Pelosi To Allow Floor Vote On Single-Payer Healthcare Plan

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said she would allow a floor vote later this year on a single-payer option for healthcare reform after Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-NY, agreed to remove an amendment he proposed for inclusion in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s version of a healthcare reform bill, which the panel passed by a vote of 31 to 28 late Friday.

That legislation–H.R. 3200–aims to overhaul the insurance, pharmaceutical and medical industries. It requires all Americans to purchase health insurance.

Prior to the committee’s vote, Weiner spoke passionately about an alternative solution–the single-payer option–and why he believed it was a superior plan than the one passed out of Waxman’s committee.

Single-payer is a term used to describe how a universal health care system would be financed. [Please see David Swanson’s special reports for The Public Record on the single-payer solution here and here.]

“It refers to one entity acting as administrator, or ‘payer,'” according to Physicians for a National Health Program. “In the case of healthcare, a single-payer system would be setup such that one entity—a government run organization—would collect all health care fees, and pay out all healthcare costs.

“In the current US system, there are literally tens of thousands of different health care organizations—HMOs, billing agencies, etc. By having so many different payers of healthcare fees, there is an enormous amount of administrative waste generated in the system.

“In a single-payer system, all hospitals, doctors, and other health care providers would bill one entity for their services. This alone reduces administrative waste greatly, and saves money, which can be used to provide care and insurance to those who currently don’t have it.”

Some liberal and progressive Democrats on the Energy Committee were unhappy by the concessions Waxman and other Democratic leaders made in the markup of the legislation in order to win support of centrist Blue Dog Democrats, who have grown concerned with the cost of overhauling the healthcare system. So Weiner vowed to introduce a single-payer amendment in the Energy Committee’s bill that would have essentially created a universal healthcare system for the entire country.

But Henry Waxman, the chairman of the Energy Comittee, had a quid pro quo for Weiner. He told the congressman that he spoke with Pelosi and she “pledged” to allow “this issue to come to the House floor for a vote” if Weiner withdrew his amendment.

Weiner appeared to be surprised at the news.

“Mr. Waxman, am I to understand correctly that [Pelosi] has said that if I withdraw [the amendment] here in this venue I and my colleagues will have an opportunity to present this before the entire House and the entire country for a debate with the possibility being that this will be adopted as an alternative to the bill that we’re going to pass out of the committee?” Weiner asked Waxman.

Waxman did not respond to Weiner’s specific questons. However, he reiterated his previous statement and told Weiner that Pelosi “will allow this to be brought up on the House floor and debated and voted on.”

“I gladly accept that offer because I think there should be an alternative to what is coming out of this,” Weiner said. “And if that is the pledge, I gladly on behalf of my colleagues…ask that the amendment be withdrawn.”

In a news release following the Energy Committee’s passage of the bill, Weiner said, “Single-payer is a better plan and now it is on center stage. Americans have a clear choice. Their member of Congress will have a simpler, less expensive and smarter bill to choose. I am thrilled that the Speaker is giving us that choice.”

According to a report in the New York Daily News, the floor vote Pelosi promised Weiner, which is not expected to pass, is “an especially big deal for advocates of a single health care system — who see it as cheaper and simpler than the complicated measure being drawn up — because they have been complaining that they have not even been able to get an airing of their position.”

Weiner, Co-Chair of the Middle Class Caucus and a member of the Energy & Commerce Committee, has led the effort for a single-payer solution along with Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Penn., Rep. Elliot Engel, D-NY, Rep. Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Illinois, Rep. Janice Schakowsky, D-Illinois, and Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vermont.

Even President Barack Obama’s former personal physician came out in support of the single-payer solution.

David Scheiner, who treated Obama for more than 20 years, said under the single-payer plan people will [eventually] pay less.”

Scheiner made his comments during a news conference last Thursday at the National Press Club where a rally organized by Healthcare NOW, a coalition of more than a dozen healthcare advocacy groups, got together to pressure Congress to pass legislation in support of the single-payer system.

