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UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of ten of America's presidencies and who has edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. We get over 5 million article visits a year. See prorev.com for full contents of our site

March 12, 2010

WHITE HOUSE SABOTAGED STATES' RIGHT TO PROVIDE HEALTHCARE

DAVID SWANSON, OP ED NEWS - Several states' legislatures are close to enacting single-payer healthcare bills. This is a complete healthcare solution that eliminates the for-profit insurance industry, lowers the cost of pharmaceuticals, reduces bureaucracy, and provides universal coverage.

We're not creating such a system in Washington. We're creating something far more limited and compromised, expensive and wasteful. The healthcare bill now in play in Congress may constitute a tremendous step forward, or a tiny one, or a public bailout of the sickness industry that will do more harm than good. The bill includes some good measures but empowers profiteers who are crafting most of the details and whose stocks rise every time passage appears possible.

What if there were something far less controversial than the public option that could bring healthcare to far more people? And what if this something had already passed in committee and been unceremoniously stripped out of the bill without a fight? Would it be worth a winnable fight right now to put this measure back in?

When the first state passes single-payer healthcare, none of the other 49 states will lose anything they've gained through Congress. But the lucky state whose legislature tries to do something more won't see any immediate benefit, because the insurance companies will sue. And there are federal laws that may allow such suits to prevail and deny states the right to provide their residents with healthcare.

Last July the House Committee on Education and Labor voted 25 to 19, with bipartisan support, to pass an amendment proposed by Congressman Dennis Kucinich to waive federal restrictions and allow states to provide healthcare if they choose. Nothing in any other versions of the healthcare bill from other committees conflicted with this language, but it was quietly removed nonetheless. (House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the White House told her to remove it.) And the Senate bill added language forbidding state healthcare solutions through 2017. . .


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