DNC Votes Down Single Payer… Again

“If this is controversial in this room, it is the only room of Democrats in which it is controversial.” Michael Lighty of National Nurses United said this to the Democratic Platform Committee on July 9, 2016, before it voted down his proposed amendment to include single-payer healthcare in the Party Platform, by a vote of 66-to-92. Single payer is supported by 81% of Democrats and 58% of U.S. residents.

The vote followed testimony from Ce Cole Dillon, a Clinton delegate who testified “If not having healthcare is bad, in communities of color for women it is a tragedy. Black women predominantly live in the old states of the Confederacy, who all opted out of the ACA. We need healthcare!” The vote followed testimony from Cornel West, who asked “how do we elevate rights as opposed to privileges?” From Dr. Pam Gronemeyer, who pleaded that “it’s time the Democratic Party also became the party of humanity.”

Single payer was one of the only issues the Clinton campaign refused to develop compromise language on, and you can see Clinton’s whips in the background giving the thumbs-down instruction to their delegates during the vote:

You can see the full vote and all of the testimony for and against the amendment here:

Earlier that same day Clinton and Bernie Sanders agreed upon a joint healthcare statement, which was published in the media and made no mention of single-payer healthcare. The statement is essentially Clinton’s previous healthcare platform, focused on bringing back the “public option,” plus a commitment to expand funding for community health centers, a long-standing priority of Sanders’s.


  1. Clark Newhall on July 10, 2016 at 7:17 pm

    I think that Hilary Clinton is and always has been a creature of the healthcare-industrial complex. She has no understanding of human needs and she has no moral standing. Unfortunately for all of us, she will be the Democrappic nominee. As a result of that nomination, Donaldof Trumpolini will be elected as the next (and last) President of the US.

    • Marilyn Quinn on July 13, 2016 at 2:53 pm

      I have believed in Single Payer ever since living and working under such a plan in Japan. I also iived 2 years in Germany, where the insurance options do not match single payer. They do, however, have a “public option” for those who do not go with one of the non-profit plans offered professional groups. Their public option rejects people over a certain income I would rather see single payer, but the Democratic platform has at least put the public option back into play. A win by Trump in the fall would destroy even that idea. In fact, it is very important that the Congressional majorities become Democratic. Just as Bernie has declared, the importance of defeating the GOP by voting for Hillary, I believe also that withholding votes or giving them to a third party will destroy our hopes totally. I lived through the defeat of Gore by third-party Nader, which ushered in the W/Cheney fiasco and ensured the continued degradation of our planet. Frankly, I firmly believe that we need to be loudly vocal, but we need to recognize that our campaign and election system is the root cause. Concentrate on that. Nothing good will happen, just as Bernie says, until we correct that. Our government is a two-party system, and if we want to change that, then let’s look how it is done in other democracies.

  2. An Jones on July 10, 2016 at 7:28 pm

    This is shameful but not surprising. And the Dems ask why and how it is that so many voters have left the parties and are registered as independent or unaligned. THIS is why. It is the constant and consistent formulation of ideas, attitudes, and strategies based on fear instead of going for what we all really want. This is a key reason why Dems continue to lose support across the nation and why Bernie attracted so many disaffected voters.

    • Sandy L on July 10, 2016 at 11:01 pm

      As long as candidates are only chosen from 1 of 2 parties, why would they care about the anyone else’s well-being when all they need is 50% + 1 vote to win?

  3. Shawna Doran on July 10, 2016 at 8:12 pm

    Back to the Green Party for me and thousands of others.

  4. Robert Stebbins on July 10, 2016 at 9:06 pm

    No matter what the Democratic convention decides on health care, the issue will continue to grow. At this point it is probably not bringing in enough voters to be decisive.

  5. Kristi Hein on July 10, 2016 at 9:16 pm

    Two months and twenty days to Medicare for me. Oh horrors, single payer health care! I’ll lose my $3,000 annual deductible! I’ll lose my $383/month Exchange premiums, which would be $750/month without my subsidy (my government’s gift to the private insurance industry).

    • Sheryl Schmatjen on July 10, 2016 at 9:49 pm

      Well said, Kristi! And yes, the difference between what you pay on your premium and it’s actual cost, that is subsidized to the insurance company, is our government’s gift (political “donation”) back to the insurance companies that funded the Congressional campaigns of all those anti-single payer Congress critters that can’t see the US as needing/capable of single payer healthcare as a right for every citizen to be healthy without being bankrupted. Europe and Canada can do it… but the ‘greatest country on earth’ just can’t manage it….

