Action Diary: Pass the Public Option Today!

The battle for health care reform remains fluid. Various proposals have been working their way through Congress. At each stage of the process, a different sort of concerted action is required to insure a meaningful bill and a robust public option. We have reached another critical juncture, and your help is badly needed. (ConnecticutMan1 posted a news round up on this issue yesterday.

After sitting on its hands for months, Senate Finance finally passed a bill out of committee last week, enabling the process to move forward. At this point in the Senate, the Finance proposal (which is the weakest and perhaps most expensive of all the draft bills) must be merged with the bill drafted by the Senate HELP (Health, Education, Labor and Pensions) Committee. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will be key to our success.

Here are some facts, links and tools that will help you to contribute to our effort.

  1. 1) The bills will be merged behind closed doors by a small team composed of three Senators and a few top White House Aids. Politico reports that Reid is limiting participation to Senator Chris Dodd (who helped usher a bill through HELP), Senator Max Baucus (of finance), himself and the White House. Senator Dodd has been outspoken in his support for the public option. Senator Baucus has been notable for his obstructionism and chumminess with insurers. Ifwe want to influence the bill, we need to focus on Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid.

  2. 2) There is already an organized means of doing so. Reid is currently polling poorly in Nevada which has been hard hit by the recession, and which is ranked among the bottom ten in terms of health care provision. Congressman Alan ("the Republican Health Care Plan is to die quickly") Grayson recently delivered a petition with 90,000 signatores (and presumably, 90,000 potential donors to a primary challenge) to the office of Harry Reid. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC), a project of ActBlue and the originators of the petition, are raising funds to air television ads for the public option in Nevada. Here is one of their ads:

You can donate in order to air this ad in Nevada here.

And, if you have a few moments, you can watch Alan Grayson and PCCC deliver their petition, which demands that Reid revoke the chairmanship of any democrat who does not vote to block a fillibuster of the public option:

You can also call Harry Reid's office directly to inform him, that if he does not produce and pass a bill with a robust public option, you will donate money towards a democratic challenger in the next primary. His phone number is 202-224-3542.

Happy calling! (And don't forget to pass this link along to all of your friends!)

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Comments

Sustained pressure on everyone involved in the debate is the only
real tool we have, and while being optimistic about it all, I still
think we need to keep it up until the very end if we are to be certain
of getting anything resembling honest reform.

Below is the
contact information for another big player in the Senate mashup of
their version of the bill. Though Senator Dodd is already a strong
supporter of a Public Option, for which you might want to thank him,
here is a smaple of what you might want to let him know:

"I
want to thank Sen. Dodd for supporting the Public Option. I'd also like
him to know that I expect healthcare reform to provide Universal
Coverage; that a Public Option is available from day one; And that the
Public Option be available to everyone that wants it. And please
support and enable state's rights so they may be able to start a single
payer program if they want to."

Here are some ways to contact Senator Dodd:

U.S. Senator Chris Dodd
D.C. Offices:
Tel: (202) 224-2823
Fax: (202) 224-1083

Connecticut Offices:
Tel: (860) 258-6940/(800) 334-5341 —CT only
Fax: (860) 258-6958

You
could also contact the last big Senate player in this... Senator
Baucus. Though, I would suggest you modify your message to him:

"I am truly disappointed that Sen. Baucus is not strongly supporting the Public Option. I'd
also like him to know that I expect healthcare reform to provide Universal
Coverage; that a Public Option is available from day one; And that the
Public Option be available to everyone that wants it.
And please support and enable state's rights so they may be able to start a single payer program if they want to."

Here is Senator Baucus' contact info:

Montana Offices:
From MT (toll-free): 800-332-6106

Main Fax: 202-228-1493

TTD: 202-224-1998


D.C. Offices:
(202) 224-2651 (Office)
202) 224-9412 (Fax)

If you're only going to make one call, call Reid. If you have time for two then a thank you to Dodd is a fabulous idea.