman John Conyers (D-MI).

The Conference, made up of all 21 IBEW local unions in the state of Missouri, represents more than 21,000 members.  The endorsement was voted at the regular quarterly meeting on Jan 13th.

Michael Datillo, President of IBEW Local 1455 who also serves as President of the State Conference, said the resolution was supported by both the members and the Executive Board.  Datillo stated:  “All unions in this Conference have negotiated healthcare for our members.  But the Supreme Court has prevented us from negotiating for retirees and with lay offs and plants closing, we all see the distress the healthcare system is in.  Healthcare is a big issue at every negotiation.  We are looking for a source for all Americans to have a good healthcare system not just our

Top Ten Organizations Opposing Improved Medicare for All

The Profiteers of Suffering

The Top 10 Enemies of Single-Payer

To wit, we present the Top Ten Enemies of Single Payer (listed here in alphabetical order):

American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)

AARP, one of DC’s most powerful lobbying groups, has worked inside the beltway for years to defeat single payer. Why? AARP makes about a quarter of its money selling insurance through its affiliate, United Healthcare Group, the nation’s largest for-profit insurance company. AARP must defeat single payer – which if enacted, would wipe out that revenue stream.

American Health Insurance Plans (AHIP)

The private health insurance industry. Public enemy number one. The health insurance corporations must die so that the American people can live. Of course, facing the death penalty, AHIP is the most aggressive opponent to single payer. No compromise with AHIP.

American Medical Association

With a shrinking base of doctors (only 25 percent of doctors nationwide belong) — the AMA is the most conservative of the doctors’ organizations. I just returned from a health care policy forum at the Center for American Progress. As usual, not one of the panelists mentioned single payer. Only during the question period did a self-identified patient/citizen ask the single payer question. And a pit bull-like Nancy Nielsen, president of the AMA, ripped into the questioner. “Sounds more like a statement than a question,” Nielsen said. “And clearly you have a point of view about that. And I don’t happen to share that point of view.” Clearly she doesn’t. But just as clearly, the majority of doctors, probably even a majority of doctors who belong to the AMA, support single payer. Nielsen is in denial and must be defeated.

Continue reading Top Ten Organizations Opposing Improved Medicare for All

Censorship of Medicare for All Is Not Scientific Says Law Professor

by Merton Bernstein

Merton Bernstein

Science does not permit ideology to foreclose inquiry; it requires facing facts and following where they and logic lead. Hence many cheered when President Barack Obama announced that science is back, that predisposition will no longer be permitted to trump reality. Everyone knew he was talking about stem cell research.

Who could have guessed that the Obama administration and key congressional players would exclude single-payer/Medicare-for-all programs from consideration even though that means ignoring the cost savings of hundreds of billions of dollars in private plans’ nonbenefit costs? Further, administration health experts advertise their focus on avoiding incentives for unnecessary treatment, but pay no mind to the expensive distortions that follow from physicians’ ownership interests in high-cost equipment and services. Odd that the scientific method does not apply to medical care where science should govern.

Continue reading Censorship of Medicare for All Is Not Scientific Says Law Professor

Single Payer Testimony Before Congress by Dr. Himmelstein

 Testimony of David U. Himmelstein, M.D.

Before the HELP Subcommittee    April 23, 2009


Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee. My name is David Himmelstein. I am a primary care doctor in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard. I also serve as National Spokesperson for Physicians for a National Health Program. Our 15,000 physician members support non-profit, single payer national health insurance because of overwhelming evidence that lesser reforms will fail.

 Health reform must address the cost crisis for insured as well as uninsured Americans. 

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Specter Staff Threatens to Trash Letters in Support of Employee Free Choice

Union Members Deliver Letters to Sen. Specter
Union Members Deliver Letters to Sen. Specter

by Seth Michaels, Apr 20, 2009

Pennsylvania union members have delivered tens of thousands of letters in support of the Employee Free Choice Act to Sen. Arlen Specter.

Is it common practice for congressional staff to throw away letters from constituents hoping to have their voices heard? That’s what some of Sen. Arlen Specter’s staff threatened to do to thousands of Pennsylvanians who support the freedom to form unions and bargain.

Specter, who once co-sponsored the Employee Free Choice Act before he flipped on the bill last month, announced he would support a minority filibuster to prevent it from coming to a vote. Despite once saying he was “delighted” to support it, Specter now is advancing falsehoods about the bill, parroting the extremist charge that it would take away the secret ballot process, which it would not.

Rallies asking Specter to support the Employee Free Choice Act have taken place across the state.

In response, thousands of union members, community activists, religious and civil rights leaders and other members of the broad coalition in support of the Employee Free Choice Act have taken action across the state to make their voices heard. In the past two weeks, they have held seven rallies outside of Specter’s offices in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Harrisburg, Erie, Wilkes-Barre and Scranton. Supporters of the Employee Free Choice Act have gathered more than 50,000 letters, 35,000 postcards and 12,000 petitions from Pennsylvanians who support the freedom to form unions and bargain.

Specter’s staff grew increasingly aggressive at every event, Pennsylvania union members report. At Specter’s Wilkes-Barre office, where union members and allies delivered thousands of letters and petitions, United Steelworkers (USW) member Tim Waters reports that they were told by a staffer, “as soon as you leave, your letters will go straight in the trash.”

Hello? These are Pennsylvania residents whom the senator represents. This is the way you treat your constituents?

Hundreds of Pennsylvanians took time out this week to make their feelings known to their senator, bringing with them postcards, letters and petitions from tens of thousands of supporters of the Employee Free Choice Act.

They deserve a respectful hearing.

from AFL-CIO blog