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I like Merkley.  He may be President someday, and a damn good one.

Today, he kicked ass on those who seek to uphold the status quo.

"Now, the opponents of reform, they have a health strategy.  And their strategy is the status quo. And why do they like the status quo so much?  Because the special interests are making so much money with the current health care system.  Huge profits for insurance companies, huge profits for other health care players."

snip

The opponents want an America where a worker is just one pink slip away from losing their job and their health care.

snip

I urge my colleagues to set their partisanship aside, set aside the goal of trying to torpedo America’s future because you want to torpedo the Presidency of Barack Obama.

More, after the fold.

Full transcript of video:

As we make historic progress on guaranteeing affordable, quality health care for all, there are powerful forces underway to halt this effort.  

"There are those that favor the status quo, and they’re working on their talking points.  They’re rallying their special interests.  They’re doing polls to see what phrase will most scare Americans from changing.  They want to defeat this historic march towards quality, affordable health care for every single citizen.

Now, the opponents of reform, they have a health strategy.  And their strategy is the status quo.  And why do they like the status quo so much?  Because the special interests are making so much money with the current health care system.  Huge profits for insurance companies, huge profits for other health care players

"Americans across the country are counting on us to work together to find a solution, to help ease the burden of health care costs on family and business budgets and create more affordable health care options.  I urge my colleagues to set their partisanship aside, set aside the goal of trying to torpedo America’s future because you want to torpedo the presidency of Barack Obama.  

Think about the quality of health care for our working families and what we in this chamber could do to make that quality of life far better."

Senator Merkley also talked about the Health Affordable Choices Act that the HELP Committee (Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee) passed, which will create a public health insurance option and ban insurance companies from denying care based on pre-existing conditions.  That's the good bill, as opposed to the Baucus bad bill.

So, when opponents of reform try to scare you and say we don’t need to change anything, just remember how scary their plan is. And I know that you understand what I’m talking about because you see it every day.  The opponents are saying, it’s okay if insurance companies routinely deny necessary medical care and cancel policies in order to increase their profits.  The opponents are saying they prefer an America where parents will lie awake at night worried if they can afford health care their children need because they don’t have health insurance for their children.  

The opponents want an America where a worker is just one pink slip away from losing their job and their health care.  That’s a double calamity that strikes millions of families in America every year.  The opponents are arguing for an America where a would-be entrepreneur who has worked hard and may want to open a business may not do so because he or she cannot health insurance in a volatile, expensive small business market.  The opponents want an America where small businesses who do offer insurance are faced with double-digit, budget-straining premiums that strengthen the economic viability of that small business.  I want to see our small businesses thrive.  Our small businesses are incredibly creative, far more patents per capita than large businesses.  Our small businesses expand and grow and absorb more workers.  We want them to thrive and a major challenge they have today in thriving is our broken health care system.

Mr. President, I do not accept that vision for America, the vision put forward by the opponents of health care reform.  We need to create a simple health care exchange where individuals and small businesses can go and be part of a large pool so they can negotiate a fair deal.  Today we don’t have that fair deal.  Tomorrow we will.

snip

This bill [the HELP bill, not the odious Baucus sell-out bill] changes that.  I believe we need to create a health care system that expands citizens’ choices instead of constraining them, as our current system does, where you have many markets in America that only have a single dominant provider.  And we need to create a community health care plan to hold the feet of insurance companies to the fire.  Competition – competition in the marketplace, a 100% apple pie American concept is needed in health care to help control costs.

Madam President, Americans across the country are counting on us to work together to find a solution, to help ease the burden of health care costs on family and business budgets and create more affordable health care options.  I urge my colleagues to set their partisanship aside, set aside the goal of trying to torpedo America’s future because you want to torpedo the Presidency of Barack Obama.

Think about the quality of health care for our working families and what we in this chamber could do to make that quality of life far better.  The costs of inaction, the costs of our broken status quo system are just too great to fall to petty, bitter, partisan bickering.  Let’s come together.  Let’s fight for a brighter future for America’s families.

Entire transcript here

We need more Jeff Merkley's in the US Senate.  Real Democrats, unafraid to tell truth to power.

Originally posted to TomP on Tue Jul 28, 2009 at 12:55 PM PDT.

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