URGENT: Single Payer Breakthrough in Congress!

John Conyers & Martin L. King
John Conyers & Martin L. King

by Randy Shannon

August 1, 2009
Dear Progressive Friends,
The insurance company lapdogs in Congress that told us single payer national healthcare was off the table are now eating their words!
Those who have told us that HR 676 – The National Healthcare Act would not come up for a vote this year and that only a watered down ineffective version of healthcare reform is politically viable have been proven wrong!
The trade union leaders who mistakenly believed worthwhile concessions could be won from the insurance companies while discounting the demands of rank and file workers now have cause to reconsider.
Today, the progressive Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, led by Congressman Weiner of NY, withdrew their motion to substitute HR 676 for HR 3200 after being promised by Speaker Nancy Pelosi that HR 676 would be introduced, debated, and voted by the full House in September!
Continue reading URGENT: Single Payer Breakthrough in Congress!

AFL-CIO Calls for New Stimulus to Create Jobs

wealthcareEconomic Recovery: Take Two

July 28, 2009
Silver Spring, MD
AFL-CIO Executive Council statement

The legacy of the Bush Administration has been a perfect storm of economic devastation — in finance, housing and jobs.  The challenge of fixing this economic mess is enormous – and urgent.  Creating good jobs that cannot be outsourced is central to the solution.

Despite much-touted “green shoots,” the prognosis for the U.S. economy keeps getting worse.  The official unemployment rate hit 9.5 percent in June and is likely to exceed 10 percent by later this year and remain high throughout 2010 – when mid-term elections will take place.  We have lost an extraordinary 6.5 million jobs since the onset of the recession, and we are 8.8 million jobs short of where we should be, taking into account the growing working age population.

Continue reading AFL-CIO Calls for New Stimulus to Create Jobs

IATSE is Twenty-first International Union to Endorse HR 676

Orlando, Florida.  

The 66th Quadrennial Convention of IATSE, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees became the twenty-first international union to endorse HR 676, national single payer healthcare legislation introduced by Congressman John Conyers (D-MI).

On July 29, 2009, over 800 delegates, representing more than 100,000 members nationwide, voted unanimously to endorse H.R. 676.  Since a
campaign to endorse HR 676 began within IATSE last January, over seventy-five individual IATSE locals have endorsed HR 676.

International President Matthew D. Loeb stated from the podium after the vote that HR 676 is the “right thing to do.”  The Convention resolution
will now be submitted to the AFL-CIO Convention to take place in Pittsburgh Sept. 13-17th.

Robert Score, Recording Corresponding Secretary of IATSE Local One in New York City, led the six month campaign.

Five Democrats Balking on Health Bill

Sunday, July 26, 2009
By James O’Toole, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The tortuous congressional wrangling over health care reform has enhanced the public profile and the clout of the band of Democratic House moderates known as Blue Dogs.

The coalition, formed in 1994 in the wake of a Republican takeover of the House — and another attempt at health care overhaul — was formed by Democrats from the South and is still widely thought of as a Southern phenomenon. But five Pennsylvania Democrats, nearly half of the state’s Democratic congressional delegation, are members of the increasingly powerful caucus.

That’s more than any single Southern state’s roster on the 52-member group. That fact sheds light on the state’s potential impact on the signature issue of the Obama administration, and helps explain why Pennsylvania’s reputation and potential as a classic swing state endures despite five straight Democratic successes in capturing its electoral votes.


Continue reading Five Democrats Balking on Health Bill

Blue Dog Democrats Oppose Healthcare Reform

Cong. Jason Altmire
Cong. Jason Altmire

Blue Dog Bark Backed by Insurers

Published by Lindsay Renick Mayer on June 25, 2009 5:28 PM

There’s a particular breed of lawmaker on Capitol Hill that is pushing hard against a public health care plan, much to the delight of two seriously moneyed special interest groups–insurers and pharmaceuticals. They’re the Blue Dogs: moderate, vocal and funded in part by the industries trying to protect their bottom line.

The typical member* of the Blue Dog caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives has received $10,300 more from insurers than the typical non-Blue Dog Democrat in the House (including health and accident insurers, HMOs and other health services) and only $3,625 less than the typical House Republican. Earlier this month, the Blue Dogs sent a letter to House leadership arguing that a public option should be created “only if insurance market reforms and increased competition don’t lower costs on their own,” according to the Politico.

Continue reading Blue Dog Democrats Oppose Healthcare Reform

HR 676 National Healthcare Act – Single Payer Will Be Voted on in House Energy and Commerce Committee This Week

Action Alert: House Committee to Vote on Single-Payer

July 14, 2009 by Healthcare-NOW!  

Healthcare-NOW! has received confirmation that, in a display of Congressional leadership, Congressman Anthony Weiner [NY 14], will introduce a single-payer amendment similar to HR 676 to the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s portion of the tri-committee healthcare legislation.

