House Lets States Do Single Payer Healthcare

By David Swanson

On Friday morning at 9:45 a.m. ET in the House Committee on Education and Labor, the committee members voted 25 to 19 to pass Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s amendment to the healthcare reform bill. This amendment, if it survives the full House, the Senate, the conference, and the President, will not alter the federal legislation except to allow states to create single-payer healthcare systems if they choose to. If this change to the bill makes news, it will pass the Senate, because there is no legitimate argument against it, and the support for it is bipartisan.

The committee members voted in order of seniority through all the Democrats and then the Republicans, returning to allow those who passed or were not present on the first round or the second round to cast their vote. No members switched their votes from yes to no or vice versa, during the voting, but several passed and then voted after hearing their colleagues vote. In the final count, 25 voted Yes, 19 No, 2 left their vote as “Pass,” and 3 were not there or did not respond at all.

On the first go round, these Democrats voted Yes: Woolsey, Kucinich, Holt, Grijalva, Loebsack, and Fudge. Not nearly enough, but then came the Republicans, not a single one of whom has supported single-payer healthcare, but many of whom apparently respect states’ rights: Kline, Petri, McKeon, Souder, Ehlers, Biggert, Platts, Wilson, McMorris Rogers, Price, and Guthrie. That gave us 17 votes going into round two. Among Democrats, we then picked up Payne, Scott, Shea Porter, and Polis. Among Republicans, Hoekstra and Castle joined in. We had 23 votes moving into round three. Two more Democrats, Tierney and Tonko, brought the total to 25.

Then you have the list of members who voted for the arguably unconstitutional step of banning states from providing their citizens with healthcare, a step for which no legitimate case has been made, but which the health insurance companies strongly favor. First and foremost was Committee Chairman George Miller who led the voting with a resounding “No.” He was joined on the first round by Democrats Kildee, Andrews, Hinojosa, McCarthy, Bishop, Sestak, Altmire, Hare, Courtney, Sablan, and Titus, and Republicans McClintock, Hunter, Roe, and Thompson. On the second round Democrats Davis and Hirono voted No, along with Republican Cassidy. On the third round, no more Nos were added. Not voting yes or no were: Wu, Clarke, Pierluisi, Chu, and Bishop of Utah.

There are major campaigns with a good chance of passing single-payer healthcare if Congress permits it in the following states: Pennsylvania, California, Illinois, Ohio, Colorado, and Massachusetts.

9:40 a.m. ET, July 17, 2009
House Committee on Education and Labor
Y=Allow states to provide their citizens healthcare if they choose
N=Ban states
PASS= Pass
–= Not present or no response

25 to 19 to 2

* George Miller, Chairman (CA-07) N
* Dale E. Kildee (MI-05) N
* Donald M. Payne (NJ-10) PASS, Y
* Robert E. Andrews (NJ-01) N
* Robert C. Scott (VA-03) –, Y
* Lynn C. Woolsey (CA-06) Y
* Rubén Hinojosa (TX-15) N
* Carolyn McCarthy (NY-04) N
* John F. Tierney (MA-06) –, –, Y
* Dennis J. Kucinich (OH-10) Y
* David Wu (OR-01) PASS, PASS
* Rush D. Holt (NJ-12) Y
* Susan A. Davis (CA-53) PASS, N
* Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-07) Y
* Timothy H. Bishop (NY-01) N
* Joe Sestak (PA-07) N
* Dave Loebsack (IA-02) Y
* Mazie Hirono (HI-02) PASS, N
* Jason Altmire (PA-04) N
* Phil Hare (IL-17) N
* Yvette Clarke (NY-11) –, —
* Joe Courtney (CT-02) N
* Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) –, Y
* Marcia Fudge (OH-11) Y
* Jared Polis (CO-2) PASS, Y
* Paul Tonko (NY-21) –, –, Y
* Pedro Pierluisi (PR) –, —
* Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (Northern Mariana Islands) N
* Dina Titus (NV-3) N
* Judy Chu PASS, PASS,

* John Kline, Ranking Member (MN-02) Y
* Thomas E. Petri (WI-06) Y
* Howard “Buck” McKeon (CA-25) Y
* Peter Hoekstra (MI-02) PASS, Y
* Michael N. Castle (DE-At Large) PASS, Y
* Mark E. Souder (IN-03) Y
* Vernon J. Ehlers (MI-03) Y
* Judy Biggert (IL-13) Y
* Todd Russell Platts (PA-19) Y
* Joe Wilson (SC-02) Y
* Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) Y
* Tom Price (GA-06) Y
* Rob Bishop (UT-01) –, —
* Brett Guthrie (KY-2) Y
* Bill Cassidy (LA-6) PASS, N
* Tom McClintock (CA-4) N
* Duncan D. Hunter (CA-52) N
* Phil Roe (TN-1) N
* Glenn “GT” Thompson (PA-05) N


  1. sandy on July 17, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    you gotta love Dennis he just keeps plugging away.