  6. Daniel Gilbrech on July 10, 2016 at 9:31 pm

    I feel that the only alternative is to vote Republican because in this case they are the only ones who will stick the knife in you face to face and not behind your back.

    Single Payor NOW is the 21st Century hurdle that must be overcome.

    Look at how many people said no to Medicare under President Johnson and now you couldn’t take it away from them.

    Our Politicians need to be BOLD!!!

    • Mike on July 11, 2016 at 1:34 pm

      VOTE REPUBLICAN??? !!! Are you questioning your sanity?

      Democrats care somewhat about the uninsured, Republicans could care less. It is the Republicans that want to privatize Social Security and Medicare, and give money to the private insurance companies. It is the Republican Governors who refuse to extend Medicaid to the low wage uninsured citizens of their state, and let them die without health care. If you vote Republican you are voting to let the poor, and ill, and elderly die before it is their time to die – with a little (cheap) medical attention they could be OK, and live many more years.

  7. Joeseph Conde on July 10, 2016 at 9:48 pm

    Fuck you UN-democratic party. You are a bunch of bought and sold, corporate, right-wing criminals. Go fuck yourselves.

    • Cindy Purvis on July 11, 2016 at 8:26 am

      Wrong. The Democratic Party has a lot of progressives who support Single Payer. Weare fighting. We just need to grow. And we are!

  8. Doug Hagedorn on July 10, 2016 at 9:51 pm

    These people just turned a life long democrat into a republican congrats.

    • Mike on July 11, 2016 at 1:36 pm

      I seriously doubt you were a Democrat to start with. If you think
      Republicans will lift a finger to give you health care of any type, you have a vivid imagination.

    • Marilyn Quinn on July 13, 2016 at 3:06 pm

      I am going to follow Bernie’s advice and vote Hillary. There are many issues at stake, and will not give the election to Trump under any circumstances. Third party and withholding votes is not the way to do it in our two-party system. We need to use our anger and our wits in other ways.

  9. Walter Tsou on July 10, 2016 at 10:12 pm

    When 81% of Democrats in the Dec 2015 Kaiser poll support single payer and the Democratic party cannot endorse the will of its own constituents, it makes a mockery of democracy. Health care is a public good, not a market commodity which is what the ACA has done.

    If you are pissed about this despicable decision, join us on the first day of the DNC in Philadelphia City Hall, 3 PM at the March for Our Lives (www.march4ourlives2016.org) for a legal demonstration in support of poor people, including the need for single payer.

    • Cindy Purvis on July 11, 2016 at 8:26 am

      Will be there

    • dave palumbo on July 26, 2016 at 9:41 am

      the public good = to “promote the general welfare” our constitutional task which is the base of all american law and culture. universal health treatment is a requirement of american democracy#

  10. Mark N on July 10, 2016 at 10:23 pm

    I think i will vote for Donald trump and teach the democrats a lesson
    Whose with me ??

    • Marilyn Quinn on July 13, 2016 at 3:07 pm

      Just like the Nader voters ousted Gore and in so doing elected W?? Are you ready to live under Trump? Really?

  11. Clyde Hiniton on July 10, 2016 at 10:39 pm

    I’ve been a proud Democrat for 41 years not anymore. I’m sick of promises and half measures on everything from healthcare to jobs I’m done.

  12. Steve Rosin on July 10, 2016 at 10:47 pm

    Sad and ignorant — insurance company payoff. Go Bernie and HRC apply some pressure🙏🏻

  13. Pam Ramirez on July 10, 2016 at 10:58 pm

    It’s disappointing and frustrating after the excitement Bernie brought about to have the Dem Party go backwards so fast. If the Dems lose this is why. Those of us who are nurses and Bernie supporters can’t accept that we are the only industrialized country in the world and the richest country in the world but we can’t come together to have universal health care, Medicare for All. We spend way more than those other countries and have poorer outcomes for our babies and overall life expectancy. We should be ashamed. We should wake up. We should take care of our citizens. If we can’t afford healthcare, we can’t afford more weapons and wars. We need our tax dollars to be taking care of US not killing other people in other countries when they haven’t done anything to us. I have been fighting this fight for my whole adult life and I am 67. When will we get our priorities right?

    • Lee Williams on July 11, 2016 at 12:23 pm

      Please be patient with the process. This is the first time that single-payer health care has been actually taken seriously in an election process, at least in my 64 year lifetime. I do believe it is inevitable down the line, but you and I won’t live to see it. The huge energy base of Bernie’s campaign is comprised of Millenials, who will be taking over in about 20 years. The very important conversation about universal health care and gun control has been started, and this time I believe it will not go away or be able to be buried. It may take several election cycles, maybe a couple of generations, but it will come. The young people today are better educated, more progressive, and less greedy than our generation, and they will be the ones to make our country a better place again.

