Category: HR 676
Bernie Sanders will ‘absolutely’ be releasing single-payer legislation

Bernie Sanders will ‘absolutely’ be releasing single-payer legislation

Bernie Sanders will ‘absolutely’ be releasing single-payer legislation

July 30, 2017

Aidan Quigley
Posted with permission from Newsweek

Vermont Independent Senator Bernie Sanders said Sunday he would “absolutely” introduce a single-payer healthcare bill following failed Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare.

“Absolutely, of course we are,” Sanders told CNN’s Jake Tapper Sunday. “We’re just tweaking the final points of the bill and we’re figuring out how we can mount a national campaign to bring people together.”

“We are the only major country on earth, the only one, not to guarantee healthcare to all people,” he said. “The result is 28 million people who are uninsured, millions of people who are paying deductibles and copayments that are far too high.”

The GOP’s push to repeal Obamacare was stymied in the Senate when three health care proposals were voted down. The Senate had voted to proceed to debate on a 50-50 vote with a tie-breaking vote by Vice President Mike Pence, but were only able to secure 49 votes on the “skinny” repeal bill, the closest to being passed.

“And if the Republicans had gotten their way, there would have been another 30 or 32 million people thrown off health insurance,” he said. “That is crazy. What we should do is move in the direction of every other major country and guarantee health care as a right, not a privilege.”

A single-payer healthcare system has been picking up support among Democrats in recent years, with a single-payer bill in the House receiving 115 co-sponsors, almost double the amount similar efforts had last session.

In a political move, Republican Senator Steve Daines had tried to force Senate Democrats to vote for-or-against single payer last week during the most recent round of health care votes. But Democrats rejected the efforts, with none voting for it and most voting “present.” Four Democrats voted no: North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp, West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, Indiana’s Joe Donnelly and Montana’s Jon Tester. Liberal-leaning Maine Independent Angus King also voted no.

“I suspect that what Sen. Daines is doing is nothing more than an old political trick, trying to embarrass Democrats,” Sanders said before the vote. “I suspect it’s just a political game.”

Sanders previously introduced a single-payer, Medicare-for-all bill in 2013, that didn’t attract a single co-sponsor. But more Senate Democrats have spoken positively about single payer this year, with New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, California Senator Kamala Harris and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren all saying they support single-payer.

The Senate voted down a single-payer healthcare system — and there’s a specific reason Bernie Sanders opposed it

The Senate voted down a single-payer healthcare system — and there’s a specific reason Bernie Sanders opposed it

Lydia Ramsey
Business Insider
steve daines
steve daines

(Republican Sen. Steve Daines of Montana.AP)

In a twist that exemplifies just how wild the healthcare debate has been, on Thursday the Senate voted on a single-payer healthcare plan. Introduced by a Republican. Who doesn’t support it.

The plan, proposed as an amendment to the House bill by Sen. Steve Daines of Montana, was called the Expanded & Improved Medicare For All Act.

It was overwhelmingly voted down, with the 57 voting “no” and many Democrats choosing to vote “present.” There wasn’t a single “yes” vote.

The amendment was the third healthcare plan to face a key vote during the 20-hour Senate debate period. Votes on both a plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and a plan to repeal the ACA without a finalized replacement have also been unsuccessful.

The amendment would have set up a virtual universal healthcare system in which all Americans would be covered through Medicare, the federal government’s health program that today covers only those who are at least 65 years old.

The intent was to try to expose which senators would vote in favor of a single-payer system.

“I do not support a single-payer system, but I believe Americans deserve to see us debate different ideas, which is why I am bringing forward this amendment,” Daines said in a statement emailed to Business Insider ahead of the vote. “It’s time for every Senator to go on the record on whether or not they support a single-payer healthcare system.”

A representative for Sen. Bernie Sanders — who has been a proponent of “Medicare for All” — called the Republican plan a “sham” and said the Democratic caucus wouldn’t be considering amendments until the final bill is out. Democrats also won’t be introducing amendments until the debate period is over.

