Thirteen Single-Payer Activists Settle Their Cases After Disrupting Hearing

Thirteen people charged with "disruption of Congress" for standing and shouting pro-single-payer system slogans during a health care reform committee hearing settled their cases, The Great Falls (Mont.) Tribune reports.

"Under the terms of last week's settlements, all charges will be dismissed if the protesters stay out of legal trouble for six to 12 months. Some of the protesters were also ordered to perform 40 hours of community service, according Donna Smith of the California Nurses Association."

Single-payer advocates said Baucus assured them in a closed door meeting in June that he'd help get the charges against the activists dropped, but Baucus' office wouldn't comment on the matter and never said if they assured the advocates their help or not (Adams, 7/7).

Smith, in the meantime, who was not one of the arrested parties, continues her own push for single-payer reforms, advocating that government should provide all people with government-funded health care, Kaiser Health News reports.

"Smith is a cancer survivor whose personal experience with insurance has driven her to lead rallies like this one. She is a foot soldier in the battle over health care, and hers is the most radical prescription for reform. … Most political experts say a single-payer plan is not feasible in the current environment. Public ambivalence about the role of government combined with the upheaval that would result from dismantling the current insurance system make radical change highly unlikely, they say. In addition, there would be strong opposition from congressional conservatives who vigorously dispute the rosy picture of single-payer benefits described by advocates" (Schmitt, 7/7).

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