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Baucus Tells Single-Payer Advocates No
|Last Edited||Craverguy Jun 04, 2009 10:31pm|
|News Date||Thursday, June 4, 2009 08:00:00 AM UTC0:0|
|Description||Montana Senator Max Baucus met Wednesday with advocates for single-payer healthcare, including Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, and told them that he might drop criminal charges against 13 people arrested for speaking up in his hearings, but that he would not include any supporters of single-payer health coverage in any future hearings. According to one report, Baucus suggested that he’d been mistaken to exclude single-payer but asserted that the process of creating healthcare reform legislation was too far along now to correct that omission. |
Senator Sanders said after the meeting that if healthcare reform did not create a single-payer system, it shouldn’t be done at all, and that within three or four years we would realize we’d solved nothing. He said that it would be better to increase funding for community health centers and take steps to make it easier for medical students to go into primary care, than to enact major reforms that didn’t go to the root of the problem.
Sanders has a bill (S 486) that makes some of the changes he advocates, as well as a bill (S 703) to facilitate the creation by states of single-payer healthcare systems. Wisconsin Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin has introduced resolutions on the same topic in the House. Dr. Margaret Flowers, co-chair of the Maryland chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), attended a press conference following the meeting on Wednesday and filled me in. She said that while states are pursuing single-payer legislation, it would be much easier for them to succeed if they had waivers allowing federal healthcare dollars to go to the states, and if needed changes were made to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.