Single Payer advocates across the country are concerned about the announcement by Representative Pramila Jayapal that she is re-writing HR 676, the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All legislation that has been the basis for building a majority movement for its passage.
HR 676 is model single payer legislation based on the Physicians Proposal for a National Health Program. Rep. Jayapal has not released her draft of HR 676 and should be encouraged to do so. She can be reached at (202) 225-3106. Below is the letter sent to Rep. Jayapal by the Western Pennsylvania Coalition for Single Payer Healthcare.
WESTERN PA COALITION for
Single Payer Healthcare
Growing the National Movement for Improved Medicare for All
P. O. Box 82528, Pittsburgh, PA 15218, (412) 215-4141, www.wpasinglepayer.org
December 17, 2018
Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal
319 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
1904 3rd Ave., Suite 510
Seattle, WA 98101
Dear Congresswoman Jayapal,
We are writing to express our support for HR 676, Expanded and Improved Medicare for All as the solution to the ongoing health care crisis in our nation.
In western Pennsylvania and throughout the country, grassroots activists have been at the forefront of building public support for a not for profit health care delivery system embodied in Medicare for All. This has occurred in spite of tremendous opposition from the insurance industry, PHARMA, and conservative politicians in both major parties.
As the principal sponsor of HR 676, we understand that you and others are in the process of rewriting substantive sections of the bill. Our concerns about this endeavor are genuine and serious.
The essential components of this bill must be maintained. For more than a decade of struggle the principled tenets of HR 676 have proven to be a popular organizing tool that has permitted this real alternative to gain tremendous momentum and increased public support. Going forward, now is the time for a bold mass strategy that builds on this growing support for single payer and HR 676. Indeed, a single payer, not for profit healthcare system as outlined in HR 676 is the only solution to fixing the problems with the US healthcare system.
Weakening the legislation by allowing profit making providers and insurance sponsored plans will not help us achieve our goal. At a time when the idea of a genuine single payer not for profit healthcare delivery system is now looked at as a real and practical alternative in the public debate, it makes no sense to carve out exceptions to the insurance industry, for profit providers or others who profit from the current healthcare system. It will not achieve the savings and will confuse, demoralize and weaken the support of many who are the backbone and public face of this struggle.
One can see the smiles of the insurance industry, PHARMA, big money and compromised politicians who welcome these changes before the real political battle even begins. We must also recognize that the growing public support for Medicare for All has brought more Congressional cosponsors to HR 676. This has occurred not from weakening the legislative content, but from growing a movement that has already gone much further than imagined even a few years ago.
Let us move forward with confidence that we are gaining public support and all the solutions of the for profit industry have failed. We are on the winning side and can prevail in this historic struggle if we take our principled proposal to the public to deepen its support and build the citizens movement that is necessary for victory.
HR 676 guarantees everyone good health care, elimination of the constant fear of financial damage for patients and their families, and doesn’t burden the public with the costs of funding the wholly unnecessary private insurance industry. Revisions that move us farther from that outcome will lose public support and our support as well. If you are unable to make HR 676 better, please do not change it.
Ed Grystar, Chair, Western Pa Coalition for Single Payer Healthcare
Judy L. Albert, MD
Anthony B. Fiorillo, MD
John Rice, Unit Secretary, Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh/CWA Local 38061, AFL-CIO
John Thompson, United Electrical Workers International Representative
Anita Prizio, Esq., Allegheny County (Pa.) County Council
Hon. Jim Ferlo, Pa. State Senate (Ret)
Sandy Fox, LCSW
Lou Hancherick, Pa. State Democratic Committee
Dave Hughes, Steering Committee, W.PA. Coalition Single Payer healthcare
Steven Kocherzat, Attorney
Claudia Detwiler, MSW, MPH
Thomas F Brockmeyer MD PhD
Tony Buba, Filmmaker
Cc. PA. Democratic Congressional Delegation
Health Over Profit Everyone
Labor Campaign for Single Payer
Unions for Single Payer Healthcare