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Single-Payer Healthcare Coming to Missouri

By David Swanson

Canada did not create a civilized healthcare system nationally until its provinces led the way. Clearly Congress is dragging behind the states in our country, and it is through state successes that we will eventually compel the U.S. government to provide our people with this basic human right.

Three-Percentism - or - What's the Matter With Palm Beach?

By David Swanson

What the liberal activist world is doing for healthcare bears a striking similarity to what Christianists do for billionaires. Supporting tax breaks for the richest three-percent of Americans because you hate gay people or women or blacks or sex does not at first look much like supporting a "public option" for three percent of the poorest of Americans.

But both shape national policy around a supposedly national program that in reality will benefit only some small percentage of people. Feel free to quibble over the number, but Obama promised the insurance companies in a speech to a joint session of Congress on September 9, 2009, that it would be under 5 percent. Let's be generous and call it four, a "public option" for four percent of us.

Here Comes Single-Payer Healthcare in Another State

By David Swanson

A bill to create single-payer healthcare in California has passed that state's senate for the third time now. Californians just need to persuade a governor to sign it. Single-payer healthcare bills are advancing in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and a growing list of states, including New Mexico, where State Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino, a long-time supporter of single-payer healthcare, is running for Lieutenant Governor.

Health Insurance Mandate vs the Constitution

By David Swanson

Does the United States Constitution allow Congress to force people to purchase a product (health insurance) from a private corporation, and fine them or tax them if they refuse? The answer is a matter of debate, but there is little dispute that such an act of Congress would be unprecedented.

Sheldon Laskin, an Adjunct Professor at the University of Baltimore Law School who has argued that the Constitution forbids such a move, describes the new and dangerous can of worms it would open up:

How's Howard Dean Doing?

By David Swanson

When someone you've always considered over-rated and unhelpful does something right, and when someone you've had disagreements with points it out, it's worth noting. So here is a link to David Sirota on Howard Dean.

Sirota even gets right that Dean has progressed over the years. But what I think is worth preserving from recent memories is that Dean helped exclude single-payer from the debate. He limited the range of options to the point where very little room was left to negotiate before a bill became clearly more damaging than nothing at all.

To Dean's credit, when the room to negotiate ran out, he said the only sensible thing there is to say, but what most members of congress and most astroturf groups will not say: Vote No! Even the groups that have pushed for single-payer have yet to say Vote No on the insurance corporation bailout bill.

Thank Dean for finding his spine. Thank Sirota for pointing it out.

No Vote on Single-Payer

By David Swanson

Congressman Weiner has agreed with Nancy Pelosi not to have a floor vote on his Medicare for All bill. A press release from Congressmen Kucinich and Conyers opposing it helped tip the scale. But Weiner did not ask Pelosi to include in her bill the Kucinich Amendment to allow states to create single-payer. Pelosi made clear that President Obama opposes that, and used the bogus excuse that providing everyone with comprehensive free healthcare would deprive them of the right to pay ever increasing rates for uncertain health "insurance."

Weiner Amendment Vote on Friday Will Fail and Serve as a Cover for Removing Kucinich Amendment

By David Swanson

Word is that the full House will vote on national single-payer Medicare for All on Friday. This vote is a cover for the removal of an amendment that was in the House "healthcare" bill until Pelosi stripped it out. That amendment would have made it easier for states to enact single-payer, and still would if a conference committee is persuaded to reinstate it.

The Two Percent Robustness

By David Swanson

Imagine public elections in which 2 percent are allowed to vote and Diebold gets to nominate the candidates. Or public parks with guest lists of 2 percent of the public, and private prisons for anyone else who tries to enter. Or how about public schools serving 2 percent of children with fully televised lessons broken up by commercials promoting illiteracy? Welcome to the world of the robust public option.

David Swanson on health care debate, Bruce Dixon on the 'public option'


Note: Please feel free to download the mp3 by right-clicking the mp3 link and choose the "Save Target As" function.

This week on CounterSpin: Making sense of the health care debate. In the past week we've supposedly seen the comeback of the public option, in some form or another. We're also told that Harry Reid must gather 60 votes to pass a bill. Is any of this right? And what about a true public health system like single-payer? Author and activist David Swanson will join us to try and untangle these story lines.

Also on the show: Progressives and others interested in truly universal healthcare, as in healthcare that would cover everyone, have been more or less prodded in recent months to give up the idea of a single payer system -- dismissed as it's been for years by a corporate press corps as not politically viable -- and to get behind the public option, presented as single payer's less ideal but more achievable variant. But does public option as it's now presented have anything at all to do with healthcare that covers everyone? We'll talk with Bruce Dixon, managing editor of Black Agenda Report, about that.


David Swanson
Black Agenda Report