In a desperate move to rewrite the public record and ignore a key Congressional committee vote, aging Wisconsin Congressman Tom Petri (R) on Thursday blasted Media Trackers for a report noting his support for a single-payer healthcare reform option. “I do not support a single-payer health care system,” Petri claimed. But his comments do not square with a well-documented record reviewed by Media Trackers.
In 2009, Petri voted in favor of a Democrat-introduced amendment to the Affordable Care Act that would have allowed states to opt-out of ObamaCare only if they agreed to establish a state-funded single-payer healthcare system. “I voted for an amendment in committee to support a state’s right to choose a health care system that works for them,” Petri claimed Thursday.
Petri’s statement is not true.
The amendment he supported did not offer states a chance to “choose a health care system that works for them.” Rather it offered states a binary choice of either accepting ObamaCare or implementing a complete government takeover of the state’s healthcare sector.
Petri further argued “I do not believe the federal government should be choosing which health system works best for each state, including a single-payer system.” He also spun his vote as an endorsement of federalism. “What I support is the conservative principle of federalism.”
By claiming that his vote on the amendment was about letting states make their own decision without being told what to do by the federal government, Petri is lying about his own record.
According to one definition, a single-payer system is “a system in which healthcare providers are paid for their services by the government rather than by private insurers.”
In previous public comments, Petri has expressed his acceptance of a single-payer healthcare system. “I am open to government plans, and even single-payer, on the state level,” Petri wrote in a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel-published editorial.
When asked about what sort of alternative to ObamaCare he would support, Petri said on camera, “I did support the public option on the uh, the state basis.” He later reinforced that comment saying, “If the state gets it right we can copy them.”