I doubt anyone in Congress is enjoying themselves right now. Recently, Senator Sanders withdrew his amendment for a single-payer system. He didn’t seem too happy about it.
But it appears he didn’t give up and actually got something into the Manager’s Amendment:
A $10 billion investment in community health centers, expected to go to $14 billion when Congress completes work on health care reform legislation, was included in a final series of changes to the Senate bill unveiled today.
The provision, which would provide primary care for 25 million more Americans, was requested by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
He said the additional resources will help bring about a revolution in primary health care in America and create new or expanded health centers in an additional 10,000 communities. The provision would also provide loan repayments and scholarships through the National Health Service Corps to create an additional 20,000 primary care doctors, dentists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and mental health professionals.
Very importantly, Sanders also said the provision would save Medicaid tens of billions of dollars by keeping patients out of emergency rooms and hospitals by providing primary care when then needed it.
Sanders has worked with House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) to include $14 billion in the House version of the legislation.
Sanders is also working with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) to improve language already in the bill to provide waivers for states that want to provide comprehensive, affordable health care and curb rapidly-rising costs for money-making private health insurance companies. The waivers could clear the way for a state-run, single-payer system.
When people ask how we will accomodate so many new people into the system – this is how – 20,000 more primary care professionals. New or expanded health centers in 10,000 communities.
And he’s still pushing for state-level single payer programs.
Good for him. This is how progress is made. You don’t give up. You keep trying. And – sometimes – you succeed.