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By Ernest A. Canning
on 10/30/2009, 11:25am PT
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...
Concerned citizens can call:
• 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
The 10/30/09 appearance by Rep. Dennis Kucinich on MSNBC’s Ed Schultz Show...
Reader comments follow below ad...
READER COMMENTS ON
"Democracy Under Assault: Pelosi Bill Strips Right of States to Adopt Single-Payer Health Care"
(13 Responses so far...)
COMMENT #1 [Permalink]
said on 10/30/2009 @ 12:59 pm PT...
I'm a bleeding heart progressive pinko commie democratic union guy ! But I'm really getting tired of of being sold out by my "FREINDS" ! I'm also a victim of ted kennedy, howard cannon airline deregulation !
Congressman Dennis Kucinich will be a guest on:
MSNBC, The Ed Shultz Show
Friday, October 30, 2009, at 6:30pm EDT
COMMENT #2 [Permalink]
said on 10/30/2009 @ 1:04 pm PT...
I find it incredibly strange that the way to bipartisanship on the healthcare issue might be the amendment proposed by Kucinich.
Not because Kucinich doesn't make sense on many issues including this one, but because the republicans apparently see the sense of it too.
Of course as David Swanson points out, the republicans might have voted yes simply because the dem chair voted no.
COMMENT #3 [Permalink]
said on 10/30/2009 @ 5:23 pm PT...
Nancy Pelosi is nobody's friend but her own.
She's a total sell-out to her own power and ego, and has done more damage to progressive causes than a dozen neo-cons combined.
Just perfect proof that giving women power won't solve any problems if the women we give the power to are asshats just like the men. Margaret Thatcher probably already proved it, but Nancy put the nail in that coffin.
COMMENT #4 [Permalink]
said on 10/30/2009 @ 6:15 pm PT...
COMMENT #5 [Permalink]
said on 10/30/2009 @ 10:19 pm PT...
I just moved from san francisco, after 11 long, dark years. I was disabled in a car accident just a few months after moving there. The driver of the truck that made an illegal left turn in front of me on a green light was driving without a license. After my car slammed into his (at 35mph), he jumped out of the truck, ran up the street, got his wife, dragged her back to the scene & insisted she tell the cops she had been driving. There were over 30 witnesses. Not a SINGLE PERSON came over to my sedan and helped me out of my car. The horn was blaring and the smoke from the airbag was choking me. I was totally in shock, disbelief, and scared the car was gonna blow up with me trapped in it. I had to climb over to the passenger side of the car and force the door open. I crawled out and walked to the sidewalk, asking what had happened. One person came up to me to tell me they had seen the guy run up the street. The ambulance came & strapped me to a board (wow, I still remeber how awful the pain of the board was-weird). They put me in the ambulance, and as I lay there, the man and his wife got in the ambulance & sat down. A cop came in and asked me what happened. At that time I didn't know much more than seeing the white toyota truck suddenly appearing before me, me saying "oh my god!" About three times before impact, and the collision. The man continued to deny he'd been the driver, and he looked sullen, his wife totally scared next to him. I went to the emergency room, got an xray and was sent home. For the next ten years, my life was a complete misery. I did not know/understand until last year that my strange behavior following the accident was the result of traumatic brain injury. I knew I had PTSD, and anxiety, and eventually found a psychiatrist who helped me immensely, though the drugs I am taking are toxic to my body. I had fibromyalgia (unknown & undiagnosed) most of my life. The accident multiplied its effects about 1000%. My life has never been the same. Doctors ignored me as I tried to find answers or help-offering me sleeping pills and advising me to exercise, when I couldn't even climb three steps without being so tired I needed to rest for 1/2 hour. And so forth. My family (wealthy successful leaders in the democratic party, btw) had no idea what to do with or about me as I spiralled downhill, bedridden for two of the last ten years - possibly due to the effects of anaesthesia following a couple medical procedures, and DEFINITELY due to the side effects of Celexa, an SSRI-type 'antidepressant' that, in my opinion, is of the 'devil" to coin a phrase. My sainted husband, who was himself diagnosed with MS two years into our marriage, has been my caretaker this whole time. He has learned how to take incredibly good care of himself and until the last six months, his symptoms were so minimal, due to the incredibly inexpensive allopathic drug, nutritional choices, and medical marijuana, that his bosses : world-reknowned & respected researchers in the field of MS MEDICATIONS! have forbidden him from participating in any more clinical trials-BECAUSE HE SKEWS THE RESULTS. To say I am a little down on western medicine doesn't come anywhere close to expressing my fury. I KNOW the drug companies formulate medications that are deathly. Perhaps it's true that 45,000 people die each year from lack of health coverage, but far more than 100,000 die from bad TREATMENTS and drug interactions and bad prescriptions, etc. Our health 'care' system is BROKEN. Doctors who attempt to promote simple, sensible solutions to costly, complex, life-threatening diseases like cancer & diabetes are run out of town on a rail, dismissed from the insurance company rosters, removed from hospital privileges, and the like. It's as if the Mafia is running this business-facilitating addiction and dependence on costly drugs at the expense of EVERYONE'S wellbeing. Nancy Pelosi is just one monster in an army of monsters who are running our country with a determined focus on undermining our wellbeing on EVERY front-foreclosures, pension destruction, eviscerating the schools, the towns, the cities, the public service infrastructure. It's just mindboggling what's going on around us. I am, ironically, finally applying for SSDI, as I have come to the sad conclusion that I cannot work any more, and we don't have the money to pay for treatments I believe might help me to recover from the significant pain I suffer daily, weekly, monthly, pretty much 24/7, 365. I do have