Committed Leaning Yes Undecided Leaning No Against

A new poll indicates that 76% of Americans overwhelmingly support having a public health care option, but the influence of lobbying money on Congress is making that hope seem remote.

It’s time to change that. Let’s whip for a public plan.

Last week saw the conclusion of a very successful citizen whip effort to get members of Congress to vote against the Supplemental Appropriations Act. We can do it again.

Here’s how it works:

There are 178 Republicans in the House. A House majority is 218. If all of the Republicans agree to vote against something, as they indicate they will on health care, then any 40 Democrats banding together can control the passage of a bill (218 – 178 = 40).

Stated another way: if 40 Democrats in the House say they will not vote for any health care bill that does not have a strong public plan, then they have the same power that a Ben Nelson or an Evan Bayh has had in the Senate to determine the outcome–when every vote was needed to pass something. Every commitment we get in excess of that 40 makes the commitment even more powerful.

We need to get progressive members of Congress to commit that they will not vote for any bill or conference report that does not have a robust public plan that is:

  • available nationwide
  • available on day one
  • and accountable to Congress and the voters

What you can do:

Here’s our Public Plan Whip Tool, with our Hot 100 Progressives in Congress and their phone numbers. Please call their offices and let us know what you hear on the form provided there.

We will be writing about this every day over on FDL’s Campaign Silo. Just as we did during the Supplemental, we’ll publish a chart of where members stand each morning, in addition to moment-by-moment news updates and what people are hearing when they call various offices. You can follow updates on Twitter.

And here’s the BEST news: we’ll be working with Eve Gittelson (nyceve from Daily Kos), who will be joining us over at the Silo and posting updates there, as well as on Kos. Dave Meyer and Marisa McNee from Save the Rich will also be helping us out.

Pretty unbeatable combo, yes?

Why this is important:

Right now the conversation is devoted to "how are we going to appease Kent Conrad?" We can change that. The American public is on our side, and they need to know that Kent Conrad’s co-op plan is just kabuki.

As Russ Feingold said:

I am not interested in passing health care reform in name only. I am not interested in a bill that allows us to somehow tell our constituents we have done something but doesn’t really address their concerns. We need real reform, and real reform means a strong public option.

We’ve been told that we need to "compromise," because nobody is going to get everything they want. Well, a public plan is the compromise. Single Payer representatives have been shut out of this conversation from the beginning, just to make the insurance industry lobbyists happy.

One hundred members of Congress standing together and demanding a public plan that is a) available nationwide, b) from day one and c) accountable to Congress and the voters can keep Blue Cross from making this nothing more than an insurance industry bailout.

You can give progressive members of Congress the support that they need to do this.

To the phones!