Breaking: Pelosi Relents on Weiner HR 676 Floor Vote…and Why I’m Not Rejoicing

Just received this from Healthcare-Now!:

We just got word from Congressman Weiner’s office that because of your phone calls, faxes, and demonstrations, Speaker Pelosi is keeping her promise to allow the Weiner single-payer amendment a full debate and vote on the floor of the House.

After nearly being shut out of the discussion completely, single-payer Medicare for All is being heard in the corridors of power as soon as this Friday.

Call now to ask your Rep. to vote yes on Rep. Weiner’s single-payer amendment.

This is the one opportunity for your elected officials to go on record as supporting the only universal, comprehensive, cost-effective solution to the health care crisis. There are currently 87 cosponsors of HR 676, but this vote will make it clear to the movement which elected officials are truly with single-payer, Medicare for All.

We need you to call today!

Ask your Representative to vote his or her conscience. Vote for the plan that most American people, nurses, and physicians want and so desperately need: Medicare for All.

Call now to demand your Rep. vote yes on Rep. Weiner’s single-payer amendment.

What Pelosi has not relented on is restoration of the Kucinich amendment to facilitate efforts by individual states to institute their own single payer systems. As I predicted,

The likelihood that leadership will bend on either of these requests is minuscule, but if they do bend at all, it will be to allow the purely symbolic HR 676 floor vote as a sop to single-payer supporters and take no action to restore the Kucinich amendment, telling progressives that one for two isn’t bad.

So by all means, let’s hit the phones to ensure that our progressive representatives are on board with this symbolic vote to register an ultimate preference for straight Medicare for All. But as I’ve maintained repeatedly, nothing worth having was worth trading away for this pyrrhic display.

The rage and demonstrations, such as the arrests earlier this week at Pelosi’s San Francisco office, must continue and intensify, both to register the need to restore the Kucinich amendment to the House/Senate conference legislation and to demand the de-emasculation of the public option through steps such as those I suggested here:

* Opening of the exchanges (and through them the PO) to all Americans not otherwise covered by public programs from year 1
* Redesignation of year 1 from 2013 to first quarter of 2011
* Restriction of income-based subsidies on the exchange to the public option only (one of the original Hacker criteria)
* Public option operated as an extension of the CMS infrastructure (another Hacker criterion for a truly “Medicare-like” PO)
* Medicare + 5% reimbursement rates on the PO
* Making physicians’ continued participation in Medicare, Medicaid, or SCHIP contingent on their acceptance of PO patients (so docs pay a price for attempting to duck out of seeing PO patients).

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