Obama has said he does not believe a single-payer system, while successful in other countries, would work in the United States because of the volume of people who receive health insurance from their employers. Obama, however, does support a government-operated  public-option plan, which would compete with private insurers.

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11 Responses for “Pelosi To Allow Floor Vote On Single-Payer Healthcare Plan”

  1. jacksmith says:


    We have the 37th worst quality of healthcare in the developed world. Conservative estimates are that over 120,000 of you dies each year in America from treatable illness that people in other developed countries don’t die from. Rich, middle class, and poor a like. Insured and uninsured. Men, women, children, and babies. This is what being 37th in quality of healthcare means.

    I know that many of you are angry and frustrated that REPUBLICANS! In congress are dragging their feet and trying to block TRUE healthcare reform. What republicans want is just a taxpayer bailout of the DISGRACEFUL GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT health insurance industry, and the DISGRACEFUL GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT healthcare industry. A trillion dollar taxpayer funded private health insurance bailout is all you really get without a robust government-run public option available on day one. Co-OP’s ARE NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR A GOVERNMENT-RUN PUBLIC OPTION. They are a fraud being pushed by the GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT health insurance industry that is KILLING YOU!


    These industries have been slaughtering you and your loved ones like cattle for decades for profit. Including members of congress and their families. These REPUBLICANS are FOOLS!

    Republicans and their traitorous allies have been trying to make it look like it’s President Obama’s fault for the delays, and foot dragging. But I think you all know better than that. President Obama inherited one of the worst government catastrophes in American history from these REPUBLICANS! And President Obama has done a brilliant job of turning things around, and working his heart out for all of us.

    But Republicans think you are just a bunch of stupid, idiot, cash cows with short memories. Just like they did under the Bush administration when they helped Bush and Cheney rape America and the rest of the World.

    But you don’t have to put up with that. And this is what you can do. The Republicans below will be up for reelection on November 2, 2010. Just a little over 13 months from now. And many of you will be able to vote early. So pick some names and tell their voters that their representatives (by name) are obstructing TRUE healthcare reform. And are sellouts to the insurance and medical lobbyist.

    Ask them to contact their representatives and tell them that they are going to work to throw them out of office on November 2, 2010, if not before by impeachment, or recall elections. Doing this will give you something more to do to make things better in America. And it will make you feel better too.

    There are many resources on the internet that can help you find people to call and contact. For example, many social networking sites can be searched by state, city, or University. Be inventive and creative. I can think of many ways to do this. But be nice. These are your neighbors. And most will want to help.

    I know there are a few democrats that have been trying to obstruct TRUE healthcare reform too. But the main problem is the Bush Republicans. Removing them is the best thing tactically to do. On the other hand. If you can easily replace a democrat obstructionist with a supportive democrat, DO IT!

    You have been AMAZING!!! my people. Don’t loose heart. You knew it wasn’t going to be easy saving the World. :-)

    God Bless You

    jacksmith — Working Class

    I REST MY CASE (http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/25/why-markets-cant-cure-healthcare/)

    Republican Senators up for re-election in 2010.

    * Richard Shelby of Alabama
    * Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
    * John McCain of Arizona
    * Mel Martinez of Florida
    * Johnny Isakson of Georgia
    * Mike Crapo of Idaho
    * Chuck Grassley of Iowa
    * Sam Brownback of Kansas
    * Jim Bunning of Kentucky
    * David Vitter of Louisiana
    * Kit Bond of Missouri
    * Judd Gregg of New Hampshire
    * Richard Burr of North Carolina
    * George Voinovich of Ohio
    * Tom Coburn of Oklahoma
    * Jim DeMint of South Carolina
    * John Thune of South Dakota
    * Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas
    * Bob Bennett of Utah

  2. Barry Putman says:

    My wife and I both vote. We are both Democrats. We both have health insurance through the State of Washington. And we both demand that the Democrats support, work toward, develop and enact single payer health care. The ONLY argument against single payer is that is would cost the insurance companies profits. I’m TIRED of paying profits to the insurance companies. We DEMAND single payer. If our representatives do not work feverishly to enact single payer, we will support alternate candidates with our money and votes. No, we won’t vote Repuglican; we will, however, vote for Democrats (or ?) who support this.

