“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.