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Is this a turning point in the single-payer debate?  Will the DC insiders be forced to listen to the public and healthcare activists--and not just big-money healthcare donors?

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.

UPDATED to correct number of arrested.  ALSO updated, check out YouTube...Max Baucus forced to say to single-payer healthcare activists: "I personally care deeply about your views" after exluding that view from his hearing!

Finally: Fax Max Baucus, and other committee chairs to demand a real debate on single-payer's merits!

Sen. Max Baucus--a favorite recipient of donations from the health insurance industry--has also been the key Democratic attack dog against single-payer healthcare.

He stated it's "off the table," and this morning convened a Senate Finance Committee hearing that included 15 expert witnesses on healthcare--NONE of them in support of a medicare-for-all or single-payer healthcare system.

First of all, let's realize how limited Baucus and DC insiders have already made the debate.  If you exclude healthcare economists and public policy experts who support Medicare-for-All, you're playing the B-team.  The data from other countries is overwhelming: single-payer systems outperform American healthcare, and about half the cost.  If you only talk to people blind to this fact, then you're not exactly bringing the best and brightest together.

Secondly, it's hard to see how healthcare reform can succeed if we continue to allow insurance companies to take their 30% off the top.  Not politically feasible some might say?  It seems far less politically wise to pass healthcare reform that fails.  The American people need reform, want it, and are open to single-payer.  {Not to mention single-payer is the choice of 59% of the nation's MDs and of the national nurses movement.} What's the matter with Baucus?

Politico's hard-working Carrie Budoff Brown provides more details:

As soon as police escorted one protester out of the room, another  would stand up, criticizing the committee for convening a panel of  15 experts and excluding witnesses who support creating a Medicare  
system for all Americans. About eight were led out of the hearing.

"We need more police," Baucus said.

"Single-payer needs to be on the table," one of the protesters  
yelled. "This is political theater."

Here's a Donna Smith blog previewing the meeting

one pic from the protest

one more pic

And here's A FAIR study about the media blackout on single-payer

Originally posted to National Nurses Movement on Tue May 05, 2009 at 10:03 AM PDT.

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