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CALL TO ACTION! The Kucinich Amendment: Supporting True Health Care Reform, One State at a Time

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Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) — one of the very few politicians on Capitol Hill who hasn’t been bullied and/or bought-off by the insurance industry — proposed a new amendment today for single-payer health care.

The Kucinich plan would allow individual states to created single-payer health care systems even if Congress fails to create a national single-payer plan.

Why is the Kucinich Amendment Necessary and Important?

The healthcare legislation currently under consideration in Congress would prevent states from improving on what Congress creates. The Kucinich plan would change that, leaving the federal initiative as is but permitting states to do better. This battle pits states’ rights against the much less spoken of insurance company rights. And it calls the bluff of every individual or group who opposes single-payer healthcare at the federal level on the grounds that it is not “viable.” That argument would seem to provide no basis at all for denying states the right to create single-payer healthcare or any other solution they see fit. READ MORE

State by state.  That’s exactly how Canada evolved towards single-payer: one province at a time. Given the corporate-funded resistance to single-payer in Congress, the U.S. may have to follow the Canadian path.

Progressive activists in California and Pennsylvania are leading the way for single-payer systems and the Kucinich Amendment would remove the legal roadblocks they face.

Calls are urgently needed. And it’s easy, if you can get through. (BUT KEEP TRYING!) The lines have been intermittently jammed — no doubt by the millions here in American who are desperate for true health care reform, which is not being addressed in the public plan.

The fate of the Kucinich Amendment rests in the hands of Democrats on the House Education and Labor Subcommittee: Robert Andrews, Yvette Clarke, Joe Courtney, Marcia Fudge, Phil Hare, Rush Holt, Dale Kildee, Dave Loebsack, Carolyn McCarthy, Joe Sestak, John Tierney, and David Wu.

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 handYou can call the subcommittee members ALL AT ONCE and FOR FREE  here: http://tr.im/sCUD

Simply type in your phone number at the bottom and press “Start Calling,” and CauseCaller will connect you to each of the relevant offices. Please do it now! If you can’t get through, keep trying!

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handAlternately…. You can call the subcommitte members’ offices anytime at the numbers listed below. You can leave a voicemail if no one answers. If you do speak with a staffer, post a reply at democrats.com here: 

http://www.democrats.com/support-kucinich-single-payer-amendment-today

You can also urge your Senators and Representatives to support the Single Payer Health Plan (H.R. 676) by signing the petition here:

http://www.democrats.com/single-payer-petition

Democrats on the House Education and Labor Subcommittee: 

Robert Andrews (NJ01) 202-225-6501

Yvette Clarke (NY11) 202-225-6231

Joe Courtney (CT02) 202-225-2076

Marcia Fudge (OH11) 202-225-7032

Phil Hare (IL17) 202-225-5905

Rush Holt (NJ12) 202-225-5801

Dale Kildee (MI05) 202-225-3611

David Loebsack (IA02) 202-225-6576

Carolyn McCarthy (NY04) 202-225-5516

Joe Sestak (PA07) 202-225-2011

John Tierney (MA06) 202-225-8020

David Wu (OR01) 202-225-0855

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(video, above) May 2009: Congressman Kucinich exposes health care hoax

Below is the statement Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) made yesterday after the Education and Labor Committee began its markup process of HR 3200, America’s Affordable Health Choices Act:

“Medicine in the U.S. is a profit driven market commodity distributed according to the ability to pay rather than a basic human right distributed as a public service according medical need. No wonder that the United States ranks 47th in life expectancy and 23rd in infant mortality. In this profit driven, private insurance based system there are over 1400 manage care organizations and 5000 health insurance plans. We have the most expensive health care system in the world – over 16% of our GDP. Two point four trillion dollars a year goes to health spending and 1 out of every 3 dollars go to the activities of the for-profit system- for corporate profits, stock options, executive salaries, advertising, marketing, and the cost of paperwork. Yet 47 million people remain uninsured and another 50 million are underinsured. I submit that there is a direct relationship between the for-profit health care system and the uninsured and the underinsured.

“We can no longer look the other way as the uninsured and underinsured continue to grow their ranks. We cannot ignore the growing share of all bankruptcies that is attributable to medical bills – now over 60%. We can no longer live with a system that is, by most indications, among the lowest quality in the developed world. And we can’t afford the rising costs.

“Indeed, rising costs are the essence of the problem. Health care stakeholders are sinking more and more money into efforts designed to make someone else pay the bill. It is profitable to do so. Insurance companies, doctors, hospitals and patients are all fighting over who pays. But the insurance companies are winning while they focus on the stock market value, on their financial profits, on their investments in tobacco, on their strategies to restrict or deny service – which increases their profit.

“They have set up massive, redundant and highly profitable bureaucracies that deny care. When we buy their services, we don’t just pay for their infrastructure’ we also pay for a second infrastructure which results in doctors having to hire more staff to fight with insurance companies just to protect themselves.

“Consider that the growth in the number of professionals who actually deliver health care since the 1970s is under 300%. But the increase in the administrators- those who do not deliver care – is upwards of 2400%. The insurance companies have wedged themselves between the doctor and the patient. It is easy to see why our costs have spiraled out of control and the health insurance industry is consistently shown in polls to be one of the least trusted industries in America.