We need your help in telling members of the Energy and Commerce Committee that the people want single-payer now. It’s crucial for them to hear from you on this historic vote.

First, see if your Rep. is in the Energy and Commerce Committee here. (If not, call Chairman Henry Waxman at 202-225-3976)

Then, call the Congressional Switchboard at 800-473-6711 and ask to be connected to him/her. Ask to speak with the health legislative assistant. Say:

“Hello, My name is __________, and as your constituent, I urge the Representative to vote YES on Representative Anthony Weiner’s HR 676 amendment to the Energy and Commerce Committee’s healthcare bill.”

This is a historic vote on single-payer legislation in a committee of jurisdiction over healthcare reform. The amendment symbolizes the elimination of the for-profit health insurance companies from the health care system; replacing them with a publicly funded, privately delivered single-payer system that guarantees comprehensive health care for everyone in the United States.

This amendment shows that the grassroot support for single-payer is being heard. Let’s keep the pressure up on Congress. Join us on July 30th in DC for a national lobby day and rally.

Thanks for all that you do,
Healthcare-NOW! National Staff

Bus Trip to DC July 30th – Rally and Lobby for Single Payer Healthcare

Get on the bus!  July 30, Rally and Lobby in DC for HR 676

July 30 marks Medicare’s 44th Birthday.  Activists from more than a dozen cities are sending busloads to Washington, DC, to celebrate the occasion and to show Congress and President Obama the strong support for a national, single payer healthcare system.  People will visit their Congresspersons to urge them to sign on to HR 676 in the House and S 703 in the Senate, then come together for a rally at 1:00 pm.

Rally for Expanded and Improved Medicare for All, HR 676

Thursday, July 30, 1:00 pm, Upper Senate Park
(between Constitution Ave, New Jersey Ave, and Delaware Ave)

Confirmed Rally Speakers:

Jos Williams – President, AFL-CIO Metropolitan Washington Labor Council, AFL-CIO
Dr. David Scheiner – President Obama’s personal physician of 22 years
Sidney M. Wolfe, MD – Acting President of Public Citizen
Terry O’Neill – President, National Organization for Women
Senator James Ferlo – Pennsylvania State Senator
Sameer Dossani – Demand Dignity Campaign Director, Amnesty International
Barbara Ehrenreich – Feminist, sociologist, political activist, and author of  “Nickled and Dimed”
Congressman John Conyers, Jr – Chair, House Judiciary Committee, and sponsor of HR 676
Medea Benjamin – Cofounder of Code Pink and Global Exchange
Tim Carpenter – Progressive Democrats of America, Executive Director
Donna Smith – Community Activist and Legislative Advocate, California Nurses Association, whose story of financial bankruptcy was featured in Michael Moore’s film, “SiCKO.”

Medicare has successfully provided care to seniors and people with disabilities for almost half a century.  Its single payer structure with only 3% administrative costs stands in sharp contrast to the 20% and higher wasted by the private insurance companies on administration and profits.  As Washington struggles to fund health care reform, an expanded and improved Medicare shows the way to do it!

Join us in DC on July 30!! Western Pennsylvania Bus leaves Pittsburgh at 5am. Meeting with Cong. Altmire in DC at 3pm. For more information contact Tina Shannon, 4th CD Chapter PDA 724 843 0545.

Colbert Report to Discuss Single Payer Healthcare July 21 at 11:30pm on Comedy Central

On Tuesday, July 21, at 11:30 pm EDT, watch Dr. Aaron Carroll talk about single-payer health reform on The Colbert Report, the Emmy award-winning satirical television program on Comedy Central.

Dr. Carroll is a board member of Physicians for a National Health Program (www.pnhp.org), an organization of 16,000 physicians, medical students and health professionals who support single-payer national health insurance.

Continue reading Colbert Report to Discuss Single Payer Healthcare July 21 at 11:30pm on Comedy Central

Record Number of Unemployed Benefits Ending: Working Families Need Extension of Unemployment! Call Your State Senator Today!

Unemployment Insurance Exhaustion Rate


Unemployment Insurance Exhaustion Rate

 Urge Pennsylvania State Senate to help jobless workers   

The House took decisive action on July 7 to provide a lifeline to some 57,000 Pennsylvanians who are still looking for work but are running out of unemployment compensation.   

The legislation (H.B. 1770) would temporarily change the mechanism Pennsylvania uses to trigger extended unemployment benefits. By switching the state’s trigger to the total unemployment rate, the state could draw on $145 million in federal stimulus money to offer seven weeks of additional emergency unemployment benefits.  

If the Senate does not act quickly, tens of thousands of Pennsylvania workers and their families will lose the only safety net they have right now. Just this weekend, benefits to about 18,000 unemployed workers will not continue.   

You can help in this fight. Visit the House Democrats’ online action center and send a message to the Senate. Tell the Senate to make use of the available federal funding for jobless workers and to pass the bill today. 

Call Sen. Elder Vogel  today: 724-774-0444 Rochester, 724-654-1444 New Castle.