Single Payer Advocates Starting to Break Against Obama

Russell Mokhiber

Single payer activists are starting to break against President Obama on health care reform.

On Thursday, Physicians for a National Health Program, in an e-mail
message to its members, endorsed the view that "no bill is better than
a bad bill."

"Even the public option in the House is a sham," the group said on Thursday.

PNHP's John Geyman called on the House to shelve Obamacare.

"The negatives far outweigh the positives," Geyman wrote.

Yesterday, Congressman Eric Massa (D-NY), a lead single payer advocate in the House, said he would vote against Obamacare.

And it wouldn't matter what kind of pressure the White House or President Obama put on him to change his mind.

"I have respect for the chief executive, but I don't work for him,"
Massa said. "I work for people of the 29th Congressional District."

"At the highest level this bill will enshrine in law the
monopolistic powers of the private health insurance industry," Massa
said yesterday in a telephone press conference. "There's no other way
to look at it."

The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reported that Massa spent the last week studying 1,990-page H.R. 3962.

Massa said that the bill "fails to address the fundamental question
before the American people, and that is, how do you control the costs
of health care?"

Massa is the only solid no vote who turned on Obama because it gave too much to the insurance industry.

There are two other single payer advocates - Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio)
and Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) - who are undecided and may join Massa in
the "no" camp when the House votes comes down - possibly as early as

In late July 2009, virtually the entire Congressional Progressive Caucus wrote a letter saying that anything less than a public option tied to Medicare rates was "unacceptable."

But most have reneged on that position - including such progressives
as Donna Edwards (D-Maryland) and Raul Grajalva (D-Arizona) - under
pressure from Obama and the White House.

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