Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Not even one single payer seat at the table!

Follow the money.  Until the money is removed from our election system, the American people will never get the representation we deserve.

This problem came to light again yesterday, as the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on "Increasing Access to Health Care Coverage."  The committee is chaired by Montana Senator Max Baucus, whose list of major contributors should bother anyone who wants to see real change.

According to, "Most of Baucus's top 10 contributors have remained the same since the 2002 election--predominantly health and finance-related industries--but nearly all ramped up their contributions this cycle, in the midst of an economic crisis and in preparation for impending health care reform... After law firms, securities and investment companies and insurance companies, the most generous industries to Baucus's campaigns have been health professionals and pharmaceuticals. The health sector has given Baucus at least $2.8 million during his career, more than any other sector with the exception of finance, insurance and real estate companies, which have given him $4.6 million."

So, it shouldn't come as too big a surprise that at yesterday's hearing, the 15 seats at the roundtable discussion were filled by representatives from the insurance industry, HMOs, the pharmaceutical industry, as well as the Chamber of Commerce and other business interests, but not one participant was there to discuss the  reform most Americans want -- single payer health care.

Single Payer does enjoy some support in both chambers of Congress.  HR 676 was introduced in the House by John Conyers; a similar bill in the Senate, SB 703, was introduced by Bernie Sanders.

Since not one of the 15 participants at the roundtable dealing with "Increasing Access to Health Care Coverage" a number of physicians and health care advocates took it upon themselves to attend the hearing, speak up, and even get arrested.

See the video of the beginning of the hearing:

It means making noise to get the point across, and the media finally took some notice yesterday:

Both AP and Politico are reporting on the events at this morning's Senate Finance Committee, where brave healthcare activists, one after the other, stood up to protest the exclusion of single-payer reforms from the conversation. TPM Cafe

Senator During Health-Care Protest: 'We Need More Police.' - Politics Daily

Advocates of single-payer health care are getting feisty! - The Wall Street Journal

Single-Payer Health-Care Advocates Disrupt Senate Hearing - The Wall Street Journal

Doctors, Single Payer Activists Arrested -

Protesters disrupt Senate health care hearing - AP

Health care activists disrupt Senate Finance Committee hearing - Politico

Today on Air America Live, I'll speak with a couple of the protesters who got arrested yesterday.  Listen live at, listen and chat at, and call in at 866-303-2270.



SoloPocono said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ellen Kimball said...

Thanks for posting this. It's ugly but useful.

"We need more police." Wonderful.

The problem is that, until we get the President on our side, this is still going to be a mish-mash of politicians who happily side with insurance and pharmaceutical lobbyists.

The lobbyists are doing the same thing they always do.

Let's hope there some kind of a breakthrough.