Today, the Vermont Senate in a 21-9 vote gave final approval to H.202, a bill which has at its goal the creation of a single-payer health care system in Vermont. Last month, the Vermont House of Representatives passed its own version of the legislation 92-49.
The vote came after lengthy debate on amendments-- many of them aimed at making the bill more palatable for businesses. Republicans introduced several amendments that they say would reduce the costs for businesses. But the strong Democratic majority easily rejected those amendments.
As ThinkProgress reports, the bill will now go to conference committee:
Now that the bill has passed both the House of Representatives and Senate, it will move to a conference committee to reconcile the two versions of the bill. It will then go to the desk of Gov. Peter Shumlin (D), who strongly supports the bill. Shumlin has said that it will make Vermont the first state where "health care will be a right and not a privilege."
This is excellent news!
Unfortunately, things are not going nearly as well in California. In fact, it looks like single-payer legislation is fast dying in the legislature. This is a note I recently received from Single Payer Now, one of the activist groups pushing for SB 810 -- single payer health care legislation for in California.
Emergency SB 810 Alert
Your Action is Required
Tell Senators Rubio & Hernandez
to stop playing politics with our lives
Dear Healthcare Activist,
We need you to contact 3 State Senators today to urge support for SB 810, the California Universal Healthcare Act.
The Senate Health Committee was scheduled to discuss SB 810 on Wednesday, April 27 at 1:30pm. The Health Committee meeting has now been postponed to Wednesday, May 4th at 1:30pm.
The vote on SB 810 is in jeopardy of not passing because of two members of the Health Committee, Democratic State Senators Michael Rubio from Bakersfield, who is not in support, and the Chair of the Health Committee, Ed Hernandez, who is not sure what he thinks.
Please call Senator Rubio and ask him what it would take for him to vote yes. Call his office every day through May 4th until he responds to your simple question.
His Sacramento phone is 916-651-4016 and his fax is 916-327-5989.
His Bakersfield phone is 661-395-2620 and his fax is 661-395-2620.
Please call Senator Hernandez, the chair of the Health Committee, ask him what it would take for him to vote yes. Call him every day through May 4th until he answers your question. He is clearly placing politics above people's lives. He voted for SB 810 last year when he was an Assembly Member!
His Sacramento phone is 916-651-4024 and his fax is 916-445-0485.
His West Covina phone is 626-430-2499 and his fax is 626-430-2494.
If I weren't an optimist (which I'm not) I'd say that the insurance companies have managed to get their hooks into the California Senate Health Committee and that the fix is already in. And if weren't an atheist, I'd have to believe that somewhere in hell there is a special place on a special level reserved explicitly for health insurance company executives.