Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

Public Option Healthcare: Where Senate Dems Stand

The “public option” a robust, competitive public health insurance plan mandated for all, is the key to REAL healthcare reform that isn’t just a giant taxpayer giveaway to the “death-by-spreadsheet” health insurance corporations.  If we had gotten single-payer universal healthcare in 1948, when Harry Truman tried to get it to complete the New Deal, we wouldn’t be fighting the health insurance companies because most of them didn’t exist then. (This is the time period when most Western democracies instituted universal healthcare. Ours was shot down because Southern senators were afraid it would mean integrating Southern hospitals and clinics. Yes, racism destroyed our first great chance at universal healthcare. Look it up.) So, now we have to get something which is cheaper and better than the private insurers so that it can compete head to head and win–to lower costs and cover everyone.

Don’t listen to those saying “the health insurance companies won’t be able to compete.” They could if they would stop paying obscene amounts to their CEOs and on advertising and to lobby against universal healthcare. Competing against the private companies IS THE POINT. 

So, Open Left has a chart on where the Democratic Senators stand on the public option. With Harry Reid openly proclaiming his weakness  and inability to be an effective Democratic Majority Leader (“I don’t tell people how to vote.” Really? THAT’S YOUR JOB! “I’m not very good at arm twisting.” Wimp! Step down and let someone take your gavel who IS good at arm twisting or else grow a BACKBONE!), it’s up to us citizens to corral the votes needed for this. Apparently polls showing 72% of the country wanting a public option (and 90% of Democrats, even 50% of GOP!) isn’t enough to compete with the insurance company money for senators’ attention. So check out Open Left’s chart. Anyone who isn’t listed as a YES  should hear from you–every day until this passes. It”s now or never, folks. The 2010 budget ALREADY pays for universal healthcare. Now we need to get it–or healthcare costs will cripple our economy even faster than global warming.

We know it works.  We have seen Medicare work. We have seen that senators, of both parties, like govt.  health insurance FOR THEMSELVES. Now it’s time for the rest of us. Healthcare, quality healthcare, is a RIGHT, not a privilege. But it’s a right we are going to have to organize and fight for. Remember the words of Mother Jones, “Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.”

P.S. Citizen Pressure DOES work. Sen. Hagan (D-NC) said last week that she wasn’t sure about the public option. After her office was flooded with calls, letters, emails, etc. from her constituents, she announced that she  supports the public option! The others will fold to the same pressure. And keep up the pressure on Wimpy Reid to do  his job or surrender his gavel!

July 4, 2009 - Posted by | healthcare


  1. What do you mean “Medicare works”? It is severely notoriously underfunded and requires doctors to charge fees so low that costs are then shifted to the uninsured and privately insured, perhaps you’ve noticed. Blue cross Blue shield for instance attempts to pay medicare rates and I have had doctors who will not accept my insurance rates because they are too low, but Medicare is accepted because it is law. How is that competition? That is the lack of competition that insurance companies fear. It is not their greed for profits. If it could be done cheaper non-profits exist and would be monopolizing the business. The government can operate the plan at a loss with general revenues and will until they bankrupt insurers. And then an enormous tax on individuals or businesses will come to cover the true full costs that they haven’t really been paying.
    That is the part that is hampering passage namely HONESTY concerning costs and future taxation. Obama will have to raise taxes on the middle class directly or by higher unemployment. No free lunches. Care will also be rationed differently which doesn’t concern me if it means better access overall, but you will not hear honesty in this regard from the left.

    I am not ideologically opposed to health care reform. I think the right generally wants to act, but they favor incremental economically sound steps. Everyone agrees the market is broken in this regard. Remember McCain wanted to tax employer-provided health plans, which now even Obama embraces. Obama mocked that then as a HUGE tax increase, just wait what he is forced to do….

    I bet that ultimately the Blue Dogs will give us a nice incremental step that gets rid of most uninsured. Any public option would have to be fully paid for never operating at a deficit to be competitive. I don’t see that passing because we already have non-profits.

    Comment by stan | July 4, 2009

  2. Medicare is underfunded. But it’s costs are only double that of inflation, while private insurance rates are rising at 5 times the rate of inflation.

    Incremental reform is no longer possible. And since 72% of the public supports a robust public option the Right should NOT get it’s way. It’s long past time that the Rightwing minority and the bloated healthcare lobbies quit dictating to the majority.

    This is a democracy, not an oligarchy. YOU LOST so shut up.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | July 4, 2009

  3. 1. What Stan said about Medicare.

    2. Great Britain’s NIH. They say it’s broken and can’t be sustained. The public finally realizes we can’t continue to push costs down the road. That probably means new taxes.

    3. That 70% whittles way down once the particulars emerge. That is often how things get incremental.

    Comment by K Gray | July 4, 2009

  4. Also demography – Baby Boomers’ burgeoning health costs. That’s no one’s fault. But it needs to be

    Comment by K Gray | July 4, 2009

  5. …brought out and explained.

    Comment by K Gray | July 4, 2009

  6. Let’s get this straight. No one is arguing for the U.K. system which is truly socialized medicine–all the doctors work for the govt. (I will note that U.S. conservatives have been saying that it is broken and can’t be fixed since 1950–and have been wrong every time.) Many ARE arguing for a system like Canada–socialized INSURANCE privately delivered; a single payer national health insurance. But we don’t have the votes for that.

