It’s time we demand a public option

I know a lot of folks seem to think that Obama, when he addresses the joint session of Congress tomorrow evening, will signal that he’s given up on the so-called public option, in hopes of getting some kind of healthcare reform passed into law. Well, I’m not ready to give up. Right now, I’m sharing this video of Robert Reich, in which he explains the public option and why it’s so vitally important, with all of my friends and relatives, in hopes that I might convince a few to do the same. I know it’s a long shot, but what have we got to lose? At some point, one would hope, truth has to win out over fear mongering and expensive healthcare industry ad campaigns. And I think we’re probably as close to the tipping point as we ever will be. So, why not tip the scales right now?

Despite the constant drone of politicians telling us that Americans don’t want a (“Socialist”) public option, the truth is coming out. Americans know that the system is broken. They see people with insurance being dropped by their insurers when they need them most. They see people with insurance going bankrupt in record numbers due to medical expenses. They see the excessive industry profits. They see other nations providing better care for less money. And they know that something significant needs to be done. According to a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, 76% of respondents said it was either “extremely” or “quite” important to “give people a choice of both a public plan administered by the federal government and a private plan for their health insurance.” People, in other words, want a public option. But, they apparently aren’t telling their elected officials. They aren’t challenging the likes of Joe Lieberman when he says that the American people don’t want it. We do want it. But we’re not going to get it unless we demand it, right now.

Obama’s laying out the final plan tomorrow (Wednesday) evening. That means we need to be heard today. Please, if you haven’t already, contact the White House, your elected officials, and your friends, and tell them that you demand that they stand up to the healthcare industry and provide a public option for the American people.

Contact Congressman John Dingell, or your Representative.

Contact Senator Carl Levin, Senator Debbie Stabenow, or your Senators.

And demand they not only get actively get behind the public option, but that they let the President know of their support immediately.

And, then contact President Obama at the White House directly.

And, forward this list to your friends and family, so that together we can change the system before you or someone you know gets dropped from his or her insurance, loses their home due to spiraling healthcare costs, or, worse yet, dies because they can’t access the care they need. These things shouldn’t happen in America, and we all know it.

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  1. Posted September 8, 2009 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

    OK, my letters are now ready to go.

    Good night.

  2. Meta
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Progressives take out an ad in today’s New York Times to argue for the public option.

  3. Glen S.
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    I just watched President Obama’s speech to a joint session of Congress regarding health care reform.

    Obama delivered what I think was probably the best, and most masterful speech of his entire career … and in the process (thankfully), reaffirmed his support for (among other important goals) a public option that would protect consumers, and serve to help keep insurance companies “honest.”

    While I still believe a single-payer system would have been our best solution, I realize that, politically, what Obama is proposing is probably our best, most realistic option.

    Now, of course, the political wrangling over health care will continue. However, as it does, I think that all supporters of equal access to healthcare might do well to focus on the following passage from tonight’s speech:

    “We did not come to fear the future. We came here to shape it. I still believe we can act even when it’s hard. I still believe we can replace acrimony with civility, and gridlock with progress. I still believe we can do great things, and that here and now we will meet history’s test.”

  4. Meta
    Posted September 29, 2009 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    We all need to write to our Reps today.

    The following comes from Salon yesterday:

    Tomorrow (Tuesday) is a critical day in the saga of the public option. Democrats Charles Schumer (New York) and Jay Rockefeller (West Virginia) are introducing an amendment to include the public option in the bill to be reported out by the Senate Finance Committee — the committee anointed by the White House as its favored vehicle for getting healthcare reform.

    Before you read another word, call and e-mail the Senate offices of Democrats Max Baucus (Montana), Tom Carper (Delaware), Robert Menendez (New Jersey), Kent Conrad (North Dakota), and Bill Nelson (Florida) — telling them you want them to vote in favor of the public option amendment. And get everyone you know in these states to do the same. Hell, you might as well phone and e-mail Republican Olympia Snowe (Maine) and make the same pitch.

    Background: Every dollar squeezed out of Big Pharma and Big Insurance is a dollar less that you’ll have to pay either in healthcare costs or in taxes to cover healthcare costs. The two most direct ways to squeeze future profits are allowing Medicare to use its huge bargaining leverage to negotiate lower drug prices, and creating a public insurance option to compete with private insurers and also use its bargaining clout to get lower prices and thereby push private insurers to offer lower rates…


  5. kjc
    Posted September 29, 2009 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    thanks Meta. I wrote ’em all.

  6. Oliva
    Posted September 29, 2009 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Yes, thanks, Meta. Calling/writing now (several full voice mail boxes and busy signals–good sign, I hope).

  7. Mike
    Posted September 29, 2009 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    There’s an article on the debate in the Senate on the Huffington Post.

  8. Meta
    Posted September 29, 2009 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    News Alert –

    03:02 PM EDT Tuesday, September 29, 2009

    Senate Panel Rejects Public Health Insurance Option –

    Senate Finance Committee votes against the creation of a new government-run health insurance plan.

  9. Oliva
    Posted September 29, 2009 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    I know people, some of whom are alumni of publicly funded colleges, who are almost entirely unengaged from this whole important discussion about health care reform, haven’t paid attention to the fight going on (sorry, democracy), and don’t hear anything good or meaningful in the term public option.

    If you bring up the USPS coexisting with FedEx and UPS to shed light, it only makes the post office’s present convulsions come to mind, which doesn’t help. Public universities are a more alluring example. There is Duke U. and the equally fine state school about nine miles down the road (UNC) and the excellent vet school down a different road a very short ways (NCSU), also a public institution–and you bring up the cost of a year at Duke and the idea of private alongside public, then the clunky term public option can maybe even seem beautiful (probably not). We need all these voices speaking up (like now). They probably want to, need to be moved to (how?). Wish they all agreed that the moment is ripe for speaking up (boldly, respectfully) for meaningful health care reform with a strong public option.

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