These are frustrating times for single payer advocates. We know we have the best solution to the health care crisis – one that is simple, economical, and humane. Most of the American people, and most doctors agree.
But Congress, instead of latching on to HR 676 and moving it toward adoption, is focused on new legislation. We have yet to see it, but we hear that it will keep private insurance companies front and center. It will include an individual mandate. And it will cost a bundle. It will be what the doctors in our movement might call an expensive placebo. Prescribing it, when you know it’s expensive and won’t work, is nothing less than criminal.
There is pressure for us to slide, to support the public option as a step in the right direction. But let’s be clear – as citizen advocates, we must continue to advocate and organize on behalf of a solution that we believe in – one that will work, and one that won’t throw more of our money into the hands of private insurance companies. And we need to stay true to that course until we win single payer national health insurance. That day will come; we just don’t know when.
It could come soon. The new legislation and its heavily touted public option could look so bad when it finally is printed that not even Health Care for America Now and Obama plan supporters can stomach it. It could collapse under its own weight. Congress might have to start over, and HR 676 will still be there as an option that can move quickly, right a lot of wrongs, and clean up a big mess.
Our charge is clear — to keep advocating for HR 676 and S 703. When the new legislation comes out, we expose it for what it probably will be – an unconscionable placebo. And we expose the Congressional leaders that colluded in advancing lousy, wasteful legislation knowing full well that Americans are hurting, and will continue to die and go bankrupt because of its shortcomings. We do what it takes to get attention and make them accountable for what they have done.
Members of Congress certainly can’t argue that they have no choice. They have one, they knew about it (we made sure of that); they know most Americans want it; yet it appears they are choosing a different course.
So we do what all movements do – we keep building support for what is just and humane. We make those accountable who persist in jeopardizing our lives and our quality of life, and that of future generations.
Nothing less will do.
Healthcare-NOW! National Steering Committee
Healthcare-NOW! National Staff