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When we started talking about passing a health care reform bill, it seemed to me that everyone had similar goals:

  1. Insuring the uninsured
  1. More affordable health care and health insurance
  1. Improving access to health care
  1. Improving the quality of health care
  1. Regulating the insurance industry so they would stop taking advantage of consumers

I have no desire to relive the debate or the discussion. I'm here to point out one thing today - we have one opportunity to pass a health care reform bill that will address all of these issues - Pass the Senate Bill and fix it through reconciliation later.

I need you to call your Congressperson today and tell them that you want them to do that - that you need them to do that...and here are some reasons why...

- because you can't afford premiums going up 40% in a year or two - because you can't afford to get insurance due to a preexisting condition - because (as the owner of a small business) you can't afford to provide business to your employees without an exchange - because you need a Community Health Center in your area that will help provide low-cost care to a poorer population - because you would qualify for Medicaid help if this Senate bill passes and you can't qualify now - because your Part D donut hole will be cut back this year and you really need that help so you can take your medications year round instead of quitting in October when you hit that hole - because you don't want people to die because they can't afford to go to the doctor - because you want providers to be compelled to improve the quality of care they provide - because you want insurance companies to be better regulated so they can't just drop people who become sick - because you want to see what your very blue state does with the state innovation option - up to and including the possibility of a Single Payer health care option for an entire state - because the minimum level of coverage is a lot more than you have with the junk insurance policy you've got now (h/t to jim bow for this information:

Minimum benefits package  (Sec. 1311)
Services that must be required to be covered:

Ambulatory patient services
Emergency services
Maternity and newborn care
Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment
Prescription drugs
Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices
Laboratory services
Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
Pediatric services, including oral and vision care

I can keep going here, but I think this list is a pretty good start.

Is the Senate bill perfect? No. Far from perfect. Was the House bill perfect? No. Far from perfect. Would the conference bill that came out of the informal conference have been perfect? No. It would not have been perfect. Far from it, actually. But every single one of those options is better than what we have now.

If we pass the Senate bill - we can fix all of those things listed above and we can save 150,000 or more lives.

Here's the Capitol Switchboard number:

(202) 224-3121

You can look up your member of Congress here and you can also write to them.

Right now every Democrat in Congress is getting flooded with phone calls from teabaggers asking them to kill the bill once and for all by refusing to pass the Senate bill.

If Congress doesn't hear from us, they're going to kill this bill and (if you learned anything from 1994) it will be 15 years before they bring it up again. Can you live with 15 years of premiums increasing at 14% per year? Can you live with a preexisting condition and no insurance? Can your small business survive another 15 years without the ability to offer insurance to employees (or yourself and your own family)?

And the better question - even if YOU can live with the status quo, can you really ask everyone else to live with it? We have one opportunity here. It's an opportunity that comes along every 15 years. There are parts of this bill that absolutely positively SUCK. That make me livid. That make me want to punch Ben Nelson. But I'm not willing to tell 30 million people that they can't get health insurance and have to live on the verge of bankruptcy for another 15 years. I'm not willing to tell people to "fuck off and die" because they couldn't get an insurance company to cover them due to a preexisting condition. I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I sent that message to someone.

A very smart young Democrat who inspires me every day, the fabulous populista wrote a diary last night asking people to call Congress and Pass. The. Bill. His diary had a quote that I'd like to add here because I feel more people need to read it:

From Mike Lux:

As President Obama likes to put it: let me be clear. Democrats need to calm down, pull themselves together, and pass the Senate bill and then a parallel bill to clean up the problems in the Senate bill. Progressive leaders like Raul Grijalva need to stop making threats, join hands with their Democratic brethren, and just get this done. Conservative Democrats had their way in the Senate, but now they need to stop complaining  and telling Democrats they should give up on passing anything, and get with the program. The President needs to settle down and stop having a failure of nerves, and sending negative signals to Congress. It is time to take the path available to us on health care, do what we should have done four months and get it over with, and move on to jobs, banks, energy, and immigration. By actually delivering on the change we promised, by actually taking on the special interests we said we would and solving problems, Democrats can rebound from this bleak moment and do fine in the next election. All it takes is a little bit of courage and common sense to take the path in front of them.

As populista noted, calls worked to change Barney Frank's mind. If Barney Frank can change his mind, so can everyone else.

We need a particular focus on the Progressive Caucus and on the Blue Dogs here - the Progressive Caucus is prepared to let the bill die because it isn't good enough. The Blue Dogs don't want to have to spend political capitol voting for health care reform - they would have preferred we do nothing instead.

We need to pass this bill and we need to do it quickly so we can move on to other important legislation (like kicking banks in the balls). Alan Grayson wrote a diary back in September, Whose Side Are You On?

It started like this:

Last night, I went onto the House floor and did something that the Republicans aren't used to.  I told the truth about the Republican health care plan.  The plan is simple:

  1. Don't get sick.
  1. If you do get sick...
  1. Die quickly.

If we don't pass this bill, that's the plan we get. That's the status quo. Please join me today - and every day going forward - in flooding Congress with calls demanding that they pass this bill. Use your own reason...use one of the dozen reasons above...just ask them to pass the bill. We can make the fixes in reconciliation. What we can't do is nothing.

Here's the Capitol Switchboard number:

(202) 224-3121

You can look up your member of Congress here and you can also write to them.

And if you're on Twitter - use #passit to get this moving. This message needs to go well beyond DKos.

Update: maineiac has some awesome tips for everyone:

some tips

Ask to talk to the legislative assistant. She or he speaks to the member of Congress every day.

Call lots of places. Yesterday, I called my congressman in DC and at a local office, Pelosi, the DCCC, the DNC's contributions phone number, and the White House.

If you can't call lots of places, call your House member.

Try to recruit a few people to do the same.

The only viable approach for anything in the realm of being decent is for the House to pass the Senate bill and to negotiate a legislative patch that can go through the Senate via reconciliation.

Update 2: Femlaw has some great links!!

If you are on twitter:

Tweet this diary around

Tweet your member of Congress

Tweet the leadership and the WH

Here's ones I just sent out:

@barackobama:  Don't give up - we've got your back with #pplpwr.  Pass #hcr now.  #passit || If you agree pls tweet

@SenatorReid:  Don't give up - we've got your back with #pplpwr.  Pass #hcr now.  #passit || If you agree #tweetcongress

@Barbara_Boxer Don't give up - we've got your back with #pplpwr.  Pass #hcr now.  #passit || If you agree t#tweetcongress

Tweet your Rep

Tweet your Senator

Originally posted to Elise on Fri Jan 22, 2010 at 07:06 AM PST.

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