Amnesty International USA calls on Senate to Consider Single Payer proposals

Amnesty International USA issued the following email alert.

To take action, go to the AI-USA online Action Center: Health Care is a Human Right — Urge the Senate to Have a Real Debate on Single Payer

We at Amnesty International believe that policymakers have a historic opportunity to reform a broken health care system. During the presidential debates, Barack Obama took a step in the right direction by affirming that health care should be a right. The legislation now emerging from Washington is, however, a long way from fulfilling that vision.

One reason the current draft legislation falls short of the mark is that single-payer advocates, a crucial human rights constituency, have been largely excluded from the reform process. While the human right to health care does not mandate any particular type of health care system, of the reform proposals being discussed in the U.S. today, the single-payer plans are more universal, equitable and accountable — the three key principles of the human right to health care. Single-payer plans approach health care as an essential service and a public good. A single-payer health care system would pair private delivery with public financing — that is, with private doctors, clinics and hospitals getting all their reimbursement from the government. Medicare, a well-established and popular part of our current health care system, works this way; a single-payer system would institute an improved Medicare for all.

Two of Amnesty International’s ally organizations, the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative and the National Health Law Program, have analyzed current single-payer proposals, and found them to come much closer to fulfilling the human right to health care than the market-based reform plans.

But the powerful Senate Finance Committee, the single most important legislative grouping in the reform process, has yet to hold a public hearing on single-payer. In fact, the committee chair, Sen. Max Baucus, has said that single-payer is “off the table” — a stance he has since acknowledged was mistaken.

Advocates for a human rights-based approach to health care must be included in the reform process. Tell Max Baucus to hold a Finance Committee hearing on single-payer!

Publicly financed and administered health care should be expanded as the strongest vehicle for making health care universally accessible and accountable. Single-payer is a crucial proposal for fulfilling the human right to health care. Without a single-payer seat at the table, we risk that no one will speak up for true universality and a fair, equitable health care system..

Too much of the current debate about health care assumes that we can talk about health care in the same way that we talk about consumer products. But health care is not about markets; it is about the right of every person to live a life of dignity. In health care reform, human rights must come first.

Though things are moving very fast in Congress, it’s not too late to make your voice heard. Tell Max Baucus that single-payer advocates must be heard!


Sameer Dossani
Demand Dignity Campaign Director
Amnesty International, USA

P.S. You can always get more information on Amnesty International’s Healthcare Is A Human Right project and sign our petition at


  1. Eliza Jane Dodd on June 23, 2009 at 9:43 pm

    Someone Better come up with a WAY to Pay for this Obama said TODAY on National TV ! And he WILL GIVE IT TO US …..Meidcare the Public Plan and Obama said today as I can read between the lines That if the Insurance Companies can do this Better than the GOV. then SHOW US ! Show us the Money and ya know what ? They can never produce …because if anyone here has went to Bernie Sanders site TODAY ? New Videos on Sanders site very good ones …i think that should be on this Web Site also so more people can see and sign the HR 676 Petition …
    When Kucinich was running and I would talk about him people would say Kucinich who ? or they couldnt even pronounce his name after I said it …like I was talking Greek and I said some strange word …So people in General dont keep up with Senators ..they really dont ..they dont keep up with the issues until if effects them and then it may be too late for them …like me …I was almost a satistic and I have been spreading the word about HR676 since I first heard of it by Kucinich(2003) and John Conyers. And no one even heard of John Conyers !!! it was like I was living in the twilight zone ..And I made hundreds of copies of HR 676 and handed them out to people all over the place where I live and beyond ! And every single person I gave HR 676 to Never even heard about it …and everyone wanted it …and asked me how do we get it and I tell them …over and over is just amazing how many people dont even know about it ……I told them all to call the White House call the congress people ..sign the Petitions all over the Web !
    One more thing I have to say or ask today >Dint the UNITED Nations Demand that the USA Provide All the CITIZENS with HEALTH CARE a FEW Years Back ???Then Our Gov is Breaking the United Nations Treaty !!!!! Someone find out ? I will be searching for that article I read …some time ago and I know too well how stuff just gets erased on the inter-net

  2. Gerald L. Howard on June 24, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    I am reaching retirement age. I am concerned about the possible rationing of health care to seniors when the government decodes it is spending too much on a US national healthcare system. I don’t my wife or me to be of those dying every year because we didn’t get care we needed. Even if the Government claims to give health care to every person in the US, it can still change that decision without debate. I have no trust a national health care system, and I do believe it will drive out or drastically increase cost for private health insurance/care. Health care must remain in the private sector with/for competition. The Federal government has to learn to manage it without controlling/running it.

  3. bill karras on June 24, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    I’ve heard from 3 doctors: our orthopedic surgeon, my family doctor, and Obama’s personal doctor, and they all lean toward single payer