Representative Anthony Weiner
November 6, 2009
Today, Representative Anthony Weiner (D – Brooklyn and Queens), a member of the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, released the following statement on his decision to withdraw his single payer amendment to H.R. 3962, the House health care reform bill:
“I have decided not to offer a single payer alternative to the health reform bill at this time. Given how fluid the negotiations are on the final push to get comprehensive health care reform that covers millions of Americans and contains costs through a public option, I became concerned that my amendment might undermine that important goal.”
“I am going to continue to press the case for health care reform in every venue I can. And I also will continue to press for a smarter, less-expensive, more-comprehensive alternative to the employer-based health insurance system we have today.”
“I’ve discussed the issue with Speaker Pelosi, Chairman Waxman, and agree with them that the health reform bill is so close it deserves every chance to gain a majority.”
Pelosi Statement on Congressman Anthony Weiner’s Single Payer Alternative
Speaker Nancy Pelosi
November 6, 2009
Washington, D.C. — Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued the following statement today on Congressman Anthony Weiner’s single payer alternative:
“Within the next few days, the House will vote on the most comprehensive health care legislation in our history. Our bill will provide affordability to the middle class, security to our seniors, and responsibility to our children by not adding a dime to the deficit. While our bill contains unprecedented reforms, including an end to discrimination for pre-existing conditions and a prohibition on raising rates or dropping coverage if you become ill, our bill cannot include provisions some strongly advocated. The single payer alternative is one of those provisions that could not be included in H.R. 3962, but which has generated support within the Congress and throughout the country.
“Congressman Anthony Weiner has been a forceful and articulate advocate for the single payer approach and our legislation. His decision not to offer a single payer amendment during consideration of H.R. 3962 is a correct one, and helps advance the passage of important health reforms by this Congress. While single payer, like other popular proposals, is not included in the consensus bill we will vote on this week, Congressman Weiner has been a tireless and effective advocate for progress on health care, and his work has been a vital part of achieving health care reform.”
Chairman Waxman’s Statement on Rep. Weiner’s Single-Payer Amendment
Chairman Henry A. Waxman
Committee on Energy and Commerce
November 6, 2009
Today Chairman Henry A. Waxman released a statement in response to Rep. Anthony Weiner’s decision not to offer a single-payer amendment to the House Democratic health care legislation.
“Rep. Anthony Weiner has been one of the most tireless and effective advocates for health care reform. His decision not to offer his amendment on the floor was a difficult one for him, and for supporters of the measure. I believe Rep. Weiner’s choice will be enormously helpful in passing the health care reform package. His step is a correct and courageous one. I thank Rep. Weiner for it, and look forward to working with him closely. Rep. Weiner deserves a great deal of credit for helping to make quality, affordable health care more available to millions of Americans.”
Comment by Ida Hellander, M.D., Executive Director, Physicians for a National Health Program:
Next steps and interpretation –
1) The fact that single payer got so far along in the House is a testament to the strength of our single payer movement. The huge number of calls by single payer advocates in support of single payer and the Weiner amendment in recent days have been noted by several members of Congress.
2) It appears that nobody, particularly the President, expected our single payer option to be alive in the Congress for so long. As you know, they attempted to keep it “off the table” from the very beginning.
3) The President was directly involved in the decision to not hold a vote on the Weiner single payer amendment, and Weiner will be meeting with him later today. Stay tuned.
4) We need to increase pressure on the Congress and the White House for Medicare for All through lobbying, civil disobedience, media outreach, and grassroots organizing. Sen. Sanders will call for a vote on single payer in the Senate – this could come up anytime in the next month. Encourage your Senator to support the Sanders bill and also an amendment he will offer for a state single payer option. The California Nurses Association/NNOC has already started lobbying visits in the Senate in D.C.
5) We have been asked how to tell members to vote on the House bill. Our response is that the bill is “like aspirin for breast cancer.”