Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning
Last July we reported on a Small Victory for Long-Term Single-Payer Strategy when the "House Labor and Education Committee voted 27 - 19 to adopt an amendment offered by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) to HR 3200, the hybrid 'public option' health care legislation that leaves in place the current multi-payer system. The Kucinich amendment was supported by 13 of the Committee's Republicans. It was opposed by the Committee's chairman, George Miller (D-CA)."
As we noted at the time, "If it survives a House floor vote...the Kucinich amendment would insure that efforts to secure single-payer systems at the state level would not be preempted by federal law." The measure would thus allow advocates of a single-payer health care system to pursue the same local democratic strategy used in Canada, where single-payer was achieved first at the Province level; then extended nationally.
On Thursday, the Pelosi-led House Leadership unveiled their so-called health care "reform" bill which presents an emasculated public insurance option to provide a populist fig-leaf as cover for what David Swanson aptly described as "a catastrophically bad law" and as a "Healthcare Hoax from Hell." Not only does this legislative obscenity permit states to deprive all of their citizens of even this watered-down version by opting out of the public option, but these Democratic "leaders" stripped the Kucinich amendment out of H.R. 3200.
In acting to shield the obscene profits of a handful of insurance cartel CEOs and their Wall Street investors, the Pelosi-led House Leadership has attacked not only basic principles of federalism embodied in the U.S. Constitution but democracy itself. Stripped of the Kucinich amendment, H.R. 3200 would prevent the adoption of state or local single-payer health care systems, even if those systems are overwhelmingly approved by voters by way of initiative or referendum. In the bargain, the insurance cartel would thus be permitted to block state and local efforts to protect the health and very lives of their citizens.
Is this "change we can believe in?"
UPDATE 10/30/09: Appearing on MSNBC's Ed Schultz Show, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) revealed that he and other progressive members of Congress, including John Conyers (D-MI) were attempting to reinstate the Kucinich amendment through a "manager's amendment"; that we should know by Monday whether their effort to restore the only measure for holding the insurance cartel accountable will be included.
The video of that appearance and a list of the "managers" whom concerned citizens can call, follows...