Maxine Waters, Bobby Scott, Elijah Cummings, Barbara Lee and Jim Clyburn support Medicare for All.

“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhuman.” — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Chicago, March 25, 1966 — Medical Committee for Human Rights)

Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-13), Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-3) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (MD-7) were all among the original co-sponsors of HR-676 when Conyers first introduced the bill in February 2003. Rep. Maxine Waters (CA-43) joined them in December 2005. Rep. Jim Clyburn (SC-6) signed up as a co-sponsor in April 2008.

All five are members of the Congressional Black Caucus. The CBC provides core support for HR-676, 38 out of 47 CBC house members are co-sponsoring the bill. Lee, Waters and Cummings are also members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which is another important base of support for HR-676.

All five of these co-sponsors are deeply committed to the principle of health care as a right, and enshrining it into law with a single-payer system.

Rep. Barbara Lee was on the Democratic Platform committee in 2016 and voted to include Medicare for All/HR-676 in the Democratic Platform (it failed by one vote).

Rep. Jim Clyburn (who has been Assistant Democratic Leader since 2011) is stead-fast in his support for single-payer/HR-676, even when there was a enormous pressure to back away in 2009.

Elijah Cummings wrote a compelling Op-Ed in 2007 about the cost of not having a single payer system. He was writing after having watched Michael Moore’s movie, Sicko:

In one scene, Mr. Moore takes three small boats of sick Americans, including 9/11 volunteer rescue workers, to Cuba. They receive, at no cost, the medical treatment they had been denied at home.

We have heard time and again the statistic that 47 million Americans are uninsured, 9 million of them children. This does not even account for the more than 50 million who cannot get the care they need because they are underinsured.

The numbers are staggering, but they become more meaningful when we talk about how this trend affects the lives of everyday Americans. For me and many others in our community, our nation’s health care crisis has a face and a name. On February 25, 2007, Deamonte Driver, a 12 ­year ­old boy from Prince George’s County, died when an untreated tooth infection spread to his brain.

Deamonte Driver was a victim of our failed health care system. A routine dental checkup might have saved his life, but Deamonte was poor and homeless and he never made it into the dental chair. His is a story that chills the conscience. I simply cannot comprehend how, in a country that sent a man to the moon, we so thoroughly failed this little boy. — cummings.house.gov/…

Like most members of the CPC, Rep. Maxine Waters (CA-43) has been a proponent of single-payer for a long time. This is from a discussion of her vote for the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare):

A longtime proponent of comprehensive, affordable health care for all Americans, Congresswoman Waters and her allies in the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) insisted that health care reform legislation must include a “public option” – a voluntary, public insurance program similar to Medicare that would be an alternative to profit-driven private insurance companies.

Most CPC members prefer a single payer health care system, but when it failed to gain enough support in the House as health care reform legislation was being drafted, they expressed support for a “robust public option”, which would reimburse medical providers at the Medicare rate plus 5%.  While Congresswoman Waters was pleased that the House passed legislation including a public option, she was disappointed that the reimbursement rates will be negotiated between the government and providers, a plan favored by more conservative Representatives. […]

Congresswoman Waters noted that efforts to provide health insurance coverage to all Americans was proposed in 1912 – almost 100 years ago – by Teddy Roosevelt, and Presidents following him have also supported this objective. Congressman John Dingell of Michigan has introduced the National Health Insurance Act (H.R. 15), which would provide universal health care for all Americans, during each of his terms in Congress going back to 1957. It was previously sponsored by his father when he was a Congressman.

— waters.house.gov/…

I’m thrilled these progressive stalwarts are supporting Medicare for All and co-sponsoring HR-676. If your Congressional representative is not on the list of 115 co-sponsors, please call their office and ask them why.

— @subirgrewal | Cross-posted at NotMeUs.org & The ProgressiveWing.com

Warren says Democrats should campaign on Single-Payer healthcare.

Elizabeth Warren has been on a campaign footing to push back against Republican efforts to bestow enormous tax breaks on millionaires and billionaires by decimating health-care coverage for ordinary Americans.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren is traveling to Trump-friendly areas of her state hoping to connect with his backers and provide a road map for her party to win back working-class voters. […]

Democrats, she said, would do better if they campaigned on that progressive platform rather than blurring the lines between themselves and Republicans. — WSJ

Warren highlighted the lengths to which President Obama and Democrats had gone in 2009-2010 to garner Republican support for the PPACA.

“President Obama tried to move us forward with health-care coverage by using a conservative model that came from one of the conservative think tanks that had been advanced by a Republican governor in Massachusetts,” Warren told The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.

“Now it’s time for the next step. And the next step is single payer,” she added. […]

“The progressive agenda is America’s agenda,” Warren said. “It’s not like we’re trying to sell stuff that people don’t want. … It’s not that at all. It’s that we haven’t gotten up there and been as clear about our values as we should be, or as clear and concrete about how we’re going to get there.” — The Hill

John Conyers Jr.’s Medicare For All bill in the House now has 113 co-sponsors, that is almost 60% of the Democratic caucus.

