Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Amendment brings single payer to House committee vote! Call now in support!

Today in his White House press conference, President Obama said he was going to move forward on health care. Bills are at or near completion in both the Senate and House. Today, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions approved their bill, The Affordable Health Choices Act, and, as you know, Rep. John Conyers has sponsored a universal single payer bill, HR676, for several years.

On Tuesday, House Democrats unveiled the Tri-Committee Health Reform Bill.

This is not HR 676. This bill mandates individual coverage and while it offers a variety of public plans, it will cost an estimated $1 trillion over the next ten years while still leaving millions of Americans uninsured or underinsured. And this is before the bill is watered down by conference committees and backroom deals to protect the for-profit health care industry.

This Friday or Monday, but possibly as early as Thursday, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) will introduce, in the House Energy and Commerce Committee, an amendment to substitute Rep. John Conyers's HR 676 single payer bill for the current compromised Tri-Committee bill. The committee, one of three that has jurisdiction over health care, will vote on the amendment the same day it is offered--which is why your call is needed as soon as possible to support Weiner's amendment and the institution of the only truly fair and economical form of universal coverage--a single payer health care system.

Does your representative sit on the Energy and Commerce Committee? If so, contact him or her immediately to say you want them to vote YES on Rep. Weiner's amendment.

You can call toll free at 800-473-6711. Ask for your representative's office. Then ask to speak to the legislative assistant on health care.

Here's a script: "Hello, My name is __________, and as your constituent, I urge the Representative to vote YES on Representative Anthony Weiner's single-payer, HR 676 amendment to the Energy and Commerce Committee's healthcare bill."

Weiner's amendment shows that grassroots pressure can push back against the estimated $1.4 million that the health care industry is spending daily on lobbying and other activities to protect their profits.

HR 676 would create a single payer health care system by expanding a greatly improved Medicare system for everyone. HR 676 ends deductibles and co-payments, and would save hundreds of billions annually by eliminating the high overhead, bureaucracy, and profits of the private health care industry. In the current Congress, HR 676 has 85 co-sponsors in addition to Rep. Conyers, most recently Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania. That a congressman from a relatively conservative district is sponsoring a single payer health care bill shows that our movement is growing--and that other reps from similar districts can be encouraged to sign on too. The companion Senate bill, introduced by Bernie Sanders, is SB 703.

If you don't have a representative on the committee, please call committee Chairman Henry Waxman at 202-225-3976 and tell him to vote YES on the amendment.

Keep up the good work by making another call today!

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