REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: Well, you know, I brought the issue of single-payer healthcare before three separate meetings of the Democratic Platform Committee. I brought it into two presidential campaigns to raise the bar about what's possible. Now I made a compromise when I backed the public option and voted for it in committee. I also had an amendment passed that would protect the rights of states to proceed with a single-payer approach at a state level. Each step along the way, I've shown a willingness to try to work with the White House so that we can have meaningful healthcare reform. I signed a letter, along with seventy-seven other members of Congress, saying that I would not vote for the bill unless it had a robust public option. At this point, I'm the only one left standing who has kept that pledge.
I think that we have to ask ourselves why we would have a circumstance where, you know, a week or two before a vote would come, that it would be said that this is going to come down to a single member of Congress, who stands for healthcare for all, Medicare for all, who stands for a public option, who stands to protect right of states, to pursue it, and yet, we should sweep all that aside in favor of a bill that gives the insurance companies a lock on health insurance in America, privatizes the health insurance--$70 billion-a-year subsidy to the insurance industry.
Kucinich has reiterated these ideas elsewhere, such as ABC's Top Line (skip to about 4 minutes into the video).
"You know, this thing isn't over. They know what they have to do to get the votes and if they need my vote badly enough I suppose they have to think about a robust public option and about the [Employee Retirement Income Security Act], addressing the ERISA preemption which would in effect, protect states from a tax by insurance companies if the states want to establish a single-payer system."
"I think that the Democrats ought not to be fronting for insurance company interests, and frankly every time they lay a bill out insurance stocks go up. I mean, how -- how would that happen?" he added. "I mean, we have to have a bill for the American people and if the administration wants to change its position, I'm all ears."
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Before health care, Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez asked Kucinich about the symbolic resolution on Afghanistan that he introduced and was subsequently voted on, about which he said,
I felt, after a eight-and-a-half years, we had waited long enough to have the debate, and so I used the War Powers Act to create the debate.
I'm glad there was a debate. Now Congress has taken responsibility. The debate didn't turn out the way I would have liked it to, but at least we brought it into the public's awareness that Congress has now entered into essentially affirming the Obama administration's policy on Afghanistan.
The Citizens United decision and the death of Granny D were both mentioned, as well.
What an amazing woman, who lived her life with great passion and commitment to the highest principles of our country. Her commitment to seeing real campaign finance reform, you know, has really been a central part of a movement that tells us we have to change the way we finance elections in order to reclaim our government.