Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Action Needed: Public Option Might be Off the Table

This afternoon, Jane Hamsher reports that Rahm Emanuel has privately told Democratic Senators that the public option might be dropped if necessary for bipartisan support! This is wrong and will put all the control back where it is now, in the hands of the millionaires running the insurance industry.

We have to be clear about this. If you want a health plan that will control costs we have to include a public option. Any other plan will put control back in the hands of the insurance industry. They control medical costs (by denying you medications and procedures) but they have no interest in controlling insurance costs because their rewards come from profits, not from your health.

Jane Hamsher at Fire Dog Lake has put together a tool for fighting the Health Insurance Industry. They don't want us to have a public option, and are putting millions of dollars into the fight. All we have is public opinion, and to use this we have to let our Congress people know what we want.

It only takes 40 "no" votes to squash any watered down version without a public option! If we let the most progressive congress people know that is what we want, we might be able to beat the insurance industry.

Remember -- we're asking them to support a public plan that is
  1. nationwide,
  2. available from day one and
  3. answerable to the voters and Congress.
We're asking them to commit to vote against anything that does not have these three features.

That's where the power is -- 40 votes against anything else can keep a bad bill from passing. Visit Fire Dog Lake for the Public Option Whip Count Tool.

There are also some Democrats who have spoken out against the Public Plan Option. Please call or write to them. ( Links are at the Bill Press ) They are:

Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR)

Senator Tom Carper (D-DE)

Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA)

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR)

Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL)

Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA)

Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC)

Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND)

Senator Max Baucus (D-MT)

Links are available at the Bill Press

Here is the letter I wrote. You are welcome to borrow from it....

Please, Senator Conrad, we need a plan that is nationwide. Smaller states will not have enough members to make a co-operative insurance plan economically feasible. When they are out priced by larger insurance conglomerates, they will disappear. And then we'll be right back here, which is not a good place.

Nationwide, we have more than enough healthy Americans to make a public option pay for itself. Include a reasonable co-payment and the healthy members will support the costs of those who get sick. This is how insurance would work if the CEO's weren't getting million dollar salaries.

Just among my friends, I know two people who were cut off..........(FIll IN YOUR OWN STORY)
What happened to his family was fraudulent, but he didn't have the heart or the pocketbook to sue.

When people need health care, they are faced with a moral dilemma, to get fired and go on Medicaid, to commit a crime and go to prison, or, in some states, to go to the Emergency Room and use that for primary health care, or too often they go into debt and end up in bankruptcy.

Americans should not be faced with such choices. We need a public option that is nationwide, available from day 1, and answerable both to Americans and to Congress.

Please vote "No" on any other plan. It would be better to postpone this reform than to do something that is worse than what we have now.

Thank you,
(your name)

Some people already have a public option.
Sometimes it's paid for by taxes, and sometimes it requires a co-pay. Why, I wonder, can't the rest of us have access to it?

The Senate and Congress members all have a public option, paid for by American taxpayers. They know very well that it works. They use it and their families use it. Employees of Veteran's Hospitals around the country have the President's choice model. They can select from an array of health insurers all part of the government program. This is partially paid for by the employee through a reasonable co-pay. It is unlikely that these insurance companies will use Rescission of Coverage when the pool is so large. This is a tactic commonly used against members from small companies or small pools of clients.

Former Governor Dr. Howard Dean speaks eloquently on the public option, and answers all the tough Republican talking points.

As Dr. Dean emphasizes, the AMA doesn't support any plan where doctors are told what to do with their patients -- and this is what we have now! We need a system where doctors can make decisions with their patients, and where people's policies are not canceled when they or someone in their family gets sick.

Dr. Dean answers how the doctor's rates will not be cut with a public option. And, he explains why Kent Conrad's idea of a "co-op" will not work. There are just not enough numbers in small states to provide a cost effective co-op.

You are armed now with logic and sense. Letters/emails or telephone calls will help.... Please click on the link above (Bill Press Show and Public Option Tool), and let them know what you think.

It is important!

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