Meaningful healthcare reform is within our grasp!

Posted on October 27th, 2009 in Health,Politics by Robert Miller

Now that Harry Reid has agreed to bring the public option plan to the Senate floor for a vote, we still have hurdles to overcome to get a meaningful bill passed through Congress. Reid’s choice to bring the public option plan forward as part of the Senate bill, means that this will be a Democrat-only bill, with probably every Republican opposed to it. We will need all 60 Democrats to get the bill to the floor for a vote, after which, we will need only a majority to get it passed. As Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor under Clinton now advocates, the time to push even harder for a meaningful bill has arrived. Relaxing at this point will be fatal. As he points out in his video, an email is good, a phone call is better, a personal letter is better still and a personal visit to the office of your Senators and Representatives is the best of all.

This week, I am headed for Washington DC and plan to meet with members of the congressional delegation from Minnesota, or with as many as I can. Although the focus of my meeting will be primarily on congressional support for research, I plan to emphasize the importance of a strong public option and how much national expectation their is for such a solution. Right now the states “opting-out” option that will be attached to the bill is cloaked in mystery and obfuscation. But, who knows, maybe we can start chiseling on Mount Rushmore after all (if Obama takes the public option and runs with it). It would be nice if Obama finally put some of his personal capital on the line for a good public option plan–one that truly gives us meaningful healthcare reform.

Let’s remember one feature of this historic vote that we should not be afraid to embark on: those Democrats who vote for a strong public option, and will run again in 2010, will need our support for the election next year, because they probably will receive strong opposition from corporatist-sponsored candidates. As a result, we need to make sure they are identified and supported on an internet donation scale that puts what we did for Obama in second place, right behind what we will do for all those candidates who voted with us. We will need a powerful demonstration that we take care of our own! But, that’s all about tomorrow. Let’s think about today!


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