Pennsylvania... is 'Ground Zero' for Single Payer Healthcare

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Sun, 09/27/2009 - 12:34pm.

I just got off the phone with Chuck Pennacchio, who is our tireless facilitator here in Pennsylvania to spearhead the passage of Single Payer legislation. Perhaps we will be the first State in the Union to pass Single Payer, otherwise known as HB 1660/SB 300. ~ Kate Loving Shenk - Video

Several questions were raised during the course of our call.

1.  Why is Washington not the right venue for Single Payer Passage?

We can see the "why not" right now as our President confronts Washington Insiders to settle on an Economic Stimulus Package. He was not getting anywhere so he took his pleas on the road to present the stimulus plan to the American people.

Washington Insiders are stuck. Getting Single Payer passed in Washington is frankly, a joke.

2.  We must depend on grassroots power to get Single Payer enacted State by State.

3.  John Conyers, Jr., United States Congressman, who orchestrates HR 676, the United States National Healthcare Act, is now putting his energy into state sponsored Single Payer Bills. We know this because he will be coming to Pennsylvania, then to Massachusetts and then Ohio, to help these states with their Single Payer initiatives.

4.  We need look no further than the lessons of United States History.  Major reform has always occurred historically first in the states.

For instance, consumer rights, women's right to vote, minimum wage laws, child labor laws and Civil Rights all were initiated first on the state level.

Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal started on the state level, as well, when he gave the crucial "Economic Bill Of Rights" speech at the end of World War II.

Additionally, at the end of WW II, when England, France and Germany formulated Guaranteed Healthcare For All, the United States was also on the verge of doing the same thing, with Harry Truman's visionary leadership. But the conservative control in Washington at the time opted for employee based health insurance coverage.

Guaranteed Universal Healthcare became a corporate For Profit entity from that point on.

5.  The United States Constitution provides for division of power. This is spelled  out in the idea of Federalism, which is used to describe a system of government in which sovereignty is constitutionally divided between national and state governments.

James Madison, America's fourth President, had a vision that each state represented a laboratory where new ideas are tried out and propelled onto the national stage.

Let us also keep in mind that the Canadian Healthcare System began first in Saskatchewan, 1962, and then went national a year later.

Why Pennsylvania?

  • Pennsylvania's Governor, Ed Rendell, has repeatedly said he will sign the bill, if the people can get it on his desk. Governors elsewhere have not given similar support.

  • Health Insurance and Pharmaceutical Companies spend huge amounts on advertising to influence against the Single Payer alternative. However, because Pennsylvania is a non-referendum state, higher legislative entities have the final say as to whether a bill is passed, or not and theoretically, are not influenced by propaganda designed to sway the minds of the people.

  • The Quinnipaic Survey poll taken in May 2008, said that 68% of Pennsylvanians supported Single Payer legislation.  Apparently, the propaganda discussed in item #2 is having little effect in the mind's of most Pennsylvanians. This poll was completed before the economic downturn. It is safe to say that with so many people out of work and without health insurance, this number is well over 70%.
  • This, my friends, is considered a consensus, hands down. 

    Furthermore, Pennsylvania polling percentages for Single Payer are higher and more favorable than any other state in the union.

  • Republicans are coming aboard in support of HB 1660/SB 300. Republicans elsewhere have not given similar support.

    For instance, Tom Murt, State House Representative in Montgomery County, and an Iraq War Veteran, strongly supports the bill.

    Twenty-one other House Republicans signed on in support of the Economic Impact Study, which is a prerequisite for these bills passing in the Commonwealth.

  • Healthcare For All PA has 8,000 members from all walks of life; nurses, doctors, medical and nursing students, teachers, farmers, labor and business leaders, Chamber of Commerce, League Of Women Voters, Council Of Churches,  AFL-CIO, as well a Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Greens, who all support the bills.

  • Pennsylvania is at the epicenter for passage of HB 1660/SB 300 for reasons that form a groundswell of bipartisan, economic, moral and democratic (with a small 'd') gathering of energy.

    We are excited to be a part of this energy.  Once we pass it, every other state will follow.




    Time - 4:12 minutes

    Video by jperryam


    Kate Loving Shenk - February 14, 2009 - source OpedNews

    Thanks to Chuck Pennacchio for an excellent history lesson, and for providing background info for this article.

    I am a Nurse Healer, writer and creator of Nursing Career Transformation. As a Nurse Practitioner for many years, I saw clearly that health reform was not only necessary, but crucial. Healthcare reform, the healing arts, gardening, (more...)

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    Submitted by SadInAmerica on Sun, 09/27/2009 - 12:34pm.