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by John Sparks

There was no Senate vote on the single-payer health care amendment on the floor December 16, thanks to the parliamentary obstruction of amendments by Republican senators in their battle to prevent any and all health care reform this year.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) attempted to introduce his Medicare-for-All, single-payer health care substitute amendment, but when he requested the usual unanimous consent to dispense with the reading of the entire bill, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) objected, and under Senate rules, clerks were obligated to read aloud the entire 700-plus page amendment – a process that would have consumed nearly eight hours.

After 2 hours and 43 minutes, Sen. Sanders withdrew his amendment in order to allow the Senate to proceed with other business in the dwindling days before the Christmas recess – but he then gave a rousing, blistering speech on the Senate floor, condemning the insurance cartel, anti-reform obstructionists in Congress, and promising that the day will come when America has true universal healthcare.

Had Sen. Sanders’s amendment been allowed to proceed to debate and vote, it would have been the first time a complete single-payer plan had been considered on the Senate floor, a milestone in the history of nearly 60 years of effort to reform the nation’s health care system.

Sanders was proposing the amendment as a substitute for the compromise bill put together by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and other Democrats, and supported by the Obama Administration. That bill has been so watered down in an effort to please enough Senators to reach the 60 votes necessary to stop a Republican filibuster that some progressives now say (more…)

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