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Democrats strip single-payer healthcare proposal from health overhaul

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A government-run healthcare program may become an “option” for those who don’t have employer-sponsored healthcare coverage, but a government-run healthcare system will not.

House Democratic leaders quietly stripped a single-payer provision from the House version of the healthcare overhaul Thursday. The measure would have allowed states to set up their own state-run healthcare systems, where local governments would have become de facto health insurers for residents.

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A Democratic aide told Roll Call that there was “consensus” to remove the provision, which was proposed by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and inserted by a majority vote in the House Education and Labor Committee.

“The fact is, the majority of the Democratic Caucus agreed that the most effective way forward was through a competitive marketplace coupled with strong consumer protections and the choice of a public option,” Education and Labor Committee spokesman Aaron Albright remarked.

Kucinich’s amendment had been added to the bill in a bipartisan 27-19 vote in the Education and Labor Committee. While supported by liberals, the measure would likely have been a “poison pill” for the overhaul bill, where Democrats have struggled to round up votes for a “robust” public option.

Kucinich said he was disappointed by the House leaders’ move.

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“Today, advocates of true health care reform were disappointed to learn that the Kucinich amendment was removed from the latest version of the health care reform bill,” Kucinich said in a statement. “At the end of the day, states may be given the option to opt out, but won’t be allowed to opt into a proven system that provides all of a state’s residents with better health care.

“Many states are demanding single payer,” he added. “The Lewin Group’s financial analysis of the California single payer bill that passed the legislature twice found that ‘the net cost of the program to state and local governments is a savings of about $900 million’ in 2006 alone. There are also strong single payer movements in Pennsylvania , New York , Illinois , Colorado , and New Mexico.”

Facing the intransigence of Republicans to support any version of Democratic healthcare reform, the party has had to cater to its conservative and moderate wings to round up the necessary support to get the bill passed. Concessions have generally involved the watering-down of attempts to create a government-run competitor to private insurance companies.

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Kucinich said he could “only conclude” his amendment was taken out of the bill “because of pressure from the insurance companies,” though moderate Democrats’ resistance to such a wide-ranging proposal seems equally plausible.

“If a state wants better health care than can be provided by the federal government in the health care bill we are seeing today, the federal government should not stand in their way,” the congressman said. “The removal of the Kucinich amendment constitutes yet another capitulation to the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries who are already reaping billions of dollars from the bill.”

Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom all have single payer government run healthcare plans. The United States’ healthcare system — where private insurance companies control the market — is largely an anomaly among developed Western economies.

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Trump has been ‘insulated’ by his wealth to never have to learn from his mistakes: biographer

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President Donald Trump's inherited wealth has meant he's never had to learn from his mistakes, Trump biographer Tim O'Brien told MSNBC's Brian Williams on Thursday.

"Bloomberg Opinion writer and our next guest Tim O’Brien writes today, 'Yes, of course, you need a certain kind of appalling narcissism to be comfy promoting yourself as heaven-sent in a televised press briefing and as a deity on Twitter. It’s doubly unhinged when you’re doing this as president,'" Williams said. "He goes on 'The Trump of the past few weeks is the same disordered figure of the past several decades with, I suspect, a big dollop of something new blended in: unbridled and unmanageable panic.'"

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‘Both Putin and Xi will be voting Trump in 2020’: NYT columnist says Russia and China want ‘turmoil and chaos’

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The Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China are both rooting for President Donald Trump to win re-election in 2020, a New York Times columnist argued on MSNBC on Thursday.

Thomas Friedman was interviewed by Lawrence O'Donnell on "The Last Word."

"What do we know about how the leaders of other countries see Donald Trump at this stage in their dealings with him?" O'Donnell asked. "Especially this weekend, when it comes at the end of a week in which they’ve heard him call himself the King of Israel, they have heard him say he is The Chosen One. They have heard all the crazy things that everyone here has heard the president say."

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Trump is ‘not a stable genius’: GOP strategist says the president ‘doesn’t remember who and where he is’

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President Donald Trump's mental fitness is lacking, a top Republican strategist explained on "The Last Word" with Lawrence O'Donnell.

Rick Wilson, the author of the 2018 bestselling book Everything Trump Touches Dies: A Republican Strategist Gets Real About the Worst President Ever, blasted the commander-in-chief.

"Rick Wilson, your assessment of where the president stands as he heads off to the G7 summit?" O'Donnell asked.

"I think Donald Trump has had a week in which he is proving that this isn’t 87-dimensional chess game, this isn't some masterful strategy of communications or persuasion," Wilson replied. "This is an old man who is sick and who has problems and who has mental disconnects and who has aphasias and who has moments where he doesn’t remember who and where he is."

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