some good days, and I treasure them. But my husband, who has been such a trooper, is so exhausted after our recent move that two months after we 'downsized', he is crying at the breakfast table with fear, overwhelm, and despair. His MS symptoms have recurred with a vengeance, and he's so debilitated that I am now worried sick about him. My parents are helping us with the rent now, and although my father called my husband a couple of months ago to reassure him that they wouldn't let us go down and become homeless, he added the kicker that my husband should show me 'tough love' even though my husband had told him & my mom about my four-day back spasm episode where I took 26 Percocets during that period, to no avail. (I will never take another Percocet-next time I'm in that much pain, I'm calling 911!). And also, during our move-leaving a fully furnished 5br home (we were renters & master tenants, so I had a fulltime job just filling the rooms so we could make the rent every month-we never missed one month paying the $3000 rent, either) to a 1br tiny little slice of heaven, where we pay an outrageous $1000 per month,,, not ONE SINGLE FRIEND in our network of 'caring, community-oriented spiritual seekers, even called to ASK US HOW THE MOVE WAS GOING, let alone offer to HELP! Even though they KNOW we are disabled, were emotionally distraught at the situation that occurred in our home the final six months that precipitated our need to move, etc. Etc. Etc. Not even my BEST FRIEND called to check in on us.Until I sent out an email stating my need so clearly to 20 'close' friends, and only four even replied, with only two people showing up for a few hours, with never another call to see how we're doing AFTER the move. So what I see, why I've told you just this small sliver of my atrocious decade of eye-opening experiences, is that we as a country are so shut down, so asleep, and so numbed out that it is hard for me to believe that there are enough of us who GET IT to reach and touch and awaken the many sleepers. The whole system we live under appears calculated to keep us desperate, separate, and in isolation. My friends, I am in action. I am talking to people. I am telling my story. I'm telling people that the dollar is dying, that money is a fiction, and that we'd better start learning to care for ourselves and eahc other. And some of us know how. But there are so many more who don't and when the system completely collapses, as I believe it is in the process of doing, this desperate but mind-controlled sleepers will think of nothing but 'I'm hungry-let's EAT.' I think we must prepare. Nancy Pelosi is but a symptom. The disease is isolation. We must join together, talk, share, teach ourselves what we need to know to make the transition. Health care will be the least of our worries...
COMMENT #6 [Permalink]
said on 10/31/2009 @ 3:57 pm PT...
obama is just another sham politician - no more work on his behalf nor donations from me.
Cheap whores like obama are a dime a dozen - I no longer support him PERIOD.
COMMENT #7 [Permalink]
said on 10/31/2009 @ 3:58 pm PT...
How can that be constitutional? What right do they have to dictate what the states can do on this issue in the first place??
COMMENT #8 [Permalink]
said on 10/31/2009 @ 4:01 pm PT...
Keep your eye on a state like Vermont that will tell em to Eff off we're going to do it anyhow try and stop us!
COMMENT #9 [Permalink]
said on 10/31/2009 @ 4:31 pm PT...
This is a disaster. Here in PA, there's a bill in the legislature with significant support (and the support of the governor) that would establish a statewide single payer system.
COMMENT #10 [Permalink]
Ernest A. Canning
said on 10/31/2009 @ 6:24 pm PT...
Doug said on 10/31/2009 @ 3:58 pm PT...
How can that be constitutional? What right do they have to dictate what the states can do on this issue in the first place??
Unfortunately, Doug, despite the traditional state police power to protect the health and safety of its citizens, the right of Congress to legislate in this area is derived from the interstate commerce clause.
Once the federal government legislates in a particular area of law, it can preempt state law, with the federal law being deemed the supreme law of the land.
In fact, as reported by the Center for Policy Analysis:
Some state and local governments that have attempted to expand health care coverage have been successfully challenged in court under the terms of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). ERISA pre-empts states from enacting legislation if it is "related to" employee benefit plans. It reserves that right to the federal government. Section 514 of ERISA states that Title V (Administration and Enforcement) and Title IV (Fiduciary Responsibility) of ERISA "shall supercede any and all State laws insofar as they may… relate to any employee benefit plan."
The reason Kucinich offered the amendment was to overcome the ERISA preemption issue. Without the Kucinich amendment, the insurance cartel can block the effort by states like PA to enact single-payer legislation by seeking a court order declaring that the state legislation is preempted by ERISA.
COMMENT #11 [Permalink]
said on 11/1/2009 @ 8:51 am PT...
I think my state Oregon would be one of the ones to opt-out in favor of single payer. Guess we'll have to go through the courts for 10 long years as we did with the death with dignity act.
COMMENT #12 [Permalink]
Ernest A. Canning
said on 11/1/2009 @ 8:56 am PT...
naschkatze, I don't think you understand. Under the Pelosi bill, a state would be permitted to opt out of providing even an emasculated public option so as to leave all of that state's citizens to the mercies of the so-called "free market." States would not be allowed to adopt a "single payer" system.
COMMENT #13 [Permalink]
said on 11/2/2009 @ 7:54 am PT...
Here's a direct quote via email from a friend of mine, Carl Romanelli of the Green Party in Pennsylvania:
Yes, I see this. Same as it ever was with the phony Democrats. However, states still have the right to their own system, but using certain federal dollars in the PA Health Trust fund is much more difficult without the amendment. The same amendment failed in the Senate. It was introduced by Bernie Sanders and Casey was one the Dems to vote against it.
Thanks for the update
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