  14. Joe raich on July 10, 2016 at 11:45 pm

    Obamacare and Medicare deprives SENIORS of retirement income. Single payer health care system is Affordable for the U.S. as it is for all other industrialized nations. Cutting defense would offset the cost.

  15. Christine Popowski on July 11, 2016 at 12:25 am

    I am disappointed in Senator Sanders for giving in to the democratic machine. But don’t vote republican they won’t help you either. Vote for Jill Stein of the Green Party. I wouldn’t trust Hillary Clinton, she has proven herself a liar. She even lied under oath to the FBI.

    • roy bell on July 11, 2016 at 1:39 am

      June 18 2016, Washington State Delegates vote overwhelmingly to officially endorse Bernie Sanders for president. They are the first state to endorse a candidate before the National Convention

      Bernie hasn’t ”caved” to anyone

  16. sharon shelly on July 11, 2016 at 12:28 am

    Hillary Clinton, in 2000, declared “single payer Healthcare was inevitable”. That has changed over the years as she raked in 13.2 million from the Health Care Industry (as of January 2016). Of the one million dollars Big Pharma has donated to all Presidential candidates, Clinton was the top recipient, receiving over $335,000 as Feb. 2016. Also included is 2.8 million in “speaker fees” from 2013-2015, 11.2 million during her time as Senator, and 2 million during her current Presidential Campaign. The ACA was written with the help of the Insurance Companies, meant to benefit them. Who do you honesty believe she would work for as President as she has said there is “no-way” single payer will come to pass and certainly is not going to try.

  17. owldog on July 11, 2016 at 12:50 am

    I’m probably going to go Green Party. This “don’t look at how bad we are. Look how worse the other party is” politics has got to end. It is a partnership made in hell. Only losing an election or almost losing an election, will open their piggishly stubborn eyes. I am not leaving the party. The party has already left me – maybe a long time ago. My 95 year old republican mother was right. Both parties stink.

  18. Essa Jallad on July 11, 2016 at 12:53 am

    Like I should have voted for Nader, I will vote Green Party.

  19. Armin on July 11, 2016 at 12:55 am

    This 80 year old lifelong Democrat will never vote for a Republican but will now vote for the Green Party candidate, rather than vote to give the cheating, war-mongering, lying Hillary “her turn” as president, as if it was hereditary. While Trump is a raging nut case, Hillary is a war-monger who may well provoke a nuclear war with Russia on the totally false narrative that Putin aims to restore the Soviet Union.

    It is perfectly clear that the Hillary delegates oppose the statement in opposition to TPP because Hillary has every intention of completing her 360 degree spin from initially supporting, then opposing TPP in an attempt to outflank Bernie, and soon after gaining power, returning to her comfort zone by supporting TPP.

    Similarly, the opposition of Hillary candidates to single-payer signals that her initial opposition to single-payer, followed by her tepid attempt to catch up with Bernie on the health care issue will be followed by a return to fierce opposition to single-payer as payoff to her financial supporters.

  20. Robert Covarrubias on July 11, 2016 at 3:15 am

    I will not vote for Ms. Hillary Clinton, period. The Democratic Party is so corrupt, I believe that it is more so than the Republicans Party If Mr. Bernie Sanders endorse her, than I will be supporting Dr. Jill Stein in the Green Party. As a matter of fact I like more of what Dr. Jill Stein is recommending than Mr. Bernie Sanders. The research that I have been doing concerning Dr. Jill Stein is very impressive. She is right on target in all the issues, most important really comprehend and stands foreign affairs. i will not vote for the lesser of two evils, period. The results will be the same. Have a nice day.

  21. Rose Riker on July 11, 2016 at 7:52 am

    I think it’s awful that they refused to pass Medicare-for-All. 29 million people remain uninsured under the ACA and many others are underinsured. Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party do not care about anybody but the wealthy and big corporations. I’m leaving this party after the convention. Being low-income I feel it doesn’t care about me or people like me. It has absolutely nothing to offer me. It saddens me as I have been a long-time Democrat, but the party has changed greatly since then becoming corrupted by big money and uncaring of the little guy. The Democratic Party is now no different than the Republican Party.
    I am going to change my registration to Independent and either write in Bernie’s name or vote Green come November 8th.

  22. Emily Greene on July 11, 2016 at 8:50 am

    As a retired RN after 40 years of service, I am ashamed that I am living in supposedly the most developed country on our planet yet we refuse to make health care a “right” when it’s well proven and shown by Michael Moore in Sicko that Medicare for all does work in most European countries. It is only because we allow the greedy capitalist to control our world in health care and every other area. I am voting for Jill Stein and hope that the political revolution will not die. Emily Greene, Greenfield, Ma.

