In Washington, “healthcare reform” has degenerated into a sick joke.
At this point, only spinners who’ve succumbed to their own vertigo could use the word “robust” to describe the public option in the healthcare bill that the House Democratic leadership has sent to the floor.
“A main argument was that a public plan would save people money,” the New York Times has noted. But the insurance industry–claiming to want a level playing field–has gotten the Obama administration to bulldoze the plan. “After House Democratic leaders unveiled their health care bill [on October 29], the Congressional Budget Office said the public plan would cost more than private plans and only 6 million people would sign up.”
Washington, DC. Calling for a “yes” vote on the Weiner Medicare for All (HR 676) Amendment, the national AFL-CIO and eight unions have placed a full page advertisement in Thursday’s “Roll Call,” a Capital Hill newspaper.
In addition to the AFL-CIO the unions signing the ad are the International Association of Machinists (IAM), United Mine Workers (UMWA), International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU), Utility Workers Union (UWUA), International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers (IFPTE), California School Employees Association (CSEA), United Electrical Workers (UE), United American Nurses, and the California Nurses Association (CNA/NNOC).
Jason Altmire seems to think that if Democrats get their asses kicked today, it just proves he’s right about everything:
Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.) argued that an election night rebuke for Democratic candidates across the nation could lead some in the party to rethink their plans on healthcare reform and other issues.
“It looks as though the anger that has been boiling up the last couple of months is going to lead to a pretty high turnout from Republicans and from people who are concerned about increased spending,” Altmire said Monday evening during an appearance on Fox Business Network.
“And I do think that if the results show Republicans have a pretty good night, that probably is going to lead some Democrats to think that, going into next year, we need to take a second look at the way that we’ve done a lot of bills we’ve addressed up to this point,” the Pennsylvania congressman added.
The problem that Democrats will have at the polls is not motivated Republicans, it’s unmotivated Democrats. Altmire has taken $118,000 in campaign contributions from health care interests this cycle, and activism from the Democratic base (you know, the “motivated” ones) has made it difficult for him to deliver on donations from Humana, Wellpoint andBlueCross/Blue Shield.
Phone calls have poured into Nancy Pelosi’s office from across the country after the House Speaker reneged on her commitment to allow a vote on the single payer Weiner amendment to the healthcare bill. This commitment had been made to induce Cong. Weiner to withdraw his amendment in committee. The corporate Democrats had hoped the fanfare and hoopla around the House bill that conceded everything to the insurance companies would propel them to an immediate vote.
The Democrats concessions will give the insurance companies billions of taxpayer dollars to help Americans pay for private insurance they will be forced to buy with no affordable public option. There will be no cap on premiums and the weak public option will cost more than private insurance. These concessions were made at the insistence of Blue Dog Democrats such as Cong. Jason Altmire, who put health insurance profits ahead of sick and dying constituents, and to win the support of insurance panderers like the AARP.
Word from the Physicians for a National Health Program is that the flood of calls has forced Pelosi to allow 20 minutes of debate and a vote on the floor for the Weiner amendment this Friday. This amendment will substitute most of the language of HR 676 for the current bill and establish a Medicare for All system of healthcare.
Please call Cong. Altmire and let him know that you stand with PA AFL-CIO President Bill George when he said: “Altmire will vote right on healthcare, or you don’t come back.” 724-378-0928 and 202-225-2565
‘One Worker, One Vote:’
US Steelworkers to Experiment
with Factory Ownership,
By Carl Davidson
Beaver County Blue
Oct. 27, 2009–The United Steel Workers Union, North America’s largest industrial trade union, announced a new collaboration with the world’s largest worker-owned cooperative, Mondragon International, based in the Basque region of Spain.
News of the announcement spread rapidly throughout the communities of global justice activists, trade union militants, economic democracy and socialist organizers, green entrepreneurs and cooperative practitioners of all sorts. More than a few raised an eyebrow, but the overwhelming response was, “Terrific! How can we help?”
The vision behind the agreement is job creation, but with a new twist. Since government efforts were being stifled by the greed of financial speculators and private capital was more interested in cheap labor abroad, unions will take matters into their own hands, find willing partners, and create jobs themselves, but in sustainable businesses owned by the workers. Continue reading Steelworkers Seek Job Creation via Worker-Owned Factories→
NAACP CALLS ON CONGRESS TO ACT SWIFTLY TO REPAIR AND IMPROVE BROKEN HEALTH CARE SYSTEM
NAACP DISPELS DECEPTIVE AND MISLEADING MYTHS AROUND HEALTH CARE REFORM WHILE SUPPORTING A STRONG PUBLIC OPTION
Americans today are too often struggling and straining under the burden of three related trends: shrinking health care coverage, rising health care costs or no health care insurance at all. Over the last decade, millions of Americans have found themselves uninsured, and millions more have become underinsured as the value of their coverage has declined. In the years 2008 – 2010, it is estimated that approximately 6,000 people a day, or almost 7 million Americans total, will lose their health insurance. Today, more than 46 million Americans do not have any health care insurance at all. At the same time, health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs have risen steadily, and the number of families who are facing unmanageably high health care costs continues to grow. In fact, nearly one in four non-elderly Americans are in families that will spend more than 10% of their pre-tax dollars on health care in 2009, and the vast majority of them (more than 82%) have health care insurance. Furthermore, in the United States today the color of your skin, your ethnic background and where you live can not only influence your health care access and quality; they can determine them. And while medical science has made a lot of advances over the last 10 years, the gains made by the discovery of new drugs and treatments have not passed on to all segments of our population.
Remember Medicare for All in the healthcare reform debate
by Kay Tillow, Coordinator
All Unions Committee For Single Payer Health Care–HR 676
Nurses Professional Organization
11/03/09 10:06 AM ET
We are in danger of losing the opportunity to bring Improved Medicare for All, a single payer plan, before the Congress. Last July Congressman Anthony Weiner and six of his colleagues on the Energy and Commerce Committee attempted to substitute the real public option—HR 676, a single payer plan—for the healthcare reform in the House. Speaker Nancy Pelosi assured them that if they withdrew the amendment in committee they would have an opportunity to bring it to the House floor for a debate and vote. Now Pelosi is threatening to keep the Weiner Single Payer Amendment from seeing the light of day.
An amendment to implement a single-payer health system could get between 100 and 200 votes, one of its sponsors claimed Friday.
Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), one of the liberal lawmakers to have led the push for such an amendment, predicted votes in the “mid-100s” on a provision for a single-payer system in the House–if such a vote is even allowed.