WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)–Eight advocates of government-run health care disrupted a Senate hearing Tuesday on health-care coverage, complaining that their viewpoint was shut out of Senate debate on the issue.
One-by-one, the eight people stood up just before a Senate Finance Committee hearing and spoke in favor of so-called “single-payer” health care – a system by which the government would provide health insurance for everyone and essentially supplant the private insurance market. The Finance hearing is a “roundtable” in which 15 witnesses are set to testify on health care coverage.
“You have 15 seats at the table and not one for single-payer,” said one man, before being escorted from the committee by U.S. Capitol Police.
The single-payer supporters, dressed in business attire, were able to interrupt the hearing by spreading throughout the hearing room and staggering their protest speeches. Just as one protestor was taken out of the room by police, another would stand up and start talking.
Single-payer health care proposals have seen little-to-no footing in congressional debates on overhauling the U.S. health-care system, though many Democrats favor the creation of a public insurance plan to compete alongside private insurers.
Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., who chairs the committee, sought to calm the protesters.
“That is a view which many have and which I respect,” Baucus said of single-payer health care. “The point of this and other hearings is to determine the best option.”