Daily Kos

Conyers And HCAN Agree In Principle: Health Reform Is On The Table

Daily Kos — Wednesday, September 17, 2008

By DemFromCT

In the pursuit of health reform, a major issue for the voters, there's been some debate about the Health Care For America Now coalition and what their push for quality, affordable health care means for single payer advocates and for those who want this issue addressed in DC (see Health Reform: An Integrated Problem In An Integrated World and Health Care Discussion Links).

Today, John Conyers, author of H.R. 676 (the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act), is releasing a statement of principle.

"I am proud to join HCAN's broad progressive campaign to raise awareness about the need for true universal health care reform. The HCAN coalition and I are united by our belief that the current non-system of health care run by profit hungry insurance companies is unsustainable and inhumane. It will take a monumental effort to defeat the entrenched special interests that benefit from the status quo. I remain firmly committed to the passage of my single-payer universal health care bill, H.R. 676, and believe that private insurance will never provide the kind of guaranteed affordable health care America needs. However, I agree with HCAN that a true policy debate in the Congress can only begin when there is broad consensus that the sham reform trumpeted by the industry is off the table."

Here are some statements from Jacki Schechner, HCAN Communications Director on some topics of interest I've queried them about:

On single-payer:

A properly designed single-payer system could meet our principles, but it's one of many approaches that would meet our principles.

We appreciate the passion and commitment of the single-payer movement and hope they will work with us in opposing the health insurance industry and health care reform plans that benefit the industry by leaving us alone to fend for ourselves in the unregulated, bureaucratic insurance market.

On Wyden:

While Senator Wyden's Healthy Americans Act is a serious effort at health insurance reform, it does not fully satisfy the HCAN principles on several key issues.

On Obama/McCain:

While HCAN does not endorse specific policy or legislation, Senator Obama's plan does fit within our principles while Senator McCain's does not.

As for McCain, note this:

Senator John McCain's top domestic policy adviser, former Congressional Budget Office director Douglas Holtz-Eakin, recently said in a conference call with reporters that Mr. McCain's health care proposal would "put 25 to 30 million individuals out of the ranks of the uninsured, into the ranks of the insured." In an article released Tuesday, a panel of prominent health economists concludes that Mr. Holtz-Eakin's projection is off by, well, 25 to 30 million

That's more of McCain's "change you can believe I came up with yesterday," and clarity as to why real health reform is so necessary.

It's going to take tremendous effort working together to bring change to DC (see When Can We Expect Health Care Reform (Whoever Wins)?). At least this time around, the forces for change seem willing to work together. It's still going to be a long and tough road, but it's good to fight this battle together.

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