Yesterday the House narrowly passed HR 3962. It was a brutal ride getting to this point. Lies, misinformation, chaotic town-hall meetings and the fact that the whole debate was rigged from the start. The fact that to provide real reform and true universal health coverage for all meant insurance reform and removing the profit motive from health care was completely ignored. The real issue is reform, and anything resembling true reform was either never considered or dismissed. This included HR 676. The bill would have created a publicly financed, privately delivered health care system that uses the already existing Medicare program by expanding and improving it to all U.S. residents, and all residents living in U.S. territories. The goal of the legislation is to ensure that all Americans will have access, guaranteed by law, to the highest quality and most cost effective health care services regardless of their employment, income, or health care status. But this option was taken out of the legislation by Obama and Pelosi. Rep. Kucinich made this statement:
“There has been no debate in Congress over HR676. There has not been a single mark-up of the bill. Single payer was “taken off the table” for the entire year by the White House and by congressional leaders. There has been no reasonable period of time to gather support in the Congress for single payer. Many members accepted a “robust public option” as the alternative to single payer and now that has disappeared.”
We were urged to support the meaningless and ambiguous “public option” while at the same time wanting to debunk the lies & opposition to a public health care option. So here we are the day after the “monumental” vote wondering if we are at all better off. Many are claiming we are not and I tend to agree that this is NOT “The change we can believe in.”
The single-payer option needs to be discussed and debated. There are two remaining efforts for single-payer in this Congress. Sen. Bernie Sanders will introduce S 703 in coming weeks, and it seems that he is considering editing it to be more like HR 676. We will have the opportunity again to see the first ever vote on single-payer in this Congress. In addition, Rep. Kucinich’s amendment to allow states to more easily implement a single-payer system may be reinserted into the bill during the conference committee between the House and Senate.
This whole issue seems to me like a bad case of misdiagnosis and done in a way in which the doctor doesn’t see the real disease, but looks to the treatments first, choosing the one that would make him just a little bit more wealthy. Like the time I was told I needed surgery for something I thankfully discovered needed only one simple visit to the acupuncturist.