House Democrats Stand Fast For Public Option

Even when it looks as though the White House is willing to scuttle a strong public option, here comes the progressive wing of the party with another letter to Obama.  Like their last letter, they emphasize that there will be no bill passed in the house that does not have a strong public option.

Interesting that there is only one wing of one party that supports the overwhelming preference of Americans for a strong public option to keep the insurance companies honest.  The Republicans couldn’t care less what anyone (except FOX news and the insurance companies) wants, conservative Democrats are too busy watching out for their jobs and counting campaign contributions from the insurance industry, and most moderate to liberal Democrats don’t have a clue what it means to govern.

That leaves a stalwart group of progressives as the only members of Congress who seem to care about the needs of ordinary working Americans.  Let’s see if we can give them some support, ’cause they are the only ones in Washington right now who are working for us!  Their latest letter is below the fold.

“Dear President Obama:

Thank you for continuing to work with Members of Congress to draft a health reform bill that will provide the real health care reform this country needs.

We look forward to meeting with you regarding retaining a robust public option in any final health reform bill and request that that meeting take place as soon as possible.

Public opinion polls continue to show that a majority of Americans want the choice ofa robust public plan and we stand in solidarity with them. We continue to support the robust public option that was reported out of the Committees on Ways and Means and Education and Labor and will not vote for a weakened bill on the House Floor or returning from a Conference with the Senate.

Any bill that does not provide, at a minimum, a public option built on the Medicare provider system and with reimbursement based on Medicare rates-not negotiated rates-is unacceptable. A plan with negotiated rates would ensure higher costs for the public plan, and would do nothing to achieve the goal ofproviding choice and competition to keep rates down. The public plan with set rates saves $75 billion, which could be lost ifrates are negotiated with providers. Further, this public option must be available immediately and must not be contingent upon any trigger.

Mr. President, the need for reform is urgent. Every day, 14,000 Americans lose their health care coverage. We must have health care reform that will effectively bring down costs and significantly expand access. A health reform bill without a robust public option will not achieve the health reform this country so desperately needs. We cannot vote for anything less.

We look forward to meeting with you to discuss the importance of your support for a robust public plan, which we encourage you to reiterate in your address to the Joint Session of Congress on Wednesday”

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