    We do have 72% of the country demanding a public option that could grow INTO a single payer system like Canadas”.
    72% of the citizenry, 90% of Democrats, and even 50% of Republicans are demanding a CHOICE between keeping their own private insurance and a government run insurance program. That’s a MANDATE. That means it doesn’t matter what the fringe elements like K. Gray and Stan say. This is a democracy and the people have spoken. (Actually a solid majority have spoken on this for decades.) The health insurance industry, which is afraid it could not compete with a govt. insurance program (and has said so) keeps spending millions ($65 million since Obama’s inauguration) trying to bribe their way to blocking this. Big Pharma is spending 1 million per day to block this.

    But if we don’t get this public option, we will vote out everyone who voted against it. We have been trying for this since 1948. The AMA hired Ronald Reagan, then just an actor, to make a propaganda record against the evil “socialized medicine” then. That’s how he got started in politics. But the day of Ronald Reagan is OVER.

    Quality healthcare is a right. If a govt. insurance program is wrong, then let’s take it AWAY from Congress. (Sen. Grassley (R-IA) said this week that if someone wanted a govt. run health insurance plan, they should work for the govt. How ARROGANT.) I am sick and tired of the big money lobbies and you small % fringe elements of the FAR RIGHT using scare tactics to keep this country down–to deny us quality healthcare as a right.

    That’s why the U.S. pays double per capita for healthcare and gets less than other industrialized nations. That’s why we have an infant mortality rate that would better reflect the third world. (Our elderly get better because of Medicare. Without Medicare, our seniors would die at the rate of our newborns.) That’s why middle class people in this country lose their homes when they have major illnesses–which the “death by spreadsheat” insurance companies either find ways to get around their obligation to fund or simply cancel the policy. 1 out of every 4 mortgage defaults in this country and 2 of every 5 bankruptcies is healthcare related–and that’s with the middle class who can afford insurance. 47 million Americans have no health insurance at all and have to use hospital emargency rooms for primary care–hurting all of us.

    Incremental reform CRAP isn’t going to fix that broken system. It has to be thrown out. It needs a robust public option in ocmpetition with the private “for profit” bloodmoney evil insurance companies who prey on the ill like vultures. That public option IS the compromise. If this were a just society, private health insurance would be a criminal offense–since it is one giant protection racket just like the mob runs.

    This, of course, is proof that, no matter what the right says, this is NOT in any way a “Christian” nation. Because if it were the idea of for-profit-medicine would be repulsive. Those who want to make profits off sick people should be pariahs–treated like advocates for slavery, like pedophiles and other unspeakable monsters. Instead, their lobbies stalk the halls of Congress.

    I hate them. They have killed so many and bankrupted so many others.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | July 5, 2009


    It’s official. America and the World are now in a GLOBAL PANDEMIC. A World EPIDEMIC with potential catastrophic consequences for ALL of the American people. The first PANDEMIC in 41 years. And WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES will have to face this PANDEMIC with the 37th worst quality of healthcare in the developed World.


    We spend over twice as much of our GDP on healthcare as any other country in the World. And Individual American spend about ten times as much out of pocket on healthcare as any other people in the World. All because of GREED! And the PRIVATE FOR PROFIT healthcare system in America.

    And while all this is going on, some members of congress seem mostly concern about how to protect the corporate PROFITS! of our GREED DRIVEN, PRIVATE FOR PROFIT NATIONAL DISGRACE. A PRIVATE FOR PROFIT DISGRACE that is in fact, totally valueless to the public health. And a detriment to national security, public safety, and the public health.

    Progressive democrats the Tri-Caucus and others should stand firm in their demand for a robust public option for all Americans, with all of the minimum requirements progressive democrats demanded. If congress can not pass a robust public option with at least 51 votes and all robust minimum requirements, congress should immediately move to scrap healthcare reform and request that President Obama declare a state of NATIONAL HEALTHCARE EMERGENCY! Seizing and replacing all PRIVATE FOR PROFIT health insurance plans with the immediate implementation of National Healthcare for all Americans under the provisions of HR676 (A Single-payer National Healthcare Plan For All).

    Coverage can begin immediately through our current medicare system. With immediate expansion through recruitment of displaced workers from the canceled private sector insurance industry. Funding can also begin immediately by substitution of payroll deductions for private insurance plans with payroll deductions for the national healthcare plan. This is what the vast majority of the American people want. And this is what all objective experts unanimously agree would be the best, and most cost effective for the American people and our economy.

    In Mexico on average people who received medical care for A-H1N1 (Swine Flu) with in 3 days survived. People who did not receive medical care until 7 days or more died. This has been the same results in the US. But 50 million Americans don’t even have any healthcare coverage. And at least 200 million of you with insurance could not get in to see your private insurance plans doctors in 2 or 3 days, even if your life depended on it. WHICH IT DOES!

    If President Obama has to declare a NATIONAL STATE OF EMERGENCY to rescue the American people from our healthcare crisis, he will need all the sustained support you can give him. STICK WITH HIM! He’s doing a brilliant job.



    Join the fight.

    Contact congress and your representatives NOW! AND SPREAD THE WORD!

    God Bless You

    Jacksmith – WORKING CLASS

    Comment by jacksmith | July 5, 2009

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