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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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HURRICANE IKE (and Paloma!) VICTIMS NEED YOUR HELP! Here are the links you need to send donations to the relief agencies working in the U.S., Haiti, Cuba and the Bahamas

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UPDATE: Hurricane Paloma has devastated Cuba. See the links below for relief agencies working with Cuba.

The recent hurricanes have devastated Louisiana, Texas, Haiti, Cuba and the Bahamas. The impoverished nation of Haiti, alone, has seen 3 major storms (Hanna, Gustav and Ike) in the past 3 weeks. People are suffering throughout the Caribbean and the Gulf states of the U.S. The good news is that several agencies are providing relief — food, water, shelter, beds and clothing — along with medical care, emotional support and efforts toward re-building. The good news is also that you can help.

See the links, below, to make a tax-deductible donation to one of these relief efforts.

Did your grandma ever tell you: “Many hands make light work”? Mine did, and she was right. Whether you’re talking about day-to-day cooking, cleaning and gardening, or helping the neighbor down the road whose house was hit by a tornado, it was and still is true. Many hands make light work. Remember this, as you decide whether you can afford to give to these relief efforts. Any donation amount — small, medium or large — is a blessing to the storm victims and to those folks on the ground who are providing the humanitarian care we’d all be doing ourselves, as neighbors, if only we could be there. Let your heart work through their hands. Donate. 

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TEXAS AND LOUISIANA

RED CROSS: DONATE HERE to support the the Red Cross National Disaster Relief Fund to aid recent U.S. hurricane victims in Texas and Louisiana.  Alternately, you can donate here at the Red Cross’ general donation page, where you may then direct your donation to a specific geography (U.S. vs. International aid) or to “Where the Need is Greatest.” The minimum donation is $10. Should you wish to donate via phone or snail mail, the information is provided on the donation pages.  

Galveston in ruins after Hurricane Ike __________________________________________________________________________

 

HAITI and THE BAHAMAS

RED CROSS: DONATE HERE to support the Red Cross International Response Fund to aid recent hurricane victims in Haiti and the Bahamas. From this same page, you can alternately choose specific efforts, including “Where the Need is Greatest.” which is always appreciated by the Red Cross as they juggle their emergency efforts between various needs.

CATHOLIC RELIEF SERVICES: DONATE HERE to support the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) disaster relief efforts to provide emergency food, shelter, water and other basic needs, along with medical care and long-term needs. There is a space on this page where you may optionally type in a specific area where you would like your donation to be directed (e.g. Haiti, the Bahamas), as well as the opportunity to have your donation given in someone’s honor or memory.  There is also info on this page for donating via phone or mail. With a 60-year history in providing humanitarian aid, Catholic Relief Services has a strong background in emergency preparedness and response. With 94% of their donations going directly to their programs, CRS has earned an A+ grade with the American Institute of Philantrophy. 

FOOD FOR THE POOR: DONATE HERE to support this worthy organization’s disaster relief efforts in Haiti. Payments can be made either online or through the mail. Their report card is impressive, with 96.8% of donations going directly to programs. Read here for charitable watch-group endorsements

p.s. While you’re at their site, check out the other humanitarian works by this fine faith-based organization. Their work is truly amazing and goes far beyond simple “Food for the Poor.” Their “Home Again 2008” project is but one example (see before and after photos, right).

Awe inspiring: For the same price some folks in the U.S. might pay for a summer vacation ($2,600) you could buy a house for a family in Haiti. Check it out here, blueprints and all. Give to this effort, too, if you can.

Wouldn’t it be amazing to buy a house for a family? 

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CUBA

CATHOLIC RELIEF SERVICES: DONATE HERE to support the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) disaster relief efforts to provide emergency food, shelter, water and other basic needs, along with medical care and long-term needs. There is a space on this page where you may optionally type in a specific area where you would like your donation to be directed (e.g. Cuba, Haiti, the Bahamas), as well as the opportunity to have your donation given in someone’s honor or memory.  There is also info on this page for donating via phone or mail. With a 60-year history in providing humanitarian aid, Catholic Relief Services has a strong background in emergency preparedness and response. With 94% of their donations going directly to their programs, CRS has earned an A+ grade with the American Institute of Philantrophy. 

GREATER MIAMI JEWISH FEDERATION: DONATE HERE to support humanitarian relief efforts in Cuba for the devastation from Hurricane Ike. On the donation page, there are options to pay online (either in full or in installments) or to pay via phone or mail. This organization is working in both Haiti and Cuba. If you like, you can specifically direct your donation to Cuba, by typing CUBA in the comments section. One-hundred percent of donations go to relief efforts in Haiti & Cuba. 