—  @subirgrewal


Meanwhile, in California, Assembly Speaker Rendon made a decision to shelve a single-payer bill that had passed the California Senate.

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon’s abrupt decision Friday to sideline a bill that would have established single-payer healthcare in California roused a swift and fiery backlash from the measure’s supporters, who accused the Democrat from Paramount of unilaterally blunting the effort for sweeping overhaul of the state’s healthcare system. […]

But even as the bill advanced through the state Senate, it was apparent that it would have to overcome several obstacles to succeed. Legislators, who voted this year to raise taxes on gasoline, were wary of backing additional taxes. The proposal hinged on approval by voters and the federal government. […]

The bill’s progress alarmed some interest groups that saw crucial questions go unanswered. Laphonza Butler, president of the statewide council of the Service Employees International Union, said her union was eager to discuss the single-payer proposal but worried that specifics about implementation, namely how it would be integrated with care programs offered by county governments, were going unaddressed. — LA Times

David Sirota writes in the IB Times that Governor Jerry Brown, who has previously supported single-payer, did not support the bill. Sirota also outlined millions of dollars in donations to the CA Democratic party and assembly members from groups opposed to the single-payer bill.

Meanwhile, NY’s single-payer bill has passed the assembly but is being held up in the Senate by the Republican speaker (who holds the position with the support of the IDC). The bill is supported by all Democratic senators, except for Simcha Felder. The Campaign for NY Health has been organizing constituent calls to support the bill.

MoveOn’s Ben Wikler on how to stop the Senate from passing Trumpcare

While we have been focused on Comey’s testimony, Republican Senators have been focused on the priorities of their billionaire masters. They want to gut ObamaCare/ACA.

MoveOn’s Ben Wikler has a very good synopsis of why we have to act this week, if we’re going to stop Obamacare from being gutted/repealed before Congress goes on its summer recess.

Wikler says we have three weeks to make this bill toxic.

It is time to pick up the phone again! There’s nothing normal about right now, and Senators should know that!

Wikler has good advice, ask to speak to your Senator’s health-care aide. If someone stalls, here’s the list of names:

Wikler also suggests e-mailing health-care aides:

Figure those e-mails out and share them on Social media.

And if/when you have your Senator’s office on the phone, tell them it’s time the Senate and House passed Medicare for All.

— @subirgrewal

Republicans vote to make rape a pre-existing condition again.

As several news sources have pointed out, prior to the ACA, insurers could deny coverage to victims of sexual assault.

Prior to the passage of Obamacare, survivors of sexual assault who sought medical attention for injuries sustained during the assault could be denied coverage later on because rape was considered a pre-existing condition. The National Women’s Law Center launched a campaign at the time “Being a Woman is Not a Pre-Existing Condition,” as Gina Scaramella from the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center recalled.

Under the new MacArthur-Meadows Amendment in Trumpcare, states would be allowed to waive the ban on denying coverage for pre-existing conditions. It also allows states to waive preventative health services like vaccinations, mammograms and gynecological screenings. For those who survive a sexual assault, care can often be needed from the physical trauma as well as mental. Survivors can contract sexually transmitted infections and women can be impregnated, despite the claim that women’s bodies can “shut that whole thing down.”

— Sarrah K. Burris in Raw Story

As people learned from late-night TV last week, babies can have “pre-existing” conditions at birth. Prior to the ACA, insurance companies could treat complications during or after delivery as “pre-existing conditions” to deny coverage to mothers as well.

The new MacArthur-Meadows Amendment will allow states to discriminate based on medical history, reportedly without addressing the subsequent high cost of health care for millions of Americans.

In addition to rape, postpartum depression, cesarean sections, and surviving domestic violence are all considered preexisting conditions. Companies can also deny coverage for gynecological services and mammograms.

— Sarah Spellings in New York Magazine

When the ACA was first passed in 2009, Huffington Post reported on this aspect of the health insurance debate multiple times, interviewing survivors of sexual assault who had been denied coverage:

Some women have contacted the Investigative Fund to say they were deemed ineligible for health insurance because they had a pre-existing condition as a result of a rape, such as post traumatic stress disorder or a sexually transmitted disease. Other patients and therapists wrote in with allegations that insurers are routinely denying long-term mental health care to women who have been sexually assaulted. […]

Fallon says she now has trouble getting coverage for gynecological exams. To avoid the hassle of fighting with her insurance company, she goes to Planned Parenthood instead and pays out of pocket.

A New Mexico woman told the Investigative Fund she was denied coverage at several health insurance companies because she had suffered from PTSD after being attacked and raped in 2003. She did not want to disclose her name because she feared that she would lose her group health insurance if she went on the record as a rape victim. “I remember just feeling infuriated,” she said.

—  Danielle Ivory in HuffPo

Christina Turner was drugged and raped by two men in 2002. After taking anti-HIV drugs prescribed by her doctor as a preventative measure, Turner was denied health insurance. The HIV drugs, Turner was told, raised too many health questions for her insurer.

— T.J. Ortenzi in HuffPo

This is what Republicans in the house voted for today.