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Apr 13, 2009

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Congressional support for single-payer national health care continues to grow. As of April 9, 74 co-sponsors have signed on to HR 676. HR 676 has been the primary legislative vehicle for single-payer activists. For many years activists have worked for HR 676 without the introduction of any single-payer legislation in the United States Senate. This year Senator Bernie Sanders has introduced single-payer legislation in the Senate: S703, The American Health Security Act. This bill number must become as important to you as HR 676 is now. The Sanders bill is not a direct companion bill to HR 676, but it contains many significant components:
  • Patients go to any doctor or hospital of their choice.
  • The program is paid for by combining current sources of government health spending into a single fund with modest new taxes amounting to less than what people now pay for insurance premiums and out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Comprehensive benefits, including coverage for dental, mental health, and prescription drugs.
  • While federally funded, the program is to be administered by the states. By eliminating the high overhead and profits of the private, investor-owned insurance industry, along with the burdensome paperwork imposed on physicians, hospitals and other providers, the plan saves at least $400 billion annually - enough money to provide comprehensive, quality care to all.
  • Community health centers are fully funded, giving the 60 million Americans now living in rural and underserved areas access to care. To address the critical shortage of primary care physicians and dentists, the bill provides resources for the National Health Service Corps to train an additional 24,000 health professionals.
The introduction of this legislation provides activists with a vehicle to pressure their Senators. S703 has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee. Contacting members of this committee is an important strategic action. 
On April 15th, the Leadership Conference for Guaranteed Health Care, the national health care coalition that DSA participates in, is launching a nationwide call-in day for single-payer national health care. Our message is clear: "Tax payer dollars should go to people, not profits. Support single-payer national health care now."

Lesser reform proposals will have our taxes subsidizing insurance company profits, not paying for real health care.  We must fix our health care system by putting everybody in, and removing for-profit interests that are responsible for the skyrocketing cost of health care.  The only plan that meets these criteria is a single-payer national health care system. 

So on April 15th, 2009, we ask that you join with thousands of others to call Congress, to support single-payer legislation in both the House (HR 676) and the Senate (S703). If you know your Representative and Senators, the Capitol Switchboard number is 866-338-1015. Ask to be connected, and then ask him or her to support HR 676 or S703. Congress is on Easter Recess until next week. So it also appropriate to call the district office of your Representative or Senator. If your Representative has sponsored HR 676 it is not necessary to call them. As of now there are no senate co-sponsors of S703.
Here is a simple script for HR 676 you can use:
Hi, my name is ______. I am calling to urge Representative _______ to support of HR 676, John Conyers’ National Health Care Act.

Conyers already reintroduced HR 676 and I want to reaffirm my support for HR 676, single-payer healthcare legislation and ask Rep. ______ to do the same by signing on as a co-sponsor and working for true reform of this terrible healthcare system.

If you have any questions about single payer or about me, please call me at ______. Thank you.
And here is a script for your Senator and S703:
Hi, my name is ______. I am calling to urge Senator _______ to support of S 703, Bernie Sanders’ American Health Security Act. Single-payer legislation, like S 703 is the best way to achieve true reform of this terrible health care system. 
If you have any questions about single payer or about me, please call me at ______. Thank you.

You can find contact information for your U.S Representatives and Senators at
DSA will never back off our support for single-payer. However, there is another aspect to the health care debate that we must address and it is part and parcel of the single-payer approach: the importance of public provision. The argument that the Right and the insurance companies are focusing on, that any public plan will crowd out private insurance, is very dangerous and could prevent passage of any serious reform measure. This is another one of the attacks on national healthcare and other reforms we have witnessed for the last sixty years. If the insurance companies are successful in getting the "opt-in public provision option" removed from any Obama or Congressional leadership plan it will prevent any chance of getting a serious national health care bill passed for another generation. Moreover this debate even when it is around proposals we do not endorse allows us to make the case against the insurance companies.
Recently, Reps. Lynn Woosley (D-Calif.) and Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) the co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) sent a letter to the President and the Democratic congressional leadership stating that a majority of the caucus would not support health care reform legislation that did not contain a public plan option. The letter said that a majority of CPC members "will only support comprehensive health care reform legislation that includes a public plan option on a level playing field with private health insurance plans." According to the letter, most caucus members prefer a single-payer health care system, but a public plan option should be included "at minimum." 
We believe that this important action should be supported and we urge members and friends to email Reps. Lynn Woosley and Raúl Grijalva to thank them for standing up for public provision and single-payer. You can paste the following message into the email that appears when you click on the representatives’ names: Thank you for standing up for single-payer national health care and for the importance of including a public provision option in national health care legislation, or draft your own message of support.
In solidarity,
Frank Llewellyn
National Director


Paid for by Democratic Socialists of America,  75 Maiden Lane, Suite 505, New York, NY 10038.
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Posted: Apr 13, 2009 9:30pm


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Kathleen R.
, 2, 5 children
Corning, OH, USA
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