Single Payer Scores

Democrats in the House of Representatives will move this week to get the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to score HR 676 – the bill that will create a single payer national health insurance system.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) has already promised an up or down vote on a single payer bill sponsored by Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-New York).

And House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) said on Friday that he will address the vote on single payer and the effort to get the CBO to score it at a town hall meeting on health care he is scheduled to attend in Waldorf, Maryland on Tuesday.

On Friday, Hoyer told a constituent, Dr. Carol Paris, that he would raise the single payer issue at his town hall meeting on Tuesday.

“Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has put single payer on the table,” Paris told Single Payer Action. “She has called for an up or down vote on the Weiner amendment when Congress convenes in the fall. I pointed that out to Congressman Hoyer, along with the fact that the Congressional leadership has just called to have HR 676 scored by the Congressional Budget Office.”

“So those two events – asking to have HR 676 scored, and calling for an up or down vote on the Weiner amendment – puts single payer on the table as an option in the ongoing health care debate,” Dr. Paris said.

“So, I asked Hoyer – given that, will you talk about single payer when you are speaking at the town hall meeting?” Paris said. “And he hemmed and hawed for a while. And then he did say that he would talk about it.”

Why does Dr. Paris believe that Hoyer is opposed to single payer?

“He continues to say that single payer is not politically feasible,” Dr. Paris said.

How do you translate that?

“He’s in the pockets of the private insurance industry,” Dr. Paris said. “And he’s going along with President Obama directive. But I also believe that this debate is not done. And I won’t hold him to his previous assertion that single payer is not politically feasible. I believe he can change his mind. Kathleen Sebelius can change her mind. And President Obama can change his mind. And that’s what I’m going to keep working toward – changing their minds.”

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