“There are many models of health care reform from which to choose around the world – the vast majority of which perform far better than ours. The one that has been the most tested here and abroad is single payer. Under a single payer system everyone in the U.S. would get a card that would allow access to any doctor at virtually any hospital. Doctors and hospitals would continue to be privately run, but the insurance payments would be in the public hands.

“By getting rid of the for-profit insurance companies, we can save $400 billion per year and provide coverage for all medically necessary services for everyone in the U.S. It would cost no more than we are currently paying for health care. This is the consistent conclusion in reports by the Government Accountability Office, the Congressional Budget Office, and several independent analyst organizations like the Lewin Group.

“Cost is just one of the reasons that support for single payer is growing so quickly. HR 676, The United States National Health Care Act, now boasts 85 cosponsors. It has been endorsed by over 550 union organizations, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the League of Women Voters, Consumer’s Union and deans of prominent medical schools. 59% of doctors support it, as do 60% of Americans.

“The bill we are considering today, I regret to say, is not a single payer bill. It further entrenches the existing for-profit, insurance-based system by handing even more money over to the insurance industry. It will leave 17 million Americans uninsured. It is silent on the great state experimentation, at the state level, with single payer.

“Cardinal Bernardin of Chicago once wrote, “Health care is an essential safeguard of human life and dignity and it is an obligation of society to ensure that every person has the opportunity to realize that right.” We can do better than protecting an insurance based, for-profit system that will continue to exclude millions of Americans.”

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REPORT VOTER FRAUD: Don’t let your vote go down the toilet! Here’s how (UPDATED 11/3/08)

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Scared witless of another stolen election?

Brain numb? Stomach in knots? Can’t sleep? Feeling helpless? Hopeless? As if the voting booths in America have become little more than fancy-pants outhouses for neatly disposing of our votes? You’re not alone. But we can fight back.. 

This is serious, serious business. Voter purging, disenfranchisement and suppression is epidemic throughout the country. The Republican’s vote-stealing campaign is a powerful, well-oiled machine. Don’t let the hugeness of this issue overwhelm you. Fight back. There’s power in numbers. The more who fight against their sleazy campaign to thwart democracy, the less chance they have to succeed. On this page, you’ll find some tools for fighting back.

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UPDATE NOVEMBER 3, 2008:

Cutting to the chase, here’s a re-cap of the 6 best options for reporting and dealing with voter problems. Write down the phone numbers, below, and take them with you to the polls:

  1. A MUST READ: Please, please read this short Wall Street Journal article before going to the polls – Heading Off Election Day Mishaps Most Pitfalls Have a Remedy, if Voters Are Prepared; Bringing Along Proper ID.  This will help you avoid and/or remedy the more common problems yourself. You want to do whatever you can to avoid getting something called a “provisional ballot,” which is often times the equivalent of throwing your vote down the toilet. 
  2. If you are having a legal problem with your vote, call the Election Protection Hotline at 1-(866) OURVOTE  or (1-866-687-8683). If you are in the midst of voting and have a problem, DO NOT LEAVE YOUR POLLING BOOTH/STATION. YOU NEED TO MAKE THIS CALL BEFORE LEAVING YOUR POLLING STATION. When you call, a pre-recorded voice will answer, asking which state you are from. Enter your two-digit state code on your phone’s keypad. You’ll be forwarded to a legal expert in your state, who can help determine your voting rights.
  3. If you don’t have a legal question but simply want to report a problem you had, you can call a separate hotline 1 (866) MYVOTE1 (866-698-6831) and leave a recorded message. Be sure to leave your name and phone number on the recording if you want someone to investigate your problem.
  4. Report voter problems to Barack Obama’s website at: http://my.barackobama.com/page/s/vpcreport
  5. For overseas voters — both military and civilian — needing help with voting issues & problems, there is information plus a “Voters Help Desk” at Overseas Vote Foundation: https://vhd.overseasvotefoundation.org/ovf/index.php?group=default
  6. I’m not sure if this will be any help, but the Dept. of Justices offers the following advice: If you experience any problem or confusion while voting report the situation to one of the poll workers or election officials immediately. Do not wait until you have finished voting. If the election officials at the polling place are unable or unwilling to help you, the problem should be reported directly to the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. There are no special forms to use or procedures to follow–just call the Civil Rights Division toll-free at (800) 253-3931

Find more info at: Wired Blog Network

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p.s. I encourage readers to pass on any helpful  info/resources to me. I’ll post them here on this page. 

What you can do 

  1. Vote, and urge everyone you know to vote, no matter what.
  2. Fight voter fraud. The links on this page offer excellent info & resources. Check them out, then forward this page to everyone you know, and urge them to forward it to everyone they know. 
  3. Fight complaceny. Be informed and stay informed. Begin by watching the two videos below (15 mintues total). Then devote yourself to staying informed — no matter how godawful depressing and hopeless it may seem — from now until November 4th. It may very well be the most important work you ever do.  

