In this morning’s Washington Post Ceci Connolly is out with a piece highlighting the tension between advocates of the public option and centrist Democratic Senators who have decided to serve as a road block for health care reform:
The rising tensions between Democratic legislators and constituencies that would typically be their natural allies underscore the high hurdles for Obama as he tries to hold together a diverse, fragile coalition. Activists say they are simply pressing for quick delivery of "true health reform," but the intraparty rift runs the risk of alienating centrist Democrats who will be needed to pass a bill.
Take a close look at that last line: "centrist Democrats who will be needed to pass a bill."
Centrist Democrats who supported Obama in his bid for president shouldn’t have to be dragged kicking and screaming into supporting legislation that Obama promised the voters he would implement.
It’s time for progressive Democrats to draw the line in the sand and speak with one voice. They can do that by taking the Public Option Pledge:
I will vote against any bill which does not include a public option that is available everywhere day one and is accountable to voters and to Congress.
Representatives Ellison, Grijalva and Woolsey have already taken the pledge. We need 37 more. The Public Option Pledge is clear, it’s simple and it is based on all of the principles outlined by HCAN:
1. National and available everywhere: A strong public health insurance option will be a national public health insurance program, available in all areas of the country. The insurance industry is made of of conglomerates that have national reach. In order to have the clout to compete with the insurance industry and keep them honest, the public health insurance option must be national as well.
2. Government appointed and accountable: The entire problem with private health insurance is that they aren’t accountable to you or me. A public health insurance option must have a different incentive. A public health insurance option doesn’t have to be a government entity necessarily, but its decision makers must be appointed by government and must be accountable to government.
3. Bargaining clout: The whole point of health reform is to lower health care costs. Clearly, the insurance industry has failed to lower costs when left to their own devices. As the President says, we need a strong public health insurance option to lower rates, change the incentives in our health care system, and keep the industry honest.
4. Ready on day one: The private health insurance industry has utterly failed to control health care costs or provide their customers the quality they’ve paid through the nose for. With one person going bankrupt every 30 seconds due to health care costs, we cannot afford to wait any longer for a real fix. We need the public health insurance option to start lowering prices now. That means no trigger.
We need 40 Democrats total to hold the line against a bad health care bill. Ask them to take the pledge.