08/17/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Amendment to Grant States Right to Implement Single Payer Passes Committee Today

Today witnessed the landmark passage of the States Single Payer Amendment which would remove federal barriers to implementation of a single payer health care system at the state level. This bipartisan vote signifies the prominence of the single payer solution as the plan favored by a majority of Americans.

The amendment introduced by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) during the Education and Labor Committee's consideration the health reform bill -- H.R. 3200 -- passed by a bipartisan margin of 25-19. The amendment would free states from Employer Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) regulations that have been used by insurance companies to tie down states with litigation, preventing them from implementing progressive health care solutions.

I have introduced single payer legislation for many years now because it is the only system that can fully solve our health care crisis. Frankly, it is the only way to take health care decisions out of the hands of for-profit insurance companies, and give them back to doctors and patients.

Our broken health care system burdens our business community and allows many of our fellow citizens to suffer or die unnecessarily. Two-thirds of our nation's personal bankruptcies can be attributed directly to medical expenses. Many of these bankruptcies are suffered by those already insured because insurance companies refuse to pay for urgently needed care.

Adoption of a single payer system will allow us to cover everyone without costing any more than we currently spend. The sooner we adopt a uniquely American single-payer system, the sooner we can start enjoying a healthier and more prosperous America. Affirming states' rights to pursue a single payer system in H.R. 3200 makes it a better bill and brings more support for its final passage.

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