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Single-Payer Advocates Anthony Weiner And Bernie Sanders Argue The Benefits Of Passing Senate Bill

By Faiz Shakir on December 18, 2009 at 10:40 am

"Single-Payer Advocates Anthony Weiner And Bernie Sanders Argue The Benefits Of Passing Senate Bill"

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On MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) — a stalwart proponent of a single-payer universal health care systememphasized the merits of passing the watered-down Senate health care compromise. “It’s not that they got a bad bill on their hands, it’s a pretty good bill,” Weiner said. “I think that Howard Dean is wrong. And I don’t think we should let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” Explaining his reasoning, Weiner said:

WEINER: I understand there is no public option but there are 30 million people who are going to be getting health insurance who don’t have it today. Those people are going to be getting more efficient, less expensive care — not passing onto you and me higher costs. That’s a good thing. That’s an unvarnished good thing.

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Last night on MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), also an avowed supporter of single-payer, reiterated that he’s “not sure” whether he’ll vote for the Senate bill, but is working on making it a “better bill.” But he added:

I’ve known Howard Dean for many, many years. I think a lot of his criticism of this bill is constructive. And I think he makes good points. On the other hand, as a United States Senator and a member of Congress, I got to deal with the reality that a lot of people are hurting out there. There are a lot of people who desperately need health insurance, so that has got to be taken into consideration.

We’ve all got to deal with the reality that if this bill goes down, what does it mean politically in this country. When is the next time legislation is going to come up which will increase health care reform for 30 million people, provide insurance, deal with some of the major abuses in terms of pre-existing conditions. … Is this a good bill? It is not a good bill. But we’re going to try to make it as good as we can.

In this morning’s New York Times, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman — himself a supporter of the single-payer concept — writes a column titled, “Pass the bill.” “Let’s all take a deep breath, and consider just how much good this bill would do,” he writes. “With all its flaws, the Senate health bill would be the biggest expansion of the social safety net since Medicare, greatly improving the lives of millions. Getting this bill would be much, much better than watching health care reform fail.”

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