  2. Demitro Martinez on July 17, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    It was published in the Arizona Daily star star that this bill will require every American to buy health insurance or face stiff penalties at tax time. I would like to know if this is true and what your organization’s stance is on this. If it is true, I am ABSOLUTELY OPPOSED to this bill. I think it’s outrageous to FORCE Americans to make a donation to these greedy, corrupt insurance companies who deny care and exist only to make a profit. It’s racist and elitist not to consider how this bill will devastate poor brown folks who are just trying to make a living. Students will have to choose between paying for outrageously high tuition and buying worthless health insurance that they don’t need and will not even use. I feel that any bill that contains anything that forces people to give their money to the greedy corrupt insurance companies is morally wrong and I cannot support it in good conscious. Why aren’t people trying to do something about the power that insurance compannies have. What is your organization doing to abolish the health insurance industry? What if you live in a red state that will never offer a single player plan. How does forcing these to make a donation to the greedy insurance companies help anything. Passing nothing is better than passing the wrong plan. I would rather see this bill go down than to give the insurance companies even one more penny – especially if it’s done by force.

    Thank you for our anticipated cooperation,

    If there is a group that’s fighting to get rid of health INSURANCE all together in Arizona, please let me know about it. I would gladly make a donation to that group.

    Demitrio Martinez

  3. LjRose on July 18, 2009 at 1:08 am

    Good work everybody. On to the next thing… MONDAY, when Congressman Weinder (D-NY) is going to shoot for proposing his bill – a new version of HR676. As they were still writing it today, Friday (as I post this), we’ll see if Monday target stays or is moved again. I think they’ll be using slides/images of Dr. Claudia Chaufan’s (of the PNHP) in their presentation.

    I’d like to remind everyone to please call Dennis Kucinich to thank him. These reps who go to bat for us also need to be thanked. It DOES make a difference; I had a conversation with an elected official 2 years ago about that so please try to take a moment and call one of the YES voters and Dennis definitely and thank them. It keeps the ground nicely tilled for subsequent “planting”.

  4. James E on July 18, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Great job Dennis, keep up the good work!!!

  5. Eliza Jane Dodd on July 18, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    Can anyone tell me if I want single payer I will have to MOVE to a STATE that offers Single Payer Health Care ? I was sprayed for 7 yrs in West Tenn GOOGLE Malathion West Tenn 2000- 01…All I know they flew over my house and sprayed all around me over me even WAVED at ME as I cut my 3 acres in the middle of 300 acres of Farm Land ! I thought country living was healthy ,I was deadly wrong No One told me what they were spraying Surley if it bad they would come to my house and tell me to get in the house RIGHT ???? WRONG ! These SOB’S WAVED @ ME !! As the were killing me and soaking my body with Cancer..During this time I had BCBS of Tn @ $7500 yr @ 17 yrs ..I only used it one time in 17 yrs ! I had female cancer .The OBGYN gave me VIOXX .And then it took awful things to happen before I got a Operation and 2 weeks later BCBS calls and says it will No Longer cover Cancer with me again( Maybe They Knew ?) Worthless and if the Federal Gov.( BoWeevil Erad form Cotton Program) had part in ME being sprayed they need to pay for my health care .If Pres.Obama can help Debbie he should help me …I am SICK of NO Fault of MY OWN and I am PISSED OFF ! Everyday that passes I have no health care ..!Now I read I have to move to a state to be able to get care ! SOMETHING is Very FISHY FISHY FISHY IN WASHINGTON ! Something stinks to high heaven ! I would like to see ALL the contributions to the MORONS who Voted against HR676 or Single Payer ? I bet they get money from the health industry and pharma ? I want to have TRANSPARENCY IN GOV where these DEMONIC PEOPLE ARE GETTING THEIR MONEY FROM so we can Have Tranparent View of the intentions of the Morons in congress !And remember the Morons when Election Time Rolls around !

  6. Terry Brauer on July 20, 2009 at 10:20 am

    More than half the states … perhaps 75% … will never pass single-payer universal healthcare legislation. California’s Terminator vetoed it … Oregon couldn’t get it up … so which states will be sufficiently capable of defeating local lobbyists and passing single-payer legislation? Alabama? Florida? Wyoming? Massachusetts couldn’t even get a single-payer bill enacted; instead, it gave Romney a ‘reform’ claim, which is another insurance pathway to profitability.

  7. sandy on July 20, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    demitrio–single payer is not an insurance mandate, it kicks insurance companies to the curb

  8. Chris Lowe on July 20, 2009 at 11:08 pm

    Turns out Swanson got the final roll call vote wrong, see the E & L Committee website

    David Wu of Oregon and Yvette Clarke of NY both voted yes in the end. the other non-voters remained as Swanson reported.

  9. Spytheweb on August 23, 2009 at 10:29 am

    This is just one state savings with single payer

    December, 2007: Kansas

    Single Payer would save $869 million

    The Kansas Health Policy Authority hired the consulting firm of Schramm-Raleigh to do a fiscal analysis of five options for expanding coverage. They found that single payer (“the Mountain plan”) would cover all the uninsured and reduce state health spending by $869 million annually. The other plans would cover a portion of the uninsured and would raise costs between $150 million to $500 million in the state.

    A link to the Schramm-Raleigh Report “Kansas – Pricing the Roadmap to Reform” is located on the web site of the Kansas Health Policy Authority :