OPERATION USA: DONATE HERE to support medical humanitarian efforts in Cuba. As this organization works in many countries, you will want to specify Cuba on the donation page by typing something along the lines of CUBA HURRICANE RELIEF in the comments section at the bottom. You can donate online or pay via phone or mail, per the info on the donation page. With 98% of their donations going directly into their program, this organization has earned a 4-star, “exceptional” designation from Charity Navigator. (see their home page for more info).

THE DISARM EDUCATION FUND: DONATE HERE to support humanitarian efforts to provide desperately needed medical relief to Cubans — doctors, surgeons, medical supplies, etc. There is a drop-down menu on the donation page to designate your donation to Hurricane relief. You can also make your donation in the honor or memory of a loved one or a cause. See Ed Asner’s letter on this site, urging aid for hurricane victims. Their charity report card is not as good as it could be, with 77% of donations going directly into their program work, according to Charity Navigator. The good news is that you can, alternately …

SIGN A PETITION TO END THE U.S. EMBARGO AGAINST CUBA: CLICK HERE to sign the the Disarm Education Fund’s petition to end the U.S. embargo against Cuba. This petition, along with addt’l info on the embargo, is located on the Disarm Education Fund website. Signing this petition is a no-cost way to make the world a better place. 

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See these links to read news and updates on the storm devastation, along with the relief needs & efforts being made in these areas:

Haiti Innovation: Choice, Partnership, Community

The Jamaica Observer: Digicel Donates US$1 Million Toward Hurricane Relief in Haiti

Catholic Relief Services: Storms Turn Haiti’s Roads into Rivers

Food For the Poor: Hanna Catastrophic for Haiti

Greater Miami Jewish Federation: Federation Collecting Funds for Hurricane Victims in Haiti, Cuba

Red Cross: Red Cross Provides Shelter as Ike Hits Land in Texas (read specifics on their good works in the 4-state area affected by Hurricane Ike)

Red Cross: Red Cross Responds to Caribbean Hurricanes

LA Times: Hurricanes and Haiti

The Sun: Hurricane Ike Chaos in Cuba

NPR: Cuba, Pounded by Ike, Rejects U.S. Aid

The Center for Democracy in the Americas: Cuba Needs a Gengle Storm of Generosity — INCLUDES CONTACT INFO FOR OTHER CHARITIES, RELIEF & DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATIONS THAT ARE WORKING WITH CUBA

Miami Herald: Aid’s path to Haiti, Cuba is Fraught with Obstacles 

Miami Herald: How to Help Hurricane Victims — Contact info for assisting with relief efforts in the U.S. and throughout the Caribbean.

Xinhua: Cuba Rejects Again U.S. Strings-Attached Hurricane Aid

 

Speaking of the War for Oil in Afghanistan… I Mean Iraq… I Mean Iran

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With all the renewed media *cough* interest in Afghanistan and bin Laden over the past few weeks, scant scrutiny’s been given to the no-bid contracts going to Shell, Chevron, ExxonMobil, et al, as they prepare to collect the spoils from our illegal war in Iraq. Even less scrutiny’s gone to Iran, where we are perched to go war.

While we’ve been busy thinking about gas prices and arguing over who’s more patriotic — Cindy or Michelle — support has been growing on Capitol Hill to pass Resolutions 362 and 580, giving Bush license to go to war against Iran, not unlike the Iraq war resolution passed in 2002.

The broken-wing-bird ruse being used by the Administration, with the apparent complicity of the media, seems to be working because, for whatever reason, everyone’s looking the other way. Few Americans seem aware that, as early as next week, the House could pass Resolution 362, with its sister resolution, Resolution 580, gaining support in the Senate, as we speak. I suppose they’ll tell us about it when we need to know. Right?

Read about it here:

http://www.antiwar.com/blog/2008/06/23/iran-war-resolution-may-be-passed-next-week/

and here: http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/06/25/while_we_sleepwar_with_iran_is/

and here (some background): http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO505A.html

and here: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=9437

And, when you’re done, toss some dissent to your Representatives: http://capwiz.com/justforeignpolicy/issues/alert/?alertid=11518951

Written by canarypapers

June 26, 2008 at 1:59 pm

And in the same "Ich bin ein Berliner" spirit of solidarity…

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… what better day, than today, to sign the petition urging the presidential candidates to, for cripesakes, get off the fence and endorse the treaty against cluster bombs? http://www.crossleft.org/node/6305

Last month, 111 countries around the world signed the ban against cluster bombs, but the U.S. (you guessed it) didn’t.

Here’s the thing: It’s not enough to loathe Bush policies from the tips of your hair to the tips of your toes, or even to cast your vote against the Bush policies in November. There is so much to be done in the coming days, months and years. Our voices do count. Don’t let the enormity of our problems intimidate you to silence, to some fatalistic, “Aw, what the hell” attitude. In the words of Margaret Mead:

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

So, sign the thing, wouldya?

Written by canarypapers

June 26, 2008 at 12:56 pm