It is a tough reality that the chances are fairly slim that single-payer, "Medicare For All" will pass into law in the next few months--it is just not part of the debate on health care, despite being the best economic and moral option. It is obviously possible that the whole legislative process comes to a crashing halt and that single-payer gets a fair hearing--which it has not to date.
In the absence of a short-term victory, though, there is something worth fighting for: an amendment by Dennis Kucinich that would allow states to enact single-payer plans without running afoul of federal standards. Right now, the question is: will Kucinich's amendment be part of the House bill? It should be. I know this is not the first time that has been raised but TODAY IS THE DAY: Nancy Pelosi will make the decision about whether to include the Kucinich Amendment in the manager's bill.
Along with Kucinich, Representatives John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Eric Massa (D-NY), Neil Abercrombie (D-HI), Janice D. Schakowsky (D-IL) Lynn C. Woolsey (D-CA), Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) have signed an October 30th 2009 letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calling for the inclusion of the Kucinich amendment in the bill. Here's the letter to Pelosi:
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House
U.S. House of Representatives
H-232 The Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20515-0001
Dear Madam Speaker,
We write to request that the Kucinich amendment that would grant a waiver of the application of ERISA to a state single payer plan be included in the Manager’s amendment to H.R. 3962.
Like many other important reforms included in the underlying bill, the Kucinich amendment is the object of attack by the insurance industry. Unlike other reform measures, Leadership has chosen to strip the Kucinich amendment of the protection it deserves. In view of the power of the insurance industry to divide and conquer good ideas for reforming health insurance in this country, we believe that a simple vote on the floor would be a setback for the amendment and for single payer health care, because it would be exposed to the full brunt of the insurance industry’s attacks.
Progressives are firm and emphatic in their support for the single payer health care. A single payer, Medicare for All health system is the best way to control costs, drive up quality and extend care to all. Allowing states to opt for a single payer plan is a compromise. It is an incremental reform. But it allows the country to move incrementally in the direction that is needed.
The Kucinich amendment strikes a balance between where we need to go and where we can go in the next week. We urge you to include it in the Manager’s amendment.
Call the following House leaders to get this done:
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: Washington, DC, office (202) 225-4965; San Francisco office (415) 556-4862
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer: Washington, DC, office (202) 225-4131; Greenbelt office (301) 474-0119; Waldorf office (301) 843-1577
Rep. Henry Waxman: Washington, DC, office (202) 225-3976; Los Angeles office (323) 651-1040
Rep. Charles Rangel: Washington, DC, office (202) 225-4365; New York office (212) 663-3900
Rep. George Miller: Washington, DC, office (202) 225-2095; Concord office (925) 602-1880; Richmond office (510) 262-6500; Vallejo office (707) 645-1888
UPDATE: I hope the change from a colon to a comma in the title makes it more clear, per a commenter's observation, that we are calling for Pelosi to support the Kucinich amendment.