    • Marilyn Quinn on July 13, 2016 at 3:13 pm

      Are you really a closet voter for Trump? Do we want Trump to be elected? Bernie remembers the Nader problem, and those of us who do will vote Hillary, if it keeps another Republican out of the WH. Let’s stay sane and vote for our future, not our destruction. The convention is a good place to vent and vocalize, but in the end, do not give this election to Trump, PLEASE!

  23. Michael C. on July 11, 2016 at 9:06 am

    It’s time to leave the corporate (anti-democratic) Democratic Party in droves and form a party of our own, one built around labor and the working class in opposition to the corporate/political elite that run this economic imperialistic country. This election, vote Jill Stein of the Green Party and do not give into fear.Don’t write in Sanders or anyone else. We can build an opposition party, but it may take some time, but now is the time to begin. Lesser evil-ism is still evil, and has been getting more evil for over 35 years. Vote for what you want, do not vote for what you don’t want because you fear something worse. That strategy has produced diminishing returns and disaster, year after year.

  24. Charlotte Jones on July 11, 2016 at 10:03 am

    I couldn’t agree more with the statements above in defense of single payer. It is tempting, indeed, to go the route of the Green Party. And yes, I am fearful of voting out of fear for Clinton. Will wait until the Democratic Convention is over before pulling the plug on deciding whether to vote fear or Green. I hold out some hope that the convention will make some difference in the platform for TPP and Single-Payer. I am 79 years old and this is the first time I am seriously thinking of pulling out of Democratic Party. Truly, both parties stink, with the exception of a few progressive voices. Not enough to keep me in thrall with the Dems.

  25. Cris Currie on July 11, 2016 at 11:00 pm

    The ugliest part of the debate over single-payer within the Democratic Party is that those who are against it have been unable to put forth any logical, evidence based reasoning in opposition. All Democrats appear to know single-payer is the right thing to do, just as presidential candidate Obama did. What is being stated as the reason for opposition is the politics of having to admit that the ACA is not good enough and that those who support single-payer are somehow abandoning our president. Fortunately Obama is on his way out and he is not going to be there to “stand by.” We now have an opportunity for some new leadership with a more progressive and aggressive agenda that does not need to be stuck in the past with the ACA. So this political argument is hogwash, and we must continue to look for the real reason that is not being discussed. I am convinced that the real reason is that Hillary Clinton and her supporters have all sold their souls to the corporate elites who bankroll them, namely the health insurance, drug, and hospital corporations. These are the same corporations that squeezed the ACA for all it was worth, hijacked the debate with bogus research, refused to even consider single-payer, and are now coming out ahead, while patients continue to be screwed. If we are ever to have health care justice in this country, the Democratic Party must break free from the corporate straight jacket so it can do what its members want it to do, not what the corporations dictate! In this regard, there really is no difference between the parties and the way they are destroying our so-called democracy.

  26. […] controversial in this room, it is the only room of Democrats in which it is controversial,” Lighty told the Democratic Platform Committee this weekend. Single payer is supported by 58% of US residents and 81% of […]

  27. […] is controversial in this room, it is the only room of Democrats in which it is controversial,” Lighty told the Democratic Platform Committee this weekend. Single payer is supported by 58% of US residents and 81% of […]

  28. Toni Hamilton on July 24, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    Leave our Medicare alone.

  29. Toni Hamilton on July 24, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    Let me say it this way Medicare 4 all of us.

  30. Annabelle Herrada on July 24, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    I am 83 years old and have been promoting a Single Payer program all my adult life. Just like every civilized country has!!!!!!

  31. Rose Ash on July 24, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    ALL politicians should have Medicare ONLY. That’s how this Old Bat feels about the crap they keep pulling. Medicare for health and Social Security for retirement. *snorts*

  32. Gerry Pieper-Ogle on July 24, 2016 at 10:15 pm

    I refuse to donate a dime to the DP until single payer is excepted. I want to give up paying 580 a month for me & my husband. Give up the fact what I pay increases every year, my out of and in pocket goes up, my RX copay goes up my co-pays for fam/Dr and specialist goes up but less and less is covered each year. I was told this year they do not pay for VitD blood testing $263., I was diagnoses in 2001 as being deficient and they use to pay for that test now they don’t. The Dr all across this country keep preaching about Vit D deficientcy and being low causes a host of health problems. The insurance does not want to pay for anything that leads to health only pay for treating symptoms no cures. It is a business and only a business.