Dramatic New Developments in Fight for Single Payer Healthcare

by Randy Shannon

The Weiner single payer amendment has been withdrawn. Cong. Weiner is meeting with President Obama today. Congressmen Kucinich and Conyers have asked healthcare reform advocates to stand down on single payer lobbying until further notice. The Leadership Conference for Guaranteed Healthcare, which is the coalition of national unions and grass-roots organizations including PDA that support universal single payer Medicare for All, will release more information soon.

Below is a communication from the Physicians for a National Healthcare Program and a communication from PDA:

Comment by Ida Hellander, M.D., Executive Director, Physicians for a National Health Program:
Next steps and interpretation – 
1) The fact that single payer got so far along in the House is a testament to the strength of our single payer movement.  The huge number of calls by single payer advocates in support of single payer and the Weiner amendment in recent days have been noted by several members of Congress.
2) It appears that nobody, particularly the President, expected our single payer option to be alive in the Congress for so long.  As you know, they attempted to keep it “off the table” from the very beginning.
3) The President was directly involved in the decision to not hold a vote on the Weiner single payer amendment, and Weiner will be meeting with him later today. Stay tuned.
4) We need to increase pressure on the Congress and the White House for Medicare for All through lobbying, civil disobedience, media outreach, and grassroots organizing.  Sen. Sanders will call for a vote on single payer in the Senate – this could come up anytime in the next month.  Encourage your Senator to support the Sanders bill and also an amendment he will offer for a state single payer option.  The California Nurses Association/NNOC has already started lobbying visits in the Senate in D.C.
5) We have been asked how to tell members to vote on the House bill.  Our response is that the bill is “like aspirin for breast cancer.”

–No Floor Vote–
Stop calling Congress on Weiner amendment

Early this morning, we learned that Rep. Weiner pulled his amendment and that there will be no vote on Medicare for All.

Please, do not make any further calls to Congress asking members to support the Weiner amendment.

Look for an email from the Leadership Conference for Guaranteed Healthcare later today explaining this sudden development.

In the coming hours, look for email messages from Congressmen Weiner, Kucinich and Conyers explaining next steps.

We want to thank all of you who have been working the phones and keeping up with the barrage of actions. While we won’t get our vote on Weiner, we still have work to do.

Let’s keep up the pressure on inserting the Kucinich amendment, and in support of Sen. Sanders’ bill in the Senate. And, the Mobilization for Healthcare for All continues, as well as our work to pass single-payer healthcare in the states.

This is a teaching moment–clearly better communication between Congress members and the grassroots that support them is needed.

In solidarity and peace,

Tim Carpenter for PDA

P.S. Next week we’ll be launching Brown-bag Lunch Vigils as part of the updated Healthcare NOT Warfare campaign–stay tuned for details.

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