From the sound of the forwarded article, there may yet be some hope for single-payer health insurance. But don't count on it. Your e-mails, calls, and faxes to Max's office could still be the straw that breaks the lobbyists' back.
Otherwise, the reasons why the health insurance industry has been able to rip us off with such impunity (resulting in exponentially increasing profits) are nicely explained here: http://blog.aflcio.org/2009/05/27/health-insurance-profits-soar-as-industry-mergers-create-near-monopoly/
Inside the Baucus Single-Payer Meeting--What Was Said, What's Next
by National Nurses Movement
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Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 02:26:08 PM PDT
Today's meeting of the nation's leading single payer activists with Sen. Max Baucus was historic, and a recognition of the power of the tens of thousands of nurses, doctors, and grassroots activists across the country who have been turning up the heat on the policy makers in Washington.
Make no mistake - your voices are being heard. And, the protests and pressure will continue.
As Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of the California Nurses Association/ National Nurses Organizing Committee, told Baucus, "there is a groundswell" across the country that will continue to press for single payer reform, and Baucus and other policy makers in Washington "are going to get to know us very well." In a later press conference, DeMoro blasted the conventional wisdom that single payer is not politically viable. "Is it politically viable to let people die and suffer from a lack of political will?" Noting the fight for women's suffrage and the civil rights movement, she emphasized, "we're going to have to turn up the heat. Women did not get the right to vote by voting on it."
National Nurses Movement's diary :: ::
Today's gripping meeting was in itself an important part of that campaign, with leaders of the CNA/NNOC, Physicians for a National Health Program, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, author of a single payer bill in the Senate, S 703, making a forceful, unfiltered case to one of the top power brokers in the Senate, Max Baucus, for single payer as the only reform likely to actually fix our broken healthcare system and effectively control costs. A couple of photos from the press conference afterwards are here.
For the first time, Baucus, who has been deluged with protests inside his Senate Finance Committee which has been in the forefront of drafting legislation and in town hall meetings at home in Montana, was apologetic. "I made a mistake," he said, "I should have left it (single payer) on the table, front and center with everything else."
Baucus talked about his own positive experiences in Canada where he inspected the Canadian healthcare system first hand, "I was very impressed," during the healthcare debate in the early 1990s, noting the contrast between a Montana hospital which has an "entire floor" of people devoted to billing, and other administrative paper work, and a nearby Canadian hospital which does it all "in one room."
He agreed to use the power of his office to have charges dropped against the Baucus 13, nurses, doctors, and activists arrested for raising their voices in the committee hearings.
While Baucus continued to aver that single payer can not pass the legislature, the nurses and doctors pressed him to:
* Hold a hearing in which the merits of single payer can be contrasted with the plans now rapidly advancing in the Senate. While Baucus said the tight timeline made that very difficult, Sanders noted that Sen. Chris Dodd is considering a health committee hearing on single payer, which Baucus could co-sponsor. Baucus said, "let me think about it."
* Have the Congressional Budget Office score, do a financial analysis, of single payer legislation in addition to other health bills it scores.
* Support legislation to allow federal waivers for individual states to enact single payer systems as national role models (another Sanders bill).
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