Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Congressional Hearing to Consider Single-Payer Healthcare

by National Nurses Movement

The official silence on Capitol Hill on single payer -- at least in the House -- is ending.

Thanks to the ongoing pressure and dedication of single payer activists across the country, who the Washington Post noted this past weekend, 'have spent months hounding Democratic lawmakers and organizing demonstrations, including one that resulted in 13 arrests at a Senate hearing last month,' a Congressional committee will for the first time in the current proceedings on healthcare reform, hold a public hearing on single payer Wednesday.

The hearing, 'Exploring the Single Payer Option,' will be held on Wednesday, June 10 at 10:30 a.m. in Room 2175 in the Rayburn House Office Building by the Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions.

That's a subcommittee of the House Education and Labor Committee, which is chaired by Rep. George Miller, one of the most influential members of the House and one of 75 co-sponsors of the House single payer bill, HR 676.

Geri Jenkins, RN, a co-president of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, and Dr. Marcia Angell and Dr. Walter Tsou of Physicians for a National Health Program are among the expected witnesses.

While one hearing is not cause for breaking out the champagne, it's an important step forward, giving single payer advocates an opportunity to make the case for the most cost effective, comprehensive reform, and against the wasteful, inefficient and cruel for-profit health insurance industry.

With the timetable on a reform bill shrinking every day, it's apparent we have no time to lose. With that in mind, single payer proponents have been stepping it up to break through what CNA/NNOC Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro last week called, "a conspiracy of silence within the Congress.

Please redouble your efforts, and fax the Congressional committee chairs again, and tell them that they need to include the proven efficiency of single-payer in their debate and discussion over any healthcare reform.

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