The White House and the Congress continue to raise expectations that real health reform will be passed this year.  The proposals we have seen so far amount to a massive subsidy for the wealth and power of the private insurance industry.  The sticking point has become how to raise hundreds of billions of dollars to do so.

During the campaign the President stood against John McCain’s proposal to tax health benefits and Hilary Clinton’s proposal for an individual mandate.  Now these are definitely “on the table” as congressional proposals include these measures:  taxing existing health benefits, mandating that individuals purchase of health insurance.  In addition “savings” has been projected through cutting existing Medicare and Medicaid benefits and reimbursements!   None of these proposals will improve our health care system.  The “public plan option,” even at this late date, has yet to materialize as a specific proposal – it remains merely a political posture, a talking point.

Single payer has been “off the table” from the beginning.  But thanks to our growing, vocal and brave movement, we have been invited, in a big hurry, to testify in Congress.  Dr. Margaret Flowers appeared before the Senate Committee on Finance only weeks after being arrested in the same committee room.  (Appropriate for the symbolism of the moment, she was granted a half a seat at the end of a very long table, beside Mr. Ronald Williams, Aetna CEO whose personal compensation in  2008 was $24 million.)  Since that testimony single payer advocates have appeared before all three of the committees of jurisdiction in the House — Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce and Health,  Education, Labor and Pensions.

Because single payer national health insurance along the lines of HR 676 or S 703 — bills in Congress — is the only proposal that will save hundreds of billions of dollars and the only proposal that will provide comprehensive care for EVERYBODY, the proposal is gathering momentum, becoming an irresistible force.  Pressure for single payer — demonstrations of public protest, petitions, postcard campaigns and winning new endorsements for single payer is essential.  It remains an uphill fight but our strength is gaining.

It will become clear to everyone that changes in the system based upon private health insurance are not reform and will not make our lives better.  As we explain that single payer is the solution we should explain, with confidence, that private health insurance is the problem.  Private health insurance is not only wastes massive resources and drives hideous cost escalation, it costs us tens of thousands of lives annually.

It’s time to tell Congress that it’s headed in the wrong direction – proposing to spend over a trillion more dollars to put band aids on a healthcare system that needs major surgery. They are rolling out a shameful basket of reforms that will cost us all a bundle, but:

  • Won’t guarantee access to health care for everyone in the United States.
  • Won’t stop thousands from dying every year because they didn’t get care they needed.
  • Won’t end insurance company denials of needed care, and profiteering from health care.
  • Won’t end medical-related bankruptcy.
  • Won’t contain the skyrocketing costs of health care.

The following Chairs of the five House and Senate Committees responsible for new legislation need to hear from us NOW. In addition, if one of the Congress people representing you sits on one of these Committees, contact them, too.

Call toll free at 1-866-338-1015 or find more info below.

HOUSE
Chairman Charles Rangel – Phone: 202-225-4365 – Fax: 202-225-0816 –
email
Chairman Henry Waxman – Phone: 202-225-3976 – Fax: 202-225-4099 – email
Chairman George Miller – Phone: 202-225-2095 – Fax: 202-225-5609 – email

SENATE
Senator Chris Dodd – Phone: 202-224-2823 – Fax: 202-224-1083 –
email
Senator Max Baucus – Phone: 800-332-6106 – Fax: 202-224-9412 – email

The asks are two:
(1) That the CBO score and cost out single payer legislation (HR 676; S 703) and compare it to their scoring and costing of the new legislation now coming out of these committees; and
(2) That single payer experts be included in all Committee hearings on health care reform.

Call, write, email now! Make your voice heard for real health care reform. We have the solution to our healthcare crisis.

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