Friday, June 26, 2009

Sanders State Single Payer Amendment Introduced

I am in DC, where Senator Bernie Sanders has introduced an amendment to the coverage section of the Senate HELP Committee's draft health reform bill. The amendment would provide funding to up to 2 states a year to establish state-based single payer systems, if the states apply to do so.

We will have more information soon on the full text of the amendment, and suggestions on how to build support for it, especially during the Congressional recess that has just begun. It will be presented for a vote in Committee sometime after Congress reconvenes on July 7.

The amendment is the work of Sen. Sanders and his staff, but our Center was pleased to play a small role in providing advice on drafting. In substance, it mirrors a state single payer amendment proposed by Sen. Paul Wellstone in 1994, as part of the consideration of the Clinton health reform proposal. It was passed by the same Senate HELP Committee at that time (though the Committee had a slightly different name then). (Although the Committee passed this amendment in 1994, and a whole bill, the bill as a whole died before it could come to the floor for a vote.)


  1. The opportunity for states to experiment with single payer reform could be more important than any other provision of the health care reform bill. I will certainly mention this amendment and your work this evening as I discuss health care reform prospects on a Tikkun conference call at 6PM tonight: 1-888-346-3950 code 11978# Twitter @doctoraaron

  2. It seems to be easily forgotten that healthcare is a human need.

    Furthermore, we seem to forget easily that no free market principles apply to the healthcare industry. Monopolies do exist, right now in many states. That's according to the American Medical Association.

    I want the mother, with a child, who was told by her doctor she needs cancer drugs to have that treatment. No company, businessman or rule should say she cannot have a doctor ordered treatment.

    Nonprofit healthcare is sustainable and more effective for an ever aging society. Even today, a man 60 years old couldn't afford individual health insurance when laid off, it may cost $600 - $1,000 per month. Would you like him to deplete his savings? Put it on a credit card? Home Equity Line of Credit?

    We cannot keep mortgaging our future on the false premise that change is "too disruptive." America was founded on revolution. Let's not become so "American," with our foreign cards, furniture and clothes, that we forget the brand.