Kucinich Wants His Amendment Back

October 30, 2009 | Last updated: July 31, 2020

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) was none too happy when House leaders stripped his single-payer provision from their $894 billion health reform proposal. Today, he’s urging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to reinstate it.

“Like many other important reforms included in the underlying bill, the Kucinich amendment is the object of attack by the insurance industry,” Kucinich wrote in a letter. “Unlike other reform measures, Leadership has chosen to strip the Kucinich amendment of the protection it deserves.”

Kucinich’s provision, which would allow states to set up single-payer health care systems modeled after Medicare, passed the House Education and Labor Committee in July, but was stripped out by Democratic leaders as they pieced together their final bill from the various committee proposals. Kucinich concedes that the provision represents “incremental reform.” “But,” he adds, “it allows the country to move incrementally in the direction that is needed.”

If Education and Labor Chairman George Miller (D-Calif.) is right about there being no floor amendments, this plea could be Kucinich’s last shot.

Update (4:46 p.m.): Democratic Reps John Conyers (Mich.), Eric Massa (N.Y.), Neil Abercrombie (Hawaii), Janice Schakowsky (Ill.), Lynn Woolsey (Calif.) and Raúl Grijalva (Ariz.) have also signed the letter.