Alliance for Democracy

Why I voted No, Dennis Kucinich; statement of Leadership Conference for Guaranteed Health Care‏

Posted in Health Care, Kucinich, Single Payer, Weiner Amendment by Alliance for Democracy Portland OR on November 10, 2009

We have been led to believe that we must make our health care choices only within the current structure of a predatory, for-profit insurance system which makes money not providing health care. the insurance companies are the problem, not the solution.

 Dennis Kucinich was one of a handful of Congressional Democrats to vote against the House Health Care bill which passed by a very slim majority.
Below Dennis’s statement is a letter from the Leadership Conference for Guaranteed Health Care.  The conference is made up of Alliance for Democracy, Healthcare-Now, Physicians for a National Health Program, Progressive Democrats of America, Public Citizen, Healthcare for All Texas and Western PA Coalition for Single Payer, all advocates for a single payer health care system.  The letter notes that Sen Bernie Sanders will introduce S 703 in the coming weeks and is reworking it to be more in line with HR 676.  Watch for further emails when he does that. 

David e. Delk, Alliance for Democracy – Portland Chapter 503 232 5495
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Why I Voted NO by Dennis Kucinich


Published on Sunday, November 8, 2009 by
Why I Voted NO
by Dennis Kucinich

We have been led to believe that we must make our health care choices
only within the current structure of a predatory, for-profit insurance
system which makes money not providing health care. We cannot fault
the insurance companies for being what they are. But we can fault
legislation in which the government incentivizes the perpetuation,
indeed the strengthening, of the for-profit health insurance industry,
the very source of the problem. When health insurance companies deny
care or raise premiums, co-pays and deductibles they are simply trying
to make a profit. That is our system.

Clearly, the insurance companies are the problem, not the solution.
They are driving up the cost of health care. Because their massive
bureaucracy avoids paying bills so effectively, they force hospitals
and doctors to hire their own bureaucracy to fight the insurance
companies to avoid getting stuck with an unfair share of the bills.
The result is that since 1970, the number of physicians has increased
by less than 200% while the number of administrators has increased by
3000%. It is no wonder that 31 cents of every health care dollar goes
to administrative costs, not toward providing care. Even those with
insurance are at risk. The single biggest cause of bankruptcies in the
U.S. is health insurance policies that do not cover you when you get

But instead of working toward the elimination of for-profit insurance,
H.R. 3962 would put the government in the role of accelerating the
privatization of health care. In H.R. 3962, the government is
requiring at least 21 million Americans to buy private health
insurance from the very industry that causes costs to be so high,
which will result in at least $70 billion in new annual revenue, much
of which is coming from taxpayers. This inevitably will lead to even
more costs, more subsidies, and higher profits for insurance companies
– a bailout under a blue cross.

By incurring only a new requirement to cover pre-existing conditions,
a weakened public option, and a few other important but limited
concessions, the health insurance companies are getting quite a deal.
The Center for American Progress’ blog, Think Progress, states, ‘since
the President signaled that he is backing away from the public option,
health insurance stocks have been on the rise.’ Similarly, healthcare
stocks rallied when Senator Max Baucus introduced a bill without a
public option. Bloomberg reports that Curtis Lane, a prominent health
industry investor, predicted a few weeks ago that ‘money will start
flowing in again’ to health insurance stocks after passage of the
legislation. last month reported that pharmacy benefit
managers share prices are hitting all-time highs, with the only
industry worry that the Administration would reverse its decision not
to negotiate Medicare Part D drug prices, leaving in place a Bush
Administration policy.

During the debate, when the interests of insurance companies would
have been effectively challenged, that challenge was turned back. The
‘robust public option’ which would have offered a modicum of
competition to a monopolistic industry was whittled down from an
initial potential enrollment of 129 million Americans to 6 million. An
amendment which would have protected the rights of states to pursue
single-payer health care was stripped from the bill at the request of
the Administration. Looking ahead, we cringe at the prospect of even
greater favors for insurance companies.

Recent rises in unemployment indicate a widening separation between
the finance economy and the real economy. The finance economy
considers the health of Wall Street, rising corporate profits, and
banks’ hoarding of cash, much of it from taxpayers, as sign of an
economic recovery. However in the real economy – in which most
Americans live – the recession is not over. Rising unemployment,
business failures, bankruptcies and foreclosures are still hammering
Main Street.

This health care bill continues the redistribution of wealth to Wall
Street at the expense of America’s manufacturing and service economies
which suffer from costs other countries do not have to bear,
especially the cost of health care. America continues to stand out
among all industrialized nations for its privatized health care
system. As a result, we are less competitive in steel, automotive,
aerospace and shipping while other countries subsidize their exports
in these areas through socializing the cost of health care.

Notwithstanding the fate of H.R. 3962, America will someday come to
recognize the broad social and ecnomic benefits of a not-for-profit,
single-payer health care system, which is good for the American people
and good for America’s businesses, with of course the notable
exceptions being insurance and pharmaceuticals.

Letter from the Leadership Conference for Guaranteed Health Care

Dear Friends, 

On the eve of what could have been the first vote on single-payer legislation in our nation's history, 
we have just learned that because of last minute developments, the vote and debate on Congressman Weiner's 
single-payer amendment will not happen.  Speaker Pelosi received a statement from Rep. Kucinich and 
Rep. Conyers, the co-authors of HR 676, that they do not think that this is the right time for a vote 
on national single-payer legislation.  They made this statement despite the extensive mobilization in 
support of this vote across the country.  In addition, Speaker Pelosi felt that offering a single-payer
amendment would open the floodgates to amendments proposed to limit abortion funds, restrict immigrant 
access to health care and other regressive legislation. 
Let us remember that the potential vote on Congressman Weiner's single-payer amendment resulted from holding 
fast to our principles of universal, comprehensive health care with no financial barriers.  These efforts 
have brought truth and clarity to a national debate on health care reform that has been polluted by the 
corporate influence over Congress.  While the private insurance industry has sent 3,000lobbyists to Capital 
Hill this year, spending 1.4 million dollars a day to shape reform that protects their profits, our calls, 
faxes, and demonstrations have created the momentum to bring legislation based on HR 676 to the floor of the 
House and Senate. 
The vote for Congressman Weiner's single-payer amendment would have allowed advocates to have their representatives
on record as single-payer supporters.
But this legislative battle is not yet over.  Our focus can now turn to two remaining efforts for single-payer in 
this Congress. Sen. Bernie Sanders will introduce S 703 in coming weeks, and we understand that he is considering 
editing it to be more like HR676.  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. 
All of these efforts are crucial to building the movement for the only solution to our health care crisis - 
single-payer national health care. 
If this Congress passes inadequate legislation, there will no doubt be emboldened state movements in the coming years.  
We welcome them.  But let us not forget the movement to push our federal legislators to meet the demands of the people, 
not roll that responsibility onto the states.  The Leadership Conference for Guaranteed Health Care remains committed 
to a national, single-payer solution to the health care crisis. Comprehensive, quality health care is a right that 
should be extended to every U.S. resident. 
At this important time, let us not forget how far we have come. Either now or later, a single-payer national health 
care system must come to the table.  We'll keep building the movement to make that happen. 

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