Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Why Single Payer Advocacy Matters Now More Than Ever

Campaigning for single-payer in August – by demanding that members of the House agree to support such a plan when it comes up for a vote, and by urging senators to schedule and support a similar vote in their chamber – is the best was to assure that whatever reform ultimately comes will err on the side of Americans who need healthcare rather than insurance companies that would deny them that care.

At the very least, single-payer advocacy should preserve an amendment sponsored by Congressman Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, which would allow states to experiment with single-payer programs even if the federal government refuses to do so. That's a significant matter, since Canada's national health care program began with single-payer experiments at the provincial level.

The worst mistake that progressives could make in August would be to put their time and energy into getting members of Congress to agree to back a barely-acceptable compromise that could end up being unacceptable by the time the lobbyists and their political handmaidens finish with it.

Better to get representatives and senators to commit to back single-payer bills.

That does not prevent them from ultimately agreeing to compromise measures.

But it gets them to begin on the side of real reform, and lessens the likelihood that the eventual deals will be as bad as the schemes that the Blue Dogs tried to impose before the break.

Perhaps just as importantly, a strong vote for single-payer will remind the Obama administration that the president was right when he said six years ago that single-payer was the right response to the mess that private insurers and their allies have made of our healthcare system.
Read it all at The Nation

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