  3. Nick Steven says:

    And how many people is this going to put out of work. Great plan. Shut down the insurance industry and watch your health insurance go up in flames.

  4. Joe sixpac says:

    Sure take profits away from insurance companies and drug companies, but doctors still need to be paid.

    If you want your best in brightest in medicine you can’t undercut their wages. 60% of doctors won’t accept Medicaid because the government doesn’t pay them enough.

    maybe the magical democrats can ask doctors to work for 60-80k a year when they leave medical school with student loan debt larger than most people’s mortgage..

    A single payer will still need to collect money and pay doctors just like an insurance company. Sure some other governments might make it work, but we are talking about the US government. You know the same one that controls the IRS, social security, and have nearly bankrupted Medicare and Medicaid…

    I have private insurance because health is important to me and my family. If the insurance company screws up I can at least sue them you can sue the government. I have a 5k deductible because that is what I am comfortable with and it keeps my premiums low.

    If your just a loser who needs a handout and expects everyone else to pay for your stupid lifestyle choices, then get behind the single payer socialist option.

    But, if you’re a responsible American and adult who can make their own decisions. You would never let the government take away your freedom and ability to make choices I’ll be dammed if the federal government is going to dictate the kind of health care I purchase. Most people work 3-6 months out of the year for the tax man and now you want to give them more money and control.. soon we will be total slaves to the federal government.

    Insurance = transfer of risk that is what it is for health insurance is not health care… you use it to protect yourself from doctor bills. You can’t wreck your car and sign up for auto insurance a week later and expect them to fix the damage. So why should health insurance be any different.

    What if the government mismanages the health care system? What if people stop paying their taxes and you can’t get a free ride? If you want financial security, job security etc I can tell you where to find it LOOK IN THE MIRROR BECAUSE NO ONE ELSE CARES ABOUT YOU… . you can serve 2 years in congress and get a full retirement for life 150k a year and THEY have a different health care plan then they want for you…


  5. John Wann says:

    All I know is I don’t have healh insurance because I can’t work, I have stress seizures from on the job injury 30 years ago, I have a cyst on my brain, and a tracheostomy with paralyzed vocal cords and I can’t get coverage to help me with my problems because I weigh too much.

    All this is bullshit! They don’t want you to get well, they want you to keep coming back {recurring income) so the keep us on meds that are addictive and toxic.

    The father of pharmacology once stated “All perscription drugs are toxic” and that’s why they all have a L50 rating.

    They don’t want us to get well… They want to get rich off us and keep us powerless and let us die

    Would somebody please get thier head out of thier ass and start helping the people who need it the most….. Disabled Americans!

  6. RETUSAF says:

    Some people become doctors to help people. Here’s a way to pay doctors, have a set price to pay them and for keeping their patients well and fit they get a bonus. I would like to kill insurance companies, why do we need a middle man to cut out a piece of the pie.

    In France doctors get all of their schooling is for free.

    Everyone in and savings on insurance everyone’s cost will go down.

    Hey joesixpack, what if you lose your job? What happens when your kid needs a operation that costs $300,000 to save his life and your insurance says no because you had a preexisting condition. You see the forms you filled out when you got your insurance ten years ago, they never looked them over because they wanted your premiums hoping that maybe you would never get sick. All premiums are non refundable, so your kids gets sick and make a claim and looks like a medical loss for them. Now that look over your paperwork, they employ full time people whom job it is to find something they can deny your claim with. These employees earn bonuses for doing this too.

    It’s all a scram that you’re willing to go along with because you think you’re covered.

  7. torah bright says:

    It is funny you should write about this as I was just thinking about it the other day. You’ve expressed my thoughts exactly. Well done.

    Torah B.
    Analyst for eczema causes

  8. Wow, I agree with Pelosi for once.

  9. But how long until Pelosi sings a new tune? No clue how she got voted in to office.

  10. Thank you for the post, very well done.

  11. I will forward this article to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for

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