RNs Praise House Vote to Permit State Single-Payer Laws
July 19, 2009
The nation’s largest union and professional association of registered nurses today hailed passage of a key amendment in the House Education and Labor Committee to the national healthcare reform bill this morning that would enable individual states to go a step farther and adopt single- payer, Medicare-for-All style reforms.
Introduced by Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, the amendment would remove potential legal impediments for states to pass single-payer bills by waiving federal exemptions that apply to employer- sponsored health plans.
The amendment passed on a bi-partisan vote of 25-19, with the support of both progressive, single-payer Democrats and many Republicans who endorsed the ability of individual states to pass their own versions of health care reform.
“This is a historic moment for patients, for American families, and for the tens of thousands of nurses and other single-payer activists from coast to coast who can now work in state capitols to pass single-payer bills, the strongest, most effective solution of all to our healthcare crisis,” said Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee.
“There are many models of health care reform from which to choose around the world – the vast majority of which perform far better than ours. The one that has been the most tested here and abroad is single-payer,” said Kucinich in urging passage of the amendment.
“Under a single-payer system everyone in the U.S. would get a card that would allow access to any doctor at virtually any hospital. Doctors and hospitals would continue to be privately run, but the insurance payments would be in the public hands. By getting rid of the for-profit insurance companies, we can save $400 billion per year and provide coverage for all medically necessary services for everyone in the U.S.,” Kucinich said.
The nurses noted there is a long road ahead for the amendment. It will still need approval from the full House and in a final version from the Senate. Nurses and other healthcare and community activists made numerous calls to legislators in support of the amendment, and will continue to press for its enactment in the final bill.