Listen to the Thom Hartmann Show on today. During the first hour, Thom will talk with Senator Bernie Sanders, who was a cosponsor of H.R. 676 when he was in the House. During the second and third hours, Thom will talk about how we can get single payer through Congress. And he'll ask everyone to do two things on Friday:
Call Congressman James Clyburn and ask him to whip his colleagues for H.R. 676: (202) 225-3315.
Call your own Congress Member and ask them to cosponsor and promote H.R. 676: (202) 224-3121.
You can also help by signing the Healthcare Not Warfare petition.
Hat tip and thanks to David Swanson for his diary on this last night - if you have not read it, please do so. There is some good, current info you will want to know in there.
More info below.
John Conyers' H.R. 676 had 93 cosponsors in the last Congress. There are 33 cosponsors currently on the bill for the 111th Congress, but it was just dropped this week, so that is not unusual. They were dealing with the Stimulus bill.
If you have not read this report, you may want to do so before making calls:
First-of-Its Kind Study: Medicare for All (Single-Payer) Reform Would Be Major Stimulus for Economy with 2.6 Million New Jobs, $317 Billion in Business Revenue, $100 Billion in Wages
I made a promise in Dr. Steve's diary last week to do this diary with some info I posted in comments there. So here goes.
The new HR-676 has some changes from the bill from the 110th. Read the bill at Thomas, but as explained to me:
Change #1 - people working in the current health insurance industry will be eligible for up to 2 years salary to a max of $100,000. It is expected that about 50% of the workers will find employment withing the new government system.
Change #2 - Administration
Much like Medicare, administration would fall under Health and Human Services with input from Regional offices about what costs are for different services within a region.
Change #3 - To deal with the concerns about illegal immigrants or visitors from other countries - there will be language dealing with the program being for everyone "living" in the United States - being a resident of and there will be some kinds of requirements to deal with exactly what that language means.
Change #4 - Hospitals will switch from profit to non-profit BUT they are not going to be nationalized - can still be owned privately, just have to go to non-profit mode. These changes will take place over 15 years.
Now that the bill has been dropped, We need all Single Payer advocates to start hitting the phones and emails and making personal visits to make sure that everyone who cosponsored the bill in the 110th Congress is on board to sponsor it in this Congress. I will post the previous cosponsors in a comment below. And the current ones as well, if I can get into the system - not working for me while I am typing this.
We can expect that there may be a bit more push back because everyone is so happy with President Obama and want to be "helpful" to him; supporting his programs.
So we are going to have to be very persuasive. While we hate what the economy is doing to us, our friends and family - it makes the arguments for Single Payer stronger. Using the economic arguments are our strongest bet.
Some info that may be helpful:
During the week and a half before the inauguration I was peripherally involved with 3 meetings with the transition staff via work I am doing with some non-profit lobbying and service organizations. The message we took away:
Obama wants to not only fulfill campaign promises, but to do "the right thing" on many different fronts - health care is one of them. But there will be fights on just about all of them.
What they/he wants is for citizens to keep up the pressure and build it so he can make it happen.
We not only have to have his back - we have to be in front, clearing the streets and alleys so no one can mistake the path he has to take.
They want to see folks with agendas (like ours for Single Payer)building visible coalitions and alliances and if we have differences among ourselves, figure out how to work them out and resolved before coming to him/them. If we can't resolve differences and get everyone on board, how do we expect him to? Get Congress on board or enough to carry a vote.
[And if you have a proposal - be sure you can present it on one double spaced page. :) ]
Also learned - that during the campaign and transition they've had up to 90 people dedicated just to reading and reporting on email and blogs and letters to the editor.
There is probably more - but those were the biggies that stood out for me - oh and one other - a story - a service organization reported that they have been gotten used to meeting with the Bush admin and fighting for representation and being ignored so they were amazed that when they met with the transition team the bottom line was "give us the names of 35 people you want." It blew them away and they were then fumbling when they went to the meeting geared up for a fight and there was none.
Another point made on one of the conference calls was that it really helped to have experts in the field ready to testify live or in writing and to have the economics spelled out.
We have that with HR-676 already with PNHP, our nurses and Paul Krugman. All we need are ordinary citizens getting more of their neighbors and then their Congresscritters and Senators on board.
Progressive Democrats of America is working closely with Conyers office, Health-Care Now!, PNHP, Guranteedhealthcare.org and others to try to get team leaders organized in every Congressional District to work on this. They have monthly phone calls to educate and strategize.
If you can help contact Diane Shamis and ask if there is a Healthcare organizer for your Congressional District and if there isn't volunteer:
They have a mechanism for reporting on meetings and providing feedback so we know where and how to apply pressure. Diane can provide more info on that and who will have access.
We are going to have to work this smart and hard if we are going to have a chance and if we are going to win Healthcare for all Americans. I believe we can do it - for me, it is requiring a lot less time on Daily Kos and doing things to educate those who are not aware of this possibility - but if we get HR-676 or some other real single payer plan, it will have been more than worth it.
We've had hundreds of diaries posted at Daily Kos expressing the need for Universal Single Payer and many diaries with research and facts. We've read them and fretted and wondered what we can do and complained that Congress should do the right thing and at least let the bill on the floor for a debate.
The time for all of that is past. Now is the time to get off of Daily Kos long enough each week to make calls to your Representatives, write a letter to the editor, talk to people, post what you know in blogs attacked to regional newspapers - what ever and where ever you think just one more voter might join the team. Stop complaining about lobbyists and become one (unpaid I know).
We know how to canvas, we know how to phone bank - now we need to put the skills we learned campaigning to get Democrats into office to campaign for Healthcare for All.
I know we can do it.
H.R. 676 FAQ
Physicians for National Health Program. Lots of state chapters and you don't have to be a doctor to join.
Guaranteed Health Care which is California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee:
HealthCare-Now!: Grassroots organization working for HR-676
Everybody In & Nobody Out: Supports state organizations working at the grassroots for universal health care:
Update: Krugman's column this morning -
The bottom line, then, is that this is no time to let campaign promises of guaranteed health care be quietly forgotten. It is, instead, a time to put the push for universal care front and center. Health care now!
This is NOT a discussion group - just a place for those interested in health care issues to share links to health care diaries when posted on Daily Kos to help folks find them. You can post links to your own diaries or to diaries by others that have not been shared with the group.
If you join it helps to set your profile for immediate emails - there are not so many emails as to bog you down. (Can't believe I didn't post this in the beginning!)
From a comment by Tanya:
I was involved in the Clinton
healthcare push, and her advice was to put pressure on from the left in order to get anywhere near the middle. Unfortunately, then as now, many of the people and organizations that had the ability to put that kind of pressure on our politicians chose instead to simply support Clinton's plan. Well we all saw how that worked out.
m16eib posted some great comments including this report: Dodd and Larson Get an Earful on Healthcare, but most important was this advice:
Just so's they knows
exactly what you are talking about:
"The United States National Health Insurance Act"
Expanded & Improved Medicare For All
The name of the bill, as well as the number, is very important. Not just as a talking point or frame but so they know exactly what bill you are talking about
If you have called your Rep or know he/she is a Cosponsor then...
Call the Reps who have cosponsored and say thanks.
Go to whitehouse.gov and tell Obama we want single payer.
Thanks to everyone for your support for this diary and for Universal Single Payer Health Care.