House Committee Allows States to Create Single-Payer Healthcare
By David Swanson
July 17, 2009
Kucinich amendment receives bi-partisan support
[EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a victory for single-payer advocates. Our job in the ensuing weeks will be to ensure that this amendment does not get stripped from the final legislation.]
On Friday morning at 9:45 a.m. ET in the House Committee on Education and Labor, the committee members voted 25 to 19 to pass Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s amendment to the healthcare reform bill. This amendment, if it survives the full House, the Senate, the conference, and the President, will not alter the federal legislation except to allow states to create single-payer healthcare systems if they choose to. If this change to the bill makes news, it will pass the Senate, because there is no legitimate argument against it, and the support for it is bipartisan.
The committee members voted in order of seniority through all the Democrats and then the Republicans, returning to allow those who passed or were not present on the first round or the second round to cast their vote. No members switched their votes from yes to no or vice versa, during the voting, but several passed and then voted after hearing their colleagues vote. In the final count, 25 voted Yes, 19 No, 2 left their vote as “Pass,” and 3 were not there or did not respond at all.
On the first go round, these Democrats voted Yes: Woolsey, Kucinich, Holt, Grijalva, Loebsack, and Fudge. Not nearly enough, but then came the Republicans, not a single one of whom has supported single-payer healthcare, but many of whom apparently respect states’ rights: Kline, Petri, McKeon, Souder, Ehlers, Biggert, Platts, Wilson, McMorris Rogers, Price, and Guthrie. That gave us 17 votes going into round two. Among Democrats, we then picked up Payne, Scott, Shea Porter, and Polis. Among Republicans, Hoekstra and Castle joined in. We had 23 votes moving into round three. Two more Democrats, Tierney and Tonko, brought the total to 25.
Then you have the list of members who voted for the arguably unconstitutional step of banning states from providing their citizens with healthcare, a step for which no legitimate case has been made, but which the health insurance companies strongly favor. First and foremost was Committee Chairman George Miller who led the voting with a resounding “No.” He was joined on the first round by Democrats Kildee, Andrews, Hinojosa, McCarthy, Bishop, Sestak, Altmire, Hare, Courtney, Sablan, and Titus, and Republicans McClintock, Hunter, Roe, and Thompson. On the second round Democrats Davis and Hirono voted No, along with Republican Cassidy. On the third round, no more Nos were added. Not voting yes or no were: Wu, Clarke, Pierluisi, Chu, and Bishop of Utah.
There are major campaigns with a good chance of passing single-payer healthcare if Congress permits it in the following states: Pennsylvania, California, Illinois, Ohio, Colorado, and Massachusetts.