House liberals have struck a deal with Henry Waxman to bring legislation that would establish a single-payer health care system up for a floor vote this fall, a senior House Democratic staffer tells Mother Jones. H.R. 676, a bill that would create a national single-payer system—essentially Medicare for all—has been languishing in Waxman’s Energy and Commerce committee for months. “Waxman is saying our request will be honored,” the staffer says.
The agreement came after a week of bitter in-fighting among liberal and conservative Democrats over health care. The battles were especially intense on Waxman’s committee. After the panel’s conservative “Blue Dog” Democrats successfully pressured Waxman to weaken the so-called “public option,” progressives rebelled. Fifty-seven signed a letter refusing to vote for the bill unless the concessions made to the Blue Dogs were thrown out. Late on Friday, Waxman told reporters that he had brokered a final deal that would move health care reform out of his committee.
Any vote on single-payer is likely to be symbolic, but even bringing the bill to the floor is a big step, and one that liberal pressure groups will be happy to see.
UPDATE: Politico says Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House, has promised a vote on single-payer, too.