Wednesday, October 07, 2009

ACTION TIME: Upcoming votes on single payer

From PNHP:

While media coverage of the health reform debate is focused on the Senate Finance Committee's bill (which was largely drafted by current and former executives at Wellpoint, the nation's largest private health insurance company), several portentous congressional votes on single-payer Medicare-for-All loom on the horizon.

You can help determine the outcome of these votes, which are truly without historical precedent.

Quick Actions:
[Note that the text in the messages needs a bit of updating since it is now Oct. and we need to add a request for a CBO scoring of HR-676 in the one for the Weiner Amendment]
  1. Write your representative in support of the Weiner amendment
  2. Write your representative in support of the Kucinich amendment


1. In the House - Ask your representative to support the Weiner and Kucinich amendments
Sometime in the next two or three weeks, Rep. Anthony Weiner's (D-N.Y.) amendment to substitute single-payer legislation (along the lines of Rep. Conyers' H.R. 676) for the House leadership's bill, H.R. 3200, will come up for an up-or-down vote on the House floor.

This is the first time single payer will have been put to a full floor vote in our nation's history, and it presents us with a unique opportunity to hold our representatives accountable on this issue. While the individual mandate approach to reform embodied in the Senate Finance bill would leave 25 million Americans uninsured, single payer would assure coverage for every American, as even President Obama has admitted. (You can find the number of people uninsured in your congressional district here.)

Additionally, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) has secured a provision in H.R. 3200 that would allow individual states to adopt their own single-payer systems.
  • Join the Facebook Group to support the Weiner Amendment.
  • Contact your representative today and ask him or her to vote "YES" on the Weiner Amendment for single payer and insist that the Kucinich amendment remains in the final House bill..
  • You can find out more about the amendments and take action at
  • The Congressional Switchboard number is (202) 224-3121.

2. In the Senate
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will introduce two single-payer amendments to the Senate bill, one to create a national single-payer plan (along the lines of S. 703), and the other to allows individual states to adopt single payer.
  • Urge your senators to vote "YES" on the Sanders' single payer amendments. 
  • The Congressional Switchboard number is (202) 224-3121.

Talking points and lobbying materials are located at

Some recent media highlights

  1.  A new study estimating that lack of health insurance causes 45,000 deaths annually, by Dr. Andrew Wilper and PNHP co-founders Drs. David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler, was covered by the New York Times, CBS Evening News, Reuters, Amednews, and more. Dr. John Geyman wrote an opinion piece about the study at The Huffington Post. Dr. Deb Richter's op-ed citing the study appeared in The Progressive.

    Political figures, commentators and editorial writers are now routinely citing the study's finding of 45,000 deaths annually in their discussions of our health care crisis. Even Sen. Max Baucus has cited it, erroneously asserting that "[my] bill would fix that." (Actually, his bill would leave some 25 million uninsured, which translates into about 25,000 deaths annually.)

  2. PNHPer and "Mad as Hell Doctor" Dr. Paul Hochfeld was admitted at the last minute to Obama's press event with physicians Monday and appeared on Keith Olbermann's "Countdown" show on MSNBC. The Mad as Hell Doctors, led by Hochfeld and Dr. Mike Huntington, wound up their 26-city, nationwide tour with a rally in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 30. They received extensive regional press.

  3. Finally, an excellent article by Michael Moore and the California Nurses Association's Rose Ann DeMoro explains "Why the current bills don't solve our health care crisis," and why an improved and expanded Medicare for All is the only effective Rx. Activists are encouraged to use the article's talking points for their own op-eds and letters.

Register today for PNHP's Annual Meeting on Saturday, Oct. 24, in Cambridge, MA, at the Royal Sonesta Hotel. Guest speakers include Dr. Marcia Angell, former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine; Harvard health economist William Hsiao, Ph.D.; journalist T.R. Reid; Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Anthony Weiner and more. You won't want to miss this extraordinary gathering!

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