Greg Sergent is a must read for me. He writes at The Plum Line for the Washington Post. You may remember him from TPM.
Today he makes the salient point that Polls in Key States show Public Option is Far More Popular Than the Senate Plan
Far More Popular. Often 20% or more.
Come around the fold to see how much more popular and why we should continue to fight for a better bill.
Here’s a rundown, sent over by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which commissioned the polls* In Nevada, only 34% support the Senate bill, while 56% support the public option. * In Illinois, only 37% support the Senate bill, while 68% support the public option. * In Washington State, only 38% support the Senate bill, while 65% support the public option. * In Missouri, only 33% support the Senate bill, while 57% support the public option. * In Virginia, only 36% support the Senate bill, while 61% support the public option. * In Iowa, only 35% support the Senate bill, while 62% support the public option.
*In Minnesota, only 35% support the Senate bill, while 62% support the public option.* In Colorado, only 32% support the Senate bill, while 58% support the public option.
And yet only 20 senators of the 59 who caucus with the Democratic Party have signed the letter.
20 Democratic Senators have now signed on to a letter to their Senate leadership asking to push the public health care option through the United States Senate using the budget reconciliation process which only requires a total of 51 votes and would avoid a Republican filibuster.
But more surprising than the number of Senators who have signed on is the composition of the group. At first the letter was drafted by four very progressive members of the Democratic caucus. That was only a few days ago now, and no one expected that number to climb much higher because the budget reconciliation process has been seen as too partisan or at least too aggressive of a strategy for Democrats and a White House hell-bent on bipartisan cooperation. Nonetheless, everyone from socialist Bernie Sanders to the very moderate Dianne Feinstein have now signed on.
Even the incredibly conservative Democrat Evan Bayh has expressed openness to the option in recent days. Just two days ago, Chuck Schumer signed on, the first member of the Democratic leadership to do so. And just yesterday Senate Majority Leader expressed his own willingness to push a public option through reconciliation.
As expected, there's No Public Option in Obama Health Care Plan
But the adminstration is not opposed to it.
And it appears to understand that reconciliation likely is the only way to pass any reform bill:
While White House spokesman Dan Pfeiffer insisted it was just a starting point for discussion, he also conceded that it was designed so that if no compromises can be cut with the GOP, it can be passed under the budget reconciliation loophole that needs just 51 votes.
"This plan provides the flexibility to do that if the Republican Party Decides to filibuster," Pfeiffer said.
We all know why politicans might be afraid of doing what's popular. Let's keep the pressure on the Senate to include a public option in a reconciliation bill.
A reconciliation bill can include a public option. It's more popular than the rest of the bill. And the adminstration does not oppose it. So, let's get it done. We need more than 20 Democratic senators to sign the letter.
(I am adding the following to all my diaries until Feb. 24)
Please help make calls for healthcare on February 24. Our own nyceve and slinkerwink have mobilized an unprecedented coalition of the largest progressive organizations in the nation, including MoveOn, HCAN, DFA, Progressive Congress and SEIU--with others expected to join imminently.
On February 24th, the day before the Presidential Healthcare Summit, we will deliver to Washington DC, a scream they will never, ever forget.
1,000,000 VOICES FOR HEALTHCARE REFORM: A VIRTUAL MARCH ON WASHINGTON
We'll do this via calls, faxes, Tweets, Facebook, emails, telegrams, balloon drops and carrier pigeons. Whatever. It. Takes.
On the morning of Wednesday, February 24th, either slinkerwink or I [nyceve] will post a diary, which we will ask you to please keep alive and on the rec list all day and into the evening.
We'll ask you to sign in on Daily Kos, once you do that, you'll be seamlessly directed to MoveOn.
On the MoveOn 1,000,000 Voices Virtual March on Washington web site, which will go live early in the morning of February 24th, you'll be able to use their incredible tools to contact Congress and the Senate and to take the action of your choice--call, email, fax or write.
The funds donated to the Progressive Congress Action Fund, a 501(c)4 non-profit organization headed by Darcy Burner, will be used to advocate on behalf of the progressive agenda, to advance progressive legislation, and may include payments to individuals engaged in fund raising.
Update I: I got a link to the full results on this in McJoan's excellent front page postjust now:
The Research 2000 Polls for NV, IL, WA, MO, VA, IA, MN, and CO were conducted for the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Democracy for America and Credo Action. A total of 600 likely general election voters in 2010 were interviewed in each state by telephone.
Those interviewed were selected by the random variation of the last four digits of telephone numbers. A cross-section of exchanges was utilized in order to ensure an accurate reflection of each state. Quotas were assigned to reflect the voter registration of distribution by county.
The margin of error is 4%.
Questions and data are available at the link above.