Pennsylvania

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A View From the Front Lines of the Class War

  • Posted on: 11 April 2011
  • By: greywolfe359

Crossposted from Daily Kos by GH, with permission.

A beat-up van pulls to a stop just up the road. A creaky screen door opens from the apartment at the end of the building. A young African-American girl runs out toward the van, barely hanging onto a gym bag that was obviously not meant for such a pint-sized carrier. The driver of the van, a middle-aged white man with glasses and a beard, throws the passenger door to the van open and the little girl tosses the bag onto the floor before climbing in. The apartment door, which had banged shut in the meantime, creaks open again as the girl's mother waves goodbye.

"Be good. Have fun," she tells her daughter.

"I'll have her back by eight," the driver replies as the little girl shuts the van door and waves goodbye to her mom.

As the van pulls away and disappears around a turn up the street, the girl's mother allows herself to slump against the door frame for just a moment. She lets go of a long sigh that betrays just how tired she is. She almost doesn't notice me as I approach her door to introduce myself.

 

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Single Payer in High Gear in PA

  • Posted on: 10 February 2010
  • By: Connecticut Man1

The race is on in Pennsylvania because they are seriously talking about Single Payer Healthcare. And though they are moving to try to eliminate ERISA roadblocks to get there, some are prepared to challenge the laws even if the US Congress will not act:

My state is moving closer and closer to passing single payer, as this excellent history of recent developments in the statewide movement explains.

It had been a good year for Single-Payer in Pennsylvania already.
HealthCare4ALLPA, the organization leading the fight (full disclosure:
the author is an unpaid officer of that organization and an unpaid
member of the Board of Directors) to enact single-payer healthcare in
the Keystone State. Our Bill, HB 1660 and SB 400 was picking up steam
(one blogger, in describing the scope of the bill, observed "you will
never see a more comprehensive plan."), and had been endorsed by City
Councils in Lancaster, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Reading, West Reading,
and Wilkes Barre, as well as by the Allegheny County Council. Together
those councils represent more than 3 million people, about a quarter of
the population of Pennsylvania. A study of the cost of employee
healthcare benefits paid by the combined governments and school boards
within our state had documented a savings of nearly $2.3 billion
dollars if the bill werer passed, and the study was getting noticed.
Our quest for funds to commission an Economic Impact Study that would
validate the benefits of instituting our bill were beginning to bear
fruit. In October more than a thousand people -- primarily from all
over Pennsylvania, but augmented by advocates from Rhode Island, New
York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, Delaware, Ohio and even
Washingtron State who journeyed to Harrisburg in a show of solidarity
-- gathered in the Capitol Rotunda on a Tuesday workday morning to
demonstrate for the passage of our bill.

As I wrote about here,
the bill for statewide single payer had a hearing late last year.  Not
only that, but the hearing was led by Republican State Senator Don
White, and that's not even the full extent of the bipartisan support of
this.  And Governor Ed Rendell has also pledged to sign the bill!  And
all five Democratic candidates for governor have expressed support of
the bill!  And both Arlen Specter and Joe Sestak have said that they
intend to introduce bills in Congress that would end ERISA and make it
much easier for states to establish single payer systems!

As far as the ERISA laws, here is a little more from a comment sent to Rossl, author of the diary excerpt above, by the author of the original OP Ed piece, Jerry Policoff, that is revving up single payer activists:

Congressman John Murtha Dies at 77

  • Posted on: 8 February 2010
  • By: Connecticut Man1

Congressman John Murtha Dies at 77Via CBS' Political Hotsheet:

Democratic Rep. John P. Murtha, who represented Pennsylvania's 12th
district for 36 years, died today at the age of 77. He died in an
Arlington, Va. hospital with his family at his side after suffering
complications from gallbladder surgery.


Murtha earned considerable influence in Congress as head of
the powerful House Defense Appropriations subcommittee. He used his
position of power to secure billions
in federal tax dollars for his district, which has struggled with the
widespread loss of coal and steel jobs, but came under intense scrutiny
for his ties to companies for which he has secured earmarks.


Murtha, who joined Congress in 1974, was the first Vietnam
War combat veteran elected to the House. After 19 terms, he was one of
the longest-serving members of the House and the eighth-most senior
member. He was also the longest-serving member from Pennsylvania.

I know there is plenty to cover on his career, both the ups and the downs, but that will wait until later. For now, our best thoughts go out to his family and friends. [Image]