Get answers from your Senators on health care today.
So, what is going on with health care reform lately?
- Today, The Hill reports that Blue Dogs and Republicans are holding secret talks on health care reform:
The talks have been so secretive and politically sensitive that some members interviewed by The Hill refused to name other legislators involved in the bipartisan effort.
- Also today, former Democratic and Republican Senate majority leaders are coming out with plans to tax health care benefits, but with no public option.
- A few days ago, Senators like Mary Landrieu and some Blue Dogs in the House have backed off their public statements in support of a public option.
- Over the weekend, Kent Conrad is telling the world that there aren't enough votes for the public option. He claims that he was instructed to craft a compromise, non-public option plan by Senate leaders.
Pardon my sounding like an angry blogger for a moment, but what the frak is going on here?
For years, candidates for, and members of, Congress told us that we needed to elect and re-elect them in order to lower health care costs and provide universal coverage. And so, for years, we dutifully worked our collective asses off, delivering wide majorities for Democrats--who said they would lower health care costs and provide universal coverage--in both branches of Congress.
Now, when it comes time for them to deliver on health care by providing a public option--the care minimum required to reduce costs and provide universal coverage--what we are getting instead are backroom deals, flip-flops, and cop-outs.
Today, along with Health Care for America Now, Democracy for America and numerous blogs, a campaign is being launched to put an end to the backroom deals on health care. We made and delivered on a commitment to bring about wide Democratic majorities in Congress. Now, instead of negotiating in secret, this Congress needs to make a public commitment to us on where it stands on health care.
No more dodges. No more vague, open-ended responses. We need every member of the Senate--main obstacle to reform--to answer four questions on the public option:
Do you support a public healthcare option as part of healthcare reform?
If so, do you support a public healthcare option that is available on day one?
Do you support a public healthcare option that is national, available everywhere, and accountable to Congress?
Do you support a public healthcare option that can bargain for rates from providers and big drug companies?
As activists and as constituents, answering these questions are the minimum they owe us. We are entitled to specific, clear, written responses to all of these questions.
Email--don't call, but email--these four questions to your Senators now. Make it clear that you want a written response to all four questions. There needs to be as little room for interpretation as possible. The Senate is going to be the biggest hurdle on health care, as it has proven to the biggest hurdle on all legislation in 2009. That is where we must focus our pressure.
When you receive a response, post it on this webpage. We are going to collect all of the responses to find out where every member of Congress, but especially the Democratic members, stand on the public option. It is only with this information that we can prevent backroom deals that will sell us out to insurance companies.
If they don't respond, we will keep emailing until they respond. If they dodge the questions and don't provide specifics, then we will keep emailing until they do. If we keep the pressure up, they are going to have to respond eventually.
It is about time that every Senator make their position clear. We are entitled to responses. Email your Senators today.