He said in a statement:

“The process Republicans have used to try to take health insurance away from millions is a sham. The Democratic caucus will not consider amendments until we see Republicans’ final legislation and know what bill we are amending. Once Republicans show us their final bill, Sen. Sanders looks forward to getting a vote on his amendment that makes clear the Senate believes the United States must join every major country and guarantee healthcare as a right, not a privilege.”

During the debate on Thursday, Sanders called the amendment an “old political trick.”

“I hope that this is really a breakthrough,” Sanders said of the bill.

“I think this is not a time for political games,” he added.

AFGE Local 2809 Endorses HR 676, Improved Medicare for All
| June 9, 2017 | 8:41 pm | Health Care, HR 676, Medicare for All | No comments

AFGE Local 2809 President, John Walton, Jr., reports that his local has endorsed HR 676, national single payer legislation sponsored by Congressman John Conyers.  The local represents approximately 500 members who work at the Social Security Direct Data Operations Center in Wilkes Barre, PA.  The members handle national 800 calls from across the country and seek to resolve issues and answer questions for the public and others.  A recent hiring freeze caused some delays in the processing of forms related to Part D Prescription benefits.

Iris Rakowski, Night Shift Chief Steward, and Martin Vasquez, Sergeant at Arms for the local spoke with Unions for Single Payer.  They report that the membership has seen health care premiums rise and indicated that even a modest increase can create hardship.  They note that in spite of the misconception that government workers make a lot of money, their members make $35,000 to $50,000 on average.

As health care premiums have risen, some workers have had to downgrade their health plan from standard to basic.  That move increases the co-pays charged when the worker seeks care.  And there are deductibles.

The workers choose from a wide variety of plans so there are many different kinds of coverage.  Some workers are in narrow networks and have had to travel more than an hour to Allentown or Bethlehem to be able to see the appropriate in network specialist.

HR 676 was brought to their attention when Dr. Andy Coates, Past President of Physicians for a National Health Program, addressed the Greater Wilkes Barre Central Labor Council earlier this year.  “He provided us with a lot of good information that we weren’t aware of,” said Vasquez.  “We are for everybody.  Our motto is fair and equitable.  We think everyone should be treated with respect–not as a dollar sign.”  So they took a stand for HR 676, Expanded and Improved Medicare for All.

The local joined with other unions in a rally on Saturday May 13, 2017 at Kirby Park in Wilkes Barre from 10 AM to 4 PM.  Labor is united in fighting back against efforts to take away prevailing wage laws, to impose “right to work for less” legislation and other efforts to destroy union rights and to eliminate due process.  The local is working to defeat the anti-worker Hice Act on the national level in addition to supporting HR 676.


Issued by:

Kay Tillow

All Unions Committee for Single Payer Health Care–HR 676
c/o Nurses Professional Organization (NPO)
1169 Eastern Parkway, Suite 2218
Louisville, KY 40217
(502) 636 1551


HR 676 would institute a single payer health care system by expanding a
greatly improved Medicare to everyone residing in the U. S. Patients will
choose their own physicians and hospitals.

HR 676 would cover every person for all necessary medical care including
prescription drugs, hospital, surgical, outpatient services, primary and
preventive care, emergency services, dental (including oral surgery,
periodontics, endodontics), mental health, home health, physical therapy,
rehabilitation (including for substance abuse), vision care and correction,
hearing services including hearing aids, chiropractic, durable medical
equipment, palliative care, podiatric care, and long term care.

HR 676 ends deductibles and co-payments. HR 676 would save hundreds of
billions annually by eliminating the high overhead and profits of the
private health insurance industry.

HR 676 has been endorsed by 630 union organizations including 152 Central
Labor Councils/Area Labor Federations and 44 state AFL-CIO’s (KY, PA, CT,
RI, NH, ID).

The list of union endorsers.
The sample endorsement resolution.


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