 

SITES TO CHECK OUT

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Steal Back Your Vote with Robert Kennedy Jr. & Greg Palast

Voter suppression is real. It’s a crime. And it’s happening to YOU….. This is a deliberate strategy to keep minorities from voting, senior citizens from voting, young people from voting in an effort to suppress the vote and maintain their hold on power. Our concern is not partisan. We need every American to vote: Democrats and Republicans. You can do all the campaigning you want in a battleground state like Ohio or New Mexico, but if your voters aren’t counted, you’re going to lose the Presidency-and our democracy. But there’s something that you can do to prevent it. Pass on this link: http://www.stealbackyourvote.org. Go to the site. Download copies of this comic book, buy copies in bulk and download STEAL BACK YOUR VOTE: THE MOVIE. Get out the word! There’s still time to steal back your vote! — Robert Kennedy, Jr.

Steal Back Your Vote in 7 Easy Steps, by Robert Kennedy, Jr. and Greg Palast

  1. Don’t, Don’t, DON’T Mail In Your Ballot. For those of you who mailed in your ballot, please tell me, what happened to it? You don’t know, do you? I can tell you that officially, three-fourths of a million absentee ballots were never counted last time, on the weakest of technical excuses. And you won’t even know it. Furthermore, tens of thousands of ballots are not mailed out to voters in time to return them-in which case you’re out of luck. In most states, new voters must now include a photocopy of your ID. Which mis, like, nuts. Every time I hear of a voter going “absentee” to avoid computer screens, I want to “go postal” myself.
  2. Vote Early…very early. Every state now lets voters cast ballots in designated polling stations and at county offices in the weeks before Election Day. Do it. Don’t wait until Election Day to find out you
    have the wrong ID, your registration’s “inactive,” or you’re on a challenge list. By Election Day, there’s little to do but hold up the line.
  3. Register and Register and Register Think you’re registered to vote? Think again. With all this purg’n going on, you could be x’d out and you won’t know it. Check online at www.votersunite.org *. Then register your girlfriend, your wife, your mailman and your mommy. Contact the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, Rock the Vote, and your local party organization, and commit to a couple of days of door-to-door registration, especially in minority neighborhoods or at social service agency offices. And if you’ve served the time, you can sign: in almost every state, ex-cons can
    vote. *(for individual/personal state registration info, including deadlines, you can also check here)
  4. Vote Unconditionally, Not Provisionally In 2008, they’ll be handing out provisional ballots like candy, especially to Hispanic voters. If your right to vote is challenged, don’t accept a provisional ballot that will likely not get counted no matter what the sweet little lady at the table tells you. She won’t decide; partisan sharks will. Demand adjudication from poll judges on the spot; demand a call to the supervisor of elections; or return with acceptable ID if possible. And be a champ: defend the rights of others. If you’ve taken Step 1 above and voted early, you have Election Day free to be
    a poll watcher. If your run into trouble – you’ve been caged or purged or challenged – call Election Protection at 1-(866) OURVOTE. Then challenge the challengers, the weird guys with Blackberrys containing lists of “suspect” voters. Be firm, but no biting.
  5. Occupy Ohio, Invade Nevada. The revolution will not be podcast. Let go of that mouse, get out of your PJs and take the resistance door-to-door-to register the vote, to canvass the voters, to get out the vote. Donate time to your union (if you’re not in a union, why not?) or to the troublemakers I’ve
    already listed here and on our site. This may seem a stupendously unoriginal suggestion, but I know of no other method more effective for confronting the armed and dangerous junta that has seized the White House.
  6. Date a voter. Voting, like bowling and love, should never be done alone. As our sponsor, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, says, make a date to ‘Arrive with Five.’ And keep this comic book in your holster – with our 800 numbers and your photo ID in your hand. And Bobby, make sure your ID says, “Robert Kennedy JUNIOR” or your vote is toast. [EDITOR’S NOTE: I have a copy of this comic book. It’s loaded with helpful resources, and it’s well-worth the price — $1 to $1 million, take your pick — with every $100 sending 400 voter guides across the country, where democracy is getting creamed.] 
  7. Make the DemocracY Demand: No Vote Left Behind! I have this crazy fantasy in my head. In it, an election is stolen and the guy who’s wrongly declared the loser stands up in front of the White House and says three magic words: “Count the votes.” You can have all the paper ballots in the world, but if you don’t demand to look at them, publicly, in a recount, you might as well mark
    them with invisible ink. Democracy requires vigilance The Day After. That’s when you check in at http://www.stealbackyourvote.org/one more time.

Are you registered to vote? Do you know where to vote? What ID to bring? The poll hours in your state? About absentee & early voting? Find these answers and more at canivote.org, a nonpartisan web site created by state election officials to help voters with the voting process. At this site, you’ll be able to:  

  • Check your registration info
  • Find your polling place
  • Know what kind of ID to bring
  • Make your vote count: absentee and early voting
  • Learn about the candidates (local and state)
  • Become a poll worker

 

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by Mantis Katz for the canarypapers

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FOR MORE INFO:

Greg Palast’s Steal Back Your Vote site: This page has bookoos of info and links on voter fraud